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[Dec 31, 2010] Blankfein, Palin Toy With New Year's Resolutions Caroline Baum

Dec 31, 2010 | Bloomberg

One can only imagine what sort of pledges people like President Barack Obama and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke make for the 2011.

Heck, why imagine? Let's write their New Year's resolutions for them.

As for yours truly, I pledge not to pick on Alan Greenspan (OK, so another New Year's resolution doesn't make it past Jan. 1), to bring you clear, insightful commentary, to shrug off the hate mail and name-calling as your problem, not mine (at least I'll try), and to keep telling it like it is to the best of my ability.

(Caroline Baum, author of "Just What I Said," is a Bloomberg News columnist. The opinions expressed are her own.)

[Dec 27, 2010] Reader Nominations for Best and Worst Predictions for 2011

December 27, 2010 | nakedcapitalism.com

Psychoanalystus:

I hereby predict:

1. DOW 20,000. Bullish!

2. More Wall Street bonuses. Very bullish!

3. More tax cuts. Highly bullish!

4. More bailouts. Extremely bullish!

Psychoanalystus

[Dec 26, 2010] "Once Upon a Professor: The Christmas Debate Story"

economistsview.typepad.com

William Easterly:

Once upon a Professor: the Christmas Debate Story, by William Easterly: Once upon a time, four Professors met to agree upon a Christmas Gift Policy. 'Twas fortunate for the world that they met thus, for they were the world's foremost Gift Experts.

Professor A said he already knew what everybody wanted, and wanted to massively increase financing for the International Fund for Christmas and Development, which will come up with a comprehensive plan for all the complementary technical inputs to deliver the correct gifts to all individuals.

Professor B was worried about the lack of child security inside homes, and wanted a G8 rapid response force to intervene and take custody of the children, after which their needs for Christmas gifts will be identified and met.

Professor C called for a randomized trial of the leading 3 types of Christmas gifts, relative to a control group who received no gifts. The results will not be available in time for December 25, so Christmas should be postponed until the results are published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Professor D said that Christmas gifts never gave people what they really wanted, money spent on Christmas gifts was always one hundred percent wasted, and each person should just buy their own Christmas gift for themselves.

The Professors' fierce debate went on and on, deep into the wintry night, whilst the fire burned low.

Meanwhile, unaware of the debate, individuals around the world went ahead and bought gifts for their loved ones based on nothing other than emotions and guesswork.

And everyone was happy, except perhaps the four Professors.

Merry Christmas!

[Dec 23, 2010] QUOTE OF THE DECADE GOES TO …. by Dave Rosenberg

December 16, 2010 | BREAKFAST WITH DAVE

Ben Bernanke back on October 31, 2007 (when the housing and subprime crisis were going to be "contained" - remember that one?):

"It is not the responsibility of the Federal Reserve - nor would it be appropriate - to protect lenders and investors from the consequences of their financial decisions."

Well, well, well. This is about as consistent as the current Republican Party being the protector of the public purse.

[Dec 22, 2010] And in ETF News By Invictus

December 22, 2010 | The Big Picture

NEW YORK (Big Picture Exclusive) – Gargantuan money manager Blackrock reported on Friday that assets in U.S.-listed exchange-traded funds and exchange-traded products have surpassed the $1 trillion milestone for the first time. Combined assets in U.S.-listed ETFs and ETPs reached $1.027 trillion late Thursday, BlackRock said. That includes 894 ETFs with assets of $887.2 billion from 28 providers on two exchanges and 185 ETPs with assets of $115.5 billion from 20 providers on one exchange, it said.

There is growing speculation surrounding what is believed to be the next breakthrough product in the ETF marketplace: Single stock tracking ETFs. Unlike their index-based cousins, these new single stock trackers would, as the name implies, track only a single stock, trade at exactly the same price as the stock to which they're linked and consequently eliminate the need for single stock ownership. A top executive with a money management firm who is familiar with his company's plans to launch such a product and was granted anonymity so he could speak freely, put it this way: "Think about the prospect of, say, a GE tracking ETF - an investor could capture over 99% of the movement of GE while simultaneously forfeiting any claim to a dividend and paying us up to 35 basis points to manage the ETF. What's not to like? We think this product paves the way for the ETF marketplace to collect its next trillion in assets."

[Dec 22, 2010] The Fallen Heroes of the Financial Crisis by Jean-Paul Fitoussi

Project Syndicate

Oscar Wilde said that experience is the name we give to our mistakes.

Experience, it turns out, is not just the name we give to our mistakes. As the financial crisis has shown, it is also the process that enables us to increase our understanding and ultimately to envisage a new world.

Unfortunately, however, this process has not gone far enough, enabling many banks, governments, and international institutions to return to "business as usual."

Indeed, today the global economy's arsonists have become prosecutors, and accuse the fire fighters of having provoked flooding.

... ... ...

[Dec 22, 2010] Fed's Bullard Full of Self-Contradictions

Dec 21, 2010 | zero hedge

Drag Racer:

people who see the rise in treasury yields as a sign the Fed's purchases were not having the desired effect should look at other measures...

WTF, translated: we blatantly fucked up so don't look

[Dec 21, 2010] The Bennie Who Stole Christmas

zero hedge

Ben Bernanke is a highly educated PhD from Princeton who has never worked a day in the real world since he graduated from college in 1975. His entire life has been spent in the ivory tower of academia surrounded by models and theories that work perfectly in the comfort of his office. After building his reputation as an "expert" on the Great Depression by studying it and reaching the wrong conclusions,

... ... ...

[Dec 19, 2010] YouTube - The Change

[Dec 19, 2010] The Next Stop In Obama's Political Suicide Tour

One hopes that Clinton, in his recent visit to the White House, reminded Obama that Gingrich blinked first. But Obama's trademark is that he blinks first.
zero hedge

Translational Lift:

"the teleprompter in chief is expected to announce cuts in Social Security"

Bahamas:

Webster Tarpley called Obama "the ventriloquist dummy", Mattias Chang named him "the mouthpiece", some other name I read was "the hologram", but I think the "teleprompter in chief" is the best nick name so far!

daveeemc2:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sJeFrqBJF6E

Ole George was ahead of his time....n-joy!

Djirk:

That job sucks, he is ready to go, write a couple books, cash out and run a foundation funded by all those he made boatloads for. In and out done!

breezer1:

there is no president. just competing crime gangs.

Bob :

Barry is just pulling a Liebermann...

Bob:

What failed Bankster scams? Try looking through the eyes of a banker for a change. I see nothing but exquisite success. Victory.

Mission Accomplished.

Good thing they groomed Barry for his Great Rendezvous with Destiny. Bush and Cheney could never have pulled this off.

[Dec 13, 2010] Jon Stewart Busts Fed Chair Ben Bernanke On 'Printing Money'

NPR

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is so busted.

Comedy Central host Jon Stewart added his voice to others who caught the central banker contradicting himself over whether or not the Fed is "printing money" through its actions to bolster the economy.

On 60 Minutes this week, when asked by reporter Scott Pelley about the Fed's $600 billion purchase of Treasury bonds that is meant to lower interest rates further, the Fed chair said:

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c
The Big Bank Theory
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor The Daily Show on Facebook

BERNANKE: Well, this fear of inflation, I think is way overstated. We've looked at it very, very carefully. We've analyzed it every which way. One myth that's out there is that what we're doing is printing money. We're not printing money. The amount of currency in circulation is not changing. The money supply is not changing in any significant way

Twenty-one months earlier on the same program and to the same reporter, Bernanke said something quite different:

Asked if it's tax money the Fed is spending, Bernanke said, "It's not tax money. The banks have accounts with the Fed, much the same way that you have an account in a commercial bank. So, to lend to a bank, we simply use the computer to mark up the size of the account that they have with the Fed. It's much more akin to printing money than it is to borrowing."

"You've been printing money?" Pelley asked.

"Well, effectively," Bernanke said. "And we need to do that, because our economy is very weak and inflation is very low. When the economy begins to recover, that will be the time that we need to unwind those programs, raise interest rates, reduce the money supply, and make sure that we have a recovery that does not involve inflation."

It appears Bernanke won't have to look far to figure out how this myth got legs

[Dec 12, 2010] The Dumb Money Is The Most Confident It Has Been In 5 Years

Can it be that in this particular case "smart money" are dumb and "dumb money" (aka retail investor) are smart ?
12/12/2010 | zerohedge.com

One of the sad side-effects of taking away investment risk, as Ben Bernanke has done with his "global put" doctrine, is that the old maxim of the market staying irrational far longer than anyone can possible imagine, can now be exponented to some irrational infinite number (to throw some wacky number theory into the equation). Whether Bernanke can also succeed in defying nature and mathematics in broad terms remains to be seen: we have yet to see a system that can diverge from equilibrium in perpetuity without some very unfortunate unanticipated side-effects somewhere.

MR. GLASS:

"As long as the music is playing, you've got to get up and dance,. . .We're still dancing." - Chucky Prince

Chartist :

There seems to be a contradiction here. How can money continually be pulled out of funds by retail investors (read dumb money) yet the current environment indicates so-called dumb money shows highest confidence level in last fiver years.

I need more cowbell

Excellent comment, made me think. I think J6P is out and on the sidelines pretty much for good, so the dumb money has to be the remaining few, who are traders anyway and not buy and hold mutual fund owners.

something fishy:

How does this mesh with the continuing retail outflows from equities? Also, it looks like the 'smart money' was way too bullish throughout 2008, more so than retail. It seems like 'smart money' isn't that smart after all. My take for what it's worth.

[Dec 12, 2010] The only way someone from Goldman will get prosecuted is if they steal from a bank

dealbook.nytimes.com

[Dec 11, 2010] Ron Paul of Texas will become the chairman of the subcommittee that oversees the Fed

The author of a book called "End the Fed" to take over House panel that oversees the Fed.
Mish's Global Economic Trend Analysis

On Mr. Bernanke: "There is something fishy about the head of the world's most powerful government bureaucracy, one that is involved in a full-time counterfeiting operation to sustain monopolistic financial cartels, and the world's most powerful central planner, who sets the price of money worldwide, proclaiming the glories of capitalism."

[Dec 10, 2010] Outsourced DayTrading

In today's NYT comes this sign of speculative excess in China: Day Trading Still Alive, Outsourced to China:

By some industry estimates, as many as 10,000 people in China are doing speculative day trading of American stocks - mostly aggressive young men working the wee hours here, from 9:30 p.m. to 4 a.m., often trading tens of thousands of shares a day.

Hire a bunch of Chinese college kids, fund them and to teach them to day trade American stocks? Sounds like a terrific business plan!

constantnormal:

I suspect that in the short term, this will give TA much higher accuracy, as the fraction of the traders (and some of the algorithms) believing in them as Laws of Nature swings to a distinct majority.

Like an increasingly large number of soldiers marching over a bridge in lock-step, the resonant trading actions will eventually collapse the markets.

As Mark Twain would have said, "It's a difference of opinion that makes for markets".

[Dec 08, 2010] The triumph of red necks: Bush II book "Decision Points" is 100 days in the top 100 on Amazon

Looks like "what's wrong with Kansas" type of people are looking forward toward another trip to the cliff edge . Please note that the higher quality book on similar theme The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman reached only No.25 ;-)
100 days in the top 100

Decision Points

Decision Points by George W. Bush

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[Dec 08, 2010] Government's Economic Recovery Efforts Are Strengthening The Already Strong And Ignoring The Weak Markets By Peter Atwater

Minyanville.com

[Dec 08, 2010] Supercuts

John Oliver explains that the wealth from the Bush tax cuts will trickle down like a golden stream of oddly hot champagne. (10:00)
The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Supercuts
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor The Daily Show on Facebook

[Dec 08, 2010] The Big Bank Theory

Americans outsmart themselves with fancy security measures to the point where their money is committing suicide on the press. (03:46)
www.thedailyshow.com

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart

Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor The Daily Show on Facebook

[Dec 07, 2010] LarryFlynt.com...

12/20/06 | larryflynt.com

It's been said that the U.S. Senate is where good men go to die. That certainly seems to be the case with Barack Obama, the junior senator from Illinois, whose Progressive credentials are DOA.

[Dec 07, 2010] No amount of Fed buying of treasuries can fund the government and it's minions.

Of course all bets are off if Jesus returns...

On Kudlow/CNBC this afternoon I actually heard a guest say, "Trickle down works."

"I'm confident," Mr. Obama said, "that as we make tough choices about bringing our deficit down, as I engage in a conversation with the American people about the hard choices we're going to have to make to secure our future and our children's future and our grandchildren's future, it will become apparent that we cannot afford to extend those tax cuts any longer."

The package would cost about $900 billion over the next two years, to be financed entirely by adding to the national debt, at a time when both parties are professing a desire to begin addressing the nation's long-term fiscal imbalances.

[Dec 07, 2010] One Party under God and one Despicable Coward at the top

This is tax cutting, Oprah-style: you get a tax cut! And you get a tax cut! And you! And you! You all get a tax cut! .

Anonymous Bosch:

Outsider wrote:

This is a cheap shot, but has Obama bothered to change his party affiliation yet?

Why? There is only The Party. .

pavel.chichikov

I prefer to cut out the middle man by shouting into a paper bag and then crumpling it up. :-)

splat :

Hmm.. makes me wonder if a good investment would be in gated communities, with armed security.

mp:

longtimelurker wrote:

Obama has so alienated his base that even a mediocre candidate stands a chance of beating him.

Sar-ah! Sar-ah!

mp:

barfly wrote:

believe me, my faith is wavering tonight

I'm not trying to piss you off, but I advise against relying on faith.

[Dec 05, 2010] Cash4Gold - The Other (And Far More Hilarious) Side Of The Story

"LOL, so did this guy send 60 lbs of gold-painted rocks to Dollars4Gold?"
zero hedge

By now, everyone has heard accusations that Cash4Gold is nothing but a predatory site, seeking to "steal" the gold of people in distress for a painfully low price. Often times these stories involve Glenn Beck in some capacity. Of course, there is always "the other side" to every story. Below we provide just one such "other" side. It just so happens that the side is about as funny as it gets.

gwar5:

Cash4Gold: "Your request for an 'Ungreased, backdoor, hammertime lovemaking session with our telemarketers Carol and Tracy' is both feral and preposterous"

"Painted gold rocks from spiritual journey in Tibet with a quadraplegic hooker picked up in Singapore."

That is just hysterical! Thanks mucho.

[Dec 05, 2010] Sunday Funnies 2010-12-05 Bernanke Discusses Groupon

Mish's Global Economic Trend Analysis

[Dec 04, 2010] Unknown News

[Dec 03, 2010] Wikileak GS Quote of the Day

Ironic quote of the day, from Kazakhstan, via Wikileaks:

The Ambassador asked if the corruption and infighting are worse now than before in Kazakhstan. Idenov paused, thought, and then replied,

"No, not really. It's business as usual. They're confused by the corrupt excesses of capitalism. "If Goldman Sachs executives can make $50 million a year and then run America's economy in Washington, what's so different about what we do?' they ask."

[Dec 02, 2010] Could investors fleeing stocks become a lost generation

NetworkGOD:

Everyone on Wall Street is a lying, stealing worthless piece of scum on the bottom feeders of the world. They all should be shot, hung, drawn and quatered.

[Dec 01, 2010] http://media.timesfreepress.com

November

[Nov 30, 2010] A Reflection of Desperation on Both Sides

November 29, 2010 | Financial Armageddon

Real Deal:

The Fed printed $600 billion and gave it to the Treasury. 'Spend it boy, spend it all." Helicopter Ben told Skinny Timmy.

Timmy complied and pump the whole shipload of free cash out. Black Friday became an astonishing success.

Isn't economics great, especially free-capitalism?

[Nov 30, 2010] Interpol Issues International Arrest Warrant For Julian Assange For "Sex Crimes"

zero hedge

Unclear if Ben Bernanke will follow suit in the same Sex Crime category for repeated involuntary fornication with the world's middle class.

[Nov 30, 2010] Wikileaks- 5GB of Dirt on Bank of America

"The man is a terrorist. Bank of America is a fine, upstanding financial institution which has participated in and assisted the growth of our great country. It is inconceivable that any bank with "America" in its name could be anything but a paragon of virtue and an asset to our great nation. "
November 30, 2010

Can you really embarrass any of these banks? ...

Unless they have 5GB of video showing their CEOs engaging in bestiality, its hard to imagine Wikileaks embarrassing the big banks.

call me ahab:

"What else can you release to embarrass them . . .Unless they have 5GB of video showing their CEOs engaging in bestiality"

the bankers could just point to the fact that the sheep bend over gladly time and again (and therefore not the banker's fault) but the sheep's

hammerandtong2001:

Goldman, YES! Exactly.

Expat:

The man is a terrorist. Bank of America is a fine, upstanding financial institution which has participated in and assisted the growth of our great country. It is inconceivable that any bank with "America" in its name could be anything but a paragon of virtue and an asset to our great nation.

Darkness:

I am shocked, shocked to discover there is fraud going on in this establishment.

Calvin Jones and the 13th Apostle:

Darkness: Casablanca was on TCM last night. ;-)

[Nov 29, 2010] on a long enough timeline, the survival rate for everyone drops to zero

zero hedge

The good news: insider sales of S&P stocks were only 218 times greater than insider purchases. This is a notable improvement from last week's nearly 9,000x ratio.

The bad news: the ratio was skewed by what is probably the biggest insider purchase in the past 6 months: someone bought 542,198 shares of Citi at $4.30 (hopefully not a short cover).

[Nov 29, 2010] Hedge fund managers confirm validity of Nietzsche criticism of Christianity

One of the most famous Nietzsche criticism of Christianity was related to the quote: "For me to believe in their redeemer, they'd have to look more redeemed". Which means who that actually believe should feel absolute bliss as they floated through life toward this wonderful heaven...

Yet they're always so greedy and discontented. So religion seems fails even at providing psychological relief.

Alpha Magazine reports the compensation for hedge fund managers each year. The top earner for 2006 received $1.7 billion, the second highest received $1.4 billion, and the third $1.3 billion. That adds to $4.4 billion for three people.

The top 25 hedge managers received, on average, $570 million for a total of $14.25 billion.

To put it in Nietzschean terms, neoliberalism seeks the total triumph of a particularly aggressive version of slave morality and mentality.

[Nov 28, 2010] Toles- There is No 'Rest of the Trick'

WashPost

Tom Toles

btg

No - the cartoon is wrong - the functions of the other half of the body (including all the messy waste products) are still needed, but was outsourced to China.

[Nov 27, 2010] Epipihanies Don't Grow on Buttonwood Trees

"Epipihanies don't grow on trees, at least not on buttonwood trees. Which explains, we suppose, why, while mulling the unpredictability of the market from one day to the next, we were totally unprepared for the extraordinary flash of insight when, out of the blue, it struck us: The fault lies not in ourselves but in the quixotic nature of the market gods. Like those worshiped by the ancient Romans, they can be sadistic, mean and cruel to us, mere mortals, and then, in a wink, turn into kind, compassionate and just plain nice deities.

And so it was last week. On the eve of Thanksgiving (no accident that), they discarded their loathsome personas, donned a few days earlier when they gave the markets a ferocious pasting, and conspired to provide balm for the bruised investor. Wise in the ways of everything, they decided that what could most effectively change the investing mood from sad to glad was to whistle up a wall of worry".

[Nov 26, 2010] Sudden Debt

Let's try some perspective on that "free market", eh?

[Nov 26, 2010] Where Are the Customers' Yachts -- or A Good Hard Look at Wall Street

Where are the Customers' Yachts? was written in 1940. Its a very funny reminder of human behavior in the face of temptation. He called financial advisors "romantics" :-). The book is brilliantly illustrated by the classy cartoons of Peter Arno.
The title refers to an ancient story (which the author finds is probably at least 100 years old by now) about a visitor to New York who admired the yachts that the bankers and brokers had in the harbor. Naively, he then asked where the customers' yachts were. Naturally, there were no customers' yachts.

...The author's favorite review of the book contained this phrase, "If I were J.P. Morgan, and I have no reason to suspect that I am not . . . .", and was signed by the author of the review, Mr. Frank Sullivan.

...The chief concern of this book", he states, "will be with an examination of the nonsense ... ." One example is this excerpt from a paragraph he takes out of The Wall Street Journal:

"the action of the market was regarded as in the nature of a technical recovery, with little thought of the imminence of dynamic action."

Nonsense was apparently well articulated before the bull market of the `90s. Another example is his explanation of why people buy high and sell low when they go to the stock market. They mistakenly believe that once prices are rising (or falling), they'll continue to rise (or fall). "But it is not a fair thing to say of the stock market," he claims, "which, not being a physical thing, is not subject to Newton's laws of propulsion or inertia."

[Nov 26, 2010] Were US Auditors Told to Fudge Opinions of TBTF Banks

November 26, 2010 | naked capitalism

Don:

I have wanted just one time during any of the hearings to see anyone ask Hank Paulson just one question: Sir, while you were CEO of Goldman Sachs in 2006, did you know how your company was making money?

[Nov 26, 2010] History is For Losers. Or Cranks. Or Something By Paul Kedrosky

November 24, 2010

REG: All right, but apart from the sanitation, the medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, a fresh water system, and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us?

XERXES: Brought peace.

REG: Oh. Peace? Shut up!

- Monty Python's Life of Brian

Paul Krugman making the case for currency devaluation. All that's missing is the classic Monty Python quote above.

[Nov 26, 2010] Facebook Derivatives: Wall Street Goes Rogue-er By Paul Kedrosky

November 23, 2010 | paul.kedrosky.com

Just when you think the financial services industry has gone entirely rogue and needs to be eradicated, it goes a little rogue-er:

Facebook Inc.'s soaring valuation is spurring shareholders to slice and dice their stock, giving investors everywhere from Silicon Valley to Wall Street a chance to bet on the company.

EB Exchange Funds LLC, based in San Francisco, as well as New York firms Felix Investments LLC and GreenCrest Capital LLC, have opened Facebook funds for investors looking to get a piece of the social-networking company and its half-billion users.

By creating derivatives of the stock, the investment firms are helping Facebook keep its shareholder count at 499 or less, the maximum number a company can have before it has to disclose results to the public. They're also potentially creating a new class of assets for investors, letting them tap fast-growing private companies like Twitter Inc., Zynga Game Network Inc. and LinkedIn Corp. -- all valued in the billions of dollars.

Unbelievable, dangerous, greed-headed and yet another example of the craven idiocy of what passes for regulatory oversight in this country.

More here.

[Nov 24, 2010] Bernanke As Greenspan

What is Mr. Bernanke doing with QE2 (quantitative easing part two)? By his own admission, he is unleashing a flood of money into the system in order to forestall deflation. And how is more (fiat) money going to help the so-called "real economy"? Again by his own admission, by pumping up asset prices (i.e. stocks), creating a wealth effect and thus giving birth to a virtuous cycle of confidence, consumption and investment.

Here's an excerpt from the link above, an op-ed Mr. Bernanke wrote for the Washington Post a few days ago.

"And higher stock prices will boost consumer wealth and help increase confidence, which can also spur spending. Increased spending will lead to higher incomes and profits that, in a virtuous circle, will further support economic expansion."
That's an astonishing statement of intent, coming as it does from the Federal Reserve, but let's accept it at face value (but, really, could you ever imagine that a head of the nation's central bank would act as a stock jobber for the S&P 500?).

Still, is Mr. Bernanke's asset-bubble strategy any different from what Mr. Greenspan did following the dotcom whump-and-dump of 2000-02? Oh, not really - except that Uncle Alan chose housing and crappy mortgages, while Brother Ben's choices are shares and Treasurys.

[Nov 23, 2010] Zombie Bears Time to Admit the Recession is Over

The Big Picture

karen

Yes, in our mark to make believe world, where debt is monetized, unemployment is conservatively +10% but you can live rent free and die before paying off your maxed out dozen or so credit cards, I guess the recession really is over.

[Nov 23, 2010] Sac-ked !

...since the holiday season is about to kick off, for the hedgie on your list, the Brooks Brothers Wired collection is certain to be all the range amongst the 2 and 20 crowd. (Credit: Josh Brown )

[Nov 22, 2010] Sunday Funnies 2010-11-21 Dual Mandate

Honey we need to talk about your dual mandate ...

The above is in response to the dual mandate of the Fed to produce price stability and maximum employment. The Fed has failed at both.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock
http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com

[Nov 21, 2010] Government for people, by people: One Picture Is Worth 1000 Words

Seems that a lot of Congressmen somehow become millionaires from 2008 to 2009. Will members of Congress and their staffs be targets in the insider trading investigation? Or corruption investigation ? Of course not.

Congressional Members' Personal Wealth Expands While National Economy Sours

[Nov 21, 2010] Medal of Freedom award to the winner of class war

"There's class warfare, all right, but it's my class, the rich class, that's making war, and we're winning." -- Warren Buffett, CNN Interview, May 25 2005
The Baseline Scenario
Shrub already handed them out to all his war + torture buddies, as well as Greenspan – and Daddy Shrub gave one to the teabaggers' favorite faux-economist (Hayek) and to Darth Cheney, so I'd say the reputation of the medal is pretty much already in the sewer.

[Nov 20, 2010] Back in USSR or troubles in Bankostan

We have Wall Street oligarchs instead of party-state magnates, Bubbleklatura instead of a nomenklatura, Goldman Sachs instead of a Politburo, Fox News instead of Pravda, a trillion dollar military we don't need and can't afford versus a hundred billion dollar military they didn't need and couldn't afford, and an insane failed colonial war on Afghanistan instead of their insane failed colonial war on Afghanistan.

[Nov 20, 2010] The Problem With Munis CDS zero hedge

Quantum Nucleonics:

...the BAB's are gone. The chances that they get renewed are about the same as Obama and Palin running in 2012 as the national unity ticket.

[Nov 19, 2010] "Some thoughts on the muni market"

CalculatedRisk

Rob Dawg:

Rajesh wrote:

Let's see, lead by communists, lead by communists, lead by communists. Not much choice there.

You misspelled oligarchs.

Byzantine_Ruins:

Outsider wrote:

Is the bottom 98% going to continue to just roll over and play dead while they are being trampled by the 2% who have all the assets?

How long can they convince themselves that the person with $10 is robbing them when they have $20 and the leader has $20,000,000?

History suggests it can be a LONG time. Your identity lies where you perceive to to, not where your actual economic interests lie. People want to be part of the Establishment, the Ruling Class, the Upper Crust, the Aflluent Up-And-Comers. .

Byzantine_Ruins:

mp wrote:

I never thought I'd see the day Republicans supported China's Politburo in the interest of ensuring that Obama is a one-term president.

Never underestimate the ability of a political faction to play against the interests of the polity for short term gain. Ultimately, faction leaders take the majority of the spoils and this shapes faction policies. It helped the British Empire immensely. .

Vonbek777:

Juvenal Delinquent wrote:

What is Glenn Beck economics?

Primarily composed of onions, bright lights, and lots of crocodile tears? .

Byzantine_Ruins:

Unfortunately the "we" is not the Commetariat or we could detail a working group, get down to the serious red-faced screaming, execute or exile a few people and get moving forward. "We" is the American electorate, and the capacity for self-deception there is endless.

[Nov 16, 2010] Chris Hedges Death of the Liberal Class

naked capitalism

"Fox is a non-reality based belief system"

[Nov 14, 2010] Why No Financial Transactions Tax?

Uh, no

The only way the poor can survive is by day trading?

billb

"Why wasn't a financial transaction tax part of the Bowles-Simpson deficit reduction proposal?"

Perhaps because Erkine Bowles is paid $335,000 a year by Morgan Stanley?

[Nov 14, 2010] Twilight's Last Gleaming

If you think you are disappointed in this "reformer" the next one will probably make you want to take the gas pipe.

[Nov 14, 2010] Summarizing The Recent Muni-Mauling, And A Look At The Challenges Ahead Tyler Durden

It's crucial to keep the sheeple shopping.
Nov 13, 2010 | zero hedge
chopper read:
the music has stopped. have you got your chair (and popcorn)?

Dollar Bill Hiccup:

The Bernank will save us all. I'm going online to buy 5 iPhones, just so I can leave them in different pockets and such. If I default on my Mortgage that is note-less I can stay in my house and save on those pesky and stressful mortgage payments.

I just drank a liter of Coke for breakfast. My diabetic onset will be cured and paid for by the government as well it should be since the government devised corn as industrial agriculture's kernel. Nothing like high fructose corn syrup in the morning, it smells like victory. Insulin shock is providing me with wonderful poetic insights though I'm about to pass out.

No worries, the cafeine will be kicking in shortly. Just in time for the shopping channel to come on again. October retail sales are better ...

[Nov 13, 2010] Extend and Pretend A 40 Year, 2% Loan Mod

November 13, 2010 | naked capitalism

F. Beard:

It's the principle of not ever cutting the principal that is the principle reason the banks won't cut the principal.

Oliver South:

Extend and Pretend is a lot of fun, once you get the hang of it and abandon your reservations as to the moral of it all.

[Nov 12, 2010] 'Is This an Episode of the Twilight Zone?'

Financial Armageddon

Amid the economic wreckage that surrounds us, sometimes all you can do is laugh. In fact, I was nearly crying with laughter while watching "Quantitative Easing Explained," a devastating (but very funny) YouTube video cartoon smackdown of the Federal Reserve and its dangerously misguided efforts to get the economy moving again. Here are two brief snippets:

Woman: So, why do they call it the "quantitative easing"? Why don't they just call it printing money?
Man: Because the printing money is the last refuge of failed economic empires and banana republics, and the Fed doesn't want to admit this is their only idea.

... ... ...

Woman: Who put the Ben Bernanke in charge?
Man: The Ben Bernanke was first appointed by the President Bush, then he was reappointed by the President Obama.
Woman: But wasn't the President Obama supposed to bring the change?
Man: Yes.
Woman: How has putting in charge the same fool who has been wrong about everything "the change"?
Man: Well, under the President Bush, the Ben Bernanke only blew up the American economy. Under the President Obama, he is working on blowing up the entire global economy.
Woman: That does not sound like the change we can believe in.
Man: Definitely not.

Admittedly, the dialogue loses a bit of their hilariously sardonic edge when translated into written form, which is why I'd advise you to watch the video:

[Nov 08, 2010] Cramer recommended Ambac just before it filed For Chapter 11, Fed Is On The Hook With $10M In Short CDS Exposure

Ambac Financial Group has just filed for Chapter 11, using a filing which is so fresh it even forgot to lock the input forms (see attached). The case is 10-15973 in Southern District of New York. The actual filing is not surprising, as we noted earlier that Ambac was likely going to file imminently.

What is also not surprising is that the form 1, erroneously, lists assets of between 0 and $50,000 and liabilities of over $1 billion, even as Exhibit A clarifies assets as $394.5 million and liabilities of $1.6824 billion. Obviously someone was in a rush.

Keep in mind this is a stock that Cramer was previously pitching to his very few viewers.

[Nov 08, 2010] Paul Krugman- Doing It Again

NYT

Doing It Again, by Paul Krugman, Commentary,

Eight years ago Ben Bernanke ... spoke at a conference honoring Milton Friedman. He closed his talk by addressing Friedman's famous claim that the Fed was responsible for the Great Depression, because it failed to do what was necessary to save the economy.

"You're right," said Mr. Bernanke, "we did it. We're very sorry. But thanks to you, we won't do it again." Famous last words.

Foppe De Haan:

But why is the Fed/Bernanke enabling those idiots in congress to do nothing

Lafayette:

LA-LA LAND

{All I can say ... is that the hypocrisy is so thick you could cut it with a knife.}

Perhaps. But it would take an ax to cut through the economic ignorance.

This must be one of the most shameful passages in the economic history of the nation. The blind are leading the blind.

LaLaLand extends from coast to coast.

[Nov 06, 2010] Cheap money won't fix this economy

The Boston Globe

DaveVonNatickII:

Proof that Republicans know what's best for the economy:

1) To get out of the recession, we need a humungous war.

2) Unlike the pansy pacifists (A.K.A.) democrats, the Republicans are always itchin' for an excuse to start a good war.

3) If we give control to the Republicans we could be invading North Korea and Iran in no time. And our economy will be humming along like a well tuned machine.

[Nov 05, 2010] Department Of Wealth Effects Pull SPY Borrow In Last Ten Minutes Of Trading, Causes Green Close

zerohedge.com

Just because a red close in the only index the Department of Wealth Effects tracks, the Dow, would seem oddly suspicious in a market that is now entirely controlled by Benny army's of Hewlett Packard inkjets, we get news from two trading desks that the SPY just went HTB in the last ten minute of trading, coupled with some forced buy-ins for good measure.

[Nov 05, 2010] The Great American Apparel Diet A Support Group for People Who Mindlessly Buy Too Many Clothes

AlterNet

Lots of people rail against the excesses of American consumerism, but no one seems to actually DO anything about it. The Great American Apparel Diet wants to change that.

TGAAD, as the website calls itself, is a self-help group of mostly women and a few men who have decided to completely stop buying new clothes for a entire year.

The "diet" started on September 1 and continues until August 31, 2011 – although people can join the effort at any time. The diet is now in its second cycle.

[Nov 04, 2010] Who Wants It More - Endangered Republicans

F****n appeasers ;-)
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
Thanks to the Democrats' conservation efforts, Republicans can flourish and repopulate the plains of Congress.
The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Who Wants It More? - Endangered Republicans
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor Rally to Restore Sanity

[Nov 04, 2010] David Michael Green Hey, Reagan Democrats!

Reagan Democrat == Blue Dog Democrat..
Sometime in the future...

"And now, ladies and gentlemen, if you'll just follow me over in this direction, I'd like to show you one of our rarest and most reviled species here at The Human Zoo – it's the proverbial 'Reagan Democrat'.

"Most of your younger visitors here at the Zoo have no idea what a Reagan Democrat could be, so I always like to take the time to explain it to them. Indeed, most of them don't even know what Reagan was, except that they keep hearing the people who wrecked Old America talk about this wrinkled prune faced guy with the Gumby hair as if he were some sort of deity. I get a lot of questions about how someone could actually have done things that don't sound even remotely plausible, but I generally leave that for the historians to explain, other than to remind people that injecting religious dogma into politics doesn't just mean stupidity only when it comes to policies related to sexuality, war, taxation, the economy or the environment.

"But already I digress... The Reagan Democrat (technically, Imbecelicus politici) was always the strangest and most contemptuous of species from the habitat of American politics, as you've perhaps already heard. Try to imagine another example from the animal kingdom that could be so readily counted upon to bring harm upon itself and others. There are some of course, but usually they are simply ignorant animals, often with very limited cranial capacity.

"The Reagan Democrat, on the other hand, was simply obnoxiously greedy, and took great pains to aggregate to itself as much stuff as was possible, including even meaningless psychological affirmations of its existential worth. It wasn't very long, of course, before another animal in the jungle noticed this tendency, and established a parasitic relationship with the Reagan Democrat. These others were known as The Wealthy (Plutocratus illegitimi), and they got very rich – though they could still never seem to achieve happiness – by exploiting the opportunities provided to them by the Reagan Democrat. A very mean-spirited and deceitful group of marketing gurus like Lee Atwater and Karl Rove were generally the weapon of choice for accomplishing this.

"Anyhow, before we enter the exhibit, perhaps I should stop now and take any questions. Yes, you, young lady, what can I tell you?"

"Well, sir, you've never quite defined what a Reagan Democrat is. And, especially, why someone associated with Mr. Reagan would be a Democrat. Wasn't he from that other party, the, uh..., the... Regressocans? ...the Degenocrats?"

"Ah, fine questions, indeed, and you're quite right that I've been remiss in not explaining those fundamentals so far. It's an occupational hazard, I suppose. We zoo curators get so caught up in admiring our own erudition that we sometimes we forget to do our jobs properly!

"Speaking of which, where were we...? Oh, yes, I was going to answer your questions about the meaning of this term. First of all, let's get that political party name straight. Reagan was a Republican. That's what makes the creature we're about to see so interesting. It came from working class roots, often recently arrived just a generation earlier from some very poor Eastern European country or such. Its local social unit had only recently been elevated to the middle class, and this achievement had everything to do with the progressive policies the Democratic Party. For the first time ever, and because of these policies, it had a good job, a house in the suburbs, two cars, and it could send its offspring to institutions of higher education which had previously been reserved exclusively for elites, as represented by Mr. Reagan's party.

"But it was very, very greedy, and thus differentiated itself off into a new species which was marked by the fact that it could have its underdeveloped psychology readily appealed to for purposes of exploitation by Republican operatives, representing the economic elite species. In fact, it was actually pretty easy to do. All they had to do was throw some line about an evil foreign bogeyman down to the Reagan Democrat, or perhaps a story about uppity darker skinned members of the genus, or some televised ruse about how very, very bad people were out to destroy Christmas, the silly religious holiday of yore... Anything like that would generally work.

"It really didn't matter very much what ploy was chosen, though the more naked the appeal to greed or vanity, the better. For instance, a handful of elites could carve out for themselves massive chunks of the commonwealth's (formerly) common wealth, but as long as they tossed a few pennies in the direction of the Reagan Democrat at the same time, the latter was sure to support what amounted to his or her own financial undoing, every time. Likewise, since the Reagan Democrat tended to be the most fearful and the most self-loathing of animals in the human sphere, the basest appeals to its vanity could also buy votes en masse, and on the cheap, too. You just had to make him feel a little bigger than someone else – women, foreigners, brown people, homosexuals – it didn't really matter. Then you could get his vote and pick his pocket."

[Nov 04, 2010] Nic Lenoir Interprets The Oracle's Words

Amusingly the Fed Chairman does mention that the Fed alone cannot control the economy. I can't wait for the tea-party fanatics to put a bounty on him slapshot-style. - Nic Lenoir

[Nov 02, 2010] Apocalypse Again The Boom-and-Bust Cycle of Bipartisan Politics

The great irony is that the man who ran on the campaign slogan of Change failed to deliver it in any meaningful way
Truthdig

The Democratic Party has the bad habit of coming on to voters like the neighborhood mafia extortion team. The Democrats have the incurably bad breath of reliably broken promises. They collar and corner us with mobster charm, they pick our pockets while pretending to pick our brains.

Then as the big election day draws near, they lean heavily upon us and whisper an almost romantic confession: "Sure, we spit in your faces and ask you to pretend it's rain. But the other guy is a real brute and would also break your arms."

October

[Oct 27, 2010] Gonzalo Lira On The Identity Of The False Religion Behind The Mask Of Economic Science

zero hedge

deadparrot:

Economics is a social science that uses some simple math and graphs to pretend it is a hard science. Frankly speaking, the broad assumptions that markets are efficient and market participants are rational are the functional equivalent of early "scientists" operating under the assumption that the earth is flat and is also the center of the universe.

Moonrajah:

Didn't you hear? Under Palin most current posts will be cancelled and new ones will be created:

  • Chief of Stuff (Treasury)
  • Chief of Huff (Propaganda)
  • Chief of Puff (Military)
  • Chief of Muff (Free Porn for sheeple)
  • Chief of Duh (Attorney General)

trav7777 :

you are just threatened by powerful women

jm:

Austrian economics is only truly valid in a free market and we have never had one and probably never will.

So it's fucking worthless, right?

Sean7k:

Within the current restraints of the system, yes, except for the purpose of providing an alternative viewpoint. Which allows us to see just how criminal monetarism is.

AnAnonymous:

...Abrahamic religions have this in common: they are the only true religion at the exclusion of others.

Thanks to your efforts, it appears austrian followers share the same convictions.

zen0:

I asked an economist for her phone number.

…She gave me an estimate.

A man was sent to Hell for his sins. As he was being processed, he passed a room where an economist he knew was having an intimate conversation with a beautiful woman.

"What a crummy deal!" The man complained. "I have to burn for all eternity and that economist spends it with that gorgeous woman."

An escorting demon jabs the man with his pitchfork and shouts, "Who are you to question that woman's punishment?"

"Everything that can be invented has been invented."

-Charles H. Duell, Commissioner, U.S. Office of Patents, 1899.

[Oct 24, 2010] Exclusive Excerpt America on Sale, From Matt Taibbi's 'Griftopia' Rolling Stone Politics

My buddy was a young guy who'd come up working on the derivatives desk of one of the more dastardly American investment banks. After a few years of that he decided to take a step up morally and flee to the Middle East to go to work advising a bunch of sheiks on how to spend their oil billions.

Aside from the hot weather, it wasn't such a bad gig. But on one of his trips home, we met in a restaurant and he mentioned that the work had gotten a little, well, weird.

"I was in a meeting where a bunch of American investment bankers were trying to sell us the Pennsylvania Turnpike," he said. "They even had a slide show. They were showing these Arabs what a nice highway we had for sale, what the toll booths looked like . . ."

I dropped my fork. "The Pennsylvania Turnpike is for sale?"

He nodded. "Yeah," he said. "We didn't do the deal, though. But, you know, there are some other deals that have gotten done. Or didn't you know about this?"

As it turns out, the Pennsylvania Turnpike deal almost went through, only to be killed by the state legislature, but there were others just like it that did go through, most notably the sale of all the parking meters in Chicago to a consortium that included the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, from the United Arab Emirates.

[Oct 24, 2010] Guest Post U.S. Financial Markets The Well Has Been Poisoned (Anger of the Honest Part II) zero hedge

treemagnet :

friends don't let friends go long.

[Oct 22, 2010] Bamsters, banksters and the Homeland Property Title Rectification and Forward-Looking Rule of Law Act of 2010.

The Obama Administration is entirely predictable. It ever and always sides with large corporate interests, while trying to create the impression that it is actually concerned for the welfare of the average citizen. Admittedly, the occasionally tough talk with little follow through feeds a perverse spectacle of plutocrats sulking, pouting, and claiming that they are really, really badly treated.

Roger Bigod

Why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like this? It will all be taken care of after the election in the Homeland Property Title Rectification and Forward-Looking Rule of Law Act of 2010.

Always look ahead, for looking back may force you to think about the consequences of your actions and that is Unamerican. Forwards always, may the bridges you burn light your way into the future.

[Oct 22, 2010] The Obama Recovery Has Finally Succeeded... If You Are A High Frequency Trader

A headhunter firm is either helping GETCO build the 21st century equivalent to the atom bomb, clustering every single HFT trader under one roof for the most destructive group of momo lemmings ever assembled, or the Obama recovery is truly working... for those who know nothing but how to frontrun what remaining traders are left.

[Oct 21, 2010] Stern Foreclosure Factory $260 Million in 2009 Revenues

Mr. Stern mused about possibly naming the larger yacht Su Casa Es Mi Casa - "Your House Is My House."
October 21, 2010 | The Big Picture

JerseyCynic

oh what a fabulous story!!!

….In a nod to his foreclosure work, according to the acquaintance, Mr. Stern mused about possibly naming the larger yacht Su Casa Es Mi Casa - "Your House Is My House." But his wife and others cautioned against it, according to this acquaintance, and Mr. Stern named the boat "Misunderstood." Mr. Stern denies that he considered the "Su Casa Es Mi Casa" name.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/05/business/05house.html?_r=1&pagewanted=5

Unsympathetic :

Barry, he will not be spending any time in jail.

He will, however, buy late-night TV infomercial time describing how you can get rich quick using his tried and true techniques.

b_thunder:

My odds on David Stern's future:

5% – he'll pay at most 10% of his gains as a fine, and will lose law license for at most 3 years w/out admitting anything
25% – he'll become a billionaire suing evil banks on behalf of foreclosed homeowners
20% – he'll become a billionaire AND in 4 years will be elected the Governor of Florida
60% – he will be the next CFTC judge;

[Oct 21, 2010] "BC Law Student Asks for Money Back,"

A third-year Boston College Law School student facing dismal job prospects and a mountain of student loan debt has offered the prestigious Hub institution a unique deal: Keep the degree ... and give me back my tuition!

In an open letter to BC Law's Interim Dean George Brown posted on EagleiOnline- an online student-run newspaper at BC's law school - the anonymous dissatisfied customer said soon-to-be grads are about to enter "one of the worst job markets in the history of our profession" and an "overwhelming majority" of them can't find jobs.

"We are discouraged, scared, and in many cases, feeling rather hopeless about our chances of ever getting to practice law," the student wrote.

The law school student's missive then proposed a "solution to this problem."

The student offered to leave law school without a degree at the end of the semester in exchange for a full tuition refund - a move the erstwhile aspiring attorney says would help BC's US News ranking because it wouldn't have to report another graduate's state of unemployment.

BC Law is not warm to the idea.

[Oct 20, 2010] Guest Post Don't Bother with Comparisons to the 1970s... They're Useless

zero hedge

In my best Ron Popeil (Billy Mays RIP) voice over:

We've all heard of inflation, deflation, stagflation, hyperinflation, and thanks to the ZH community "Biflation"...

Well, now we are proud to bring to you a cutting edge, state of the art 'flation that will blow all of the others away..BUYflation.

Yes, that's right, BUYflation. Why BUYflation, you ask...

It is the culmination of an incompetent governments policy to embrace paper liabiliities to buy all of the shit no one else wants in an effort to prop up deteriorating values forever. That's right...FOREVER.

But wait, there's more, buying crap like MBS and UST was just not enough, nooooo... Now, this entity, locally known as the Treserve, is buying other crap like public stocks all in an effort to kill the dollar and inflate its way out of many decades of bad, bad monetary and fiscal decisions.

And the best part is there is no payment needed as all the costs will be passed onto the U.S. taxpayer. You heard that right...YOU.

No rush to order because the stink is being shipped to you directly and will keep coming and coming and coming...the Treserve knows where you live bitchez.

Legal disclaimer: Due to strict patent rights and some other bull, BUYflation cannot be sold outside the good ol' USA since nearly every other country has its own dungpile to pass on to its citizens as they have been working on BUYflation for quite some time already. As all of this global shit is collecting in one big dung pile, the race to the bottom will be competitive.

[Oct 18, 2010] A Man, A Tan, A Plan

"I wonder how rusty those old guillotines are in those dusty old museums, anyone been there lately?"
The Big Picture

MinnItMan

Countrywide Home Loans had the subsidiary Full Spectrum Lending which in 07-08 benefitted greatly from the subprime shutdowns. As competitors closed their doors, FSL kept rolling up record production months. It actually bought out local mortgage brokers and made the head an employee at a guaranteed salary for 6 months to a year. As production everywhere else was drying up, it was an easy sell. In part attempting to avoid the fate of Ameriquest and its practical shutdown by its settlement with state AGs, CHL began funding as much as it could through Countrywide Bank, fsb, so as to have state regulation (primarily cease and desist powers) pre-empted because it was a nationally chartered bank. It dropped the FSL name. When the SHTF in August 2007, CHL completely re-organized the retail structure, shutting down most of its branches and centralized operations into a few regional operating centers. The recent business model of originating 3-point plus fee subprime and alt-a loans quickly changed into originating FHA loans when the market for sub and alt-a paper collapsed. CHL coudn't survice without a fed charter once it became identified as the boiler-room successor to Ameriquest (whose trademark was originating 4-point plus fee subprime and alt-a loans). "Seven Minute abs, man!"

Mr. Mozilo was entrepeneurial. CHL originated loans at least twice (maybe 4 times) as efficiently as the norm in the industry. While it never matched Ameriquest in turn-around time for getting money in its borrowers' hands (about 11-12 days), it came close, like 17 or so, until it couldn't sell anything but agency loans. Unlike Ameriquest, CHL at least pretended to keep underwriting and sales separate (although commissioned underwriting seems like a dubious quality control). Also, unlike Ameriquest, you had to get above the branch level to really make big money. Branch managers at AMC frequently made more than $500K, but CHL/FSL branch managers made less than half that.

Hitchhiker: You heard of this thing, the 8-Minute Abs?
Ted: Yeah, sure, 8-Minute Abs. Yeah, the excercise video.
Hitchhiker: Yeah, this is going to blow that right out of the water. Listen to this: 7… Minute… Abs.
Ted: Right. Yes. OK, all right. I see where you're going.
Hitchhiker: Think about it. You walk into a video store, you see 8-Minute Abs sittin' there, there's 7-Minute Abs right beside it. Which one are you gonna pick, man?
Ted: I would go for the 7.
Hitchhiker: Bingo, man, bingo. 7-Minute Abs. And we guarantee just as good a workout as the 8-minute folk.
Ted: You guarantee it? That's – how do you do that?
Hitchhiker: If you're not happy with the first 7 minutes, we're gonna send you the extra minute free. You see? That's it. That's our motto. That's where we're comin' from. That's from "A" to "B".
Ted: That's right. That's – that's good. That's good. Unless, of course, somebody comes up with 6-Minute Abs. Then you're in trouble, huh?
[Hitchhiker convulses]
Hitchhiker: No! No, no, not 6! I said 7. Nobody's comin' up with 6. Who works out in 6 minutes? You won't even get your heart goin, not even a mouse on a wheel.
Ted: That – good point.
Hitchhiker: 7′s the key number here. Think about it. 7-Elevens. 7 dwarves. 7, man, that's the number. 7 chipmunks twirlin' on a branch, eatin' lots of sunflowers on my uncle's ranch. You know that old children's tale from the sea. It's like you're dreamin' about Gorgonzola cheese when it's clearly Brie time, baby. Step into my office.
Ted: Why?
Hitchhiker: 'Cause you're fuckin' fired!

This guy an entreneur, too.

[Oct 16, 2010] Obama is giving empty suits a bad name

Mark Thoma: "A willingness to sacrifice jobs for political gains is the opposite of leadership...

Goldilocksisableachblonde said in reply to bakho...

"Bush poisoned the well for the GOP...."

"Obama has done the same for the Dems..."

In that case, my advice to both parties: Drink Up !!

[Oct 15, 2010] Discouraging Greg Mankiw From Working Would be Good for the Economy by Rdan

An not only this supply side Harvard prostitute Mankiw, all Chicago school can be closed with tremendous beneficial effect on the economy.
10/15/2010 | Angry Bear

by Mike Kimel

Discouraging Greg Mankiw From Working Would be Good for the Economy
Cross posted at the the Presimetrics blog.

A few days ago Greg Mankiw had an op ed piece in the NY Times talking about how even small increases in the marginal tax rate would keep him (and by extension, other talented folks like him) from working.

For a laugh, I pulled data on the top marginal tax rate from the IRS and real GDP per capita from the BEA's NIPA tables. Data on the latter goes back to 1929, and the tax rate info goes back further.

More below the fold...

[Oct 15, 2010] The Beauty of American Justice

99er:

(Reuters) - Former Countrywide chief Angelo Mozilo agreed to a settlement of $67.5 million to resolve charges that he duped the home loan company's investors while reaping a personal windfall, but Bank of America will pick up two-thirds of the bill.

Rainman:

The Beauty of American Justice !! Who said this crony capitalism ain't a great gig ?? Dude made off with .........$ 139M (-minus) $ 44.5M = $ 94.5 M. Beats the shit out of shakin' down the pizza parlors.

[Oct 13, 2010] Unveiling The Economy Nobel Award in Darwin Economics --- This Year's Nominee

Named in honor of Charles Darwin, the Darwin Awards commemorate those who improve our gene pool by accidentally removing themselves from it. I therefore propose the 'Nobel Award in Darwin Economics'. The recipient of the award would graciously be asked to remove (just) their 'economic genes' from our economic gene pool. If they teach economics, they'd be asked to cease and desist, if they were the Secretary of the Treasury, the Chairman of the Federal Reserve, or the President of the United States they'd be asked to resign.

I'll let you the reader decide who should be nominated to receive this years 'Nobel Award in Darwin Economics'.

[Oct 13, 2010] Bond Investors Are People Too

Last week, bond prices were so high that a two-year government note yielded a miniscule 0.43%. To get more than one percent interest, you have to accept the five-year Treasury note yield of 1.32%. The ten-year yield? 2.60%. The 30-year long bond? A laughable 3.78%! Hahaha! This is insane!

And, as astronomically high as bond prices are, money is still flowing out of equity funds and pouring into bond funds, which has a lot to do with the price of bonds rising so high that they produce such pathetic, less-than-inflation yields.

It all reminds me of an old cartoon I once saw, which I adapt here. A guy is strapped down on the floor of the desert, baking in the sun. Behind him is a sign that says, "Bond Investor One-Day Training Course." The guy is looking up and says, "Wow! That sun's so hot it will bake your brains out in less than a day!" Hahaha!

[Oct 11, 2010] HFT cannibals

What a nice nickname :-) "Fancy words meet cold reality." 60 Minutes tried but the sheeple are no longer "invested" in equity markets so they don't care.
chopper read

No market is well-functioning that drives out participants in such mass numbers. as on May 6th, liquidity will disappear when it is needed most because 'liquidity providers' have been driven out of business by HFT cannibals. most likely, HFTs will cannabilize each other while the rest of us wait patiently on the sidelines to capitalize on 1 or 2 major 'flash crashes' per year.

Bob:

NASDAQ and the NYSE have failed to protect their franchise . . .

That's it. Hubris in the context of full regulatory capture got them cocky and thinking they were untouchable. Good old greed, they just couldn't leave a good enough thing alone.

chopper read

yep. they used to just "sell Levi's" (gain their transaction fees) as speculators rushed in for equity market gold. But the lure of HFT transaction fees paying them much more quickly than 'joe speculator' has now resulted in a total boycott of their exchanges.

speculators have always understood that the markets exist to take our money, not the other way around.

Cognitive Dissonance

When the mainstream media (MSM), aka the fawning corporate press, get their teeth into an issue, I become very worried. There is little doubt that just as Congress and the regulators have been completely captured, so is the MSM. In fact, the MSM has been playing ball for decades. And I could make a coherent argument its been centuries.

So what's going on here? How are they going to spin this? What straw man are they setting up to take the fall? Who's the patsy in this one? Because that's the sole purpose of the MSM as the appointed spin doctors for the Powers That Be. To pre-condition the public mind and direct public opinion away from the real fire and towards the diversionary blazes they set alight.

[Oct 09, 2010] Mortgage Broker Association strategic default by Rdan

Oct 09, 2010 | Angry Bear

I just can't resist this story of moralizing and posturing for the cameras by MBA and matter of fact dailey business practice. Out loud, in the open, in your face...and no surprises, but are we really that disconnected from ourselves?

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Mortgage Bankers Association Strategic Default
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full Episodes

[Oct 09, 2010] American People Hire High-Powered Lobbyist To Push Interests In Congress

The Onion

Citing a desire to gain influence in Washington, the American people confirmed Friday that they have hired high-powered D.C. lobbyist Jack Weldon of the firm Patton Boggs to help advance their agenda in Congress.

Known among Beltway insiders for his ability to sway public policy on behalf of massive corporations such as Johnson & Johnson, Monsanto, and AT&T, Weldon, 53, is expected to use his vast network of political connections to give his new client a voice in the legislative process.

Weldon is reportedly charging the American people $795 an hour.

"Unlike R.J. Reynolds, Pfizer, or Bank of America, the U.S. populace lacks the access to public officials required to further its legislative goals," a statement from the nation read in part. "Jack Weldon gives us that access."

"His daily presence in the Capitol will ensure the American people finally get a seat at the table," the statement continued. "And it will allow him to advance our message that everyone, including Americans, deserves to be represented in Washington."

Weldon says he hopes to spin the American public, above, as a group worth Congress' time.

The 310-million-member group said it will rely on Weldon's considerable clout to ensure its concerns are taken into account when Congress addresses issues such as education, immigration, national security, health care, transportation, the economy, affordable college tuition, infrastructure, jobs, equal rights, taxes, Social Security, the environment, housing, the national debt, agriculture, energy, alternative energy, nutrition, imports, exports, foreign relations, the arts, and crime.

Sources confirmed that Weldon is already scheduled to have drinks Monday with several members of the Senate Appropriations Committee to discuss saving the middle class.

"If you have a problem, say, with America's atrocious treatment of its veterans, you can't just pick up a phone and call your local congressman," Weldon told reporters from his office on K Street Monday. "You need someone on the inside who understands how democracy works; someone who knows how to grease the wheels a little."

Weldon said that after successfully advocating on behalf of Goldman Sachs and BP, he is relishing the opportunity to lobby for the American people, calling it the "challenge of a lifetime." The veteran D.C. power player admitted that his new client is at a disadvantage because it lacks the money and power of other groups.

"The goal is to make it seem politically advantageous for legislators to keep the American people in mind when making laws," Weldon said. "Lawmakers are going to ask me, 'Why should I care about the American people? What's in it for me?' And it will be up to me and my team to find some reason why they should consider putting poverty and medical care for children on the legislative docket."

"To be honest," Weldon added, "the American people have always been perceived as a little naïve when it comes to their representative government. But having me on their side sends a clear message that they're finally serious and want to play ball."

According to Washington heavyweights, hiring Weldon is an immediate game changer and should force politicians to take citizens' concerns seriously for the first time in decades. Moreover, sources said, Weldon will be able to help lawmakers see the American people as more than just a low-priority fringe group.

"Jack is very good at what he does," said Joseph Pearlman, a headhunter for the McCormick Group who specializes in placing lobbyists. "He can take an issue that is nowhere on the congressional radar, like the pursuit of happiness, for example, and make it politically relevant. The next time Congress passes a bill dealing with civil rights or taxes, I wouldn't be surprised if the U.S. populace is mentioned somewhere in the final language."

Though Weldon has only been on the job for three days, legislators have already seemed to take notice.

"Before today, I'd actually never heard of this group," Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) told reporters. "But if Jack says they're worth my time, I'll take a look and see if maybe there are some areas where our interests overlap."

"But I'm not making any promises," he added. "I'm a very busy man."

[Oct 09, 2010] Jon Stewart on the Foreclosure Fiasco

Wealth Daily

Without comment, here is Jon Stewart's take on the developing mess.

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Foreclosure Crisis
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor Rally to Restore Sanity

The sad part is that it's all true and you have no idea how bad they screwed you.

[Oct 09, 2010] Non-Farm Payrolls- US Economy Doing a Great Imitation of a Developing Double Dip

The US is a Potemkin Village economy with the appearance of prosperity hiding the rot of fraud, oligarchy, and political corruption.

[Oct 06, 2010] Who is holding hot potato

In the meantime, and contrary to what CNBC was misrepresenting on national TV, the 22 weeks of consecutive outflows now amount to $76 billion in capital taken out by retail investors from domestic stock funds, and $75 billion YTD. And here is the scariest statistic for the administration, the Fed, and bankers around the world: in September $20 billion was pulled out from domestic stocks. This occured despite the nearly 9% surge in stocks. Which means that the bankers, the HFTs, the Fed, and whoever else may be accumulating stocks in expectation of retail jumping in for the latest round of passing the hot potato, is out of luck.

[Oct 06, 2010] zero hedge on a long enough timeline, the survival rate for everyone drops to zero

Hyperinflation is caused by a political collapse, for example disintegration of the country. That still not very probably for the USA.
zero hedge

"The number one performing stock market in the last ten years has been Zimbabwe - in nominal terms" - that is the most memorable soundbite of Kyle Bass' presentation to David Faber at the Bearfoot Summit, because unfortunately, in real terms investors have lost all their money.

[Oct 01, 2010] YouTube - Stephen Colbert Opening Statement

September

[Sep 30, 2010] Mish's Global Economic Trend Analysis Defending China's Trade Policies; a What If Thought Test

With some modification from readers submissions...

Top 10 Ideas for Goldman Sachs New Ad Campaign

10. With the President as our junior partner, imagine what we can do for you!

9. We get the gold, you get the sack.

8. Government Bailout: $29 billion, SEC Settlement: $550 million. Doing God's work? Priceless.

7. Lobbying to bring "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" to a whole new level.

6. Goldman Sachs: America's 401K Investor Tax Collector

5. Claim everything, Explain nothing, Deny everything.

4. Like we give a fuck what you think about us . . .

3 Vote for anybody you want, they all work for us.

2. Behind every great fortune lies a great crime. Behind that crime lies Goldman Sachs.

And the number 1 advertising slogan for the new Goldman Sachs ad campaign:

1. The illegal we can do immediately. The unconstitutional takes a little longer

[Sep 30, 2010] Top 10 Ideas for Goldman Sachs New Ad Campaign

The Big Picture

As soon as Dealbook reported the plan, we just knew had to help Goldie with such a noble undertaking. So we asked readers to contribute ideas, and soon 100s of suggestions came pouring forth for the new GS ad campaign. These included ad slogans and tag lines, lots of variations of existing campaigns, quotes from movies (especially the Godfather). Oh, and the word Fuck. Lots and lots of uses of the word fuck.

We culled down the entries to a Top 10 list>

Top 10 Ideas for Goldman Sachs New Ad Campaign

10. Under Buffett's protection since 2008

9. Putting the zero in zero-sum game.

8. Government Bailout: $29 billion
SEC Settlement: $550 million
Doing God's work? Priceless.

7. Helping you forget about Bernie Madoff one CDO at a time

6. Goldman Sachs: America's Counterparty

5. Let us do for you what we did for Greece.

4. Like we give a fuck what you think about us . . .

3. Goldman Sachs: There are some things money can't buy. For everything else, there's JPMorgan.

2. The Rothschilds were Pussies

And the number 1 advertising slogan for the new Goldman Sachs ad campaign:

1. We put the douche in fiduciary

Barry Ritholtz:

5 Runners up

  • Doing God's work, since 1869.
  • "To Serve Man"… (I really wrestled with this one from the Twilight Zone but I feared it might be too obscure )
  • The meek shall inherit the earth - and we'll finance it.
  • Lobbying to bring "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" to a whole new level.
  • Goldman Sachs. No, we won't call you afterwards.

Honorable Mentions

  • We get the gold, you get the sack.
  • Goldman Rapes, Pillages & Sachs
  • The illegal we do immediately. The unconstitutional takes a little longer
  • Leverage: It's what's for dinner.
  • Claim everything, Explain nothing, Deny everything.
  • Adapt and Exploit
  • Vote for anybody you want, they all work for us.
  • "What happens on Wall Street, stays on Wall Street."
  • Dude! You're getting a deal!"
  • Between greed and madness lies Goldman.
  • Got Greed?
  • Behind every great fortune lies a great crime. Behind that crime lies Goldman Sachs.
  • We're rich as hell and we're not going to take this anymore!
  • We make money for you, or against you, or sometimes both."
  • Goldman Sachs keeps going and going and going.
  • It's not personal, Sonny. It's strictly business.
  • Vampire Squids rule!
  • Greed Sanctioned.
  • We're not crooks, we're profit optimizers.

VennData:

Ringo Starr, singing:

We would be so happy you and me
No one there to tell us what to do
I'd like to be under the sea
In an octopus' garden with you.

JohnnyVee :

"We follow the golden rule… The one with the gold makes the rules."

MakingtheDrop :

Spinal Tap's Big Bottom as per Goldman

The bigger the cushion, the sweeter the pushin' That's what we say The looser the regulation-band, the deeper the quicksand Or so I have read

The financial system fits me like a flesh tuxedo I'd like to sink her with my gold torpedo

Big bottom, big bottom We'll still be here, but you'll be forgotten Big bottom drive me out of my mind Who's turn next in the Presidential Advisory line?

My love gun's loaded, the next bubble in my sights Big game is waiting there inside the market's tights, yeah

Big bottom, big bottom We'll still be here, but you'll be forgotten Big bottom drive me out of my mind How could I ever leave this human vs corporate paradigm?

And by the way, our's goes to 11… that's one louder.

Mysticdog :

"People love to hate on them, but when you get ready to sell your company or need serious investment banking, they are the guys you hire. Funny isn't it?"

Well, when I need to do that, I'll keep them in mind. But as long as I'm like the other 99.9% of americans though whose other car isn't a yacht, I'll just keep hating them for their part in ruining our country.

Freestate :

That was the most fun this blog has had in awhile. Now let's do one for Zero Hedge.

"On a long enough timeline all conspiracy theories come true"

polizeros :

With the President as our junior partner, imagine what we can do for you!

Laws? We don't have to follow no steekin' laws.

ckeating :

"Screw you and ethics too!"

[Sep 29, 2010] Something About Tax Cuts Or Earnings Or Money Or Something In Recent Economic News The Onion - America's Finest News Source

WASHINGTON-Some sort of tax cut or earnings or money or something was reported in economic news this week in further evidence that a lot of financial-related things have been going on lately.

According to numerous articles and economics segments from major media outlets, experts on banks and such have become increasingly concerned over a new extension or rates or a proposal or compromise that could signal fewer investments, and dollars, and so on.

The experts confirmed that the stimulus has played a role.

"This is a clear sign of a changing cycle," some top guy at one of the big banks in New York said of purchasing power parity or possibly rate of return during a recent interview on CNN. "Which isn't to say that a sustained drop in wages couldn't still occur, even if the interest paid on reserves is lowered."

"In short, it's possible but not probable that growth could outpace our initial expectations," added the banking guy, who went on to say other money things, too. "It depends on investor sentiment."

"This is a clear sign of a changing cycle," some top guy at one of the big banks in New York said of purchasing power parity or possibly rate of return during a recent interview on CNN. "Which isn't to say that a sustained drop in wages couldn't still occur, even if the interest paid on reserves is lowered."

[Sep 29, 2010] Meredith Whitney on state budget crisis

"And Lord Blankenfiends mom still loves him. "

Juvenal Delinquent:

I'm beginning to think that economics is Dismal Scientology...

patientrenter:

Kruggles points out the obvious, a point that some commenters need to understand.

Economics Is Not A Morality Play - NYTimes.com

I have this very complicated equation here, and it tells me that if I screw you in this particular way, you won't even notice who did it to you, and I will be so happy that it will offset your sadness.

yagij

"Yes, the worst, most deviate kind of pr0n is Econ chart pr0n!"

black dog:

I must have an inner bankster since I'm kinda partial to zombie movies.

[Sep 27, 2010] John Paulson Lecture Bonds Are Wrong, Stocks Are Right zero hedge

RobotTrader

I guess there remains an acute shortage of shopping malls, office buildlings, retail centers, etc.

[Sep 27, 2010] Why Contrary To Popular Opinion Gridlock Would Be A Catastrophe; Is Obama More Like Clinton Or Bush

zero hedge

Mad Max:

New bumper sticker:

"I VOTED FOR A SOCIALIST MUSLIM COOL GUY AND ALL I GOT WAS THIS PATHETIC VAIN BANKSTER PUPPET"

Mark Noonan:

...Obama doesn't seem smart enough to triangulate his way out of this mess. Clinton could do it because, let's face it, he had no principles other than self aggrandizement

weinerdog43:

We're doomed. Obama is as incompetent as Bush and as sleazy as Clinton. What a combination

the grateful un... :

problem is who is going to suck his dick in the oval office, if he is Clinton, and what new war can he start if he is Bush.

hedgeless_horseman :

It amazes me how few people notice the strings rising from all of our presidents and disappearing up into the shadows above the stage.

jesus :

Vote Christine O'Donnell, she will save us all!! (from masturbating)

[Sep 26, 2010] Stephen Colbert Testifies to Congress During House Hearing on Illegal Farm Workers

ABC News

When it came time for his testimony, Colbert offered to submit a video of his colonoscopy into the congressional record as evidence that produce is "a necessary source of roughage."

As for the labor pool, "this is America," the comedian said. "I don't want a tomato picked by a Mexican. I want it picked by an American, then sliced by a Guatemalan and served by a Venezuelan in a spa where a Chilean gives me a Brazilian. Because my great-grandfather did not travel across 4,000 miles of the Atlantic Ocean to see this country overrun by immigrants."

Still, "after working with these men and women picking beans, packing corn for hours on end, side by side in the unforgiving sun, I have to say - and I do mean this sincerely - please don't make me do this again," Colbert added. "It is really, really hard."

"Maybe this AgJobs bill would help," he concluded. "I don't know. Like most members of Congress, I haven't read it."

[Sep 26, 2010] Drowning in Carrot Juice by Mark Sumner

Sep 26, 2010 | Daily Kos

Wall Street is upset. Sure, they were handed a trillion dollars. Sure, their industry was pulled from the toilet, propped up, dried off, and allowed to return to its never-ending party. Sure, they're looking forward to what may be the biggest bonus year ever while the rest of us are dealing with a little thing called a recession. But hey, they are upset that people have been talking mean about them. They don't like that.

[Sep 23, 2010] Rand Paul and His 9-11 Conspiracy Theorist Friend Mother Jones

05/20/2010

Osama Bin Hidden

NWO IS REAL
"I was not involved in the September 11 attacks in the United States nor did I have knowledge of the attacks. There exists a government within a government within the United States. The United States should try to trace the perpetrators of these attacks within itself; to the people who want to make the present century a century of conflict between Islam and Christianity. That secret government must be asked as to who carried out the attacks. ... The American system is totally in control of the Jews, whose first priority is Israel, not the United States. -Osama bin Laden

[Sep 23, 2010] Janet Tavakoli on the "Myth of the Amoral Debtor"; An email from a Charlie Munger student; "Business as Usual"

God's Work

Reader "Tin Hat" sends a list of notable quotes:

Tin Hat quips "Tell me Munger, which god might that be? The Man Upstairs, Lloyd Blankfein or Lucifer?"

Let Them Eat Cake

I received numerous Emails similar to the following

Hello Mish,

Great job. Has Charlie Munger become this generation's Marie Antoinette? Let them eat cake!

Steve

[Sep 22, 2010] Elections are close, so the Great Ressesion is Over!

The NBER announcement is a beautiful set up for the November elections

[via Cyril Morong] Dr. Richard Head
on Wed, 09/22/2010 - 10:00
#597226

DAMNIT ALREADY THE RECESSION IS OVER!!!! Our lords have decreed this, so be it.

Go buy a Kindle or something already. Real estate is a good bet too, this is a buyer's market ya know.

[Sep 21, 2010] Links on Lawrence Summers' Departure

Bye bye Larry. Too bad you can't take Timmy with you ;-)

longtimelurker:

Is Phil Gramm free?

alley_boy:

How much money did Summers lose at Harvard? I read somewhere @ $1.8 billion. Why do they want him back?

Barley:

Maybe Kramer will take the job

JP

How long before Geithner decides to spend more time with his banking-based family?

brianinboise:

Mr. Geithner will stay as Sec'y until the statute of limitations has run.

Bob Dawg:

comrade mike:

I would like to see Timmy fired.

+1... oh wait, I thought you said fried.

NOTaREALmerican :

digalert :

Christina Romer, Peter Orszag, and now Lawrence Summers

These three will write in their memoirs: "we bailed before the SHTF."

lackhalo:

Not a perp walk, but better than letting the crook continue to run things, i guess.

[Sep 21, 2010] Thieves defy Bernanke's deflation

September 21, 2010 | Au Contrarian

In July 2010, police in Homestead, Florida, "said thieves are striking at farms, stealing produce to sell on the black market." Three weeks later, in West Philadelphia, a four-year-old boy was "swallowed" by the sewer system after a manhole cover had been stolen.

The Associated Press reported: "In 2008, the department began installing locks on some of the 76,000 manhole covers in the city but still officials are looking at options. 'We're also looking into alternative materials to where [sic] they won't be attractive for the scrap yards' ". (The four-year old lived.)

In San Francisco, federal detention centers are "slowly filling up with a new type of criminal... a rising tide of copper thieves raiding abandoned government facilities for their heavy gauge electrical wire."

[Sep 21, 2010] zerohedge once again pissed that asteroid avoided colliding with earth

Recession Porn "confusing": The flip side of the bullish trader sentiment is the obsession with every negative datapoint. From Roubini to Zero Hedge, people seem to be hunting down anything foreboding. (How funny is this tweet: zerohedge once again pissed that asteroid avoided colliding with earth)

[Sep 19, 2010] Still Funny

OK, maybe I've got a twisted sense of humor, but this oldie-but-goodie (note that it includes the ex-Secretary of the Treasury) is (still) pretty funny -- probably because not much has changed as far as policymaking goes since the crisis began:

(Hat tip to The Daily Bail)

[Sep 19, 2010] FRBC Normal Recovery, Elevated Unemployment Levels

The Big Picture

constantnormal:

@Petey Wheatstraw

"I wonder what they'll say when their faces hit the windshield"

They'll say "whocoodaknowed?", of course.

RW:

...If a recovery it truly is then might as well skip the 20th Century altogether - no point in fooling around when skipping economic periods that disagree with a thesis ...

It's not my father's recovery, granted, but it could be my grandfather's.

[Sep 19, 2010] Not With A Whimper But A Bang

zero hedge

Dburn

Didn't anybody take cash advances on their cards to short bank stocks in 2008? What a terrific account payable call.

"Sir, you are 90 days late on your credit card payment. "

"Yeah, hey sorry about that and I also would like to thank you for the 6 figure line of credit that I'm currently making a bloody fortune off of shorting your stock. If you could wait about 15 days , I'll pay you when the calendar year passes. ok?"

"You are using our cards to short our stock...I ah....click...bzzzz.

[Sep 17, 2010] Economist's View Paul Krugman The Tax-Cut Racket

"I suppose their next move will be a Medal of Honor for Lloyd Blankfein."
September 17, 2010

Lawrence:

And I would safely assume Senator McConnel thinks he's a champion of liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I haven't been feeling very happy with his behavior these past two years. It seems he would have been good friends with Heydrich.

dave:

I would venture to say that the vast majority of public figures in Washington these days would take to late 30's German politics like a fish to water.

JM:

Of course it's time for Democrats to take a stand. So what is the hold up? There are reports that 31 House Dems are asking to support tax cuts for the wealthy. Not to mention friend of the people Nelson. I suppose their next move will be a Medal of Honor for Lloyd Blankfein.

With Democrats like this, who needs Republicans?

[Sep 17, 2010] Democrat or Republican ?

Sep 17, 2010 | The Big Picture

I am not a Democrat, because I have no idea what their economic policies are; And I am not a Republican, because I know precisely what their economic policies are.

d4winds :

love the D vs. R remark. wrt the corporatocracy versus the individual, in my mind John Stewart nailed it in restating the D slogan for the midterms, "We suck less." Of course, sucking less still sucks.

Chief Tomahawk:

"Things are going to change - I can feel it."

George H. W. Bush

JustinTheSkeptic:

Let me sum up the american political scene as we know it – "I once knew a women from Nantucket!…"

[Sep 16, 2010] ETFs For a Brave New World

The Big Picture

Cassandra Does Tokyo is a former hedge fund manager and ex NY Trader, who is now living abroad.

~~~

ETFs clearly can provide some advantages for obtaining otherwise-expensive-to-obtain exposures for thematically-oriented investors. More noteworthy perhaps is the way that such vehicles have captured the imagination of Promoters and Managers as a salvation for otherwise stagnant revenue growth. This has lead to a proliferation of ever-more-focused ETFs to cater to the evolving fancies of investors looking for errrr… umm… something, indeed anything different. I would like to add my two-cents worth here and now, so BlackRock, take note: Here are some candidates for your marketing machine to focus on for the next decade:

Rent-Seeking ETF – While the maxim "Death and Taxes" is known to all, few realize that the original phrase was "Death, Taxes and Corruption". Indeed Companies that purchase influence, contracts, and favorable legislation/regulation are worthy of investor attention (not because they are more dynamic, which they aren't) but because they have a definable edge – something many others cannot boast about. Of course, ETF marketers would need to sanitize the pursuit into something like "Government Partnership Focused ETF" or

Gilded-Age ETF – Anyone who does their own shopping cannot ignore the the increasing gulf between winners and losers. As the a large portion of the former middle class sinks lower, a smaller but not reasonably-sized segment is promoted higher. This phenomena has meaningful effects ETF marketers can exploit as those companies focused upon the top-layer and growing underclass relatively prosper as the expense of the middle market. This ETF might have Whole Foods (WFMI) and Coach (COH) alongside pawnshops, check-cashing firms, pay-day loan enterprises and dollar discount stores.

Sin-City ETF – Booze, Cigarettes, Recre-ceuticals, Trans-Fats-In-A-Bag-To-Go, Espionage and surveillance equipment, Gambling, Porn, all in a neat little exchange-traded bundle. Reasonably recession-proof. High-profitability. Growing (except tobacco). Need I say more…?

Follow-The-Insider ETF – Alpha is getting harder to achieve these days. Covert insider-trading is getting riskier (just ask Raj!). But we know from some of the recent academic research that there is information contained in selective but systematically definable insider purchases and sales that yields abnormal excess returns. This is an easy one to flog, and panders to the twin pillar retail beliefs that "the market is rigged" and "it is nearly impossible for Average Joe to beat the market.

New Age ETF – Even tree-huggers have money to invest and would benefit from a convenient vehicle. And their numbers along with greater public awareness of what is environmentally good an bad, healthy or unhealthy, kharmically or spiritually desirable will make this a winner. The allure of this ETF is that it has many degrees of freedom in which to invest – from alternative energy, to agriculture and food science, from any company with sustainable approach to yoga-mat and acupuncture needle manufacturers. Build it (and advertise it convincingly) and they will come…

Bugger-The-Shorts ETF – This ETF, which will concentrate highly-shorted and crowded short stocks, may appeal to several classes of investor. First there are those that philosophically dislike the short side of the market – whether for moral or philosophical reasons. But there are also those devilish mischievous investors who can smell easy prey, and get sadistic pleasure out of squeezing weak (or system-driven) shorts out of their positions for fun and/or profit. This could potentially be popular with hedge funds as a way of quickly reversing exposure when they've been plunging themselves and find their positions on the wrong side of vicious pops so characteristic of bear-market rallies.

Activists Choice ETF – An ETF focusing on trumpted or reported positions disclosed by so-called activist investors are a so-called lay-up for ETF promoters. Primarily because activists themselves are such wonderful self-promoters, and quite adept at talking their own books. But also because they can tout "a hedge-fund strategy and performance without hedge fund fees" – always a winning slogan in the aggregation of retail funds.

Orlov's ETF – With an increasing number of doomsdayers crawling out from all crevices, under the svengali-like piping of Glenn Beck, subscribing to Dimitry Orlov-like visions of the future, perhaps an ETF focused on a belief in the coming unravelling would sell well. Manufacturers of home generators, self-sufficiency tools, small arms and ammo, micro-water-purification systems, drought-resistant seeds, land-mines and barbed-wire, as well as gold-miners, and private prison and security services all could have a place in this portfolio. The only draw back is the non-sequitir if investors peer too far into the future where property rights and the financial system dissolve into complete chaos…

The "US Healthcare System Is The Best" ETF – Americans have a peculiar love affair with their Health Care system, irrespective of how completely buggered it is in comparison to the rest of the civilized (and much of the recently civilizing) world for the insured (as well as the uninsured, and financiers of both). ETF promoters can exploit this inexplicably visceral love-affair by helping them put their money where their mouth is, and creating the market-traded basket that invests a portfolio of companies prospering from a continuation of US Healthcare haplessness.

Greying Demographics ETF – Another obvious marketing target with many degrees of investment freedom, that are increasingly visible to investors. Motorized buggies, time-shares, home-health monitoring, nutraceuticals, senior-assisted living, bingo and slot-machine manufacturers, all in a single portfolio.

The Two-Cent Nickel ETF – Americans can rarely resist a bargain. As America slides closer to Japanification, ETF marketers might take a page from the Japanese Investment Trust playbook which for years has sported The Hidden Asset Trust or similar fund focusing upon companies with net substantial real assets well below market values, particularly where such assets are not reflected on the books of the company at current market values. Some of these assets are land, subsidiaries, other securities that provide seductive teasers to bargain-hunting investors. Of course, they must be careful not to rely too heavily upon Japanese experience for performance comparisons.

Fund of Fund of Hedge Funds ETF - The Coup de Grace offering must be the Fund of Hedge Fund-of-Funds to give the punter access to the broadest participation of hedge funds, something the small-punter has arguably had difficulty in obtaining. And in an exchange traded vehicle where they can dump their exposure at the first sign of distress. The remarkable attribute of this ETF (from the industry's perspective) must be the multiple fee dollops that are removed from investors' investments on a monthly basis. This is truly the ETF Triple Dip straight from the in the Wall Street's finest creamery! But even better for the true skeptics, I know that you are thinking more like John Paulson, so if only someone (Hello GS!) can create for us a synthetic version of this that we can short, we too might find a good way to participate in the fee bonanza.

Of course, this is by no means an exhaustive list, as I am certain to have left some other crumbs on the table, so please feel free to submit your own additions.

[Sep 15, 2010] Tinkerbell Talk, Parsing the Economic Tea Leaves and Market Schizophrenia

naked capitalism

tenletters:

"We are looking to hire an experienced and hardworking employee. $8 an hour. Must have car and phone."

aet:

If you pay peanuts, you'll end up with monkeys.

[Sep 14, 2010] Lieberman Favors Extension of Bush-Era Tax Rates for the Wealthy

"shark bait for the Wall Street" would be a nice definition of 401K investors.

Economist's View

Cynthia:

First he sabotaged our efforts to pass meaningful health care reform. Now he's trying to sabotage our efforts to restore taxes on the rich. So we must throw Traitor Joe out on his ear before he turns all of us ordinary folks into shark bait for the rich, just as he would have done to these ordinary pups...:'(

http://www.fishingfury.com/20051006/live-dogs-used-as-shark-bait-by-rich-douchebags/

bob mcmanus:

And who chose Joe Lieberman as his mentor when he first arrived in the Senate?

Obama

[Sep 13, 2010] Primary Dealers Prepare To Invest $27 Billion In Fed Money, Levered 30x Over The Next Month, To Buy High Beta Names

I like "the markets will move in the direction that hurts the most people" and I'd rather watch professional wrestling than even bother with this shit anymore.

You didn't think a politically "impartial" Fed would allow a market crash before the mid-terms now, did you?

Boilermaker:

Huh? You mean a 600 point hi-jacking of the DOW and 80 handle move on SPX in 9 trading sessions isn't organic?

You know what? Fuck it. They can have it. I don't care anymore. I'm not losing anymore money. The dickheads doing this can play with themselves to the end of days. I don't care anymore.

... ... ...

I'd rather watch professional wrestling than even bother with this shit anymore.

unwashedmass

and by the grace of god and 30x leverage, they will rebuild their balance sheets over the next nine years of no civil unrest, no terrorist attacks, no counterparty defaults and a population looking at the resulting hyperinflation and docilely still buying bonds....

yup. that's gonna happen.

[Sep 12, 2010] Goldman Faces "Near Record Fine" In London

Let's talk about one area of successful export growth...

Financial fraud has been a major export from the US for the past ten years.

[Sep 11, 2010] More Poverty = More Religion

"United States truly is a blessed nation" + ""Religion is the Opium of the people" = ? I like question "Would you rather I burned your life savings or all your bibles?" as the test of real religiosity. I strongly doubt that on this metric the USA can successfully compete in religiosity ;-).
September 9, 2010 | The Big Picture
Chuck Ponzi:

The United States truly is a blessed nation. We all hope it stays that way.

philipat:

"Religion is the Opium of the people"

Karl Marx.

Expat:

Given what I know of America, if we are destined to move closer to the norm, it is likely we will move left and up rather than down. It would be interesting to poll Americans about the question, asking them "Would you rather America were more religious or richer?" and perhaps, "Would you rather I burned your life savings or all your bibles?"

ashpelham2:

America is a nation of contradictions.

[Sep 10, 2010] Regulators close small Florida bank

Yahoo! Finance

With 119 closures nationwide so far this year, the pace of bank failures exceeds that of 2009, which was already a brisk year for shutdowns. By this time last year, regulators had closed 92 banks.

JDD:

Come on America. Let's shoot for a record. Can we get to 200 bank failures by the end of the year ?

[Sep 10, 2010] My Equity Scenario for the Rest of 2010 zero hedge

Bankster T Cubed:

What is an appropriate p/e for the market in a system that is headed for collapse sometime between tomorrow and 6 months?

[Sep 09, 2010] Initial Claims Come At 451K On Expectations Of 470K, Trade Deficit Declines From $47 Billion To $42.8 Billion

zero hedge

Pining for the ...

I agree, but I think it is a different sketch, hence my screen name. The economy is the parrot, Bernanke is the shop owner, Tyler is the skeptical John Cleese.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=npjOSLCR2hE

DaveyJones:

it's bleeding demised!

groucho_marxist :

no, it's just restin'.

Paper CRUSHer:

Where the hell is Larry Kudlow these days?.

I miss that good ol' 'mustard seed' idiot and all that 'goldilocks economy' shit.

old_turk :

He's doing the '12 Steps to Prosperity' speil now. Yeah, the AA connection is really apparent ... and troubling.

The analogy of a credit junkie grabbing the credit punch bowl and dumping on himself comes to mind.

[/sarc]

jefe95:

The yahoo headline.....

"New Filings for Jobless Benefits Tumble"

Yahoo!!! indeed.....

This from an "AP Economics writer"

This is all one big joke.

TheGreatPonzi:

We live in a big joke, that's for sure. But you can ease your nerves by thinking that all these cocksuckers (AP journalists included) are about to die with the Ponzi system.

Bankster T Cubed:

oh boy! I am so confident about the future of the economy!

because they tell me I can be! the Fed pumping the stock market is so awesome! We'll all be rich!

Sean7k :

42.8 billion is a very large number and much bigger than it has been. This is NOT good news. Someone should start asking: What do we produce that has any real value? Because the world doesn't seem to want much of what we make. Further, we obviously need to buy from the world, as we cannot source locally at a reasonable price. Thank goodness the FED can continue to print money or we would be broke??????

Sudden Debt :

there's always a party pooper... AND TODAY, YOU ARE IT!

BETTER THEN EXPECTED MAN!

RECOVERY!

HOPE! YES WE CAN!

bugs_:

Consumer credit heading in the right direction - and now the gift of the trade deficit heading in the right direction - and its not even Christmas yet!

[Sep 09, 2010] "I Am Jim Cramer And I Approve Of The President's Message (Because The Market Moved Up By 3 Points)" by Tyler Durden

"There are women (and men) who will do anything for a price." ;-)
09/08/2010
There are women (and men) who will do anything for a price. Then there is Jim Cramer who will go from hating Obama (and the impact of his policies on the market, all the while misinterpreting such impact: i.e. the brilliant "Passage of the healthcare bill means a double dip is coming", and other such pearls), to loving the president, in the span of 40 minutes just so long as the market does not vommit for the duration of a teleprompted address. And the master of momo mediocrity may want to sit down with his "Stop Trading" friend Erin Burnett so two can clarify the official CNBC stance on Obama and his policies:

Burnett: "I think the problem is you have the fastest job creation in this recovery than you have in any recession in 25 years... Technically speaking this recovery has not been tepid."

Cramer: "I can show you chapter and verse how this is the weakest post-recovery environment since World War II." Sigh. Then again, if it makes for good theater, and the filling of some free ad slots in another Nielsen-rating impaired cable station, so much the better.

[Sep 06, 2010] Have a happy labor day

Hat tip to Tim Iacono

[Sep 06, 2010] A Walk in the Woods – We Hate Goldman

zero hedge

You can imagine (if you know me) my anger, shock and disappointment to see this at the trail juncture:

Apparently three years ago the nice folks at Goldie wrote a tax deductable check and had some help bring in some wood chips for this trail. Now they get a plaque with their name on it that will last forever. Whatever improvements GS made back then have been washed away from three hard winters. But Goldie still has their advertisement right in the middle of the woods.

I was looking at this and taking a picture when a teenage couple came up the path. I guessed that they were not this deep in the woods for "sylvan" pleasures. I pointed to the sign and asked:

BK: Do you know who Goldman Sachs is?

BOY: They're the ones who stole the money in the stock market.

GIRL: My father says it's the Wall Street that caused the depression.

BK: That sounds about right.

BOY: Should we rip it out?

BK: No. Let's leave it. Everyone who walks by this spot will be reminded of how much we don't like these guys.

BOY: Okay. Which way you going?

I pointed left. They went right.

[Sep 06, 2010] Bernanke, Bubble Denier The Greatest Fed Tool of All

zero hedge

CulturalEngineer:

The Bernanke testimony... short version:

"We've determined that the Fed's welfare system for the elite political and financial sectors is essentially working fine. The decimation of the American middle-class and destruction of the rest of the economy is unfortunate but completely unrelated. However, its critical to note that we do feel bad and wish you all the best."

[Sep 06, 2010] HOW TO MAKE CONGRESS ACCOUNTABLE

The Burning Platform

In ancient Rome, engineers were forced to stand under the arches they had designed when the scaffolding was removed. And in ancient Greece not only did the sons of the assemblymen go out to fight, so did the leaders themselves. Not only that; the oldest veterans were put in the front lines! And during the period of Athenian democracy, if a delegate proposed a scheme to improve the future and it was not approved, he would be put to death. If Americans want to make their government more responsible, it can be easily done. They can force members of Congress to put all their wealth in US dollar bonds, serve in every war they start, and pay the ultimate price when they propose some absurd new program."

Mobs, Messiahs and Markets

[Sep 05, 2010] Analysts Iraq war 'partly to blame' for financial crisis

Raw Story

Dennis Boylon:

Wow...you mean war spending isn't good for the economy unless you are Dick Cheney or a Halliburton contractor?

The rest of the country get poorer while the MIC eats up the country's wealth?

We have less to spend on actual productive endeavors because we are too bush destroying and killing?

Amazing...what would we do without these geniuses to tell us how the world works.

showdown0_0 :

First war I ever saw that they sent PALLETS of $100.00 Dollars bills into a war zone.

usmcr:

Not just pallets. 3 KC-130s full of 463L pallets . Most of it is unaccounted for.. Some of it is showing up on the "enemy". And still.... no one has been investigated prosecuted or held accountable.

[Sep 04, 2010] Economist's View How Illegal Immigrants are Helping Social Security

Goldilocksisableachblonde:
I don't know , they're just something about the phrase "illegal immigrants" that bugs me.

Wait , I think I've got it :

Illegal = Against The Law

Yep , that's the problem. Now , what to do about it. The favored solution seems to be the one we've successfully applied in the financial arena , represented by the following equation :

(Illegal) - (Il) = (Legal).

Voila !!

Problem solved.

[Sep 04, 2010] Psychics and Fortune Tellers Being Regulated to Reduce Fraud - by Elizabeth Dias

Why financial forthume tellers aren't regulated too. Arn't they alsoin the fortune-telling business? What about Golden Sacks "analysts"? Why they don't have to be "of good moral character"? People want to know :-)
Sep 3, 2010 | Time/Yahoo! News

Starting this week, fortune tellers in Warren, Mich., must be fingerprinted and pay an annual fee of $150 - plus $10 for a police background check - to practice their craft. The new rules are among America's strictest on palmists, fortune readers and other psychics, part of a growing push to regulate a business that has never been taken, or overseen, very seriously. But officials in Warren, a town of 138,000 near Detroit, say it's time to weed out tricksters. "We had no mechanism of enforcement to protect people against unsavory characters," Warren city-council member Keith Sadowski says. "We want to be sure there is some recourse in case we do get somebody who is not legitimate."

Regulating an industry that deems itself clairvoyant, has no standard education requirements and yet rakes in cash for revealing spiritual truths may itself be an act of faith. It also might make good economic sense: about 1 in 7 Americans consulted a psychic or fortune teller in 2009, according to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. That could be 30 million or more people. (See people finding God on YouTube.)

Municipalities are struggling to manage their activities. Annapolis, Md., issues what it calls a "fortune-telling license" only if its police force concludes the applicant is "of good moral character." Last year, Will County, Illinois, decided to count fortune telling as an official business (along with tattooing and dog watching). Three years ago, Salem, Mass., famous for its 17th century witch trials - and something of a magnet for spiritual artisans - tightened its rules on background checks for psychics while easing its cap on the number of local fortune tellers allowed in town.

Warren's beefed-up regs came about this spring when Matt Nichols, a Warren police officer, told the city council that the town appeared vulnerable to fortune-telling crime. Once a year since at least 2005, Nichols says, he has had to try to persuade a psychic to return jewelry or cash taken from a client in exchange for performing spells or freeing the client from a curse. But since no regulations barred such acts, criminal charges weren't an option. "We are not looking to do anything to oppress people's beliefs," argues Nichols, who is also a member of the National Association of Bunco Investigators, a nonprofit group dedicated to combating scams and cons. "We are looking to specifically identify crime and people who prey on the vulnerable."

That makes sense, given the harm unscrupulous fortune tellers can inflict. Psychic Gina Marie Marks pleaded guilty Wednesday, Sept. 1, in Florida to grand theft and organized fraud. One of her victims testified that Marks swindled her out of $312,926.29 - and persuaded her to get a tattoo, to boot. It's now "a constant reminder of the psychological abuse I endured at the hands of this false prophet," she told a Broward County judge.

August

[Aug 31, 2010] Bank of America Now Proudly Exporting HFT Market Death And Destruction To Asia by Tyler Durden

08/30/2010 | zero hedge

Feel like it is time to spread the market annihilation love courtesy of "any minute now" HFT-induced flash crashes? Have no fear, Bank of America is here. "High-frequency trading in the US and Europe has grabbed most attention in the market, but similar activities are quietly taking off in Asia as well." Thusly begins a pamphlet by BofA/ML's Carrie Cheung which explains the tremendous "advantages" that HFTs offer to any local market. Not mentioned is that these advantages include drastic market destabilization, and that the "attention" is of the "get that thing the hell out of here" variety.

At least we get to learn some very useful facts about the proliferation of the little bloodsucking algos in the Pacific rim such as...

  1. "high-frequency trading firms today account for about 20-25% of the TSE turnover -
    ZH translation:
    the TSE will crash only one third lower when the Flash Crash hits it"
  2. "the market microstructure changes introduced at the same time (i.e. new tick sizes) cut the average spread of Nikkei 225 stocks by 25%, making it much cheaper to trade -
    ZH tranlsation:
    in HFT jargon, trade is a synonym for stuff cancelable quotes and/or churn",
  3. "The new platform allows for higher-frequency trading, where algorithms are used to make thousands of trades in milliseconds, thereby allowing firms to profit from tiny spreads and market imbalances." - ZH translation: we make frontrunning fast and easy, or your Other People's Money back;
  4. "Furthermore, the introduction of co-location services by Japanese exchanges, together with third-party proximity services, further enhances the platform for high-frequency trading firms in Japan." - ZH translation: Cisco stands to make at least one or two cents in incremental EPS by letting the biggest market manipulators frontrun and scalp at the speed of light; judging by its latest results, it needs it;
  5. "It is estimated that high-frequency trading activity will account for 30-40% of liquidity by the end of 2010." - ZH translation: the crash after the next, will be about half the amplitude of the May 6 crash;
  6. The Kospi Index Option is the world's most heavily traded derivative. It is highly correlated with the US markets, has a low transaction cost and hence is heavily traded by retail investors. These elements make it an attractive market for a lot of foreign investors including the highfrequency trading group. - ZH translation: Japanese housewives will first all buy together, then will be all shaken out together, losing all their money at the same time, with just Made in New York Atari making a killing;
  7. China is a market most foreign investors want to access, but the entry barriers are high. However, the recent successful launch of CSI 300 futures will no doubt make it an important market to keep an eye on. The futures contract, while currently limited to just domestic traders, now has the second largest turnover in the world, following Kospi. - ZH translation: we are preparing to blow up the world.

In conclusion, use Bank of America cause their HFT expertise in setting landmines in Asian stock markets is second to none: "Asia's markets are evolving gradually. In addition, the region's growing economic power and upgrades in technology will definitely make this the next hot spot for high-frequency trading."

Full two page ad of BofA exporting WMDs to the Pacific rim:

[Aug 31, 2010] Links 4-18-10

April 18, 2010 | naked capitalism

DownSouth:

And for word-pictures of the kind of world the bankers are creating, this from one of the greatest masters of the art of word-pictures:

Far and wide, lay a ruined country, yielding nothing but desolation. Every green leaf, every blade of grass and blade of grain, was as shrivelled and poor as the miserable people. Everything was bowed down, dejected, oppressed, and broken. Habitations, fences, domesticated animals, men, women, children, and the soil that bore them-–all worn out.

Monseigneur (often a most worthy individual gentleman) was a national blessing, gave a chivalrous tone to things, was a polite example of luxurious and shinging life, and a great deal more to equal purpose; nevertheless, Monseigneur as a class had, somehow or other, brought things to this.

–Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

Ignim Brites

If we were truly a secular rather than a christian roading, slave ethic loving nation we would be employing, every six months or so, a Roman style decimation of university presidents and economics departments until the majority felt that things had turned around

[Aug 29, 2010] Shiller Potential for 'Double Dip' Recession

Economist's View

dogface:

Double Dip: Paulson then Geitner

don:

"Double Dip: Paulson then Geitner"

Or maybe "double drip."

Goldilocksisableachblonde:

"Double Dip: Paulson then Geitner"
Or maybe "double drip."

Or maybe double dipshits.

[Aug 28, 2010] This Isn't Funny Anymore

August 13, 2010 | Economist's View
Heli-Ben

Remember this? (I removed the warning that was on the original.) In addition to the reasons Krugman cites in his column, I sure hope that fear of the nickname "Helicopter Ben" isn't part of the Bernanke Fed's reluctance to pursue more aggressive policy.

jeffrey678:

Every time I see a helicopter fly over I wonder if the cash will come out in bundles or loose. LOL I remember they threw out MRE's and US dollars from helicopters and planes in Afganistan. Why not in the US.
d4winds:

BB's helicopter has hovered exclusively over Wall Street, Manhattan, NY.

Petey:

"I remember they threw out MRE's and US dollars from helicopters and planes in Afganistan. Why not in the US."

Well, that sorta answers itself, doesn't it?

If you want to drop $200B/yr out of helicopters in Iraq and Afghanistan, then there aren't enough helicopters left in the US.

Sure, you don't get the same multiplier effect when you fly the helicopters overseas as you do when you fly them at home, but welcome to the new normal.

MRE's for Afghanistan. Cutting food stamps in the US...

Brad Hessel :

Shouldn't the helicopter be black?

Mattyoung:

The Helicopters take off. The oil tankers stop in their track, waiting for the new price of oil to settle.

[Aug 28, 2010] Periodic Table of Wall Street Criminal Elements By Barry Ritholtz

August 27, 2010

This is perfect for a Friday afternoon: An amusing romp thru Wall Street:

click for ginormous graphic

Via William Banzai7

[Aug 27, 2010] "I was wrong again!" What Ben Bernanke meant to say by Andrew Leonard

The Fed chairman delivers a big, but boring, speech on the economy at Jackson Hole. Here's a translation

As a man, Ben Bernanke is prone to understatement, a tendency that was reinforced very early in his term as chairman of the Federal Reserve when a dinner-party comment he made to CNBC anchor Maria Bartiromo sent financial markets into a tizzy the next day. Therefore, any speech he gives -- in particular, major speeches on the state of the economy at a time of high national anxiety -- must be read through a special filter. I call this filter the Bernanke-Hype-ometer, and I have applied it to the address he gave at Jackson Hole, Wyo., Friday morning. (Bernanke comments in bold, followed by Hype-ometer translations.)

The annual meeting at Jackson Hole always provides a valuable opportunity to reflect on the economic and financial developments of the preceding year, and recently we have had a great deal on which to reflect.

Hey, just this morning, the Bureau of Economic Analysis downgraded the second quarter GDP growth rate to a miserable 1.6 percent! So, even after juicing the economy every which way but loose the last two years, we're headed in completely the wrong direction. Congress won't do anything to help, so now everyone wants me to stop the bleeding.

However, although private final demand, output and employment have indeed been growing for more than a year, the pace of that growth recently appears somewhat less vigorous than we expected.

Remember how I was the wrongest person on the planet when I said the subprime mortgage bust was "contained" and wouldn't cause a worldwide financial crisis? Haha, man that was dumb. Well, guess what, I was wrong again earlier this year, when I decided the time was ripe for the Fed to stop bailing out the economy.

Incoming data on the labor market have remained disappointing.

The working class is unbelievably screwed. This is kind of bumming me out.

Overall, the incoming data suggest that the recovery of output and employment in the United States has slowed in recent months, to a pace somewhat weaker than most FOMC participants projected earlier this year.

Double-dip recession, here we come!

Despite the weaker data seen recently, the preconditions for a pickup in growth in 2011 appear to remain in place.

Come on -- do you know what would happen if I didn't say that things will get better, eventually? Wall Street would commit mass hari-kari.

At this juncture, the risk of either an undesirable rise in inflation or of significant further disinflation seems low.

OK, sure, unemployment is in the toilet, but don't expect us to do too much about it, because the only thing we really care about is inflation, and as far as we are concerned, everything's fine on that front.

The FOMC has also acted to improve market functioning and to push longer-term interest rates lower through its large-scale purchases of agency debt, agency mortgage-backed securities (MBS), and longer-term Treasury securities, of which the Federal Reserve currently holds more than $2 trillion. The channels through which the Fed's purchases affect longer-term interest rates and financial conditions more generally have been subject to debate.

OK, let me lay it out for you. The one thing the Fed is really prepared to do to help the economy is to keep purchasing debt, such as Treasury securities. By keeping our unbelievably monster huge portfolio of debt high, we theoretically lower the cost of borrowing throughout the economy. That should spur faster growth. We stopped doing this a while back, but so many people started refinancing their mortgages that our holdings of mortgage-backed securities began to disappear, which, ironically, meant that by not acting, we were actually contributing to a tightening of the money supply. That's a big no-no when economic growth is flat-lining. So when the economy started to go downhill again, we changed our strategy -- but not until after a big fight with members of the conservative faction of the Federal Reserve Bank's Board of Governors who believe that even such a cautious step was far too aggressive. These guys just don't care about unemployment. Some of them even think it's time to start raising interest rates! Hahahahaha.

By agreeing to keep constant the size of the Federal Reserve's securities portfolio, the Committee avoided an undesirable passive tightening of policy that might otherwise have occurred. The decision also underscored the Committee's intent to maintain accommodative financial conditions as needed to support the recovery. We will continue to monitor economic developments closely and to evaluate whether additional monetary easing would be beneficial. In particular, the Committee is prepared to provide additional monetary accommodation through unconventional measures if it proves necessary, especially if the outlook were to deteriorate significantly.

I am not going to be responsible for yet another market crash. So I stomped all over the reactionaries, because even a blind man can see investor sentiment is as fragile as a 2-year-old on a sugar crash. I really don't want to be remembered as the Federal Reserve chairman who presided over TWO recessions. So let me tell you plainly: If the shit really hits the fan, we're going to open the taps wide open, buy every Treasury bond in sight, drop money from helicopters, and keep the U.S. economy on life support.

This is why, incidentally, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is back over 10,000 points. Yay me!

A rather different type of policy option, which has been proposed by a number of economists, would have the Committee increase its medium-term inflation goals above levels consistent with price stability. I see no support for this option on the FOMC.

Paul Krugman, who is one hell of a pain in the ass, believes that the Fed is far too concerned with keeping inflation low. He keeps whining about unemployment, and thinks that if we just did so much as announce that we are prepared to accept higher inflation, and then pursued monetary policy along those lines, the economy would get a steroid boost that would finally shake it out of its doldrums. Sorry, but that is completely nuts and it is NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN. Ever! Please shut up, Paul.

Inflation expectations appear reasonably well-anchored, and both inflation expectations and actual inflation remain within a range consistent with price stability.

I know, I know, the Federal Reserve is entrusted by Congress with two mandates -- promoting full employment and keeping inflation low. But everyone knows that we only really care about price stability, so never mind what I said before about the shit hitting the fan. As long as inflation is fine, we're only going to take baby steps.

Despite this recent slowing, however, it is reasonable to expect some pickup in growth in 2011 and in subsequent years.

Somewhere, over the rainbow, skies are blue.

[Aug 25, 2010] Earth to Bill Gross We Chickens Know You Are The Fox Minding the Henhouse

naked capitalism

Boy, when you think you've seen the worst in utterly shameless, self serving tripe, someone manages to outdo it.

Admittedly, it's awfully hard to beat Steve Schwarzmann's recent one-two punch of utter canard wrapped in tasteless hyperbole, that of Obama proposals that private equity kingpins pay taxes on what is really the fruits of their labor like other working stiffs was a " a "war… like when Hitler invaded Poland in 1939."

[Aug 23, 2010] Bond Madness - Paul Krugman Blog -

NYTimes.com

R. Law

...To your point yesterday on sacrificing virgins to the invisible gods, I think this to be the Achilles' heel of the policy elite - I am certain we will find a process fraught with corruption in their virgin determination-selection-confirmation scheme since it is a hallmark of this elite that they despise process...

JNDillard

"The little people have to suffer." "Exactly. Didn't you ever read Darwin? It's survival of the fittest. Why punish me with taxes - any taxes at all - because I'm smarter? I figured out early where the money was and I took the risks. You didn't. So I'm supposed to share? We all gamble. The difference is that I gamble for high stakes with little risk, since I have the full indemnification of the US tax payer and the Congress.

Meanwhile, the little people play the lottery, Vegas, and take out Payday loans, which I have stock in. I resent the government taking my wealth. It doesn't matter if it was given to me, I lucked out, or I got into a racket where I get paid 400% of what my employees get. If you are poor it's probably due to your own inadequacies and don't deserve to be rescued.

What I need is less government, less government interference. Life is a gamble. I'm not going to let you load the game against me. But if you try, don't worry, I'll still win, because I play by my own rules."

[Aug 23, 2010] Management Consulting Myths

"...the McKinsey-sized and Big 4 CPA groups, largely billing machines and con artists.Then there are a lot of smaller and boutique firms who generally have older and more experienced personnel who actually provide value, sometimes on very narrow technical matter"
The Baseline Scenario

Here's a quote from Craig: "We were proud of the way we used to make things up as we went along. . . . It's like robbing a bank but legal. We could take somebody straight off the street, teach them a few simple tricks in a couple of hours and easily charge them out to our clients for more than £7000 per week." According to Craig (according to Hari), all of management consulting boils down to recommending that the client lay off thirty percent of its staff, after one week of observation and analysis.

Sid Finster

I am just a housecat and not a management insultant, but I understand that the secret to successful management insulting is to figure out what the client wants to hear and then tell them that, dressed up in lots of buzzwords and MBA-speak.

That way management can go to the board/shareholders and say: "Booz/Bain/McKinsey told us that we need to fire 30% of the workforce and then pay ourselves a bonus for attracting top talent like ourselves!"

If things go wrong, well that road leads back to #2.

[Aug 23, 2010] Credit Card Companies Jack Up Rates Despite Flagging Economy, Super Low Funding Costs

naked capitalism

Kevin de Bruxelles :

Seems like this post on high credit card costs to American peasants can be combined with the previous post on surplus nations and the obvious solution is for the Chinese, Japanese, and German rentier classes to one way or another move into the American credit card business and to start low-balling the American rentier class' outrageous interest rates. Not only will they find a way to recycle their dollars, they will make sure their products find willing buyers.

i on the ball patriot

Determinants of Slave Prices

The prices paid for slaves reflected two economic factors: the characteristics of the slave and the conditions of the market. Important individual features included age, sex, childbearing capacity (for females), physical condition, temperament, and skill level. In addition, the supply of slaves, demand for products produced by slaves, and seasonal factors helped determine market conditions and therefore prices."http://eh.net/encyclopedia/article/wahl.slavery.us

The difference today is that there are too many slaves, and to the top wealthy ruling elite masters, the high resource consumption, in the aggregate globally, for maintenance of slaves is a problem

[Aug 23, 2010] Why The Fed's Upcoming Jackson Hole Economic Symposium Could Have Wide-Ranging Implications

zero hedge

...Fed intellectual midgets scribble pre-paid papers describing how stable the economy of soon to be bankrupt countries is

And finally something quite odd about this year's meeting - as Bloomberg's Scott Lanman points out, the head of the FRBNY's trading desk, better known as the PPT, Brian Sack, is not invited to this meeting for the first time. We will keep a close eye on this very peculiar regime change.

DarkMath:

Thats f'ing hysterical. Ben Bernanke would benefit from a "happy ending" or two. That guy is so repressed he can't even jack off. This is what happens when Ivy League nerds run the economy. They're incapable of having sex so they fuck us.

slob:

"as Bloomberg's Scott Lanman points out, the head of the FRBNY's trading desk, better known as the PPT, Brian Sack, is not invited to this meeting for the first time."

Me thinks this is because he will trading his ass off trying to hold up the bid less market when everyone figures out the Fed has lost control and confidence...even from fellow bankers?

Übermensch :

Someone should fire a bunker buster into Jackson Hole. World peace should commence shortly there after.

Alexandre Stavisky

Bankers love to meet in the high mountain area of Wyoming. They love the subtle innuendo of meeting and agreeing to be "in the HOLE".

Altogether an odious and detestable profession.

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/e13b361e-abe8-11df-bfa7-00144feabdc0.html

"The government could no longer issue sufficient notes – even with Havenstein's lightening presses – to finance itself. Society started to break up. Farmers refused to sell their produce in return for what they called "Jew confetti" – an ominous portent for the future. Hungry townspeople went on raids into the countryside, slaughtering livestock, which they then carried off. More prosperous regions contemplated secession."

merehuman :

"Jew confetti" once again .Coincidence, surely Bernanke will know the term

RobotTrader:

There will be nothing substantial discussed at Jackson Hole.

What ever the plan of attack is, it has already been decided, and will be announced or implemented at the absolute worst time for the bears.

It will be the same old, same old schedule in Wyoming:

Early Morning:

Shit, shower, and shave

Late Morning:

Round of golf

Lunch:

Served by exotic, foreign beauties

Early Afternoon:

Play cards, watch SportsCenter

Late Afternoon:

Massage session provided by 17-year old Asian girls

Evening:

Dinner, drinks, more card playing

Late Evening:

Sex with your choice of escort, any race, color, stripe, or ethnic origin.

[Aug 23, 2010] ANOTHER ROUND OF STIMULUS PROOF THAT WE ARE IN A "METHADONE ECONOMY" by Al Lewis (alewis)

December 13, 2009 | WhyTheHeck

I hate to be one of those I-told-you-so guys (not!) but way back in April I predicted a second round of stimulus, in 2010. I pointed that that the housing bubble was like heroin, and the first stimulus was like Methadone to prevent the economy from going "cold turkey" after the housing bubble burst. (That first-time homebuyers credit is also pure Methadone specifically for housing.) And guess what? Methadone is addictive too, so that's why we are getting a second round of stimulus and may need a third round in 2011.

We are in a "Methadone Economy," as I pointed out and the Financial Times recently agreed. The following link is from April 13, 2009. This posting still holds true - it could easily have been written yesterday, except that I was too busy beating Mary at Scrabble, so it's lucky I had already written it.

http://www.thinkoob.com/2009/04/13/more-on-the-methadone-economy/

[Aug 21, 2010] Watch Former Fed Governor Fred "Napoleon Dynamite" Mishkin In Dire Need Of A Diaper Change

Talk about corrupt Fed official ...he was basically paid $124k to say that everything was ok.

Last but not least, here is the soundbite of the year: "You have faith in the central bank." No further comment necessary.

Your rating: None Average: 5 (8 votes)

scratch_and_sniff:

Ha ha, scum sucking parasite meltdown.

Cognitive Dissonance:

How dare the interviewer take something Mishkin wrote way back in March 2006 (for the blue collar wages of only $124,000) and ask him to explain his sources, reasoning and logic. I hope that impertinent bastard never works in this town again.

Mishkin I mean. One can hope, however hopeless that hope might be.

Miles Kendig

The altar of central banks are littered with the blacked bones of countless millions who came to suckle and got cindered.

putbuyer:

Looks like a "Dick with ears" to me. How be backtracts and looks nervous.

Saxxon:

Rat-fucking white collar gangsters with Ivy League degrees run the white G-7 right now. Nothing much to do besides try to make a little money front-running; and be ready to get out of the way when their virtual casino blows up. And it will.

[Aug 21, 2010] Billionaire Ken Fisher Explains His Biases

Mish's Global Economic Trend Analysis

It is amazing how much money one can make mismanaging money in conjunction with a remarkably successful advertising program.

...Ken Fisher's advice is designed to do one thing - make money for Ken Fisher.

VegasBob:

Ken Fisher is what the Australians would call a spruiker.

A spruiker is a shill or a tout, kind of like the guy who stands outside the strip clubs trying to convince passersby to go in for a drink, or perhaps Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors.

The only 'bull' Ken Fisher knows anything about is bullshit.

[Aug 19, 2010] On Siegel and Schwartz's WSJ Op-Ed It's About the Consumer

Should not Professor Jeremy "Ponzi" Siegel retire to protect students and general public from his idiotic recommendations ? (that actually might not work for "general public" part: see Greenspan ;-) "His 1994 book Stocks for the Long Run sealed the conventional wisdom that most of us should be in the stock market." So he is wrong for 16 years and still teaching in Wharton...
Seeking Alpha

Logical Thought

"I know it may seem out of place for me to challenge a Wharton professor..."

That's okay... Siegel (from Wharton) is the one exception to the general rule that, normally, the award for "complete and total lack of common sense in an economics department" goes to PRINCETON.

Mitchman:

The Bond Bubble is the Mother of All Bubbles.

Moonrajah:

So what do we call those inflating it? Motherbubblers?

[Aug 18, 2010] Boston Fed's New Excuse for Missing the Housing Bubble NoneOfUscouddanode

naked capitalism

Jim Haygood

...The fecklessness of the economics 'profession' just beggars the imagination. They could at least entertain us by dressing up in clown suits. Popcorn! Dancing bears! This way to the egress! Bwa ha ha hahhh …

greg g:

"The fecklessness of the economics 'profession' just beggars the imagination. They could at least entertain us by dressing up in clown suits."

Best. Comment. Ever.

Eventually though, we have to realize that we, ourselves, are the problem. We do not take sufficient action to end the madness/clown-show. Until we the people demand honest, transparent reform, we'll continue to be fed this drivel and led down primrose paths.

ChrisPacific:

"Economic theory provides little guidance as to what should be the 'correct' level of asset prices - including housing prices," the new paper published by the bank says.

...This seems akin to a mathematics professor publicly denying the existence of the multiplication table.

[Aug 18, 2010] Congratulations, New Jersey by Cardiff Garcia

Aug 18 2010 | ft.com

The state of New Jersey appears to have blazed a new trail, but hopefully it's one that other states won't follow:

New Jersey is the first state ever charged by the SEC for violations of the federal securities laws.

[Aug 18, 2010] Mel Brooks and the Bankers

Economist's View

This is from Thorvaldur Gylfason. He argues that bankers may have been playing a game similar to the game played in Mel Brooks' The Producers, and if that's true, "the perpetrators should be heading to jail":

Mel Brooks and the bankers, by Thorvaldur Gylfason, Vox EU: In Mel Brooks' brilliant film and Broadway musical The Producers, an over-the-hill Broadway producer, Max Bialystock and his hapless accountant, Leo Bloom recognize two great truths. It is very hard to produce a hit and very easy to produce a flop – and they can make more money by producing a flop than by producing a hit. Max uses his expertise to ensure that the play flops. He selects the worst play ever written (Springtime for Hitler) – an ode to Hitler, a terrible director, and an awful male lead. Max understands critics' key role in determining the success of Broadway plays, so he pretends to attempt to bribe the most prominent critic in order to enrage him and make sure that he will pan the play.

Max then (literally) seduces his investors, raising a million bucks from "little old ladies" by selling far more than 100% of the potential profits. If the play fails almost immediately, the investors will not expect to receive any money and Max and Leo can run away to Rio with the investors' money.

The plot fails, however, because the show turns out to be a hit. It is so excruciatingly bad that the audience assumes it is a clever satire. Bialystock and Bloom land in jail when they are unable to pay over 1000% of profits to the investors. In prison, Max and Leo promptly set out to try the same scam. The story ends there because even Mr. Brooks could not imagine what happened next.

Fred C. Dobbs:

So, life imitates art. This is new?

Mel Brooks produces a wickedly satiric
movie about a Broadway play, turns the
movie into a fabulously successful
Broadway musical about the play, turns
the musical about the play into a movie,
and banksters from Wall St actually noticed?

Go figure!

[Aug 17, 2010] Gold And Energy Futures Contracts to Begin Trading in Singapore

Jesse's Café Américain

A little competition is just what the COMEX and LBMA need.

Wouldn't it be sweet if some master-of-the-universe trader caught rigging the markets and violating the rules were to find himself on the receiving end of an old-fashioned caning?

[Aug 16, 2010] A note for retail and 401K suckers...

In the spirit of Max Planck, stock indexes will progress funeral by funeral

Most US equity investors still have a touching delusion that equities are cheap ...

The American public thinks they are rugged individualists, who come to conclusions based upon sound reason and a rational thought process. The truth is that the vast majority of Americans act like a herd of cattle or a horde of lemmings. Throughout history there have been many instances of mass delusion in US stock markets... It appears that the latest mass delusion "Stocks for a long run" has replaced baseball as the national past-time in America.

[Aug 16, 2010] Whitney: Obama Is 'a Public Relations Hologram'

As you know I have been trying to 'figure out' Barack Obama and his mysterious background and equally mystifying rise to power, without having done anything notable, either in business, or civil service, or even military service. Granted, he talks one hell of a game but always seems to fall short. He seems to have less substance, far less accomplishments than his fellow actor in the White House, Ronald Reagan, who had been a governor before becoming President.

Perhaps the answer is as simple as this.

"It's hard to believe that a two-year senator from Chicago with a background in 'community organizing' presides over this elaborate and opaque system of imperial rule. He doesn't, of course. The real leaders remain hidden behind the cloak of democratic government and all of Washington's phony institutions. Obama is merely a public relations hologram, a friendly face that conceals the machinations of a global Mafia. Other people--whoever they may be--control the levers of power moving the pieces as needed to assure the best outcome for themselves and their constituents." Mike Whitney, Kill Hugo?
Well, unlike his predecessor, at least he has not tortured anyone that we know about.

[Aug 16, 2010] China's Cunning Plan to Destroy the US Dollar

The dollar has been in the process of self-destruction since that clever Chinese agent Richard Nixon defaulted on the US gold obligations in 1971.

And of course that Sino-Soviet agent Ronald Reagan who convinced the nation that 'deficits don't matter' if it involved tax cuts for the wealthy.

[Aug 16, 2010] The Future of Finance

The Big Picture

Did you know that the London School of Economics has a "Paul Woolley Centre for the Study of Capital Market Dysfunctionality?"

[Aug 15, 2010] Why do I expect the unemployment rate to increase

Aug 14, 2010 | Calculated Risk

ResistanceIsFeudal:

ex-Duke of Con Dao wrote:

"I wonder what Obama or any president can/could really do to move that needle."

A few more hundred billion to the TBTF banks should do the trick.

bANK fAILURE:

30 days till the second anniversary of the Lehman Bros collapse.

I'm going with with modern era gift: China.

Juvenal Delinquent:

I scream
You scream
We all scream
For useless ice cream
Metaphors about American Dreams

[Aug 14, 2010] Neocons are always neocons whether they cann themselves Democrats or Repouiblicans ;-)

Angry Bear

Share of Gross Domestic Product of Federal Government, Defense and Nondefense Spending, 2000-2009 January 15, 2010

Percent of GDP of Defense Spending

2000 ( 3.7)
2001 ( 3.8) Bush
2002 ( 4.1)
2003 ( 4.5)
2004 ( 4.6)

2005 ( 4.7)
2006 ( 4.7)
2007 ( 4.7)
2008 ( 5.1)
2009 ( 5.5) Obama

A Tale Of Two Expenses
By Paul Krugman

Social Security outlays are projected to rise from 4.8 percent of GDP now to 6 percent of GDP in 2030. This is a huge crisis, requiring complete overhaul of the system.

Defense spending rose from 3.8 percent of GDP in 2001 to 5.5 percent last year; you should also add a couple of tenths of a percentage point for non-defense security spending. This was no big deal - certainly not a reason to reconsider the tax cuts sold back in 2001 as easily affordable given large projected budget surpluses.

Just saying.

[Aug 14, 2010] Goldman's Strange Gym Fee Economics

Aug 12, 2010 | The Atlantic

As though the multi-million dollar bonuses aren't enough to make the rest of the world envy Goldman Sachs bankers, its new headquarters will include a shiny new 54,000 square foot gym. That sure beats our "gym" here at Atlantic Media, which might be 250 square feet. But oddly, Goldman's isn't free. And even stranger: the pay scale is proportional to your level at the firm. What's the logic here?

Social Workout reports on the story and provides a few pics. Its article questions the monthly fees which run:

$132 - Managing Directors
$75 - Vice Presidents
$51 - Everybody Else at Goldman

SW remarks:
Where to begin with this? First, this would seem to suggest that there are only three relevant levels of hierarchy within the Goldman empire. Yay FLAT bureauracy-free management structures! Or perhaps BOO extreme concentration of wealth at the top! But the really wonderful thing is the huge $57 break that Goldman Vice Presidents get on their gym fees vs. the "MDs." Look, an MD might make $20 million a year and have several hundred million in Goldman stock, and so he or she can afford that extra $684 a year. But a poor vice president is probably only making a few million a year, and those savings go directly to the outrageous cost of private schools on the upper east side. Hurray for progressive sliding scales!

Indeed. Goldman is so progressive, presumably it couldn't help but save the "little guys" a few bucks. Any given Associate is probably only making a paltry $350,000 per year or more, so $51 per month is clearly all they can afford. (For the record, when I moved to New York City after college and was barely halfway to making six-figures, I managed to afford a gym membership that cost $65 per month.) [Aug 14, 2010] Funny Nigerian email scam

[Aug 14, 2010] Funny Nigerian email scam

ANTI-TERRORIST AND MONETARY CRIMES DIVISION

FBI HEADQUARTERS IN WASHINGTON, D.C.

FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION

J. EDGAR HOOVER BUILDING

935 PENNSYLVANIA AVENUE, NW WASHINGTON, D.C. 20535-0001

ATTENTION FUND BENEFICIARY,

THIS IS AN OFFICIAL ADVICE FROM THE FBI FOREIGN REMITTANCE/TELEGRAPHIC DEPT., IT HAS COME TO OUR NOTICE THAT THE C.B.N BANK NIGERIA DISTRICT HAS RELEASED 10,500,000.00 U.S DOLLARS INTO BANK OF AMERICA IN YOUR NAME AS THE

BENEFICIARY, BY INHERITANCE MEANS.

THE C.B.N BANK NIGERIA KNOWING FULLY WELL THAT THEY DO NOT HAVE ENOUGH FACILITIES TO EFFECT THIS PAYMENT FROM THE UNITED KINGDOM TO YOUR ACCOUNT, USED WHAT WE KNOW AS A SECRET DIPLOMATIC TRANSIT PAYMENT S.T.D.P TO PAY THIS FUND THROUGH WIRE TRANSFER, THEY USED THIS MEANS TO COMPLETE THE PAYMENT.

THEY ARE STILL, WAITING FOR CONFIRMATION FROM YOU ON THE ALREADY TRANSFERRED FUNDS, WHICH WAS MADE IN DIRECT TRANSFER SO THAT THEY CAN DO FINAL CREDITING TO YOUR ACCOUNT.

SECRET DIPLOMATIC PAYMENTS ARE NOT MADE UNLESS THE FUNDS ARE RELATED TO TERRORIST ACTIVITIES WHY MUST YOUR PAYMENT BE MADE INSECRET TRANSFER, IF YOUR TRANSACTION IS LEGITIMATE, IF YOU ARE NOT A TERRORIST, THEN WHY DID YOU NOT RECEIVE THE MONEY DIRECTLY INTO YOUR ACCOUNT, THIS IS A PURE CODED, MEANS OF PAYMENT?

RECORDS WHICH WE HAVE HAD WITH THIS METHOD OF PAYMENT IN THE PAST HAS ALWAYS BEEN RELATED TO TERRORIST ACTS, WE DO NOT WANT YOU TO GET INTO TROUBLE AS SOON AS THESE FUNDS REFLECT IN YOUR ACCOUNT IN THE U.S.A, SO IT IS OUR DUTY AS A WORD WIDE COMMISSION TO CORRECT THIS LITTLE PROBLEM BEFORE THIS FUND WILL BE CREDITED INTO YOUR PERSONAL ACCOUNT.

[Aug 14, 2010] On Good and Bad Financial Innovation

Apr 19, 2009 | naked capitalism

Remember over the last decade how the mantra defending all this was "spreading risk." Funny you don't hear that anymore, because they were right. We all got the risk, whether we wanted it or not.

[Aug 12, 2010] Why Won't "Fiscal Hawks" Discuss The Real Issues-

Unlike the supply of oil supply of nonsense and red necks is usually unlimited. I think 90% of Ann Rand readers never heard of Friedrich Nietzsche
The Baseline Scenario

sales of Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged" are up sharply, although the book was first published more than 50 years ago (it is in and out of the Top 100 list on Amazon).

[Aug 12, 2010] Steve Keen Bank Profits a sign of economic sickness, not health

August 12, 2010 | naked capitalism

craazyman:

Another pack of lies from the whiners who can't see the future. If not for us and our credit, there wouldn't have been any growth or profits at all. Figure that one. We have 6%? So what. 6% of 100 still leaves 94 for everybody else. Without us, that would have been about 44 or 34 or even 24. If everybody split 24 that's a lot less than splitting 94. So we made them at least 50 for our 6%, if not 76. For free. I can count, can you? That's why we got bailed out. We want to make them another 50 or more, just like the first time. I need a statue of myself someplace, where I can be admired as a hero. Or maybe the wing of an art museum can bear my name. Or maybe the whole museum. Someplace I'm safe from scurrilous attacks on my integrity by leftwing radicals.

-Mr. Jolifceous "Jolly" B. Bucks, MBA, CFA, CPA, LLD, LLC, Ltd., PhD,
President Emeritus
Canker, Banker and Wanker

[Aug 12, 2010] Quote of the Day Economic Recovery

August 11, 2010 | The Big Picture

I love this paragraph from Bloomberg's Caroline Baum:

"What we had was a government-prescribed course of amphetamines (to keep it up), antibiotics (to prevent infection) and antidepressants (to make it feel better). It endured regular steroid injections from both monetary and fiscal authorities. And it still has no real muscle."

The Curmudgeon :

And all the steroids are making us irritable, and causing our …well, you know, to do what steroids make them do.

Ms. Baum is a favorite of mine

[Aug 11, 2010] KKR Cancels Their Secondary Stock Offering of $500 Million As Earnings Drop 92%

I'll try to keep a straight face. I'm sorry. Who is their CFO, Bernie Madoff? What they hell are they doing with a secondary offering less than a month after the IPO, and having given away most of their earnings in employee bonuses! Are they nuts? Do these jokers have a business plan, or do they just make it up as they go along?

[Aug 09, 2010] Economic "Do Not Fly" List by Barry Ritholtz

August 9, 2010 | The Big Picture

The Treasury Dept today announced that they had begun compiling a list of the economically insane, and will be publishing this list on a regular basis, according to a Washington Post article.

The reason for this: Commentaries regarding mortgage refinancing and/or forgiveness - from both political and investment players - that the Treasury department said could only be described as "ridiculous."

WaPo:

"Don't get your hopes up. And that's a good thing, since ushering in a refinancing boom would only be a short-term fix for the housing market and the economy that would have long-term consequences. A widespread refinancing of loans would mean reverting to looser lending standards, one of the things that got us into this mess. It could also boost mortgage rates for new borrowers and force U.S. taxpayers to shoulder more risk, since they technically own Fannie and Freddie . . .

"We have been reading an increasing amount of absurd commentary from people who should know better," said fictional Treasury spokesperson Ivan Tobyrael. "Much of this has crossed the line from economically implausible to criminally insane. As much as it is a waste of time, we thought it was time to clarify facts for the reality challenged."

An unnamed Treasury official said the department was thinking of creating an economic "Do Not Fly" list. "Some of these people are dangerous to themselves and others. We want to keep them away from sharp objects."

Treasury noted a few specific examples of what they described as "frickin' crazy":

-A major Wire House (and TARP recipient) suggestion we abandon loan to value standards to allow more refinancings of homes likely to default as "Uncle Sam is on the hook anyway."

-Reuters suggestion that the GSEs are about to embark on a massive loan forgiveness program.

Said another fictional spokes-avatar: "We don't know what they are smoking over at Reuters, but it is obviously some powerful shit."

Either that, or the heat is frying their brains . . .

[Aug 09, 2010] And Scene ICI Reports 13th Consecutive Week of Massive Domestic Equity Outflows As Banks Start To Panic

Retail investors are dunzo
zero hedge

unwashedmass

I mean, dont' we all understand that we are obligated to give every dime we have to Jamie Dimon?

what's wrong with these people?

[Aug 09, 2010] "Technically Incompetent" NY Fed Examiner of Biggest Banks Pre Crisis Promoted for Blowing Up the Economy

A Gresham's Law dynamic in FED that elevates incompetency well above any Peter Principle level.
naked capitalism

attempter:

Prior to 1990, Ms. Dahlgren was responsible for budget and policy at the Substance Abuse Intervention Division at Riker's Island, part of the New York Department of Corrections

To paraphrase, she did budgeting for a prison. A noble occupation, to be sure, but not exactly applicable to understanding the complex risks within a portfolio of synthetic CDOs, understanding interconnected risks, or developing a view on financial company regulatory capital requirements.

A prison-industrial parasite – I assume "noble occupation" is a term of irony.

Jackrabbit:

The Crony Principle trumps the Peter Principle:

You rise to the level of your loyalty and service to powerful benefactors.

In that light, I think she was VERY competent – and was rewarded accordingly.

[Aug 09, 2010] BNY Asks If Retail Investors Are Leaving US Stocks In Mutual Funds And ETFs, Then Who Is Buying Stocks

zero hedge

Iceobar:

.... a couple of quotes from Greenspan's paper in 1966...

"Under a gold standard, the amount of credit that an economy can support is determined by the economy's tangible assets, since every credit instrument is ultimately a claim on some tangible asset. But government bonds are not backed by tangible wealth, only by the government's promise to pay out of future tax revenues, and cannot easily be absorbed by the financial markets. A large volume of new government bonds can be sold to the public only at progressively higher interest rates. Thus, government deficit spending under a gold standard is severely limited. The abandonment of the gold standard made it possible for the welfare statists to use the banking system as a means to an unlimited expansion of credit. They have created paper reserves in the form of government bonds which - through a complex series of steps - the banks accept in place of tangible assets and treat as if they were an actual deposit, i.e., as the equivalent of what was formerly a deposit of gold. The holder of a government bond or of a bank deposit created by paper reserves believes that he has a valid claim on a real asset. But the fact is that there are now more claims outstanding than real assets. The law of supply and demand is not to be conned. As the supply of money (of claims) increases relative to the supply of tangible assets in the economy, prices must eventually rise. Thus the earnings saved by the productive members of the society lose value in terms of goods. When the economy's books are finally balanced, one finds that this loss in value represents the goods purchased by the government for welfare or other purposes with the money proceeds of the government bonds financed by bank credit expansion."

"In the absence of the gold standard, there is no way to protect savings from confiscation through inflation. There is no safe store of value. If there were, the government would have to make its holding illegal, as was done in the case of gold. If everyone decided, for example, to convert all his bank deposits to silver or copper or any other good, and thereafter declined to accept checks as payment for goods, bank deposits would lose their purchasing power and government-created bank credit would be worthless as a claim on goods. The financial policy of the welfare state requires that there be no way for the owners of wealth to protect themselves."

http://www.constitution.org:80/mon/greenspan_gold.htm

[Aug 09, 2010] The Employment Report

Nice template ;-)
Economist's View

Sandwichman:

Unemployment? What unemployment? Nothing... could be further from the truth!

"It is sometimes argued that __________ is necessary to cushion the impact of the loss of jobs due to __________. Claims that __________ will reduce job opportunities are based on the false premise that society has only a fixed number of things to be done or a limited variety of products to be made and workers in excess of those required to meet these needs will be idle.

"Nothing, of course, could be further from the truth. People's __________ are unlimited; it is only our capacity to __________ that is limited by our ability to __________."

[Aug 09, 2010] The "Lose-Lose" Reality Of A Financial Cocaine Addiction

The cocaine of cheap money.

...conundrum: How to fix the economy, or mask the pending collapse without an uprising

plocequ1:

It look likes the Cocaine is working. Futures are green. Must be that high grade shit. It could also be the circumference of the straw. The wider, The better

[Aug 08, 2010] The Myth of the Social Security Shortfall

Economist's View

stunney:

The proper way to approach this issue is by means of rigorous math and actuarial science. Let us proceed accordingly:

1. 2+2 = well, opinions differ, so we have to examine some of those opinions in a balanced, pro center right way.

2. Social Security is a European Socialist thing, hence an alien monster thing that is ready at any moment to burst asunder the torso of the Republic, spilling entrails everywhere as it rears its ugly head in the most menacing fashion imaginable .

3. We know for a fact that Socialist ideas inevitably lead to disaster -- in other words higher taxes on the high net worth population.

4. Therefore Social Security must be shown to be a disaster in the making.

5. Thank God Almighty for the fair and balanced reporting on this issue by our mainstream media.

6. This is THE civil rights issue of our time.

7. Sharron Angle is one smart and fearless leader.

8. What time is Glenn Beck on?

9. If we'd stuck to the Gold Standard, none of this would have happened.

10. I bet blacks get more out of SS than they ever paid in.

Brought to you by:

Concerned Multimillionaires For Social Security Refutiation

and by

The League of Southern White Morons

and by

The Bipartisan Commission on Octogenarian Personal Independence

and by

Desocializing America

and by

Free Market Math, Inc.

[Aug 08, 2010] Sunday Funnies 2010-08-08 Earnings Potential

Today's Sunday Funnies is a bit more sobering than I like.
Here goes.

I will have more thoughts about unemployment later this week.

[Aug 07, 2010] A Newfound Flexibility

Financial Armageddon

In short: governments who hate vice suddenly hate it much less when cash flow is slow. And we are seeing that again today.

[Aug 07, 2010] Guest Post Projecting Yield Curve Slopes

zero hedge

Perseus son of Zeus:

As long as were posting absurdities.

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5iGvAw44XehrKzx43-IAcbH...

"By RYAN J. FOLEY (AP) – 9 hours ago

MADISON, Wis. - With the district in a financial crisis and hundreds of its members facing layoffs, the Milwaukee teachers union is taking a peculiar stand: fighting to get its taxpayer-funded Viagra back."

[Aug 05, 2010] Ex-Goldman Sachs Employee Compares Working At Bank To Being A 'Fluffer' On A 'Porn Set'

From Wikipedia: "A fluffer is a hired member of the crew of a pornographic movie whose role on the set is to sexually arouse the male participants prior to the filming of scenes requiring erections."
Peering into these deals was kind of like the zoomed-in penetration shot in a cheesy porn video: you could barely tell which end was up, which part was which, or, more importantly, who exactly was screwing whom. The quant aspect didn't really matter at the end, as one lacrosse-playing Penn graduate would agree on price via phone with another lacrosse-playing Cornell grad, and life would resume its speedy course to another deal.

The sad truth is: quants were the eunuchs at the orgy. The fluffers on the porn set of high finance. We were the ever-present British guy in every Hollywood WWII film: there to add a touch of class and exotic sophistication, but not really matter much to the plot (and maybe even conveniently take some bad guy's bullet).

JShankel

Comparing banking with porn production is disgusting and totally inappropriate. Porn is a legitimate industry.

lazercat2008:

What a dysfunctional money grubbing company. Goldman should be destroyed.

Thomas Paine:

Goldman was destroyed... Then the Bush administration decided to play Dr. Frankenstein.

CheapTrick:

OK, Um... I work in porn. And as much as the giggling girlies love to go on about "fluffers," I'm sorry to tell you that the job is an urban myth. I've worked in the industry for years and for many different companies. And nobody has ever even heard of it other than in movies and urban legends.

Fluffers I guess are like honest bankers. You just hear about them but they don't really exist.

TheFabOne:

Ex-Goldman Sachs Employee Compares Working At Bank To Being A 'Fluffer' On A 'Porn Set'

Perfect analogy. Because everybody got f*cked and nobody know who until later, when the DVD came out.

[Aug 05, 2010] Is the Unemployment Problem Cyclical or Structural

Economist's View

Min:

"One thing the stimulus did not do was to spur new lending."

No, the bank bailouts did that. Remember? "So they can start lending again." ;)

Lawrence:

I thought the bailout money was supposed to be used to pay bankers' bonuses for their ineptitude, and to also help industry wide bank consolidation.

[Aug 05, 2010] And Scene ICI Reports 13th Consecutive Week of Massive Domestic Equity Outflows As Banks Start To Panic

zero hedge

What more can we say here that we have not said for 12 times in a row already. Retail investors are dunzo. The latest update from ICI shows that the week ended July 28 saw a record 13th consecutive outflow from domestic mutual funds as stocks bloody surged. Good thing the HFT algos can now essentially communicate with each other in the actual unique flow patterns of cancelled stock bids, thereby announcing to all other participants the plans of one which promptly become those of all, in the most under the radar concerted effort to "club" the market's HFT participants as one big trading force. As for retail: it is all over. We won't even chart the latest move. Figure it out: nearly $50 billion in outflows YTD as the market is well green.

When the coordinated computerized front running game (of stupid carbon based lifeforms) in which one Atari machine sells to another, and repeats into infinity, while all book liquidity rebates, comes to an end and the theater is finally perceived to have been burning all along, watch out for the binary stampede.

[Aug 05, 2010] Taleb Calls Out Alan Blinder for Questionable Ethics

Unfortunately Greenspan and Blinder might not be around to face their accusers in a court of law, but "...communism was the best friend that capitalism ever had " is an interesting line of thought ;-). Looks like some form of communism infected the USA but it was implemented just for banksters...
August 4, 2010

reslez:

The third critical element missing from the 30s is the existence of an alternative on the left - the trade union movement was decades old and quite active. That and the heady specter of Communism convinced the wealthy that Roosevelt wasn't the worst opponent they faced.

alex:

"the heady specter of Communism convinced the wealthy that Roosevelt wasn't the worst opponent they faced"

I suspect you're right but the irony is delicious: communism was the best friend that capitalism ever had.

alex:
"The big difference is that there was a international Communist movement that scared the crap out of capitalists in the 1930's and that appealed to working people."

Which proves the capitalists right – competition is what makes 'em do a good job. Ironically capitalism, without the competition of communism, has become degenerate rent seeking.

[Aug 04, 2010] Twitter Humor

immobilienblasen

Dilbert.com

[Aug 04, 2010] Back to Prison for Better Health Care

August 4, 2010 | The Mess That Greenspan Made
Here's a pretty remarkable story that was spotted over at Patrick.net the other day. ... The details are in this report at Signs on San Diego.
Robber says he did it to go back to prison

Peter Barry Lawrence pointed a BB gun at a bank teller and was surprised at the amount of bravado that surged through him. He threatened to shoot anyone who followed him out.

"I felt like Clint Eastwood or Charles Bronson," he said. "There was a sudden rush of adrenaline."

Lawrence, 71, made his getaway in his wheelchair, with $2,000 in cash on his lap. He was headed back to his rented room at the nearby San Diego Downtown Lodge, but he took a meandering route down Seventh Avenue until the police caught up with him five minutes later.

And just like that, the rush was over. But that was all part of the plan.

The way Lawrence tells it, Monday's robbery of a Chase Bank was just a desperate ploy to get back behind bars, where he believes he will receive better medical care than he has been able to obtain on his own.

[Aug 02, 2010] Why financiers are leaders in drivel by Lucy Kellaway

August 1 | Financial Times

mirrog :

Financiers are rank amateurs at spewing drivel. The drivel-masters of the universe are management consultants. Brain-damaging, stomach-churning bovine excrement, which CEOs find mysteriously appealing. It's yet another occupation in which compensation seems to be inversely proportional to results.

[Aug 02, 2010] Knives Out for Elizabeth Warren

naked capitalism

Richard Kline

Beltway rentmes can't stand anyone who cares, since they themselves got where they are in life by cutting whatever of that capacity from the flesh of their soul with the sharpened edge of a credit card before they left college, however long ago that was

emca:

...I think Angelo Mozillo would be a fine choice to head the agency. He certainly has a background in appeasing consumer sentiment for the marginally displaced.

EmilianoZ:

I would prefer Larry Summers for the job. It would be a step down for him but I'm sure he's capable of self-sacrifice.

[Aug 02, 2010] Goldman Sachs Resort & Casino by David Henry Sterry

July 21, 2010 | The Huffington Post

Goldman Sachs is proud to announce a consumer-enriching expansion from the hallowed halls of Wall Street to the glittering neon of Las Vegas. In addition to continuing our world-class wealth-friendly Private Wealth Management and Personal Banking services; our internationally-recognized client-focused Global Investment Research services; our award-winning, growth-facilitating Debt Financing teams, we are excited to unveil plans for the globally diversified, entertainment-enhanced, Goldman Sachs Lounge & Casino, perfect for both the high roller, and the high-net-worth individual, financial institution, corporation and/or government.

Located just off Flamingo Ave. between Treasure Island and Circus Circus, GSL&C will continue our tradition of offering the finest in connectivity-based consumer value. From Texas Hold 'em Hedge Fund tables, to Equity Capital Craps games, to Subprime Mortgage Default Roulette wheels, to Junk Bond Bingo, Goldman Sachs plans to bring the visionary, innovative and family-friendly fun it made famous on Wall Street, and transplant it right into the heart of Las Vegas.

[Aug 01, 2010] The Golden Truth

From comments to Is the Fed Chair's Reappointment at Risk

wally:

"…the public's perception that Obama is in bed with Wall Street."

Is he the one whose wife chased him with the golf club, or is that the other one?

I Gotcha Covered Goldman"

"I Gotcha Covered Goldman"

[Aug 01, 2010] Alan Greenspan The Financial System Is Broke zero hedge

ATTILA THE WIMP:
  • Price of Big Mac April 2001 (prior to attack of Osama bin Subcontractor) $2.54
  • Price of Big Mac July 2010 $3.73 up 47%
  • Price of a side of Freedom Fries not available.

[Aug 01, 2010] The Committee to Defraud the World

In a December 23, 2007 Op-Ed piece penned for the NY Times, Harvard Professor Greg Mankiw wrote: "The truth is the current Fed governors, together with their crack staff of Ph.D. economists and market analysts, are as close to an economic dream team as we are ever likely to see." Two years later, the number of those who still believe in the magical powers of policy making leadership has plummeted....

July

[Jul 31, 2010] Should We Buy Fed's Reports of Gains on AIG Bailout Vehicles

July 30, 2010 | naked capitalism

NOTaREALmerican:

I believe what Pravda tells me.

The five year plan will be finished ahead of schedule.

psychohistorian:

Exactly! All the unemployed would do well to prepare for jobs in the growing disinformation sector. The need is growing exponentially until the empire crashes.

[Jul 30, 2010] John Stewart Mill vs. the European Central Bank by J. Bradford DeLong,

Project Syndicate

One of the dirty secrets of economics is that there is no such thing as "economic theory."

[Jul 29, 2010] Jim Rickards Compares The Collapse Of The Roman Empire To The US, Concludes That We Are Far Worse Off

zero hedge

Foremost, this analysis is insulting to the Roman Empire in the most basic way ... they were the pre-eminent global power for hunderds (2-3-4-5 depending on how/when you count) of years, while we've barely lasted 20 (our age of dominance begins with the collapse of the USSR).

Plus they had better orgies.

Bananamerican :

"the downfall of empire was actually greeted by the bulk of the people as the barbarians were welcomed at the gate with open arms"

and i, for one, welcome our new Mexican overlords...

ZackAttack :

This implies to me that, just as there came a point sometime after Constantine where the Romans started looking back fondly on Nero and Caligula, we will look back on the glorious days of Bush and Obama.

e_goldstein:

ask yourself not what the romans did wrong; instead, ask yourself what the Visigoths did right.

Mr Creosote:

Hostile takeover

nope-1004

Shit... as long as American Idol and Dancing with the Stars is on at 8, then will anyone even know?

[Jul 28, 2010] Sell Orders Overwhelm WOPR As 10 Year Recaptures 2.99% zero hedge

StychoKiller

When things things don't go to plan, management and government can be remarkably persistent.

This is otherwise known as - The Corporate Approach to Dead Horses .....

The tribal wisdom of the Dakota Indians, passed on from one generation to the next, says that when you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount. But in modern business (education and government), because heavy investment factors are taken into consideration, other strategies are often tried with dead horses, including the following:

1. Buying a stronger whip.

2. Changing riders.

3. Threatening the horse with termination.

4. Appointing a committee to study the horse.

5. Arranging to visit other sites to see how they ride dead horses.

6. Lowering the standards so that dead horses can be included.

7. Reclassifying the dead horse as "living-impaired".

8. Hiring outside contractors to ride the dead horse.

9. Harnessing several dead horses together to increase speed.

10. Providing additional funding and/or training to increase the dead horse's performance.

11. Doing a productivity study to see if lighter riders would improve the dead horse's performance.

12. Declaring that the dead horse carries lower overhead and therefore contributes more to the bottom line than some other horses.

13. Rewriting the expected performance requirements for all horses.

14. Promoting the dead horse to a supervisory position

[Jul 28, 2010] The Daily Propaganda Is Just Getting Painful

"Most propaganda is not designed to fool the critical thinker, but only to give moral cowards an excuse not to think at all". - Michael Rivero
zero hedge
  • Bloomberg headline: "Capital Goods Orders in U.S. Climb, Signaling Investment Pickup"
  • Goldman Sachs: "Durable Goods Orders - Weaker than Expected"

[Jul 28, 2010] Well, don't let it be said that this Congress isn't creating jobs

"The answer is yes, it does. If it didn't, I wouldn't be able to justify getting out of bed in the morning and charging the outrageous fees that we charge our clients, which they willingly pay."

-A former regulator, now corporate lobbyist, as to whether he had an inside edge in lobbying his ex-colleagues

[Jul 28, 2010] Fox fleecing Republican rednecks: Glenn Beck Goldline Scheme

How nice of Glenn... Shilling for the firm which managed to sell to those dummies who listen to Glenn $285 coin that competitors are selling for $318 for $813 perfectly reflects Glenn Beck's Republican values ;-)
The Big Picture

Goldline International is under investigation by the Santa Monica City Attorney's office, jointly with the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office, as well as being the subject of a separate investigation by Congress into the possible criminal practices. The firm has been the subject of an ABC Nightline News Exposé, as well as an investigation by NY Congressman Weiner).

Jess Bachman, who did several of the fantastic illustrations for Bailout Nation, turns his graphic expertise to the Glenn Beck/Goldline endorsement scheme:

Infographic by The Big Picture

[Jul 27, 2010] Luck Or Skill - What Is More Critical To An Exceptional Investor (Or Even A Completely Worthless One)

Ironically, investors have learned their lessons: after a nearly 60% ramp from the all time lows, investors continue to refuse to buy when everyone else is buying, contrary to the pleading by Obama, and all the conflicted fly by night permabullish mutual fund managers which CNBC appears to have an infinite collection of to recycle and fill content inbetween all those incontinence ads 24/7.

Jason T :

Question should be:

What's the less immoral way to make money today: inside information or using your banks deposits to front run your brokerage client's orders?

[Jul 27, 2010] "Lost in the Wilderness of their Models"

The most confused of any putative authorities are the academic economists, lost in the wilderness of their models and equations and their quaint expectations of the way things ought to go if you can tweak numbers. These are the people who believe with the faith of little children that if you can measure anything you can control it. They will go down in history as the greatest convocation of clowns ever assembled, surpassing all the collected alchemists, priests, and vizeers employed in the 1500 years following the fall of Rome.

Jim Kunstler

[Jul 27, 2010] Which is the Bigger Threat Terrorism or Wall Street Bonuses

"Osama Bin Laden always knew to attack America's economic center first for the greatest results, he just never imagined he'd have such strong and willing allies. "
July 26, 2010 | naked capitalism

NOTaREALmerican:

It depends who the audience is.

If we assume that the goal of any well run society (meaning, well run for the nobility) is to manipulate their peasants into paranoid fear-of-outsiders, then trrrrrsssts are the winning ticket.

In fact, I think all REAL Patriots should be much more worried about trrrrsss getting Wall Street's bonuses.

(Queue eagle: )

Protect America's bonuses from trrrrrrssss; vote Republicrat!

[Jul 26, 2010] Headline From The (Immediate) Future 10 Share Block Moves Market By 50% (And Obama Praises Own Economic Policies) As 10 Year Yields -3%

zero hedge

KTAISA:

Anyone else have three different Cramer's staring at you via add space?

101 years and c... :

Yes. My usage of ZH has gone down 25% today thanks to seeing Cramer's mug all over it.

lizzy36:

ZH has NO control over what ads appear on this site. That is google adsense.

Now, because one enjoys irony, one suggests that you should increase your use of ZH 250%, because nothing is more ironic than cramer, funding Tyler(s) work.

[Jul 26, 2010] chicago-fed-economic-activity-declined.html

Juvenal Delinquent:

They didn't have fancy schmancy computers to hide things in the 30's, and Wall*Street laid an egg, the Dow losing 90% of it's value, top to bottom, but we're smarter now.

[Jul 25, 2010] iPhone4 vs HTC Evo

Funny text generated animation ;-).

souleben

"They could put out a f**** brick, and call it an iPhone"
And you'd still buy it.

[Jul 24, 2010] Letters - The Oil Spill as a Teachable Moment

July 23, 2010 | NYTimes.com

Mark Miller

The flawed and fragile deepwater well is like the dirty needle in the arm of an addict, an uncomfortable reminder of America's ever more desperate dependence on oil.

[Jul 23, 2010] Fed Watch: Bernanke Post Mortem

Economist's View
Goldilocksisableachblonde:

"For all intents and purposes, the Fed is done. To be sure, the Fed would roll out its new set of lending facilities in response to another financial crisis. But setting the possibility of crisis aside, it is not clear what data flow short of a significant drop in activity would prompt a change of heart at the Fed."

When I first read this , I swear , it came out as : "For all intents and purposes , the Fed is dung."

I think I may be having a stroke.

Goldilocksisableachblonde:

"Moreover, even if the economy does worsen more than they expect, the likely candidates for policy action are more smoke than fire. The Fed knows this, and doesn't want to lose credibility on actions with little likelihood of success."

A roomfull of bare-ass Emperors/Empresses , eh paine ?

[Jul 22, 2010] Economists = Idiots- Part 1829

Right, because the $2,534,722.22 a year paid in interest on $1 Billion in excess reserves is a drop in the bucket for the U.S. Federal deficit.

And because the risk-free rate of return that features in so many economic models should be different for intermediaries (financial institutions) than wealth-creators (businesses).

And because "excess reserves" are money issued by the government which is inflationary because of the multiplier effect of money-which, of course, assumes the money is being invested. (As this money is, in taxing our tax dollars and giving them to Vikram Pandit, Ken Lewis, Lloyd Blankfein, and Jamie Dimon [in descending order of theft; YMMV].)

And, of course, because that $1 Billion that is not being used in the economy would only produce about $5-8 Billion in GDP, which is roughly, what, 50,000 to 80,000 new jobs?

[Jul 20, 2010] Merle Hazard- Greek Debt Song

Hat tip to CalculatedRisk. While Greek Debt Song is the newest Merle Hazard has other wonderful songs in his repertoire:
Jul 19, 2010 | CalculatedRisk

Outsider:

By the way, Never on Sunday was my Greek grandmother's favorite song. (She died at 104 many years ago, so it must be an old song)

I didn't even know it had Greek connections.

[Jul 19, 2010] If you want to avoid facing a tough prosecution for malfeasance, be a banker, not a biker by Dave Lindorff

That appears to be the lesson of Saturday's front page of the Wall Street Journal, where the lead story was about how Bank of America repeatedly hid its massive bad debt holdings from regulators and investors through a creative accounting device called "repurchase agreements," and the second story, just above the fold, was about how US Food and Drug Administration prosecutors are "Casting a Wider Net" investigating the use of steroids by competitive cyclists.

According to the BofA story, the bank, during a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation into the real financial condition of the nation's biggest financial institutions, admitted that at the ends of all the quarterly reporting periods from 2007 through 2009, it had used repurchase agreements, or "repos," to temporarily shed bad debt before drawing up and releasing its required public filings. That is to say, it managed to lie about and hide from view its weakened liquidity position all through the financial crisis.

Astonishingly, the Wall Street Journal article reports that this practice, known euphemistically in financial industry parlance as "window dressing," is "not illegal in itself," unless it is done with the intent of misleading investors. The article is quick to note that "Bof A said its incorrect accounting wasn't intentional." (The newspaper didn't go to the SEC or to any independent source such as an academic expert or lawyer for comment on this laughable whopper.)

BofA, every three months, was transferring mortgage-backed securities briefly to a trading partner in return for a simultaneous agreement to repurchase similar securities from the same partner, once the required SEC filing had been shipped out in the mail. As the Wall Street Journal's reporter Michael Rapoport writes, "The practice amounts to a bank renting out its balance sheet for short periods; the bank gets fees, and the client on the other end of the trade gets short-time cash."

If this kind of thing is not deliberate fraud I don't know what is, and yet the bank, in its statement to the Wall Street Journal, claims the "effort to manage its balance sheet" was "appropriate," and that the intent behind the shell game was not to mislead investors or regulators, but rather was "to reduce the specific business unit's balance sheet to meet its internal quarter-end limits for balance sheet capacity."

How's that for financial mumbo jumbo?

It would be interesting to see how well an ordinary citizen would fare, if he or she used a "repo" type strategy to hide half his or her income from the IRS (the equivalent scam might involve "donating" half of one's income on December 31 of the tax year to an accommodating charity, and then taking the money back on January 1 of the next year), and then claimed that the fraud was "not intentional."

But hey, it works for the banks. The article goes on to report that, "Apart from requiring more disclosure about its repo accounting, the SEC hasn't taken any action against BofA over the matter. The fact that the [BofA] letter [to the SEC] was released suggests the SEC has concluded its review."

Meanwhile, even as BofA and other financial behemoths get away with accounting murder, and are held harmless after their crooked dealings brought the US and the global economies to their knees, we're informed that FDA legal bloodhounds are doggedly stepping up their investigation into illegal steroid use by US cyclists involved in the current Tour de France bicycle competition. The FDA is reportedly hoping to get some participants to turn in competitors who are using illegal substances to enhance their physical performance.

In this fishing expedition, the FDA, according to this second Wall Street Journal article by Reed Albergotti and Vanessa O'Connell, is not out to prosecute rank-and-file riders, but rather wants to bring charges against "any team leaders and team directors who may have vacillated or encouraged doping by their riders."

Clearly, it is viewed by the US government as being critically important that the sport of cycling be kept clean of drugs, so that the Americans who watch the race from the comfort of their sofas and barcaloungers will know that the winners really deserved to win. But it clearly is not very important for Americans to know whether the bank where they put their hard-earned savings, or in whose artificially inflated stock they have invested their IRA or 401)(k) retirement funds, is cooking its books.

It is apparently critically important to know that those who encourage the use of performance enhancing drugs, thus undermining the confidence of America's sports viewers in the validity of their viewing experience, will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. It is apparently not that important at all that the people who caused a financial collapse that has pushed real unemployment and underemployment in the US up to close to 20 percent, collapsed the housing market, and put school districts, town and state governments on the brink of bankruptcy, be called to account, made to do jail time, or to perform community service.

The absurdity of this juxtaposition is made all the more clear by the fact that the FDA isn't even able to come up with a significant charge to bring against the alleged dopers in its intensifying investigation of the cycling sport. As the Journal notes, "Federal investigators are exploring several avenues," for possible prosecution, including "whether teams defrauded sponsors by failing to race cleanly," or whether US Tour de France multiple winner Lance Armstrong's US Postal Service team might have "misused federal funds."

It's the old story: steal a loaf of bread for a family and go to jail for years. Deceive national regulatory authorities and steal from a generation of pension investors and get a Troubled Asset Relief Program handout of billions of dollars in taxpayer funds.

[Jul 19, 2010] Tim Geithner's Ninth Political Life

The Baseline Scenario

Can GEICO really save you 15% or more on car insurance? Is Tim Geithner a lying dirt bag?

[Jul 19, 2010] Weekly Market Comment Don't Take the Bait - July 19, 2010

Hussman Funds

Investors who allow Wall Street to convince them that stocks are generationally cheap at current levels are like trout - biting down on the enticing but illusory bait of operating earnings, unaware of the hook buried inside.

[Jul 19, 2010] To Spin or Not to Spin by Marla Singer

Jul 17, 2010 | Radio Zero

To spin or not to spin– that is the question:

Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous measures,
Or to take arms against a sea of Top 40
And, by opposing, end them. To scratch, to filter
No more – and by a filter to say we end
This track and the thousand natural beats
That dance is heir to – 'tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wished. To dance, to fall
To roll, perchance to peak. Ay, there's the rub,
For in that roll of bliss what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off this trance interlude,
Must give us pause. There's the respect
That makes calamity of so long song.

[Jul 19, 2010] CountryWide goes Kafka – a First Person Narrative

July 18, 2010 | naked capitalism

Cross-posted from http://www.presimetrics.com/blog/

By Mike Kimel of Presimetrics

This post is going to be a bit different, at least for me. Generally I like to write things that are more data oriented, and that involve some pictures and figures. But this is a little story that happened to my wife and me, only a few weeks back, and I think it provides a bit of an illustration about how the economy works, or doesn't, in these post-Housing Bubble days. It's an absurd story, it makes no sense whatsoever, it cannot possibly happen in a civilized country, much less one that calls itself capitalist, but every word is true. So here goes…

My wife, deep into her third trimester of pregnancy, went out to run some errands with my mother and a family friend. It was pouring, and when they got back to the house, they saw a piece of paper stapled to a little tree at the end of our driveway. It was a notice from the Sheriff's Department that our house was going to be auctioned off on October 1st.

Now, obviously it had to be a bad joke. After all:

1. We had only bought the house the previous year and were about two months ahead on our mortgage.
2. The plaintiff was CountryWide, which is not the company with which have a mortgage.
3. The name of the defendant from whom the home was to be foreclosed was not the legal owner of the house – that is to say, my wife or I. In fact, the name of the defendant was similar to the name of the previous owner of the home, but the spelling was definitely off.
4. From what we heard of Sheriff's auctions, notices tend to be left on the door. Not stapled to a tiny little tree in the pouring rain.

But when my wife checked the Sheriff's site on-line, it turns out that, indeed, our home was slated to be auctioned off on October 1st. Multiple calls to the Sheriff's office were not returned. As to CountryWide – who exactly do you call at CountryWide? There's no "Press 4 if you have no relationship with CountryWide but we're trying to seize your house anyway." Ironically, if we did have a delinquent CountryWide mortgage, getting somewhere with them might have possible as any of their call center representatives would have been able to handle taking a payment. But the situation we were in, that they put us in, isn't one of the options that their call center seems equipped to sort out.

Fog Horn Leg Horn:

This may seem a little surprising to you, but not to lawyers all over the country that have been fighting the "foreclosure machine" for the past three years. This is a very typical scenario; another day at the office.

The only part that surprises me is that you were able to get it shut off short of litigation. Typically, you MUST lose the house and be foreclosed upon and in the process of ejectment before anybody really listens.

[Jul 18, 2010] Its the Law, Bitches!

The Big Picture

How the Common Man Sees It:

I can't personally say that the people at GS are going to an eternal hell. It is not my place to judge based on such limited information. One thing I can be pretty sure on. If they do get there the one thing they'll be thinking about this issue, if they have time. The one thing they'll be thinking is that they will have wished they paid more.

wally:

"Fines are then assessed based on your income and wealth"

… as opposed to the current system where money buys your way out?

alnval:

Thank you. Your statement, "Spin isn't fact, opinions aren't laws, and having an opinion is not the same as being informed." should be writ large in samplers hung on the walls of civics classes (if we still had them) across the country

Ilya:

Br'er Bear caught Br'er Rabbit. Br'er Rabbit pleads 'Puhleese don't trow me in dat briar patch.' Br'er Bear slings Br'er Rabbit into dat briar patch and standing smuggly with a tuft of fur twixt his paw he say 'dat'll teach em!'

[Jul 17, 2010] Financial Reform Bill was a Stunning Success

Mish's Global Economic Trend Analysis
Financial Reform Minuses
  • Glass-Steagall: Paul Volcker supported provisions that were hopelessly watered down, so much so that they can accomplish nothing. This was a complete failure.
  • Derivatives Reform: Banks successfully lobbied for derivative exceptions big enough to drive the planet Jupiter through. They succeeded. Derivatives reform is meaningless.
  • Too Big To Fail: The reform bill did absolutely nothing to rein in the widely recognized "too big to fail" policies of the Fed. This was a complete failure.
  • Preventing the Last Crisis: There is not a single thing in the bill that can possibly be construed to have prevented the last crisis. This was a complete failure.
  • Preventing the Next Crisis: There is not a single thing in the bill that can possibly do anything to prevent the next crisis. This too was a complete failure.
Financial Reform Pluses
  • None. The bill accomplished virtually nothing.

[Jul 17, 2010] Guest Post Lloyd Blankfein's Days Are Numbered As Chairman Of Goldman Sachs

zero hedge

drshock:

I pray to Lloyd Blankfein.

PhD:

The devil is indeed among us as even they who are doing Gods work have to settle in court.
Dark times indeed!

Sqworl :

Breaking news...Geithner with all his new FinReg powers will appoint his Master to head up Consumer Protection Agency...

MarketFox :

Blankfein is just another "Typical Americanized CEO"....This means winning at anybody's cost but the firm's....and using their legal capture and legal largesse to the fullest.....After all...if you are not working for us....you are against us....

Seems to me Blankfein should be given high fives for gaming the system at the highest degree possible....

There should be a "Corporate Heisman Trophy" award as an aside for "CEOs only"....

Maybe even make a new television episode...or even book series....

Why give all the eyeballs and ears away for free ?

King_of_simpletons:

Who is the right guy to change Goldman's image to fit the new paradigm it faces?

GOD.

[Jul 17, 2010] Flash Crash Lows!

Jul 16, 2010 | The Big Picture

Jack Damn:

Here we are: Right back to the very lows of the Flash Crash of May 6th

Discuss:

The Technical Analysis: Looking at the daily chart, the May 6th lows represent significant potential support … however, those lows have been tested multiple time and could weaken with further testing. Plus, this test comes in the middle of a noticeable down trend (lower highs, lower lows). If it fails to hold, expect to see SPX 950.

The Fundamentalist: Charts and technical analysis are medieval alchemy. Fibonacci was a morphine addict for God's sake, so there's no real significances in the May 6th lows other than it's a price point. Stocks are cheap and earnings are going to be stronger than people think. Apple will blow out their numbers. I own copious amounts of AAPL from the mid-40's, by-the-way. We go up from here, and even if we pull back, we'll be up for the year by December. Bank it, Sparky.

The Elliott Wave User: I'll tweak my count to be as backward looking as possible, but right now, I'm looking for a 3-wave, ABC pattern. But that might change if we put in a higher low here. Did I tell you I called the March '09 bottom? Upon reflection in July of '09, I adjusted my count and I actually nailed it. Yeah.

The Gold Bug: We're screwed. Sell all fiat and buy physical.

The Investor: Flash crash?

Chief Tomahawk :

Stop with the bad news already… I'm still building my ark, and I thought the latest prognostication said I have until Labor Day. Don't tell me "the rookies manning the terminals" are going to send us into the abyss!

clinton:

lol. "Earnings are great".

Anyone that still believes these fake earnings manufactured under fictional accounting standards that can be utterly abused by fiat (suspension of mark to market by FASB a couple years back)…

And the fact that EVERY TOM DICK AND SALLY is telling you to buy Apple tells me that it is a better time to be SELLING it and taking profits versus buying it. lol.

[Jul 17, 2010] Reader Inquiry Tax Havens, aka the Sunny Bahamas

naked capitalism

psychohistorian

Why are there no banksters in jail yet? Oh yeah, they are doing Gawd's work….or is that Greed's work.

K Ackermann:

God pays very well, but He only has a few openings.

[Jul 17, 2010] MANHATTAN'S WELFARE KINGS HOW BILLIONAIRES TURNED FARMS INTO PERSONAL TAX HAVENS AND PETTY CASH MACHINES,

Phil's Stock World

...freemarket ideas don't apply to members of Manhattan's genteel farmer class, even billionaires like Norman B. Champ III, who received nearly a half-million dollars in welfare payments for poor farmers, despite the fact that he lives in a multimillion dollar co-op at 828 Park Avenue. From 1995 to 2006, he raked in a total of $405,807 in dairy, corn and soy subsidies via his stake in the Champ family's dairy farm in Missouri, his home state. Handout-for-handout, even Reagan's mythic Cadillac-driving Chicago welfare queen and her $150,000 welfare scam got nothing on Champ, who could buy a Lamborghini and still have money left over to reupholster his private jet.

[....]

He might not be what most of us expect a welfare queen to look like, but that's only because we have been duped by the whole poverty thing, convinced that the crumbs we throw the needy are a huge burden on our budget. So we look for any way to cut them off. For those who want to observe a real subsidy queen in his natural habitat, there's no better place than Park Avenue. I am not trying to be ironic here. The people are literally welfare queens: They live where queens live and take money from the poor like queens do.

...William Lesse Castleberry, a tax attorney who oversees leveraged buyouts, received $133,680 in cotton subsidies through an Arkansas farm. Mary W. Heller, a photographer with a studio on East 74th Street, got $143,783 via a farm in Kansas for growing wheat and sorghum. William Philip Walsh, who recently purchased a $2.9 million luxury condo with interior design done by Armani, was paid $212,463 to not farm his land. Phyllis A. Joyner, a 77-year old peanut farmer with a swanky Greenwich Village apartment and over $7 million worth of beautiful land in rural Virginia, received $239,624 for her peanut crops

[Jul 17, 2010] Quit Chase Bank, Get A Chicken Sandwich

... I wanted to tell everyone that The House of Dimon may be losing a few customers in the Seattle area today:

We just found out via the Twilight Exit facebook page that the bar/restaurant is offering a free dinner to anyone who closes an account at Chase Bank today.

It turns out Twilight owner Stephen Mollman has a mortgage through Chase and says the bank is penalizing him for paying his mortgage on time.

Steve's serious, to the point where he says you can even come in and order the steak on the house if you give Chase Bank the heave-ho.

[Jul 16, 2010] Who Steered You Wrong About the GS Case

The Big Picture

curbyourrisk

Sorry but $550 million is not enough as far as I am concerned. Hell…Tiger Woods has to pay $750 million settle his problems and he only slept around, not brought an entire financial system to their knees (maybe a few ex-pornstars to their knees, but not the entire financial system).

philipat

...Sadly, this is probably not Blanfein's last erection?

[Jul 16, 2010] S&P 500 vs Median Expected Earnings Growth

The Big Picture

dead hobo:

Today, class, we will learn percentages. You should know this is an important concept. Percentages are used in the real world for many important purposes.

If you have 100 of something and remove 20% of them, you have 80 things remaining.

If those 80 things increase by 20%, you have 96 things.

Thus 20% down does not cancel out if you immediately have a 20% gain afterward.

So, using this concept, if you start at 100%, you end at 96%, which is still 4% below your starting point.

In other words, the graph above is deceptive, incorrect, and a likely example of government math. But it sure looks fucking impressive.

[Jul 15, 2010] Guest Post Why Goldman Could Pull It Off

zero hedge

Mr Lennon Hendrix:

Why Goldman Could Pull It OUT.....

"I did pull it out." Said Gold Man's Sach. "No you didn't!" Screamed Mary Shapiro. "You came inside of me!" "Whatever, just abort the damn thing then." The Sach rolled over. "Get me some water and my cigarettes, Daddy is thirsty and tired."

CPL :

And when I say make me a sandwich, you better come back with a goddamn sandwich.

Mr Lennon Hendrix :

The Sach tucked his Lloyd back into his boxers. "Oh, and make me a sandwhich!"

;)

RoRoTrader:

Priceless commentary Mr Hendrix.......so fucking cruel. Love ZH.

[Jul 15, 2010] Artist's Rendering Of Tim Geithner's Desktop

zero hedge

chindit13:

Don't be so tough on Tiny Tim. Having had his acquaintance when he was merely a Deputy Treasury Attache at an Embassy, I can tell you he suffers from a Napolean complex, is humorless and colorless, and probably spent his childhood pulling the wings from flies. You do not want to go out for a beer with this guy. I remember his wife as a granola eating tree hugger, and definitely the pants wearer in the family.

FOC 1183 :

Interesting. As the creator of his desktop (and having had dinner/cocktails with people like him in comparable positions), this was precisely my impression of him. Thanks for the confirmation

[Jul 15, 2010] What is Simon Johnson Smoking

naked capitalism

Alex:

Imagine an honestly written resume for Summers: "As Deputy Secretary of the Treasury, opposed regulation of derivatives. This action helped cause world economic meltdown."

Or Bernanke: "As Chairman of the Federal Reserve failed to take action or even publicly acknowledge an $8T housing bubble.

... ... ...

War is Peace
Freedom is Slavery
Ignorance is Strength
Currency Manipulation is Free Trade

[Jul 13, 2010] Hussman & Hester vs Wall Street Finest.......

immobilienblasen

There maybe are legitimate reasons to buy stocks, but a favorable opinion from "Wall Street Finest" should definitely not play any role among your screening process .... Except you use them as a "contrary indicator".... ;-)

[Jul 13, 2010] Cramer is Bullish!

July 13, 2010 | The Mess That Greenspan Made

You only have to watch about the first minute of this clip from Jim Cramer's Mad Money program yesterday to realize what a field day future historians will have when writing about the current period. They'll look back and wonder how capital markets and for-profit media were allowed to become so intertwined, helping to run the entire financial system into the ground again and again until major reforms were finally enacted.

Outsider:

By the way, Never on Sunday was my Greek grandmother's favorite song. (She died at 104 many years ago, so it must be an old song)

I didn't even know it had Greek connections.

CalculatedRisk

Here is the segment PBSNewsHour

Will Greek Austerity Plans Buckle Under Public Pressure?
YouTube - Will Greek Austerity Plans Buckle Under Public Pressure?

[Jul 13, 2010] SEC Chief Information Officer Finds God, Quits Regulator To Become Deacon by Tyler Durden

07/12/2010 | zero hedge

Today's wtf moment of the day is brought to you by the SEC and god. In a stunning development, we uncover that the SEC actually has had a Chief Information Officer for the past two years (yes, we loled). In an even more stunning development, the SEC has disclosed that this CIO is leaving the organization, and has decided to join the metaphorical Goldman Sachs by doing god's work on earth... but not at 200 West, and is instead joining the church as a deacon.

"The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that Charles Boucher has decided to leave the agency after serving as its Chief Information Officer (CIO) since 2008. His plans include not-for-profit work and completion of studies in preparation for ordination as a Deacon in his church next spring." This is merely confirmation that Mr. Boucher must have been rather compromised when Chief Information Officering: he should know, as most other far dumber SEC henchman have figured out, that Goldmanliness is Godliness.

Had he gone to Goldman, he would have already been promoted to Pope, in exchange for a few indulgences on behalf of the Abacus and Timberwolf sins, and have DMA access to High Frequency Communications directly to the One.

[Jul 12, 2010] "Innovation" and the Social Purpose of Financial Services

July 12, 2010 | naked capitalism

a:

For the links for today, from Bloomberg: "China Wins Higher Rating Than U.S. in First Ranking."

"Dagong Global Credit Rating Co. rated U.S. government debt AA with a negative outlook, and China AA+ with a stable outlook…" So the Chinese have their own credit rating company; the Europeans won't be long.

Graveltongue:

Ah yes, the cancer stage of capitalism. Radio therapy, chemo or fully invasive surgery? What to do?

[Jul 10, 2010] Ack! The Alan Greenspan Chair at NYU !

It' not this sound a little bit like naming some criminal justice department after one of 9/11 hijackers...
John Paulson's $20MM gift to New York University is to endow a chair in Economics named after Alan Greenspan. This might have slipped by our notice over the holiday weekend, but for the intrepid eye of Dan B:

"The Stern School will apply $5 million of John Paulson's gift to support two endowed faculty chairs. The first chair is named for alumnus Alan Greenspan (BS '48, MA '50, PhD '77), leading economist and former Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board.

[Jul 8, 2010] GMO's Jim Montier Destroys Kartik Athreya

zero hedge

Sudden Debt :

When I got promoted to senior management, the first thing my mentor said to me was:

"Senior managers are gods! And the most important thing Gods must do, is not to let the working drones know we exist. Otherwise they might think we get things done and they might try to contact us to get things done."

That's also why these guys say some stuff, but never give detailed plans because they don't have a clue what they are talking about.

And about the PhD's: If I had a penny for every time I've heard this in our company, I'd be a billionaire.

We categorize the people as followed:

  • The Greens: Factory workers
  • The Blues: Factory office workers
  • The Collars : Central office workers
  • The Kids : Management
  • Senior Management: us
  • Les Visa Papa's : CEO's

And the working places:

  • The Forest: Factory
  • The Village: Offices
  • The Palace: Top floor
drwells :

How did you get promoted to senior management? You don't sound ignorant or arrogant enough.

[Jul 07, 2010] Older, more educated workers, have highest length of unemployment

bearly:

EvilHenryPaulson wrote:

I said pay for performance

Tried to convince my wife of the same thing. I looked on the dresser this morning, and still nothing. Can't win.

Fluffy the Obese Persian Cat:

bearly wrote:

EvilHenryPaulson wrote:

I said pay for performance

Tried to convince my wife of the same thing. I looked on the dresser this morning, and still nothing. Can't win.

Be glad she didn't bill you.

[Jul 06, 2010] Contrarian investing

July 5 2010 | Financial Times

Dear investor,

It has been a profitable first half for Contrarian Partners. Our core investment strategy remains unchanged: to mine the research produced by investment banks every six months to establish consensus trading strategies. Then trade against them.

The year-end produced a rich crop of predictions. The usual sources – let's spare the names – were generally negative on US government debt, which was expected to show increasing signs of strain. In the event, only Ukranian debt did better than Treasuries; our long position gained about 10 per cent.

For similar reasons we loaded up on Japanese government bonds, which rose by double digits. Currency strategists, meanwhile, reckoned that the euro would benefit from continued diversification of FX reserves. The yen, they added, would be a big loser as the Bank of Japan lagged other central banks in raising rates. Our short euro/USD and long yen/USD trades were two of our best, yielding about 20 per cent. Equities, as ever, provided some good opportunities. Just as no one expected the Mongolian, Bangladeshi and Sri Lankan benchmarks to finish the half-year on the winners' podium, few anticipated that last autumn's correction in Chinese stocks would turn into a rout. Shorting H-shares in Hong Kong returned 16 per cent.

Not all of our positions were successful. We avoided most of the troubles in southern Europe, as almost nobody alerted us that there were troubles ahead. Yet there were enough generalised fears of a sell-off in Spanish government bonds for us to increase our exposure, with painful results (-16 per cent). Regrettably, some currencies did perform as predicted; the Australian dollar and South Korean won in particular. In general, though, the advice was reassuringly poor. The markets continue to reward us for listening to the experts – then doing the opposite.

[Jul 06, 2010] At Goldman, We Used Derivatives From AIG To Hedge Risk, Not Profit Off The Downfall Of America

"I am from Goldman, I am here to help".

George Parr:
If Reagan were alive today, he would update his quip about the 10 scariest words of the English language:

"I am from Goldman, I am here to help".

Which, on second thoughts, would not be an update after all. Goldman is the government, and the government is Goldman (Rubin, Paulson etc etc)

Here's Johnny

@George Parr:

"I am from Goldman, I am here to help". 9 Words
George Parr on Jun 30, 10:54 AM said:
@Here's Johnny:

Touche': "I am from Goldman Sachs, I am here to help"

NY Liberal on Jun 30, 10:16 AM said:

As a liberal, I totally agree with Goldman. If anything they're enriching through diversity the life's of their clients by sharing some of that Rich and Celebrated Golden Cultural Heritage of theirs of winch Financial Chicanery plays an intricate part.

I Agree on Jun 30, 10:28 AM said:

@NY Liberal:

All the animosity directed towards them is just one big giant cultural misunderstanding. Kinda like going to McDonalds and ordering a Falafel.

Jeff on Jun 30, 11:06 AM said:

They've been using this schtick for months and no one is buying it. Saying they bought derivatives only as a hedge is like me saying I went grocery shopping only to support American agriculture, and not to feed my family.

[Jul 05, 2010] Professor of economics, Fed researcher, child porno lover

WILLIAMSBURG - The Virginian-Pilot is reporting that an assistant professor at the College of William & Mary has been arrested on a federal charge of enticing a minor to take sexually explicit photos of herself and send them to him through the Internet.

On Thursday federal agents and Williamsburg Police arrested 34-year-old Justin Bradley May. He made an initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Norfolk and was jailed pending a bond hearing.

The FBI in Cleveland began investigating the case when agents were notified that a 13-year-old Ohio girl had sent nude pictures of herself over the Internet. After learning that the pictures were sent to a computer at W&M, the case was transferred to the FBI's Norfolk office.

According to an affidavit filed by FBI agent Paula Barrows, the girl initially posted a clothed picture of herself at www.talenthunter.com, a modeling website. She received an e-mail in April from someone identifying himself as "Jason Marx." The writer claimed to have inside knowledge of the modeling industry.

The girl told the e-mailer that she was 13. The e-mailer then directed the girl to someone he claimed was a model named Nikki.

E-mails from Nikki persuaded the girl to send nude pictures of herself to that e-mail account. Nikki also offered to send a professional photographer to take modeling photos of her in exchange for sex acts, the affidavit says.

The FBI traced both e-mail accounts to May's computer at W&M. May has been an economics professor at William & Mary since 2007, and previously served as a researcher for the governing board of the Federal Reserve System.

http://www.vagazette.com/articles/2010/07/02/news/doc4c2e2d130dca1527303...

[Jul 05, 2010] The vampire squid gang has become toxic like a pack of cigarretes by Tyler Durden

Goldman DESERVES to be shaken down. How can a firm that has raped and pillaged the citizenry expect "fairness"?Should not we start with sending Easy Al to spend the rest of his retirement in renovated Alcatraz first ?

Today, the Democratic candidate for Texas AG has filed a Legal Complaint and Legal Brief against Goldman Sachs et literally al for "causing financial crisis and physical harms; recession; unemployment; home and wealth loss; forced cutbacks in a wide variety of critical areas, including medical care, social services, and environmental protection" ...

In other words the vampire squid has become nothing more than a pack of cigarretes: Goldman Lights (recessed filter) ...

Missing_Link :

Don't you get it? "Tyler Durden," in both the movie and the book, is a schizophrenic character who has a separate personality and doesn't realize it's him. Same thing here; the Goldman-accusing TD and the Goldman-loving TD are the same person; they just don't realize it.

Muir :

"Don't you get it? "Tyler Durden," in both the movie and the book, is a schizophrenic character who has a separate personality and doesn't realize it's him. Same thing here; the Goldman-accusing TD and the Goldman-loving TD are the same person; they just don't realize it."

Hmmm... I think you are unto something here.

As one who hates Capitalism in its present form so viscerally and yet trades for a living, I can relate.

unwashedmass :

when do we sue ourselves for sitting quietly while GS and the other banks took over the country? stole the treasury? and basically bought the Congress? We have no one to blame but ourselves for sitting and watching this all happen live and in color on every network....

[Jul 05, 2010] The Laws Of A Traxis: From Permabull To Bear in 48 Hours by Tyler Durden

07/03/2010

June 30 (Bloomberg):

Biggs said bullish bets make up about 70 percent of his investments and isn't selling because he expects the S&P 500 to finish the year 10 percent to 15 percent above its level now. He favors property developers, oil service companies and technology suppliers in the U.S. and emerging-market equities.

July 2 (Bloomberg):

Signs the U.S. economy is weakening convinced Traxis to reverse course as the S&P 500 posted a weekly slump of 5 percent, bringing its loss since April 23 to 16 percent. Biggs, 77, said yesterday he cut bullish bets by about half since June 29, when they made up 70 percent of his fund.

[Jul 04, 2010] Overstated Job Growth, Understated Inflation

This post was published on Jan 4, 2010 ;-)
The Big Picture

There was an alternative universe where the Job growth was robust , inflation benign, the Housing bust irrelevant, and the credit contagion contained. This universe was populated with pollyannas, perma-bulls, overtly political economists, and Wall Street cheerleaders.

In this alt. universe, Retail is fine, the economic boom was caused by the 2003 tax cuts (not Fed cuts), and the core rate of inflation was all that mattered.

This was Goldilock's house - only today, she got her foreclosure notice . . .

Ross:

Da pravda, I echo you disgust and salute you tovarisch!! UHRA.

Will T:

You tell 'em, Barry!

On your next TV gig, maybe you can inform the pundits about the 3-step program to cure Goldilock Syndrome:

1) Stop drinking the Kool-Aid.
2) Put down the glass of Kool-Aid.
3) Step away from the Kool-Aid.

odograph:

"There was an alternative universe where the Job growth was robust , inflation benign, the Housing bust irrelevant, and the credit contagion contained. This universe was populated with pollyannas, perma-bulls, overtly political economists, and Wall Street cheerleaders."

Good paragraph.

The tough question now is the appropriate degree of pessimism (a little or a lot).

[Jul 04, 2010] Obama on unemployment

"No, We Can't."

[Jul 03, 2010] US Jobs Slipping Away

07/02/2010 | zero hedge

Nihilarian:

Economists polled by Reuters had expected private employment to grow by 112,000 jobs, although some had scaled back their projections in recent days.

A mathematician, an accountant and an economist apply for the same job.

The interviewer calls in the mathematician and asks "What do two plus two equal?" The mathematician replies "Four." The interviewer asks "Four, exactly?" The mathematician looks at the interviewer incredulously and says "Yes, four, exactly."

Then the interviewer calls in the accountant and asks the same question "What do two plus two equal?" The accountant says "On average, four - give or take ten percent, but on average, four."

Then the interviewer calls in the economist and poses the same question "What do two plus two equal?" The economist gets up, locks the door, closes the shade, sits down next to the interviewer and says, "What do you want it to equal"?

booboo :

ARTHUR:
Victory is mine!
[kneeling]
We thank Thee Lord, that in Thy mer--
BLACK KNIGHT:
Hah!
[kick]
Come on, then.
ARTHUR:
What?
BLACK KNIGHT:
Have at you!
[kick]
ARTHUR:
Eh. You are indeed brave, Sir Knight, but the fight is mine.
BLACK KNIGHT:
Oh, had enough, eh?
ARTHUR:
Look, you stupid bastard. You've got no arms left.

Tyler Durden:

Here you go:

[Jul 03, 2010] 24 Types of Libertarians The Big Picturee

  1. SteveC :
    July 1st, 2010 at 3:52 pm

    My brother married a libertarian; that is until she lost her job, and she was immediately in line at the unemployment office, and in contact with her attorney to see if she can sue her former employer for damages, while exercising her Cobra for continued health insurance. That pretty much sums up most so called "libertarians" I know; people who hate the "govm't" when its time to pay taxes, but more than willing to stick their hand out when they need a hand from Uncle Sam.

  2. heheh :
    July 1st, 2010 at 3:57 pm

    Steve C

    Our neighbors are the same - Ron Paul signs on the lawn, every neighborhood get together whining about teachers and unions - but once they could sign up for free government health care, they were right there.

  3. IS_LM :
    July 1st, 2010 at 4:28 pm

    I view the Left as inept and economically clueless

    I see the Right as married to intellectually bankrupt ideologies.

    Not sure where that leaves me, but it ain't a Democrat or a Republican, and the Liberal/Conservative schism is insufficiently nuanced to properly identify my views.

    Arthur Burns and his student, Alan Greenspan, were both Republican Fed Chairman. Burns earned a PhD in economics; Greenspan was issued a PhD at NYU. Both created economic maelstroms (stagflation and real estate bubble). Both were on "the Right." Economically clueless or intellectually bankrupt? Both? I don't think it matters much.

  4. GerhardWMagnus :
    July 1st, 2010 at 4:32 pm

    Libertarians are just Republicans who smoke dope, whine about their taxes, and have extremely principled and complicated reasons for sucking up to the rich. If they ever did do a John Galt no one would notice. And I suspect many are still pissed off about not being able to take the home office deduction for that computer in the basement.

  5. EAR :

    July 1st, 2010 at 1:01 pm
    Love it.

    There's Libertarianism and there's "Hey! Look at ME! I'm a Libertarian!" Libertarianism which is a haven for complainers. If you constantly harp on reality and suggest it can be remedied using policies or dogma that can't be applied in reality, you're a complainer. You add nothing of value but your own 2 cents which is worth less and less everyday. Par for the course in the era of Self Aggrandizement.

    HEHEHE said…

    "Unneccessary endless wars; wastes of money like the war on drugs and the resulting private prison system; unsustainable government sponsored ponzi schemes like social security etc., failure to break up TBTF companies, are all things that need to be addressed in this country. I commend Libertarians for bringing them up for discussion when nobody in the staus quo will."

    Many people of all kinds of shapes, sizes and affiliations have these views. Plenty. How novel and myopic to attribute them to a political group. They "Get it" and others don't, right?

    Government is a big, clumsy, sloppy mess because it is destined to be as long as homo sapiens occupy it and run it. Power, fame or fortune change the chemistry of the brain, and no one, no matter what -ism they stamp on their forehead, is immune.

[Jul 01, 2010] Obama, the Comedian

Some really perverted sense of humor if you ask me: "we have gone from losing 750,000 jobs per month to five months of job growth now;"

He's made a boatload of mistakes and has squandered every bit of the political capital he came into office with, but at least our 44th president knows how to keep us entertained with his fabulous sense of humor. Just listen to what he had to say in a speech he made after meeting with Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke:

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I just had an excellent conversation with Chairman Bernanke. This is a periodic discussion that we have to get the Chairman's assessment of the economy and to discuss some of the policy initiatives that we have here at the White House.

I think in our discussions, we share the view that the economy is strengthening, that we are into recovery, that it's actually led by some interesting sectors like manufacturing that we haven't seen in quite some time -- the tech sectors are strong; we have gone from losing 750,000 jobs per month to five months of job growth now;

nowhereman

President Obama stated that as result of "Financial Reform that the result will be that: "Main Street is never again held responsible for Wall Street's mistakes." After I stopped laughing, I realized just how clueless this man is, and how dangerous that makes him.

roger

Not in defense of Obama.

I get the feeling that people are looking for a strong leader one who has all the answers, well, millions put their trust in Hitler, Mussolini and Stalin and payed a terrible price for their intellectual laziness.

It's easy to demonize and criticize it's a whole different ball game to come up with intelligent answers.

Is Obama messing up? sure he is and so are all the other leading wizards. This system is nothing more than a global gigantic Ponzy scheme and people are too damn scarred to contemplate an alternative, so change will be imposed by events not Intellect.

Steve

Michael,

Obama was handed a sackful of rattle snakes by his predecessor. He's still dealing with it and will be dealing with it for years to come. He has no leeway to take care of his own programs; he's just putting out the fires of others. Whatever he says may not be what he believes. But unlike those of us who have the luxury to make comments without retribution, Obama must do what is necessary to keep this economy going. I think it's BS that you're taking pot shots at him - it's an insult to your intellgence. You've come down a notch in my opinion.

While we all can make jokes, the truth is that real human misery is happening for tens of millions. Obama's job is to care for all those people, not just those of us who can afford to laugh. So, let's stop taking pot shots. Do you think that Sarah Palin can do a better job? What should we do, go into a debt liquidating depression? Would be interesting to observe, if you're not human.

Should Obama turn the monetary spigots on? Of course, as Keynes said, "In the long run we are all dead." As least inflation is something we can manage. Let's find real stuff to talk about instead of you focusing on American news items all the time. Armageddon in happening in Europe too you know, in case you're aren't aware. Maybe you can cover that once in a while.

its not about left/right, its top/down.

Class War and the Decline of the West

President Obama's recent motto of "fiscal responsibility" and his frequent grumbles about "out of control government spending" are reflections of this insidious strategy of blaming victims for the crimes of perpetrators.

They also reflect the fact that the powerful financial interests that received trillions of taxpayers' dollars, which saved them from bankruptcy, are now dictating debt-collecting strategies through which governments can recoup those dollars from taxpayers.

In effect, governments and multilateral institutions such as the IMF are acting as bailiffs or tax collectors on behalf of banksters and other financial wizards.

http://tinyurl.com/33wvdz8

June

[Jun 30, 2010] Crisis of Capitalism

Jun 28, 2010 | RSA

In this short RSA Animate, radical sociologist David Harvey asks if it is time to look beyond capitalism, towards a new social order that would allow us to live within a system that could be responsible, just and humane. View his full lecture at the RSA.

View Comments

[Jun 30, 2010] Time to Investigate Blankfein and Paulson (More AIG Shenanigans Edition) " naked capitalism

"Paulson got a blow job"

[Jun 30, 2010] A Look at the Case-Schiller - No Good News zero hedge

"an ex-cokehead who pretends to be a financial journalist"

russki standart

Larry Kudlow, or Crudlow as he is commonly known on the wrong side of the pond, is an ex-cokehead who pretends to be a financial journalist

Overpowered By Funk:

Larry "Green Shoots/V-shapred recovery" Larry? Cocaine is a helluva drug isn't it?

[Jun 28, 2010] Stamp of idiocy

Asia Times

Perhaps I am so dyspeptic about such displays of raw stupidity because I had just found out that the Federal Reserve created another huge US$8.5 billion of new Fed Credit in mid-June, and simultaneously bought up $7.2 billion in US government securities, which had the effect of removing a nominal $7.2 billion in crappy assets (actual worth pennies on the dollar) out of the economy, thus bailing out some halfwit scumbags who owned the toxic assets and would otherwise go bust, and replaced it with cash, recapitalizing the idiots! In One Freaking Week (OFW)!

[Jun 28, 2010] California welfare recipients withdrew $1.8 million at casino ATMs over eight months

latimes.com

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger issues an executive order requiring recipients to promise they will use cash benefits only to meet basic subsistence needs. GOP legislators call for the cash to be returned.

[Jun 25, 2010] Rent a White Guy

The Atlantic

Not long ago I was offered work as a quality-control expert with an American company in China I'd never heard of. No experience necessary-which was good, because I had none. I'd be paid $1,000 for a week, put up in a fancy hotel, and wined and dined in Dongying, an industrial city in Shandong province I'd also never heard of. The only requirements were a fair complexion and a suit.

"I call these things 'White Guy in a Tie' events," a Canadian friend of a friend named Jake told me during the recruitment pitch he gave me in Beijing, where I live. "Basically, you put on a suit, shake some hands, and make some money. We'll be in 'quality control,' but nobody's gonna be doing any quality control. You in?"

I was.

And so I became a fake businessman in China, an often lucrative gig for underworked expatriates here. One friend, an American who works in film, was paid to represent a Canadian company and give a speech espousing a low-carbon future. Another was flown to Shanghai to act as a seasonal-gifts buyer. Recruiting fake businessmen is one way to create the image-particularly, the image of connection-that Chinese companies crave. My Chinese-language tutor, at first aghast about how much we were getting paid, put it this way: "Having foreigners in nice suits gives the company face."

Six of us met at the Beijing airport, where Jake briefed us on the details. We were supposedly representing a California-based company that was building a facility in Dongying. Our responsibilities would include making daily trips to the construction site, attending a ribbon-cutting ceremony, and hobnobbing. During the ceremony, one of us would have to give a speech as the company's director. That duty fell to my friend Ernie, who, in his late 30s, was the oldest of our group. His business cards had already been made.

[Jun 25, 2010] Tom Adams Face to Face With Polished Wall Street Psychopathy (SEC Says that ICP Stole from My Old Company Edition)

naked capitalism

Richard Kline

If it was a Nigerian email contact with evident troubles in standard English diction, the same product and specs wouldn't have been touched with an echolocator. But because it was GS, Putnam, ICP sitting down across the table the same deals got done; "Just give us the money; we'll look after you." Turns out the only diffrence between the two types of sources is their GPS coordinates.

[Jun 22, 2010] An Invisible Gorilla is killing America's soul by Paul B. Farrell

MarketWatch

On Lake Wobegon "all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking and all the children are above average" says the great American satirist Garrison Keillor in his "Prairie Home Companion" world.

But doesn't that also describe all the too-greedy-to-fail fatheads running Wall Street? And, unfortunately, Main Street America's 95 million irrational and self-sabotaging investors?

Yes, all of us! We're Americans. Don't confuse us with the facts, with reality. We're the greatest in history, a legend in our own minds. And a rapidly mutating virus is spreading this lethal pandemic far beyond the shores of Lake Wobegon. Yes, folks, the "Lake Wobegon Effect" is hard-wired in America's brain, an illusion of superiority, a smug arrogance where each knows we are the best, the chosen ones.

Warning: The Lake Wobegon Effect is the single best summary of today's stock market psychology, high-frequency trading, behavioral economics theories and the new science of irrationality ... and it's sucking the life out of America's soul. Here, listen to more of these arrogant musings surfacing everywhere from deep in our collective brains:

  • All Wall Street bankers are worth 100 times any Main Street investor
  • All Corporate American CEOs deserve to make 400 times their workers
  • All children of all Forbes 400 billionaires deserve to inherit tax-free
  • All lobbyists deserve millions when winning billions for special interests
  • All taxpayers should pay for catastrophic mistakes of Wall Street Fat Cats
  • All rich hedge fund managers deserve to be taxed at capital gains rates
  • All senators deserve to become millionaire lobbyists when they retire
  • And Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein deserves a $100 million bonus

This is America's collective brain buzzing along at hyperspeed. This is the toxic irrationality driving America in the 21st Century ... and it really is destroying our soul from within. Seriously, look outside the isolation bubble you live in. Ask why so many other American brains are on autopilot, guided by what Yale psychologist Dr. Paul Bloom humorously calls the Lake Wobegon Effect in his New York Times review of "The Invisible Gorilla" by psychologists Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simon...

[Jun 21, 2010] Good news! Obama "won't rest" till the spill is handled.

JammieWearingFool

Obama hits golf course with Biden on another hot, humid weekend - The Hill's Blog Briefing Room

President Barack Obama hit the golf course Saturday with Vice President Joe Biden.

[Jun 19, 2010] Guest Post Corporate Entities As Modern-Day Street Gangs zero hedge

ToNYC :

Corporate Communications is today's equivalent of Plantation Education in the 1850s

cossack55 :

Amerika": Land of the Fee and Home of the Slave.

You get the goobermint you deserve. Have some more shrimp.

[Jun 19, 2010] On the Curious and Misguided Defenses of BP " naked capitalism

TSTS – Too Sleazy Too Save!

[Jun 19, 2010] The New Republic Lays on Hot and Heavy JP Morgan PR

"The "Versailles sleaze" as Glenn Greenwald puts it is now expanding into the financial sector."
naked capitalism

An amusing bit is how low the yield was on the efforts to get companies to shill for Wall Street:

"What they wanted was, 'Hey, let's get the dopey end users to go out and be the face of reform,'" recalls another person who participated in the strategizing."'We don't have the credibility.'"…

The hope, according to a source privy to the calls and to internal planning documents, was that pressure from end users would help preserve the status quo on the derivatives the dealers sold to firms like hedge funds - which is to say, many of their most lucrative bets. "What you really had was fear," says this person, fear that the profits from derivatives would evaporate…..

A handful of end users were on the initial calls and grumbled about their role in the plan. But, as a group, the end users did eventually become the public face of a well-financed campaign

Yves here. This is every rapist's fantasy: to get the victim to say in public she really did want it.

[Jun 18, 2010] Greenspan recommends shorting the USA government debt and dollar

Is this guy playing a parody on Hjalmar Schacht or just a cornered rat ? As Barry Ritholtz noted "A brief look at the Greenspan legacy, along with his track record of forecasts, leads to the obvious conclusion: Greenspan is an economist to blithely ignore, as his commentary contains almost nothing of value other than its status as a contrary indicator."
Yahoo! Finance

The United States, and most of the rest of the developed world, is in need of a tectonic shift in fiscal policy. Incremental change will not be adequate. In the past decade the U.S. has been unable to cut any federal spending programs of significance.

I believe the fears of budget contraction inducing a renewed decline of economic activity are misplaced. The current spending momentum is so pressing that it is highly unlikely that any politically feasible fiscal constraint will unleash new deflationary forces. I do not believe that our lawmakers or others are aware of the degree of impairment of our fiscal brakes. If we contained the amount of issuance of Treasury securities, pressures on private capital markets would be eased.

Fortunately, the very severity of the pending crisis and growing analogies to Greece set the stage for a serious response. That response needs to recognize that the range of error of long-term U.S. budget forecasts (especially of Medicare) is, in historic perspective, exceptionally wide. Our economy cannot afford a major mistake in underestimating the corrosive momentum of this fiscal crisis. Our policy focus must therefore err significantly on the side of restraint.

[Jun 18, 2010] Aurophobia by Tyler Durden

06/17/2010

Aurophobia is defined by Webster's dictionary as an abnormal fear of everything gold; but it might be more aptly defined as 'the pathological and almost hysterical fear of owning gold, as espoused by the mainstream media'.

[Jun 18, 2010] Legal Tender by "Merle Hazard"

Hat tip to Mish's Global Economic Trend Analysis :
"Legal Tender" is an original lyric by Merle Hazard and Tom Carroll, set to a classic public domain melody. The melody is from an 1861 song, "Aura Lee," that was popular during the American Civil War. Elvis used the same melody in "Love Me Tender," which was a hit in 1956.


[Jun 17, 2010] Gonzalo Lira What do BP and the Banks Have In Common The Era of Corporate Anarchy

naked capitalism

NOTaREALmerican

STOP thinking of America as a big version of Canada. It's a small version of China. Americans believe in bigness: big government, big corporations, big cars, and (most of all) big dicks.

[Jun 16, 2010] Cramer Calls Market Stupid, Rapacious, Arbitrary, Capricious And Downright Ridiculous, Tells Viewers To Stay Out zero hedge

Does CNBC think EVERYONE is f@#$%ing stupid? Yes, they do. And, unfortunately, they have been largely right...

After catching a few soundbites of Cramer's spiel today, we were stunned: for once theStreeter did not lose his marbles over an engineered, 20 handle, 200DMA breakout rally. Quite the opposite. In what is likely a first, the Mad Money host actually told his viewers it is time to get out of the market: "I am calling this a bad rally. This market has now become more depressing than Ethan Frome. Even the good days are now bad days. It's almost as if the whole market is caught between 1st base and 2nd base. So we get an endless rotating short squeeze in oil, in the banks, in tech, in discretionary.... But once the shorts are done getting picked off, we've got no more reason to run. It is a rally that stops that a blast of future selling comes in. It is a rally that stops the moment the buyers just walk away. We used to have fundamentally based rallies - that's not how this market works." The 10 minute rant against the market by the legendary permabull is simply shocking: he actually describes all the different dimensions in which the stock market is completely busted and discredited in a way that makes us jealous: "This market is stupid. And it is hated for a very good reason. The market seems rapacious, arbitrary, capricious and downright ridiculous. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."

[Jun 14, 2010] Small businesses "collapse" around the Gulf

"Futures are positive on the news. "

[Jun 13, 2010] Borrowers Who Are Bad at Math More Likely to Go Into Foreclosure

How those suckers managed to graduate from public schools? Were 16% of respondents suffering from Dawn syndrome or advanced dementia ? Dividing 300 by 2 is definitely not a test of mathematical skills. This is a test for advanced dementia. We're talking about first or second grade arithmetic here. At the same time we should remember that 42 million American adults can't read at all; 50 million are unable to read at a higher level that is expected of a fourth or fifth grader.
The New York Times reports on an intriguing study:

Columbia University assistant business professor, Stephan Meier…. found that borrowers with poor math skills were three times more likely than others to go into foreclosure.

Mr. Meier conceded that the results were not shocking, but he said he had not expected the connection between math skills and mortgage default to be so pronounced.

About 340 borrowers in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island who took out subprime loans in 2006 and 2007 were surveyed in 2008. None were in foreclosure.

The respondents were asked five questions, with the first requiring borrowers to divide 300 by 2, and the second to calculate 10 percent of 1,000. (Since the survey was conducted by telephone, the questioners did not know who was using a calculator.)

About 16 percent of the respondents answered at least one of the first two questions incorrectly. Mr. Meier said that the results were consistent among all levels of education and income.

Over all, 21 percent of the respondents whose math abilities placed them in the bottom quarter of the survey experienced foreclosure, versus 7 percent of those in the top quarter.

attempter:

Innumeracy in the borrower means having less market information than the lender? And the lender exploits that information imbalance?!

But…but…I thought both of those were impossible. Chicago ideology told me so. Everyone's rational and fair and the "market" distributes all the information equally.

koshembos:

Well if the test of math knowledge is 300 divided by 2 then we can concluded with similarly significant result that presidents from Chicago must be bad, that Muslims are better at bomb making and that the sun and the moon have a gay relationship.

alex black:

It pains me to realize that 16% of my fellow citizens cannot divide 300 by 2 and calcutlate what 10% of 1000 is.

But it explains a lot….

craazyman:

When they asked 50 top Wall Street executives to subtract $1 trillion in losses from $50 billion in equity, they all came up with profits somehow. It must have been a lucky guess.

alex black:

They had "interesting" tutors.

[Jun 11, 2010] New York Times Runs Yet Another Banking Industry Propaganda Piece

naked capitalism

SidFinster:

...since The Gospel According to Ayn is a sociopath's charter, randroids should not complain if commies grab all they can, however they can. Enlightened self-interest and all that.

Expat:

I don't know about you, but I am selling everything I own and sending the proceeds and my life's savings to Goldman Sachs now in order to avoid long lines later.

I also wrote to Monsanto, GM, and Exxon to ask them where I should send my small children to work as slave labor. If I ask nicely, maybe my kids will get outdoor work on a plantation or a nice factory instead of a skanky mine or a swamp.

Once that's done I can sell my organs to some needy Citi execs (the proceeds go to Halliburton to compensate them for the drilling moratorium). My wife can probably get a job at the Senate brothel since she still looks pretty good; of course, she's an adult woman, so she probably won't get much traffic up on the Hill.

SidFinster:

You forgot BP. Their exec suite will be furious if they don't get their (strictly metaphorical) pound of flesh.

Mannwich:

Stockholm Syndrome anyone?

[Jun 11, 2010] Nigerian spam email of the week

Bronte Capital

Dudley Caruthers Esq (Barrister at Law)

Subject: BP Related Agreement Entitlement

E-mail:

Dear Friend

I am the private solicitor for Mr Tony Hayward, the esteemed Chairman and Chief executive of British Petroleum. My client has various personal and family related holdings of BP stock and options. Due to his faithful long standing service to BP the total value of his holdings amounts to in excess of 100m pounds sterling. Mr Heywood is a British citizen but it has been my sorrowful duty to advise him that his personal and family wealth is at great risk of being wrongfully confiscated by US authorities acting extra-territorially under special powers authorised by the US government and with the secret consent of a supine UK political and legal establishment.

Mr Heywood is also at great risk of losing his personal liberty and becoming another victim of the long reach of the politicised USA legal system in the same way that was meted out to other British subjects including, most egregiously, the 3 bankers from Natwest (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NatWest_Three). Unfortunately I am not able to advise or assist him in this regard as my expertise lies in the structuring of executive compensation schemes and the management of private endowments; but I am horrified at the witch hunt being perpetrated on my client by the Obama administration and its agencies and I will do all that I can to safeguard my client's financial position.

I am reaching out to you as it has become clear that Mr Hayward's holdings must be liquidated and held in trust for the benefit of himself and his family beyond USA or UK legal jurisdiction. Exercise of his options and liquidation of his stock is now complete but it has proven necessary to assign title to the ensuing 100m pounds of cash to a person such as yourself who resides in a non recognised tax haven country and where there is a sound basis for UK and USA authorities to recognise the legal validity of local agreements. The taxation and legal recognition agreements between your jurisdiction of Australia and those of UK and USA present a unique opportunity to protect these assets whilst providing you with a benefit in accordance with your key role. I am a keen reader of your blog and greatly admire your economic and political acumen. I immediately recognised that, at this hour of great urgency and risk to my client, you are the man who is capable of securing protection of the Hayward estate.

[Jun 11, 2010] BP To Decide On Dividend Cut On Monday

zero hedge

Apart from Tony Haward pouring oil into a pelican's mouth, live on TV whilst singing the British national anthem, paying a dividend is about the most inflammatory thing BP can do at the moment.

[Jun 10, 2010] Q1 Flow of Funds- Household Net Worth off $11.4 Trillion from Peak

noob goldberg:

real estate check:

What's below subprime?

Parental loans to underachieving children.

[Jun 10, 2010] YET ANOTHER GS LOGO

The WilliamBanzai7 Blog

[Jun 10, 2010] Bad News for Banksters The Big Picture

[Jun 09, 2010] Fair Warning By Invictus

"Idiot Larry" as a contrarian indicator?
June 9, 2010

Larry Kudlow, December 7, 2007:

BUSH BOOM CONTINUES

There is no recession. Despite all the doom and gloom from the economic pessimistas, the resilient U.S economy continues moving ahead-quarter after quarter, year after year-defying dire forecasts and delivering positive growth. In fact, we are about to enter the seventh consecutive year of the Bush boom.

Larry Kudlow, June 8, 2010:

I don't yet see a double-dip recession.

You have been warned.

Selected Comments

The Curmudgeon:

The Bush Boom? Really? Sounds strangely erotic. Well, Kudlow is something of a porn star of an analyst.

peter north:

I did hear that is kind of coming back – short Brazilian waxing stocks.

Short Kudlow too. Grotesquely stupid.

Robespierre:

Get over it. The country is a two party system: The Oligarchs (Dems and Repub. in power) and the rest. The rest are divided into: The ones who think the Dems are liberals, The ones who thing they are conservatives and the rest…

d4winds:

I have been long seeking the ultimate stock guru, the guy you can rely on to be wrong, ALWAYS. Neither Kudlow nor Cramer quite live up to this ideal but both try.

philipat:

As a non-Americna, perhaps someone can help me understand this.

So anyone who thinks that the moronic and consistently wrong Kudlow is a moron, becauspg.

[Jun 09, 2010] Gold Bulls Are In Their Cups and the Bull Market in Confidence Games and Voodoo Economics

"The US financial system is largely a confidence game, or more appropriately a racket dominated by rival white collar crime gangs" ;-)

Sometimes what you think you know prepares you for a world that no longer exists, because it was an illusion.

And that goes double for macroeconomics, which seems now more like marketing than mathematics, more astrology than physics. The US financial system is largely a confidence game, or more appropriately a racket dominated by rival white collar crime gangs.

Far too many economists tell people what they wish to hear, or what their masters are promoting, and attempt to give it the trappings of respectability with professional jargon, self-referential theories and elaborate faux proofs, with the trappings of equations based on falsified assumptions.

If you want to measure a contemporary economist, see what they are saying, if anything, about reforming and restructuring the financial system.

[Jun 08, 2010] How Cross Selling Of CDOs Between Banks Created A Big Ponzi Scheme

"the land of the thief and the home of the slave"
zero hedge#comments

by Dr. Richard Head
on Tue, 06/08/2010 - 12:43
#401934

Oh, say can you see Wall Street's theft in plain sight
With the debt that we sow while cash register's beeping
Whose broad lies and false flags thru the congressman's lies,
O'er the market we watched was so rigged just for stealing
And the derivatives there, the bombs burst everywhere,
Gave proof through the night that our poverty is here.
Oh, say is the false left-right paradigm still there
O'er the land of the thief and the home of the slave

[Jun 07, 2010] French Connection The Eurozone Crisis Worsens Sharply " The Baseline Scenario

The irony of the "free market":

Wall St is no longer a free market, but our Senators are for sale.

[Jun 06, 2010] 'Dizzying'

June 03, 2010 | Financial Armageddon

[Jun 06, 2010] Understanding the System of Corporatocracy in the USA Inc.

Post image for Understanding the System of Corporatocracy in the USA Inc.

by Hawaiian Libertarian on June 4, 2010

I pledge allegiance, to the Logo, of the United Corporate States, formerly known as America; and to the Corporations, for which it stands: one market, under law, divisible into niche segments, with rampant consumerism, debt slavery and serfdom for all.

[Jun 05, 2010] The US has a real problem with domestic criminal economic terrorist organization which are, by far, a much more significant threat than Bin Laden

The Baseline Scenario

Anonymous

Sandi Rubinspan wrote:

"The US has a real problem with domestic criminal economic terrorist organization which are, by far, a much more significant threat than Bin Laden."

When you consider the amount widespread economic pain and suffering, it's hard to disagree.

[Jun 05, 2010] The awards curse strikes at JP Morgan…

An award for most efficient way to create leverage?
FT Alphaville

Last Friday:

[The Banker Innovation in Banking Technology Awards 2010]

Chair's Choice and Innovation in Custody and Securities Services

Winner: JPMorgan (Worldwide Securities Services)

Project: Rehypothecation Program

The process of rehypothecation allows institutions – in many cases hedge fund clients – to extract greater value from their collateral by reusing this collateral elsewhere in the market, increasing liquidity and reducing collateral costs. But the little-known practice gained a bad press in the aftermath of Lehman Brothers' collapse, as many hedge funds discovered their assets to be legally trapped within the bank's insolvent estate.

Against this backdrop, JPMorgan's forward-thinking Rehypothecation Program stood out, directly addressing market misgivings regarding the practice while simultaneously allowing the practice to be safely extended to the benefit of clients. Winner of both this year's Chair's Choice and Innovation in Custody and Securities Services, JPMorgan Rehypothecation Program supports the multi-asset class, unlimited re-use of collateral.

This Friday:

The record £33.3m [FSA] fine imposed on JPMorgan for failing to keep billions of dollars of client money in separate accounts underscores an industry-wide problem that has embarrassed UK regulators and is likely to lead to several more enforcement cases.

The Financial Services Authority has required banks, brokers and insurance companies to segregate client assets since 2002, and it also requires auditors to certify that the assets are being handled properly.

But events of the past few years have proved those guarantees to be hollow. In 2008, the collapse of Lehman Brothers left clients in the lurch and unable to recover their money without a protracted court battle.

[Jun 05, 2010] Duration of Unemployment

urnside:

TagsExternalized Costs wrote:

BP staging clean up efforts along the Presidents motorcade route.

Potemkin cleanup.

[Jun 05, 2010] Biggest Equity Outflow In Recent History Leads To Fifth Consecutive Outflow From High Yield Funds

zero hedge

LoneStarHog:

I was channel surfing while eating supper last night. I just happen to get Cramer as he was telling everyone that his FAVORITE bank and FAVORITE bank executive is JPM and Jamie Dimon. He told them to buy, buy, buy.

This should be the Kiss of Death for that two-bit firm and so-called executive.

[Jun 04, 2010] Two thirds of the way…

…to a fresh bear market.

[Jun 04, 2010] Jon Stewart on the BP Oil Spill

How can Obama, a timid "outsider" who wants to be let inside to take on big oil or big finance ;-)
The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c
The Spilling Fields
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor Tea Party

[Jun 04, 2010] Now that rates are 2 sizes smaller, what's a Who to do

Dec 20, 2007 | USATODAY.com

Those nasty old Grinches cut rates in a wink,

They cut rates so low that CD yields stink.

When WhoBank's bankers pay interest, you see

The interest they pay wouldn't feed a Who-flea.

-From How the Grinch Injected Liquidity Into the Monetary System

[Jun 03, 2010] BP Logo Redesign Contest By Barry Ritholtz

June 3, 2010

Brilliant idea from the folks at logomyway - hold a contest for the redesign of the BP Logo.

They want to communicate 3 things through the Logo design:

1. Oil spill disaster – Toxic
2. Death of wildlife
3. Incompetence

Many of these results are, not surprisingly, quite clever and witty. Here are a few of my favorites:

[Jun 01, 2010] Walk Aways, NYT Version

The Big Picture

By Matt Taibbi

"It's early May in Washington, and something very weird is in the air. As Chris Dodd, Harry Reid and the rest of the compulsive dealmakers in the Senate barrel toward the finish line of the Restoring American Financial Stability Act – the massive, year-in-the-making effort to clean up the Wall Street crime swamp – word starts to spread on Capitol Hill that somebody forgot to kill the important reforms in the bill. As of the first week in May, the legislation still contains aggressive measures that could cost once-indomitable behemoths like Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan Chase tens of billions of dollars.

Somehow, the bill has escaped the usual Senate-whorehouse orgy of mutual back-scratching, fine-print compromises and freeway-wide loopholes that screw any chance of meaningful change.

The real shocker is a thing known among Senate insiders as "716." This section of an amendment would force America's banking giants to either forgo their access to the public teat they receive through the Federal Reserve's discount window, or give up the insanely risky, casino-style bets they've been making on derivatives. That means no more pawning off predatory interest-rate swaps on suckers in Greece, no more gathering balls of subprime shit into incomprehensible debt deals, no more getting idiot bookies like AIG to wrap the crappy mortgages in phony insurance. In short, 716 would take a chain saw to one of Wall
Street's most lucrative profit centers: Five of America's biggest banks (Goldman, JP Morgan, Bank of America, Morgan Stanley and Citigroup) raked in some $30 billion in over-the-counter derivatives last year. By some estimates, more than half of JP Morgan's trading revenue between 2006 and 2008 came from such derivatives. If 716 goes through, it would be a veritable Hiroshima to the era of greed…."

http://snardfarker.ning.com/forum/topics/wall-streets-war-by-matt?xg_source=msg_forum_disc

then again, maybe others have different motivations for their 'actions'.

[Jun 1, 2010] Blast from the past: This passionate Wall Street stooge Cramer

Cramer:

This is about Bernanke...Bernanke needs to open the discount window - that's how bad things are out there...Alan Greenspan told everyone to take a teaser rate and then raised the rate 17 times! And Bernanke is being an academic. This is no time to be an academic! It is time to get on the Bear Stearns conference call...LISTEN...open the darn Fed window. He has NO IDEA HOW BAD IT IS OUT THERE. NO IDEA! HE HAS NO IDEA!

I have talked to the heads of almost every single one of these firms in the last 72 hours, and he has no idea what it's like out there. NONE! And Bill Poole has no idea what it's like out there. My people have been in this game for 25 years, and they are losing their jobs these firms are going to go out of business and he's nuts! They're NUTS! They know nothing! This is a different kind of market and the Fed is asleep!

Cramer is livid: This is about Bernanke - Bernanke is being an academic!

May

[May 31, 2010] Op-Art - Shorting Reform

NYTimes.com

From: Your man in Washington

Re: Embracing the status quo

Our earnings are robust, our compensation has returned to its naturally high levels and, as a result, we have very nearly regained our grip on the imaginations of the most ambitious students at the finest universities - and from that single fact many desirable outcomes follow.

Thus, we have almost fully recovered from what we have agreed to call The Great Misfortune. In the next few weeks, however, ill-informed senators will meet with ill-paid representatives to reconcile their ill-conceived financial reform bills. This process cannot and should not be stopped. The American people require at least the illusion of change. But it can be rendered harmless to our interests.

To this point, we have succeeded in keeping the public focused on the single issue that will have very little effect on how we do business: the quest to prevent taxpayer money from ever again being used to (as they put it) "bail out Wall Street."

As we know, we never needed their money in the first place, and by the time we need it again, we'll be long gone. If we can keep the public, and its putative representatives, fixated on the question of whether their bill does, or does not, ensure there will be no more bailouts, we may entirely avoid a discussion of our relationship to the broader society.

Working together as a team we have already suppressed debate on many dangerous ideas: that those of us deemed too big to fail are too big and should be broken up, for instance, or that credit default swaps and collateralized debt obligations and other financial inventions should simply be banned. We are now at leisure to address the few remaining threats to our way of life. To wit:

  1. Washington will attempt to limit our ability to exploit the idiocy of institutional investors a k a our "customers." The Senate appears intent on forcing our most lucrative derivatives business onto open exchanges, where investors can, for the first time, observe the prices we give them. This measure - which I've come to call the "Making the World Safe for Germans With Money Act" - will prove difficult to defeat. Our public strategy here, as elsewhere, must be to complicate the issue.

    To the mere mention of open, public exchanges for derivatives, you should always respond, "That will destroy liquidity in these fragile and complex markets." Most people don't even know what "liquidity" means, or what causes it or why they actually need to have more rather than less of it - or what, even, the point is of a market that requires privacy to operate. They will assume that you must understand it better than they do. For that reason alone it is useful.

    The other point you should make to our elected officials (privately, please) is that our profits function as a fixed point in an uncertain universe. If they curtail our ability to shaft German investors in one way, we will simply find some other way to do it.

    Shockingly, the Senate version of the bill more or less would require us to cease to trade derivatives entirely. This unpleasant idea was introduced by Senator Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, and it leads me to a point that is worth underscoring: We do not have a problem with the American people, we have a problem with American women. Elizabeth Warren, our TARP supervisor, continues to ask questions about what we did with our government money; Mary Schapiro has used her authority at the S.E.C. to sue Goldman Sachs. Of the four Republican senators who crossed over to vote with the Democrats, two were women - and one of the guys posed naked for Cosmopolitan magazine.

    Going forward, we should discourage women from seeking higher office - or indeed, any position in which they might exert influence over our activities. More immediately, in your private conversations with Larry Summers, Tim Geithner and male Republican senators, you should simply refer to Blanche Lincoln as "unhinged." They'll get it.

  2. Our slow cousins at Moody's and Standard & Poor's are likely to suffer a blow to their already lowly status. They are virtually certain to be stripped of their designation as Nationally Recognized Statistical Ratings Organizations. Whatever that means, it presents no threat to our way of life. Just the reverse: the more miserable it is to work at Moody's, the less capable (and more manipulable) Moody's employees will be.

    The lone remaining risk to the status quo is the Franken amendment - introduced by Senator Al Franken of Minnesota - which would prevent us from personally selecting the ratings agencies that offer opinions on our offerings. It creates a board inside the Securities and Exchange Commission to assign ratings agencies, thereby removing the direct incentive the raters have to please us. (Of course, it preserves their indirect incentive: that is, that we might one day offer them jobs.)

    The Franken amendment thus gums up what has been heretofore a very cleanly rigged system. In addition to encouraging public references to Stuart Smalley and Mr. Franken's other theatrical embarrassments, we should remind our friends on Capitol Hill and in the press that "the Franken amendment will give the federal government the same control over finance it has seized in health care."

  3. There is a slight, but real, risk that public opinion will yank us in some unexpected direction. Over the past few months, a curious pattern has emerged: the more open the debate, the more radical the outcome.

    In private, reasonable discussions we were able to persuade our friends in the Senate to prevent votes on amendments hostile to our interests - the worst of which, I might add, was dreamed up by yet another female senator. But the minute a vote was held, and senators sensed the cameras watching, even our friends abandoned us to the mob. All of these people are continually engaged in the same mental calculation: are the votes I might gain with this remark or this idea or this position greater than the votes I can buy with the money given to me by Wall Street firms? With each uptick in the level of public scrutiny - with every minute of televised debate - our money means less.

    In the short term, we must do whatever we can to dissuade Representative Barney Frank from allowing any part of these discussions between senators and representatives to be televised. In the longer term we must return to the shadows. Do your work in private; allow your money to speak for you; and remember, the only way we'll get the financial reform we need is if we pay for it. No one else can afford it.

Michael Lewis, a contributing editor at Vanity Fair, is the author, most recently, of "The Big Short."

[May 31, 2010] Michael Lewis Summarizes Financial Reform Infiltration

"I wish this was satire. It would be funny. Instead it is painful truth."
05/30/2010 | zero hedge

...In the next few weeks, however, ill-informed senators will meet with ill-paid representatives to reconcile their ill-conceived financial reform bills. This process cannot and should not be stopped. The American people require at least the illusion of change. But it can be rendered harmless to our interests.

...and remember, the only way we'll get the financial reform we need is if we pay for it. No one else can afford it.

knukles :

Bread and Circuses Live!

Circuses for the public
Bread for the bankers

Regulatory Reform is Neither.
No Changes to the Wall Street Business Model.
Maintain the Diversions, Men!

So Who Gives a Shit.
What a Great Fuckin' Country.

williambanzai7 :

Ponzi schemin, coast to coast,
Easy stealin money everywhere
Feelin the transcontinental debt load,
Just get behind the Federal handout deal
How does it feel

When there's no fraudulent innovation - that goes too far
And somewhere on the way,
you might find out how freakin rich you are

Banking in America - pies in the sky, bubble elation
Banking in America - your hand to their hands, the bailout nation
Banking in America - can we have just one defenestration?

James Brown and WilliamBanzai7

[May 31, 2010] Bank of Amoral Lynch?

"Sons of Osama" might be a better mickname ?

[May 30, 2010] The "Loop Current" by Tim

May 28, 2010 | Miami Herald

One man's depiction of why, despite the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, things might not change much given the current working relationship between Big Oil and Washington.

From the Jim Morin collection at the Miami Herald. >

[May 30, 2010] BP Advertisement from 1999

Hilarious if it were not so terribly sad.
May 30, 2010 | Economist's View

[via Information Processing]

[May 30, 2010] Parish official: BP shipped in workers for president's visit - CNN.com

Long Live Potyomkin villages

A Gulf Coast official accused BP of shipping workers into Grand Isle, Louisiana, for President Barack Obama's visit to the oil-stricken area Friday and sending them away once the president left the region.President Obama surveys damage along the Louisiana ...

Early Friday morning, "a number of buses brought in approximately 300 to 400 workers that had been recruited all week," Jefferson Parish Councilman Chris Roberts told CNN's "Situation Room."

Roberts said the workers were offered $12 an hour to come out to the scene at Grand Isle and work in what he called a "dog and pony show."

But, when Obama departed, so did the workers, he said, adding that he's never seen more than 20 workers at the Grand Isle cleanup site since the effort started.

[May 30, 2010] Too Pig to Fail

May 29th, 2010 | The Big Picture

Jim Morin of the Miami Herald:

Hat tip to Mike R

[May 30, 2010] Key Economic Index suggests Tough Times

May 29, 2010 | Calculated Risk

Just for fun ... in 1926, economist George Taylor suggested the "Hemline Index"; he observed that hemlines moved with stock prices.

And from the NY Times: A Long, Lean Backlash to the Mini. Here is the hot new look:

Does that mean stocks are at a bottom, or that stocks are about to crash?

[May 29, 2010] The Big Picture Quote of the day May 29, 2010

Some of the most serious fallacies of traditional economics have been due to confusion between optimum and equilibrium conditions; the apparent influence of Dr. Pangloss upon the development of economic thought is for the most part nothing but pure intellectual error.

-J. R. Hicks, "The rehabilitation of consumers' surplus,"
Review of Economic Studies 8(2),
February 1941, pp. 108-116, footnote 1, p. 112.

[May 27, 2010] Wray The Great Depression and the Revolution of 2017

I like: "replacing President Jeb Bush, who had fled to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, aboard Air Force One seeking asylum in his father's well guarded compound on the grounds of the Bin Laden family's palace."
naked capitalism

By L. Randall Wray, a Professor of Economics at the University of Missouri-Kansas City who writes at New Economic Perspectives

WASHINGTON, 7 NOVEMBER 2017*. Yesterday Speaker of the House Dennis Kucinich was sworn in as President, replacing President Jeb Bush, who had fled to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, aboard Air Force One seeking asylum in his father's well guarded compound on the grounds of the Bin Laden family's palace. Vice President Dick Cheney, who has been in a coma since August after suffering his fifteenth heart attack, was declared incompetent. President Kucinich immediately announced a wide-ranging package of policies designed to bring an end to the Great Depression, which began with the global financial crisis of 2007. He called for calm and pleaded with leaders of the Revolutionary Tea Party Army that has encircled Washington to call off the attack that had been planned for today, the 100th anniversary of the Bolshevik revolution. Commandant Dick Armey said he is willing to meet for a discussion of a ceasefire so long as his militia can take their weapons home.

President Kucinich apparently ordered the Marines to invade Goldman Sachs headquarters in Manhattan early this morning. While there were some reports of small arms fire, most of the 6000 employees were reportedly removed without struggle and are on their way to various jails and prisons in the greater New York area. CEO Timothy Geithner was captured at La Guardia, attempting to board a private jet said to be headed for Riyadh. An anonymous source claimed that Geithner complained that President Bush had left him behind after promising protection. President Kucinich announced that Geithner would be charged with fraud, racketeering, and tax evasion. The case dates back to 2012 but had been put on hold when former President Sarah Palin ordered the attorney general's office to stop its investigation of the Treasury Secretary. President Kucinich said that Goldman, the last remaining bank in America, would be nationalized. He assured depositors that the bank would reopen next Monday under management of a team of presidential appointees led by William Black. All insured deposits will be protected, but it is believed that other claims will not be honored. FBI agents have reportedly moved to seize all assets of current and former Goldman employees. Warrants for the arrest of former Treasury Secretaries Paulson, Rubin, and Summers were also issued.

AmeriKKKan:

Not even Americans, the most vile and stupid people on earth, are demented enough to elect on other Bush. Surely not. Although they didn't really elect the first one either I guess.

DownSouth:

Why does it not surprise me to find you here, still hawking mythologies that were debunked following the last great depression?

In a time of drastic change it is the learners who inherit the future. The learned usually find themselves equipped to live in a world that no longer exists.
–Eric Hoffer

alex black:

Oh, Lord. This is what happens when you let Economics Professors drop acid. Please, keep it within the English Departments.

I have to go clean my brain out now by reading some Aldous Huxley.

Siggy:

Why hide away? This is the 'Brave New World'.

[May 25, 2010] Welcome Back to Earth, Mr. Market

zero hedge

Thank you! Thank you, Mr. Market, for finally coming to your senses.

It's about time that you kicked your ecstasy habit

[May 25, 2010] New Obama Administration Propaganda Tactic Revisionist History

naked capitalism

It seems that Obama has studied FDR intently, but not to imitate him. Quite the opposite, he may have looked for ways how the bankers – his financiers – can get away with it this time.

In short, he was looking for what not to do.

[May 25, 2010] New SEC Regulations for CEOs

We still live in a world where only the Onion, Jon Stewart and like are the only ones telling the truth… "we're back to the royalty/feudal days where the only contribution to "GDP", if it was being measured, began and ended at the lord's castle"
The Big Picture
From (who else?) The Onion:

"Securities and Exchange Commission officials are calling it the strictest regulatory reform since the Great Depression: CEOs of major financial institutions will now be required to humbly shrug and smile sheepishly before accepting huge salary bonuses.

The new regulation, SEC rule 206(b)-7, will reportedly target Wall Street executives who accept disgustingly bloated annual payouts, forcing them to raise and then lower their shoulders in a manner that conveys a mild degree of humility or a sense of "Aw, shucks. Who? Me?"

"This sweeping new reform sends a clear message to fat-cat CEOs at firms like Goldman Sachs and AIG," SEC chair Mary Schapiro said Monday. "Never again will they be able to receive massive bonuses unless, at a minimum, they flash a gee-I-don't-think-I-should expression and say something like 'Well, all right, but only if you insist' first."

"Mark my words," she continued, "The days of greedy, out-of-touch executives pocketing outrageous $40 million bonuses without acting slightly embarrassed about it are over."

The crackdown comes on the heels of Wall Street's 2010 bonus season, during which not one executive was observed to look at the floor meekly, sink his hands into his pockets, or dig his right toe awkwardly into the ground before taking his cut of the estimated $55 billion in payouts."

-New Law Forces CEOs To Humbly Shrug Before Receiving Massive Bonuses

[May 24, 2010] Obama New Deal

"To this point Obama has chosen to lock arms with Larry Summers and Jamie D. There are very few explanations for this course other than the obvious….it's his true nature. To date the Obama White House has presented the Potemkin village facade of 'Apparent Hope, and Apparent Change'.

[May 24, 2010] Satyajit Das The Human Touch

naked capitalism
  • The rise of credit default swaps attracts the following comment: "It's as if people had used the invention of seat belts as an opportunity to take up drunk driving."
  • As Andy Serwer, Managing Editor of Fortune put it: "The party is over until it comes back again…I've been around long enough to see that we have these cycles. These guys get their cigars and champagne. They have a great time. The whole thing blows up. But then they re-emerge years later
  • the only truism about bankers and traders is that along with cockroaches and rates they would be the survivors of a nuclear explosion.
  • As Frederick Neitzche wrote: "To trace something unknown back to something known is alleviating, soothing, gratifying and gives moreover a feeling of power. Danger, disquiet, anxiety attend the unknown - the first instinct is to eliminate these distressing states. First principle: any explanation is better than none…"
  • A book two years from now about how Obama (along with Bernanke, Geithner and Summers) made Herbert Hoover look like a genius, will be a book three years too late.

[May 23, 2010] Yves Smith for Dummies by TomOfTheNorth

March 10, 2010 | Outside The (Cardboard) Box

...following her recent appearance on Canada's Business News Network with Reuters columnist Felix Salmon, it occurred to us that Ms. Smith's pearls of wisdom may occasionally be undecipherable to those who have not worked extensively in finance, government policy nor are graduate students in economics. For example, in the 13 minute BNN interview, Ms. Smith uses the word 'paradigm' no less than three times. That's some weighty verbiage! So as part of our Cardboard Translations Series, we are pleased to bring you the OTCB "Common English Conversion" for Yves Smith.

...For our part, OTCB will provide an original statement from the interview made by Ms. Smith followed by our precise interpretation.

*

Yves Smith: The focus initially is on the Economists….and the argument is that the Crisis is actually rooted in bad economic theory.

Translation: Milton Friedman was a shill. They have been feeding us bullshit since this started in the 70s. It became a massively bigger pile of bullshit in the Reagan years. We are now at the pinnacle of the Himalayas of bullshit. Domestically speaking, we're at the summit of the Mount freakin' McKinley of bullshit.

... ... ...

Yves Smith: By contrast, if you assume stability, that means that all you have to worry about is efficiency. And all the moves that we have had, that have had the effect of increasing efficiency, have increased riskiness.

Translation: They buried us in bullshit, took all of our money, pissed on us and then turned on a ginormous fan. It's an unbelievable mess, it's still blowing and we're too broke to clean it up.

*

Yves Smith: People now are becoming increasingly aware of the fact of how much the Obama team, not just philosophically but from a practical standpoint, is hostage to the financial services industry.

Translation: For the first time in history, B.O. and B.S. are synonymous.

*

Yves Smith: Well the notion that you've got a group that has so much influence over policy and yet they've wrapped it in a scientific mantle which makes it immune to criticism by normal people…..

Translation: It's all a bunch of bullshit. And then they wrapped it and put it over your fireplace.

(Editor's note – we're not sure if we've got this translation quite right. Sometimes even we struggle over some of the brilliant utterances emanating from Ms. Smith. But we are positive about the 'bullshit' part.)

*

Yves Smith: We've basically run-out a paradigm that couldn't last forever……. in fact it was a paradigm that was inherently self-limiting."

Translation: The party is officially over. Welcome to future generations spent deeply immersed in bullshit soup.

(Editor's note – observe the double-pump use of 'paradigm' in the passage. AWESOME!)

*

Yves Smith: You've got to look at the frame that we've had from the 1930s onward.

Translation: They got it right after the '30s. We've got it wrong. This is some serious bullshit.

*

Yves Smith: The belief we've had in deregulation, and you can argue its benefits to the goods markets, that's a, that's a different kettle of fish, but in financial markets its led to increased concentration, because markets have strong network effects, and, uh, the, and, uh also a shift in the structure of the industry away from businesses that had a very safe fee income to ones that are increasingly dominated by trading.

Translation: Felix, in answer to your point, let me say the following: bullshit, bullshit, bullshit, bullshit, bullshit, bullshit and bullshit. Now let's go have some fish, split a couple bottles of vino and talk about the goods markets. You've got the goods. And I've got your market r i g h t h e r e….

[May 22, 2010] Schama Are the Guillotines Being Sharpened

naked capitalism

...not since the Qing Dynasty moved to block imports of opium has the British press has been so apoplectic about moves by foreign governments to protect themselves from Anglo-Saxon market vultures. Kevin de Bruxelles

[May 22, 2010] Fed's Dudley on the Economy

Yearning to Learn:

My favorite quotes:

  • -"Why is everybody selling the Euro to buy the US Dollar?"
  • -"Because the American Economy is so much stronger than the European Economy"
  • -"Why is that?"
  • -"Because it's owned by China!"

[May 20, 2010] Top Tax Rate- Socialism

May 20, 2010

Since when has labeling anything you disagree with "Socialism" a substitute for political discourse? We embarrass ourselves as a nation to the rest of the world when we do this.

See also:
Bill Gates's Dad Says the Rich 'Aren't Paying Enough' in Taxes
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601109&sid=a4YNFBDAXnKI&

[May 20, 2010] FOMC Minutes On Greece and Housing Hoocoodanode

ResistanceIsFeudal :

poic wrote:

FOMC

Fathers
Of
Monetarist
Conspiracy

poic:

FOMC meeting minutes:

"Fundamentals of economy were looking very good until 10am.
Fundamentals of economy took a significant turn for the worse from 10am till noon.
Fundamentals of the economy having been looking choppy from noon onwards.
Fundamentals of economy are expected to look significantly better in the next half hour."

real estate check:

"The housing market appeared to have stalled"

The only thing that stalled was the correction downward.

noob goldberg:

Rob Dawg wrote:

I get a kick out of how the 'O' in FOMC is supposed to mean 'open."

I thought Greenspan showed it meant 'obfuscation'. I've always thought it meant 'obtuse'.

DCRogers :

sociopathic Mentats free from the usual constraints of human morality or instinctual considerations

So, they had bankers in Dune, too?

Juvenal Delinquent

I wanna tell you about Wall*Street and the Big Beat
Comes out of the Goldman swamps
Cool and slow with plenty of precision
With a back beat narrow and hard to master

Some call it heavenly in it's brilliance
Others, mean and ruthful of the American Dream
I love the fiends that have gathered together on this thin raft
They have constructed financial pyramids in honor of their escaping
This is the land where capitalism died

The nests of the traders in the green-felt jungle are brightly feathered
They're saying forget wrong and right
Live with us in forests of cash, for sure
Out here on the perimeter there are no scars
Out here we is atoned for bad loans - immaculate.

Listen to this, and I'll tell you 'bout the heartache
I'll tell you 'bout the heartache and the loss of law
I'll tell you 'bout the hopeless fight
The meager pay for souls forgot
I'll tell you 'bout the Unabankers without a soul

I'll tell you this
No eternal reward will forgive them now for wasting the pawns

I'll tell you 'bout Wall*Street and the Big Beat
Soft drivin', slow and mad, like some new language

Now, listen to this, and I'll tell you 'bout the Wall*Street beat
I'll tell you 'bout the Texas ratios
I'll tell you 'bout the hopeless fight
Wondering 'bout the the American Dream
Tell you 'bout the industry without a soul

YouTube - The Doors - The WASP (Texas Radio and the Big Beat)

[May 19, 2010] Merkel to The Banks and Hedge Funds: Sprechen Sie Deutsche Then Droppen Sie Dead

Should NYT be renames the "Hedge funds voice" ? At least Germans try to leash and collar "These F#@king Guys" as Jon Steward defined them. The mixture of hysteria with hypocrisy with which the actions of Germany to curb naked short selling were greeted by NYT was very funny and highly entertaining.

If Germany's new measures to hamper speculation in European markets were meant to surprise, they succeeded. Just not quite in the fashion officials in Berlin might have intended.

...European officials, caught off guard, were criticizing Germany's unilateral action - something Mrs. Merkel herself had said just a few days ago would be ineffective in a global market.

[May 17, 2010] Orrin Hatch Pretends To Be Outsider

It will be cold day in hell if any cleptocrat stop thinking about himself as " fair and honest and decent"
Matthew Yglesias

...remarkable exchange between longtime Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and talk radio host Laura Ingraham, during which the guy who's been a Senator longer than I've been alive tries to somehow deny being part of Washington:

HATCH: Yeah, I do. And I'll tell you why because I listen to these folks, I don't disagree with them. They're angry for good reasons. I mean, my gosh, these people in Washington are running this country right into the ground. And I think people are dog-gone angry about it.

INGRAHAM: But aren't you part of Washington?

HATCH: Hell no. I've never been. I've never considered this a job. I've had, people have asked me, they said, "say Senator Hatch, don't you just love being a U.S. senator?" My constant answer is this. No, I don't love it at all, but I'm good at it. And I'm here for a reason. And all I can say is I've never changed my reason. Now, I am fair. I've got a reputation for being fair and honest and decent. But the fact of the matter is, if you get Orrin Hatch on your side and he really gets, he really gets his back up, watch out. It's just that simple and I've done it time after time after time.

Selected Comments

peep :

My question is why would you want to continue being a US Senator if you hated it? It's not like Orrin Hatch is a young guy. He could comfortably retire with his generous gov't pension and benefits and do something he really loves. You only live once. What would possess a person to toil at something they so hated for so long?

He does it for us. So, we will have one Senator that is one of us, not a corrupt Washington-insider. We should all be grateful.

Daddy Love:

"Washington? Why, son, I don't even know what Washington looks like? Where is it again?

BrianC:

Amazing, Hatch is the Platonic philosopher-senator: he'd much rather be doing something else, but out of civic duty and love of justice, he does what he's good at! Now if only we'd have taken his children away to raise communally….


[May 17, 2010] "Mea Culpa" from Morgan Stanley on Rising Treasury Yield Call

Sparks:

Andrew Jackson"s re-election campaign promise: (Approx.)

If re-elected I will kill The Bank, The Federal Reserve type banking cartel of his day.

Sparks:

He did kill the Bank.

REALITY:

Today, the Bank will kill you.

[May 16, 2010] What is the Proper Libertarian Response to the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

The overt "libertarians" like Greenspan (who is more hypocrite the libertarian) are just a particularly obnoxious tip of the whole neoliberal corporatist iceberg.

May 15, 2010 | naked capitalism

Swedish Lex:

In a Libetarian sense, the spill never happened……..

EmilianoZ:

It is the responsibility of the fishes to maintain a nest egg for black swan events such as this one.

Thomasina Jefferson:

black swan indeed, and oily.

notexactlyhuman:

Libertarian = Delusions of hypermasculinity or delusional hypermasculinity, or something along those lines. Let the gladiators duke it out, of course, to the death.

The oil gusher in the Gulf? Well, that's unfortunate. But, hey, it has provided unique opportunity and incentive for America's brightest minds to invent and patent new technologies in the oil spill field - an economic niche for an upstart entrepreneur, and that's always a good thing.

skippy:

Off the web, I forget where.

Paraphrasing here: Don't bail out or help the creatures of the Gulf, they will only get fat and lazy, requiring endless welfare.

pat b:

The proper Libertarian response is to blame Obama,
Pray to Jesus, and rant about taxes.

Patrick:

..."I'm a libertarian which means I'm a Republican who smokes dope." LOL.

craazyman:

"In a truly libertarian world, the oil spill never would have happened because a truly free market would have ensured total safety of all aspects of drilling operations. Nor would anything else that is bad happen in any economic sector. Even death would be cured, if only the government would get off the backs of doctors and research scientists.

Neither death nor taxes is inevitable, contrary to the speculations of weaker and less imaginative minds. This is all obvious to anyone who truly understands the limits imposed by government on personal initiative."

from "Government as the Anti-Christ"
Chapter 17 – Externalities and Evil
Libertarian Foundation for the Promotion of Social Sanity

pr:

I have little to add about what the libertarian response should be, but I will share one of the best summaries of libertarianism ever to be written on a blog.

"There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs."

-John Rogers at Kung Fu Monkey

[May 15, 2010] Daily Show- Hoarders

A little Friday evening humor from Jon Stewart at the Daily Show: Hoarders

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Hoarders
www.thedailyshow.com
Posted by CalculatedRisk on 5/14/2010 09:28:00 PM 162 Comments

Labels: humor

HomeGnome:

Juvenal Delinquent wrote:

61 winning days in a row for 4 different firms...

---That's because they pay for exceptional talent...

[May 14, 2010] Rating Agencies Must Defend AAA Junk in Court The Big Picture

leftback:

You can just imagine their defence: "Your honor, everyone on the Street knows that our ratings weren't intended to be taken seriously, and are not to be used as investment guidelines."

[May 13, 2010] PIMCO's McCulley Discusses The Ticking $3 Trillion Shadow Banking Time Bomb, Defends The Fed As Head Regulator

05/12/2010 | zero hedge

Wyndtunnel

Dad. Can I borrow $1 trillion dollars to buy cocaine?

Internet Tough Guy:

He will remember the days in 2007 when there was some stupid CDO problem; the real fireworks haven't even started.

Ordinary people will remember the day their currency got devalued, their bank closed, their job vanished, their standard of living got repo'd, they couldn't buy food.

Robert J Moran :

it always goes on too long because the minister always enjoys giving it more than the audience enjoys receiving it.

Thank you very much.

Paul McCulley

Put THAT on a t-shirt!

[May 12, 2010] Must Read Michael Lewis' Latest Memo To Lloyd Blankfein zero hedge

Blaming Merrill Might Set Goldman Sachs Free, by Michael Lewis, originally posted in Bloomberg

To: Lloyd Blankfein

Re: Winning at Ethics, the Goldman Way

I have reviewed no less than seven times your entire episode on Charlie Rose.

Your artful simplicity, studied humility and former hairline all positively radiated against the set's dark background.

As one of my lesser colleagues on the desk marveled, "Lloyd seemed almost human:

Why?" To which I replied, evenly: "because he finally read my last memo."

Of course there was no reason you should look to one of your own traders for advice. But now that you have, we must proceed quickly. American public opinion is volatile; our exposure to it is peaking, and it will be more difficult than usual to create the illusion for American mortals (or as we like to call them, "The Morts") that our business is in their interest, much less that we share anything in common.

This time, please, do not wait five months to internalize my new action items. They are:

No. 1: Implicate the rest of Wall Street, as quickly as possible.

It's always unnatural to hear the name of Goldman Sachs in the same sentence as Deutsche Bank, much less Merrill Lynch. We must put aside our revulsion. The American people might enjoy seeing one firm being driven out of business by a criminal investigation. They're less likely to allow for the destruction of every big Wall Street firm. They just forked over trillions to keep them afloat.

Delicate Decency

This job of putting our behavior in a new context -- comparing it not to some broad universal standard of "decency" but to Wall Street standards -- must be done delicately.

For example I was once hauled before a second-grade teacher and simply shouted, "You ill-paid, third-rate moron! I did nothing worse than what every other kid was doing! It is illogical not to punish them, too!"

The outburst did nothing to alleviate my situation, and probably made it more difficult than it needed to be for me to gain entry to Princeton. But the episode taught me one of the central tenets of the Goldman Way: far better to rig a system than to fight it.

Helpful Walks

Our public relations staff might quietly and helpfully walk even hostile reporters through some of the deals created by these other firms. Ditto our lawyers in their meetings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

No. 2: Continue to use Warren Buffett, but don't forget to pay him.

When Warren said that stuff the other day about wishing you had a twin brother so he could employ you both, he didn't mean it as a sign of his undying admiration for you.

Remember: He said almost exactly the same sort of things about John Gutfreund, after Gutfreund had given him a sweet deal to rescue Salomon Brothers from oblivion. The moment Warren was forced to choose between Gutfreund and his money, he chose his money.

Don't force him to make that choice. If you want more loud character references from Warren Buffett (you do) you must insure that he continues to think of you as profitable.

I don't know if there are ways Goldman Sachs might simply give money to Berkshire Hathaway for free, but we should explore the possibility.

Hide the Props

No. 3: Hide, and hide from, the prop group.

If you must be seen in public with Goldman employees, make sure they are bankers and brokers, and not our proprietary traders. You did an excellent job on Charlie Rose of making it seem the prop group didn't even exist.

We were mere "market makers" who helped our customers "get the risk they wanted."

At the same time, but for different reasons, you should limit your private interaction with the prop traders, especially Jonathan Egol.

The SEC's complaint focused on one of Jonathan's Abacus deals and yet failed even to mention Jonathan. Instead they fingered the French guy.

At first I took it as just another sign of Mort stupidity. But now that the Justice Department has gotten involved, and is combing through all the Abacus deals, I wonder. Why is no one yet talking about Jonathan? Why is no one making noises about the deals structured for Jonathan -- and not John Paulson -- to short them? Is it possible that Jonathan has been helping them to understand our business? Just saying...

Our French Problem

No. 4: You need to address our French problem.

In a matter of weeks Fabrice Tourre has gone from non- entity to a potential asset (a "rogue trader" who might have gone quietly so that the firm might survive) to a huge liability (hero on Wall Street, who somehow has managed to portray himself as both a religious martyr and a mere cog in our machine.)

Going forward I suggest that our personnel department reexamine the French male's ability to subordinate himself. In English there is no "I" in team. It turns out that the French use a different word: equipe.

Our international people should have known this. At the very least they should have been queasy about hiring guys who look as if they'd rather be wearing espadrilles.

'Things Like Ethics'

No. 5: Be careful not to say or do anything now that will constrain our ability, after this crisis has passed, to do whatever we want.

The other day, on your emergency conference call with our customers, you said that you wanted Goldman to be seen as a "leader in things like ethics."

I couldn't have put it better myself. If in the future we fail to be a leader in ethics we can point to your statement as evidence that we never intended to be a leader in ethics, merely in "things like ethics."

To that end, I intend to compile a list of things like ethics, in which we might strive to be a leader, without risk to our profitability.

Selected Comments

AccreditedEYE:

The problem with Blankfiend is that he ALWAYS looks like the cat that ate the canary. He has the face that says "I just committed grand theft and got away with it". Paulson might have had the lazy eyes, but at least he could look serious when he needed to..sleep deprivation be damned. Blankfiend has no control over his facial expression that seems to scream: "Yeah, I did it, I'm doing it now and I will do it again, and again, and again..."

[May 12, 2010] Botox Economy by Satyajit Das

April 07, 2010 | PrudentBear

...A flood of money from central banks and governments – "financial botox" – has temporarily covered up unresolved and deep-seated problems.

...As everyone knows: "A bubble is a rising market that one is not invested in; if one is invested, then it is a bull market."

...The summary of 2009 and the outlook for 2010 may be the logo on a black T-shirt worn by Lisbeth Salander, the heroine of Steig Larsson's "Girl with the Dragon Tatoo": "Armageddon was yesterday – Today we have a serious problem."

[May 10, 2010] An Analysis of the Thursday Meltdown " naked capitalism

Was for some financial suicide bomber playing with S&P500 futures, we don't know, Like for the US in Afghanistan it is difficult to fight financial Taliban...

attempter

The stock market's a collective terrorist entity, like a malevolent column of army ants.

[May 10, 2010] SEC Exchanges agree on structural framework to strengthen circuit breakers Hoocoodanode

Deflationary Jane:

"It is amazing that we still don't have an explanation for the weird price changes last Thursday."

Only if you assume they want answers.

Eric:

sndk wrote:

I love modern investment. Graham & Dodd are crying even harder than your puts

At least I know I'm in a casino.

(cue old joke: difference between praying in Church, and praying in a casino? When you pray in a casino, you really mean it!)

Victor:

If you want a good laugh, check out today's Dow Jones graph. No volatility whatsoever. Either everyone is on their best behavior, or computerized trading has been banned. The bad boys are just sauntering along with their hands in their pockets, whistling some innocuous tune - waiting for the next "big" opportunity. First time tragedy, next time farce. Thank you, Karl Marx.

[May 10, 2010] Friction a non Socratic dialogue by Robert Waldmann

May 9, 2010 | Angry Bear

John Q. Policymaker is driving a minivan. Maynard Keynes is in the passenger seat, Ed Prescott and Robert Lucas are in the second row of seats and Eugene Fama and John Cochrane are in the back seats.

John Q: We are heading for a cliff -- Maynard: slam on the brakes.

Prescott: I don't see how brakes work. Alan Greenspan has had fewer traffic accidents, since he stopped using brakes. I know some people still teach about friction in third rate departments, but they aren't really advancing the science. You'll go just as fast whether you slam on the brake or not. In modern bicycle theory it is assumed that there is no friction so the concept of "braking" is meaningless.

Maynard: Don't listen to him. Slam on the brake pedal. We're all about to die.

John C: Yes this is a stressful situation and in stressful situations it is tempting to turn to the fairy tales of our childhood.

Maynard: It's not a fairy tale. It's a brake. It's worked before.

John C and Eugene in unison: Brakes are supposed to work because the disk spins under the brake shoes. If the disk is spinning we are going forward. Therefore brakes can't slow us down. There is a logical contradiction between saying we should brake and that we shouldn't keep going forward.

John Q: You guys in the back seats, don't just tell me Maynard is wrong. Tell me what to do to avoid going over the cliff.

Robert L: Serious analysis is a difficult process and requires a step by step approach, starting with simple frictionless models. We expect to have a useful model in roughly thirty years.
&

[May 09, 2010] Twitter - Bill Maher Every asshole who ever cha ...

Every asshole who ever chanted 'Drill baby drill' should have to report to the Gulf coast today for cleanup duty

[May 09, 2010] Sunday Funnies 2010-05-09: Nothing Lasts Forever; How did we get caught?

[May 5, 2010] Mervyn King World's Worst Financial Crisis Ever

zero hedge

doomandbloom - 02:01:

Dick Fuld joins Legend Securities

http://www.cnbc.com/id/37159098

If people like Fuld are getting jobs, then SURELY the depression is over.

we must be in the 'green shoot' phase of recovery..

[Apr 28, 2010] "Financial Al-Capone" Hit List- Bear, Moody's, NatCity, PMI, WaMu And Capital One

"Public service is my motto. Ninety percent of the people of Cook County drink and gamble and my offense has been to furnish them with those amusements. My booze has been good and my games on the square.", "I am like any other man. All I do is supply a demand. " Al Capone
zero hedge

As Bruce Krasting disclosed yesterday, Goldman's Josh Birnbaum "slipped" when disclosing the firm's prop equity positions, in listing the companies his firm was actively shorting. We hope none of these were naked shorts as that would not reinforce the case of prudent risk management by Goldman's discount window-accessible hedge fund (in other words, the entire firm).

....the firm had a big delta short in fins offset with no financial longs

[Apr 28, 2010] Notes on Senate Hearings on Goldman Sachs (Updated as of End of Hearings)

More bread and circuses for the chumps. Coburn was the most comical of all. His whole "inquiry" was just a cheap Goldman Sachs informercial. Senator Ensign (R-Nev) put a good joke that Las Vegas casinos would take offense at being compared to Wall Street because Wall Street used other peoples money and changed the rules as the game was being played.
April 27, 2010 | naked capitalism

DownSouth:

jinel,

That's a great choice you give us to describe those employed in the financial services industry, either master thieves and deceivers like Goldman, or feckless bumblers like Goldman's victims.

And these are the same guys who control the country's financial future and wellbeing, and knock down multi-million dollar pay packages for either being 1) crackerjack liars or 2) stupid?

[Apr 27, 2010] You want the truth? You can't handle the truth

CalculatedRisk

Making the rounds, a little Goldman humor (ht Brian):

"You want the truth? You can't handle the truth. Son, we live in a country with an investment gap. And that gap needs to be filled by men with money. Who's gonna do it? You? You, Middle Class Consumer?

Goldman Sachs has a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You weep for Lehman and you curse derivatives. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what we know: that Lehman's death, while tragic, probably saved the financial system.

And that Goldman's existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves pension funds. You don't want the truth. Because deep down, in places you don't talk about at parties, you want us to fill that investment gap. You need us to fill that gap.

"We use words like credit default swaps, collateralized debt obligation, and securitization? We use these words as the backbone of a life spent investing in something. You use 'em as a punchline. We have neither the time nor the inclination to explain ourselves to a commoner who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very credit we provide, and then questions the manner in which we provide it!

We'd rather you just said thank you and paid your taxes on time. Otherwise, we suggest you get an account and start trading.

Either way, we don't give a damn what you think you're entitled to!"

[Apr 26, 2010] Is Capitalism a Rationalization for Rape, Robbery and Pillage zero hedge

04/26/2010

alien-IQ:

C.D.

Here is an image the ZH crew might love.

Chris Ware's rejected Fortune cover

It's not surprising that the editors of Fortune rejected cartoonist Chris Ware's fantastic cover for the May 2010 issue. It contains too much truth for comfort. Also, it hearkens back to the golden age of Fortune as an exemplar of beautifully designed and illustrated magazines, and so would have invited unkind comments about the magazine's typical current level of design aesthetics.

From Indie Pulp, reporting on the C2E2 panel that Ware participated in:

[Ware] showed a cover he did for Fortune magazine which was supposed to be on the Fortune 500 issue. He accepted the job because it would be like doing the 1929 issue of the magazine, and he filled the image with tons of satirical imagery, like the U.S. Treasuring being raided by Wall Street, China dumping money into the ocean, homes being flooded, homes being foreclosed, and CEOs dancing a jig while society devolves into chaos. The cover, needless to say, was rejected.

FULL SIZE IMAGE AVAILABLE AT LINK HERE (AND IT'S DELICIOUS):
http://www.boingboing.net/2010/04/23/chris-wares-rejected.html?utm_sourc...

[Apr 25, 2010] "A Monstrous System of Guaranteeing Deposits" By Barry Ritholtz

April 24, 2010

Time for a good chuckle: Have a read of this excerpt from TIME magazine, circa 1933, about the evils of FDIC deposit insurance:

"Through the great banking houses of Manhattan last week ran wild-eyed alarm. Big bankers stared at one another in anger and astonishment. A bill just passed by both houses of Congress would rivet upon their institutions what they considered a monstrous system of guaranteeing bank deposits. Such a system, they felt, would not only rob them of their pride of profession but would reduce all U. S. banking to its lowest level. They saw their deposits which they had spent a lifetime to build up and protect with their good names confiscated by the Government to pay for the mistakes and dishonesty of every small town bankster . . .

Bank deposit guarantee schemes have been tried in Nebraska, Oklahoma, Kansas, Mississippi, Texas, North Dakota, South Dakota and Washington. They have invariably ended in failure and loss, if not in outright scandal and default. They have weakened the moral fibre of bankers and served chiefly as a temptation to bad banking. Honest banking has been penalized for dishonest banking."

Thanks, Paul!

[Apr 25, 2010] Are CDOs Really Nothing More Than "Intellectual Masturbation"?

zero hedge

In an email Fabrice sent out on January 29, less than a week after the critical January 23 email sent to Marine (see above), he writes:

When I think that I had some input into the creation of this product (which by the way is a product of pure intellectual masturbation, the type of thing which you invent telling yourself: "Well, what if we created a "thing", which has no purpose, which is absolutely conceptual and highly theoretical and which nobody knows how to price?") it sickens the heart to see it shot down in mid-flight... it's a little like Frankenstein turning against his own inventor ;)

Illya Kuryakin :

WTF is this Fabrice guy doing out there a free man anyway? Where is fucking Eric Holder?

rcolator:

fab fab is going to be someones bitch in prison.

chindit13:

The Best of the Best. The Smartest Guys in the Room. The epitome of financial acumen. God's work. The legendary and highly respected Goldman Sachs...

BlackBeard :

HAHA! this shit is gold! and Fab is an AAA rated douchebag!

Cursive:

D-bag? A really ghey D-bag. How does one recover from this expose? And read this quote again:

...standing in the middle of all these complex, highly levered exotic trades he created without necessarily understanding all the implications of these monstruosities !!! Anyway, not feeling too guilty about this, the real purpose of my job is to make capital markets more efficient and ultimately provide the US consumer will more efficient ways to leverage and finance himself, so there is a humble, noble and ethical reason for my job ;) amazing how good I am in convincing myself !!!

[Apr 24, 2010] Goldman Email Describes 'Frankenstein' Derivatives; Tourre Brags about Selling Abacus to "widows and orphans"; SEC Confident;German Bank Drops Goldman

black swan

"Goldman Sachs should probably settle, said senior executives at three of the firm's rivals."

Translation: Make this s**t go away before they start looking at us.

[Apr 24, 2010] New Goldman PR Disaster Execs Celebrated Subprime Implosion

naked capitalism

lambert strether:

"The Big Short."

Sounds like I've finally got a catchy name for the financial crisis, because these guys shorted the country.

[Apr 23, 2010] New Poll: When Will US Indices Have A Down Week?

Submitted by Tyler Durden on 04/23/2010 15:38 -0500

[Apr 23, 2010] In Light Of The SEC's Pornography Fetish Revelations, Bill Singer Proposes A Simple SOP Checklist

Submitted by 04/23/2010 | Tyler Durden

By now it is well-known that the bulk of the SEC's budget is spent on maintaining internet bandwidth to ensure that its 80286-based computers can cope with the terabytes of daily internet porn downloaded by its employees. In light of the need by the SEC to buckle up in preperation for the critical lawsuit against Goldman, which will make or break the agency, Bill Singer of Broke and Broker has come up with a simple list of several Standard Operating Procedures that the agency's employees must adhere to if they hope to have a job next year.We agree with his recommendations wholeheartedly.

REPORT OF SELF-APPOINTED CONSULTANT BILL SINGER

From: Bill Singer

To: SEC Chair Mary Schapiro

Date: April 23, 2010

RE: Allegations of Staff Porn Surfing: Proposed Remedies by Consultant

It has come to my attention that members of the SEC's Staff may be operating under a misimpression concerning a number of industry terms. Please ensure that the following expressions are properly explained to your Staff:

  1. Initial Public Offering: this is not the first sexual experience with a prostitute.
  2. Indication of Interest: this is not the negotiation of price with a prostitute
  3. Private Placement: this is not a consensual sex act between adults
  4. Regular Way Settlement: this is not the missionary position
  5. Pump And Dump: this is not an aberrant sex act
  6. The Spread: this is not something viewed at a peep show
  7. The Quiet Period: this is not the post-coital moment
  8. Breaking Escrow: this is not to be called the "money shot"
  9. Naked Short: this is not an undressed male Staffer on a cold day
  10. Self Regulator: this is an employee of FINRA not masturbation
  11. Secondary Offering: this is not a repeat sex act courtesy of Viagra

The SEC must immediately cancel any contemplated seminars with the Thailand securities authorities. This would not be a good time for Staff to be visiting Bangkok. In fact, the SEC should avoid any reference to that city whatsoever.

The SEC must immediately implement a policy that requires all Staff to use both hands on their computer keyboards at all times. Similarly, the SEC should provide Handi-Wipes for all visitors in the event that there is customary handshaking with Staff.

In response to growing reports of Staff vision problems and hairy palms, the SEC should expand its medical coverage to provide treatment for those maladies.

[Apr 21, 2010] Bernie Sanders Says It Is Time To Break Up The Big Banks As They Are Nothing But Monopolies

Best quote:

"the issue is not whether Congress regulates Wall Street, it's the degree to which Wall Street regulates Congress."

[Apr 21, 2010] In The Know Should The Government Stop Dumping Money Into A Giant Hole The Onion - America's Finest News Source Onion News Network

[Apr 21, 2010] Wall Street's Real Goals

Not new but somewhat funny: mega rich f*ckers still want to continue running the same scam on taxpayers in order to get their mega-bonuses. Is it a good time to renovate Alcatraz ?
April 20, 2010

...Wall Street wants is to water down reform so it can, according to Farrell, pursue these 8 goals:

(1) evade securities laws
(2) avoid taxes
(3) minimize capital requirements
(4) increase leverage
(5) hide speculative risks
(6) maximize short-term profits
(7) avoid stockholder disclosures, and
(8) manipulate regulators.

bsneath:

Any good parasite knows that it is better to not kill your host. Wall Street appears to have forgotten this.

JasRas:

The person who convinced regulators that CDS is not insurance deserves the George Orwell "Newspeak" award…

[Apr 21, 2010] Jon Stewart on Goldman Sachs

From comments: "still the funniest, most biting shit on the net - thanks Daily Show for making me laugh while the house is burning down." "These F#@king Guys" is actually a better nickname for GS then squid.
If that embedded video doesn't work for you, you can go see it here: http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/mon-april-19-2010/these-f–king-guys-goldman-sachs
The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c

These F@#king Guys - Goldman Sachs

www.thedailyshow.com

Daily Show Full Episodes

Political Humor

Tea Party

[Apr 21, 2010] Five rules for dealing with regulators for TBTF banks

"ntil now, perhaps), but those are very different things than just pissing them off.

[Apr 20, 2010] We are all Ponzies now by Tracy Alloway

Mar 12, 2010 | FT Alphaville

We wouldn't have thought to ask Nouriel Roubini about Bernie Madoff's alleged Ponzi scheme. But someone else has, and it's thrown up an interesting tirade from the master of economic doom and gloom. Reprinted in its full forcefulness below, with selected highlights from us.

A reporter contacted me today with the following question:

"I am a reporter and I am doing a story on Bernard Madoff's life after pleading guilty. As part of this I was wondering if you could comment on what significance he will have in the history of this period. Will he represent more than a scamster who stole a lot of money from a lot of people? As Bernie Ebbers and Ken Lay came to embody corporate greed and deceit, what will Madoff symbolize? I would really appreciate your insights on this".

Here is my answer fleshed out in full:

Americans lived in a Made-off and Ponzi bubble economy for a decade or even longer. Madoff is the mirror of the American economy and of its overleveraged agents: a house of cards of leverage over leverage by households, financial firms and corporations that has now gone bust.

When you put zero down on your home and you thus have no equity in your home your leverage is literally infinite and you are playing a Ponzi game.

And the bank that lent you with zero down, a NINJA (no income, no jobs and assets) liar loan that was interest only for a while with negative amortization and an initial teaser rate was also playing a Ponzi game.

And private equity firms that did over a $1 trillion of LBOs in the last few years with debt to earnings ratio of 10 or above were also Ponzi firms playing a Ponzi game.

A government that will issue trillions of dollars of new debt to pay for this severe recession and to socialize private losses may risk to become a Ponzi government if – in the medium term – does not return to fiscal discipline and debt sustainability.

A country that has – for over 25 years – spent more than income and thus run an endless string of current account deficit and has thus become the largest net foreign debtor in the world (with net foreign liabilities that are likely to be over $3 trillion by the end of this year) is also a Ponzi country that may eventually default on its foreign debt if it does not – over time – tighten its belt and start running smaller current account deficits and actual trade surpluses.

Whenever you persistently consume more than your income year after year (a household with negative savings, a government with budget deficit, a firm or financial institution with persistent losses, a country with a current account deficit) you are playing a Ponzi game; in the jargon of formal economics you are not satisfying your long run intertemporal budget constraint as you borrow to finance the interest rate on your previous debt and you are thus following an unsustainable debt dynamics (discounted value of your debt growing without limit in NPV terms as the debt grows faster than the interest rate on it) that eventually leads to outright insolvency.

According to Minsky and according to economic theory Ponzi agents (households, firms, banks) are those who need to borrow more to repay both principal and interest on their previous debt; i.e. Minsky's "Ponzi borrowers" cannot service neither interest or principal payments on their debts. They are called "Ponzi borrowers" as they need persistently increasing prices of the assets they invested in to keep on refinancing their debt obligations.

By this standard media US households whose debt relative to income went from 65 percent 15 years ago to 100 percent in 2000 to 135 percent today were playing a Ponzi game.

And an economy where the total debt to GDP ratio (of households, financial firms and corporations) is now 350 percent was a Made-Off Ponzi economy. And now that home values have fallen 20% and they will fall another 20% before they bottom out and now that equity prices have fallen over 50% (and may fall further) using homes as an ATM machine and borrowing against it to finance Ponzi consumption is not feasible any more. The party is over for households, banks and non-bank highly leveraged corporations.

The bursting of the housing bubble and of the equity bubble and hedge funds bubble and private equity bubble showed that most of the "wealth" that supported the massive leverage and overspending of agents in the economy was a fake bubble-driven wealth; now that these bubble have burst it is clear that the emperor had no clothes and that we are the naked emperor. A rising bubble tide was hiding the fact that most Americans and their banks were swimming naked; and the bursting of the bubble is the low tide that shows who was naked.

Madoff may now spend the rest of his life in prison. The US household and financial and non financial firms and government may spend the next generation in debtor's prison having to tighten their belts to pay for the losses inflicted by a decade or more of reckless leverage, over consumption and risk taking.

Americans, let us look at ourselves in the mirror: Madoff is us and Mr. Ponzi is us!

You're a Ponzi, Nouriel's a Ponzi, we are all Ponzies now.

[Apr 20, 2010] So, did 'America's prophet' see the SEC coming by Paul Murphy

The real question is how he managed to find enough idiots to raise $6 millions. America, real land of opportunities....
Mar 04, 2010 | FT Alphaville

Where to start?

The SEC on Thursday filed a civil action against one Sean David Morton, a.k.a. "America's Prophet! A modern day Nostradamus with more hits than Barry Bonds and the Russian Mafia!"

Morgan, along with his wife Melissa and a string of companies, stand accused of fraudulently raising $6m from more than 100 investors.

SEC:

According to the Commission's complaint, in soliciting these individuals, Morton claimed that he would use his psychic expertise to provide investment guidance to his investing team, and he falsely touted his historical success in psychically predicting the various rises and falls of the market…

According to the Commission's complaint, Morton used his monthly newsletter, his website, his appearances on a nationally syndicated radio show called Coast to Coast AM, and appearances at public events, to promote his psychic abilities. Morton made numerous materially false representations relating to his psychic abilities in order to solicit investors for the Delphi Investment Group. For example, Morton wrote to potential investors in his July 20, 2006 newsletter that: "I have called ALL the highs and lows of the market, giving EXACT DATES for rises and crashes over the last 14 years." (emphasis in original.) The Commission alleges that this assertion, like others Morton made in soliciting investors, is false.

We learn from Sean's personal website that:

Sean is a natural psychic, trained Remote Viewer, intuitive consultant, investigative reporter, and accomplished award winning director, screenwriter and film and TV producer…

Sean uses his talents and abilities to predict future occurrences and trends such as earth changes, political events and stock market fluctuations. He has an astounding "hit rate", or percentage of successes.

And we get a flavour of what this allegedly meant in practice from the SEC court documents:

In one-on-one correspondence with potential investors, Morton was even more aggressive in his solicitation. For example, on October 7,2006, Morton wrote to a potential investor, Investor G, in two separate emails: "The more [money] you get me the MORE 1 can make for you" and "[g]ive ME enough money to help YOU! Give me enough so that the average profits will make a DIFFERENCE in your life." (emphasis in original.) In a subsequent email, after Investor G had already invested with the Delphi Investment Group, Investor G told Morton that he would like to invest in other types of investments such as the stock market. . Morton replied, "for RIGHT NOW you will make the most with [the Delphi Investment Group]. Once the DOLLAR starts to DROP, which will happen soon, we are set to make a FORTUNE!" (emphasis in original.)

[Apr 19, 2010] "Don't GS Me, Man!"By Barry Ritholtz

April 19, 2010 | The Big Picture

Afternoon humor, gathered from around the web:

The term "GS", now entering the popular lexicon as a verb, meaning to lie AND make money from doing so, as opposed to "BS" – which is just to lie without the benefit of compensation.

-Richard Ambrose

~~~

There once was a man named Tourré
He toiled for The Squid night and day
At Paulson's request
He created a mess
And sold it to bank IBK

-Joshua Brown

~~~

Burning Documents Create Giant Smoke Plume over Goldman Sachs

Andy Borowitz

~~~

With apologies to John Collins Bossidy

And this is good old Gotham,
The home of the rich and the odd.
Where Morgan talks only to Goldman,
And Goldman talks only to God.

-Andrew Stanton

[Apr 19, 2010] How Lou Lucido Let AIG Lose $35 Billion With Goldman Sachs CDOs - BusinessWeek

The CDO's maturity date is 2039, so any declaration of success is premature, said Rutledge of R&R Consulting.

"A man who jumps off a 100-story building can pass the 98th floor and say, 'So far, so good,'" she said.

[Apr 19, 2010] Is Deutsche Bank in, or Out of, Trouble? By Floyd Norris

April 16, 2010

The Goldman case today had a devastating impact on investors in Deutsche Bank, which is said to have packaged similar securities as the one in the Goldman case. But maybe today's action indicates Deutsche is in the clear.

At the time these securities were being created at Deustche, the general counsel of Deutsche Bank for the Americas was Robert Khuzami.

He is now enforcement director for the S.E.C. ...

Selected Comments

Reality Bites said...

A large short position in the S&P is NOT the same as Goldman shorting its own stock. Goldman accounts for far less than 10% of the S&P500. A lot of people took short positions today judging by the drop in the stock market. Was the position initiated before the announcement or after? That's key as well, but rumors are rumors and the omniscience of Goldman Sachs is now more than just legendary. These guys prove that there is an all-knowing, all-powerful being, in fact several hundred such beings. Richard Dawkins is going to have a heart attack.

Alex Cook:

That would be hilarious, albeit completely and totally illegal, if Goldman's prop desk was shorting their own stock in anticipation of the announcement

Also, check this out: http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=GPY100417P00170000

Someone made a KILLING on GS puts today

[Apr 19, 2010] Looters in Loafers, by Paul Krugman , Commentary, NY Times:

Last October, I saw a cartoon by Mike Peters in which a teacher asks a student to create a sentence that uses the verb "sacks," as in looting and pillaging. The student replies, "Goldman Sachs."

[Apr 18, 2010] "Goldman Sachs Are Scum-" Max Keiser on Goldman Sachs From July 2009

What amazes me is that some investors are just now realizing squid was selling them short.

Why, these derivatives were SO complex that the poor Goldman management barely understood them themselves. They were tricked by Paulson. Tourre is a rogue trader. Bernie Madoff ate their Series 7 cheatsheets. Compliance was seconded to the Riviera. Lloyd was busy doing missionary work in Bangkok. More regulation will just hurt the recovery.


[Apr 18, 2010] A tar and feathers squad against the squid

The Baseline Scenario

In the now famous words of Sarah Palin, "time for us to roll up our sleeves and reload".

[Apr 17, 2010] Rabobank Merrill Committed Similar Fraud to Goldman With a Magnetar-Sponsored CDO " naked capitalism

Dan Duncan:

I am looking for Sarah Conner.

And you should be too…because I guarantee you, THEY sure as hell are looking for her.

The fate of all humanity hangs in the balance.

Think about what's happening here:

  1. Gov't levies civil fraud charges against GS.
  2. The civil fraud charges escalate to criminal fraud.
  3. The market remembers Arthur Anderson…and the fact that there mere charge of criminality is a death-blow to a financial entity.
  4. There's a run on GS. Morgan Stanley's next. C and BofA begin to swirl down the toilet bowl.

Welcome to TBTF 2.0.

Geithner, Bernanke and Summers have emergency meetings to save the financial system from collapse. Timmy sleeps on a cot in his office, while Vanity Fair correspondents chronicle his every bowel movement….

... ... ...

Half-Man, half-machine. Half-gov't, half-private. The ultimate profit-seeking, revenue-collecting quasi-government super-human cyborg.

And he will…be back.

[Apr 17, 2010] Goldman Sachs is disappointed…' by Paul Murphy

"I liked squid's "we lost $90Mn and only made $15Mn in fees'" is nice joke that Blanstein can try to tell Tee Party supported any time he chose. Those guys have great sense of humor.
on Apr 16 21:26. 6 comments.

There's got to be a sick squid joke in here somewhere.

David Rift

There is even a song to go with the story - a rework of one from the Broadway show The Producers entitled "Bet Against the American Dream" - http://vimeo.com/10864430.

[Apr 15, 2010] Five deregulation f*ckers and one chainsaw

One big, happy (organized crime) family." or "Red tape recycled as red ink. Hoocoodanode? "
Calculated Risk
Cutting Red Tape This photo from 2003 shows two regulators: John Reich (then Vice Chairman of the FDIC and later at the OTS) and James Gilleran of the Office of Thrift Supervision (with the chainsaw) and representatives of three banker trade associations: James McLaughlin of the American Bankers Association, Harry Doherty of America's Community Bankers, and Ken Guenther of the Independent Community Bankers of America.

Former OTS Director John Reich, who served from 2005 to 2009, referred to WaMu Chief Executive Kerry Killinger as "my largest constituent" in a 2007 e-mail

Rob Dawg:

Red tape recycled as red ink. Hoocoodanode?

MrBeach:

Indictable crimes? Naahh. Shame? Nahhh. These guys are all going to land on their feet at cushy thinktanks, boards, law firms or lobbying organizations.

Rob Dawg:

The Seven Stages of Hoocoodanode:

1.Quiet attention, learning.
2.Questioning inconsistencies.
3.Calling attention to inconsistencies.
4.Blaming systemic deficiencies.
5.Blaming the system.
6.Acceptance of "features not bugs."
7.Sublime snark.

Kauai_Kahuna:

I wonder if I could get a new handle - "DoomGlumBoomBubbleBoy"?

Nah, I'll stick with this one, I always liked that picture, I just wish they had used the chain saw on each other instead of the regulations and then the taxpayers.

sm_landlord:

fudge_hend wrote:

1.Amass concrete
2.Don't forget the re-bar.

Blackhalo:

sm_landlord wrote:

1 Amass concrete
2 Don't forget the re-bar.
3. YouTube - Don't Fear The Reaper

Wisdom Speaker :

Rob Dawg wrote:

The Seven Stages of Hoocoodanode:
Quiet attention, learning.
Questioning inconsistencies.
Calling attention to inconsistencies.
Blaming systemic deficiencies.
Blaming the system.
Acceptance of "features not bugs."
Sublime snark.

Dawg grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to put up with this crazy half-baked system when there's no hope left?

MrBeach:

sac wrote:

I would argue that these developing bubbles greatly improve the odds for the democrats in November... and they know it.

I've wondered if the current bubble is Wall St. gamed to get a better deal on the financial regulation bill.

In other words, the bill will end up being softer as a result of broad-based good cheer. Imagine you're a lobbyist for a big bank - the higher the market goes, the easier your job in convincing Congress that things are getting better and that banks have learned their lessons.

Alternatively, imagine if the banks and hedge funds step in front of the crazy valuation train and aggressively short the market. The market could crash. The public would be screaming and demanding change. Congress would then be politically painted into a corner and be forced to pass a harsher bill.

Rising markets --> Gentle bill.
Falling markets --> Harsher bill.

Cynicism R Us.

dryfly:

sdtfs wrote:

Who gets nominated as "The Mule"?

Greenspan has the looks...

ResistanceIsFeudal:

Tagssdtfs wrote:
Who gets nominated as "The Mule"?

AIG

Skittles the Unicorn:

Looking at that photo it struck me that, whilst those boys may be a bit porky, they had the lean and hungry look of sharks smelling blood.

[Apr 15, 2010] Lagging Psychology at Turning Points The Big Picture#comments

How the Common Man Sees It :

Remember that book that ends with the kid pointing out that the emperor has no clothes? What happens after the last page?

That's easy. The secret service come out and beat the kid senseless. Then they taser him until he's comatose

[Apr 15, 2010] Economist's View Fed Watch Consumers Come to Life

rjs:

7.9 million homeowners (10.2% of those with mortgages) arent making house payments so they can buy trinkets from china...& that makes you optimistic?

[Apr 15, 2010] Pack of Fools " The Baseline Scenario

In June 2007, the subprime-backed CDO market began to collapse for good. And, again, the banks suddenly couldn't figure out how much their clients' CDS were worth, so they could avoid sending them collateral. "Goldman was newly unable, or unwilling, to determine the value of those positions, and so could not say how much collateral should be shifted back and forth" (p. 195). Between June 15 and June 20, Michael Burry could not get ahold of his Goldman Sachs salesperson, who finally claimed that Goldman had had a "systems failure" - which was what Morgan Stanley and Bank of America also claimed. According to Burry, the only reason why the banks finally started marking his positions accurately was that they were getting in on the same trade.

This also happened between the dealers. At one point Greg Lippmann at Deutsche Bank, who had shorted the market, said to his counterpart at Morgan Stanley, who insisted that subprime CDOs were still worth 95 cents on the dollar: "I'll make you a market. They are 70-77. You have three choices. You can sell them back to me at 70. You can buy some more at 77. Or you can give me my f-ing $1.2 billion" (the collateral owed) (p. 213).

[Apr 14, 2010] Botox Economy by Satyajit Das

April 07, 2010 | PrudentBear

Botox (botulinum toxin), a highly toxic neuro-toxic protein produced by Clostridium Botulinum, is commonly used in cosmetic procedures to improve a person's appearance by removing facial lines and other signs of ageing. The effect is temporary and can have significant side effects.

The global economy is currently taking the "botox" cure. A flood of money from central banks and governments – "financial botox" – has temporarily covered up unresolved and deep-seated problems.

[Apr 14, 2010] Wrecking crew got the new oral sex strategy

As those pitiful guys start make such noise, it's worth remembering that the difference between democrats and repub as for Wall Street is much like the difference between Southern and Chicago prostitutes in performing oral sex.
The Republican Strategy on Financial Reform: Make Democrats Look Like Patsies for the Street, by Robert Reich: Senate Republicans today debuted their new strategy for financial reform: Refuse to cooperate with Democrats on grounds that the Dems are too willing to give Wall Street what it wants.
I'm not making this up.

... ... ...

Let's be clear: The Dodd bill doesn't go nearly far enough... But the Street thinks the Dodd bill goes way too far... Republicans figure they can accommodate the Street by refusing to give the Dems the votes they need unless the Dems agree to weaken the bill - while Republicans simultaneously tell the public they're strengthening the bill and reducing the likelihood of future bailouts.

It's a bizarre balancing act for the Republicans, reflecting the two opposing constituencies they have to appease - big business and Wall Street, on the one hand, and the emerging Tea Partiers, on the other. The Tea Partiers hate the Wall Street bailout as much as the left does. ...

[Apr 14, 2010] "Never Even a Whisper" at Fed's Open Market Committee Meetings

In old days expensive prostitutes (with salaries comparable to modern economists; may be slightly higher) were trained to recite poetry and keep the conversation about arts ;-)

...politics had an important affect on economic policy, but now the economics profession – as a whole – tries to pretend that it is strictly a mathematical and technical art form.

And as I documented last October, economists are trained to ignore – and central bankers and regulators rewarded to the extent that they ignore – the real world.

Skippy:

Put to music ala 80s

Sweat my youth away
With the rules we have to play
Speeding through your magazine
Pistol, pavement, no T.V.
Talk and talk
No time, night time
Burnt inside

Chorus:
Here comes the daylight, here comes my job
Uptown in the penthouse or downtown with the mob
Here comes the night time, here comes my role
Goodbye to the pavement, hello to my soul

Now here comes my job
Credit, bleeding with the mob
Dreams become ideals
No one knows the way I feel
Love to love
Daytime, right time
All my life

Chorus

Feel safe in the crowd
An no one admits they're crying aloud
My career fits like a glove
Knowing no orders can come from above
Work and work
Full time, part time
Anytime at all

As you face the wall
God make it this time or never at all
Before your chance has gone
Captain this lead role and you'll be the one
Shine and shine
This time, my time
Make me free at last

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YCZhzSim9wI

Skippy…crank it!

[Apr 14, 2010] Rahm Emanuel and Magnetar Capital The Definition of Compromised " naked capitalism

Thomasina Jefferson:

Amazing and scary. In consequence there could be a Milken-Rahm/Obama link then.
So organised crime is running the government of the US.

ndk:

That's an inappropriately pessimistic view of affairs, Thomasina. Consider the much sunnier converse: the United States Government finally found a way to control organized crime.

[Apr 11, 2010] The main difference between democrats and republicans

"Democrats" tax and spend. "Republicans" borrow and spend.

[Apr 10, 2010] Soros, Galbraith and Stiglitz on resisting inevitability in Greece

"Why is it so difficult for some peoples to learn the importance of shirking responsibility and that of living on debt. "
April 10, 2010 | naked capitalism

ray l love:

If only those Germans and those Chinese would stop producing so much stuff. Those Germans with their efficiency and their worker's being treated so fairly - and those Chinese making so much progress on poverty. Why is it so difficult for some peoples to learn the importance of shirking responsibility and that of living on debt.

Eventually, these 'productive' nations will begin to understand that healthy economies succeed because they allow their financial services sectors to do the heavy lifting.

[Apr 10, 2010] "What Does it Mean to be Middle Class in 2010? – Massive Amounts of Debt, One Health Crisis from Bankruptcy, and Beholden to the Banking Elite." (My Budget 360)

These days, the idea of retirement seems like either a bad joke or a utopian fantasy.

[Apr 10, 2010] Collapse! The Commemorative Game of the Financial Crisis

[May 4, 1020] MMT: Fear of Hyperinflation

Fifty years from now people will recognize that the threat this generation of Americans needed to take seriously, but failed, were banksters. What a depraved indifference to common people was recently demonstrated by GS during hearings."

I am very much on the same page as Bill Maher when recently he (jokingly?) asked , "Why have no bankers been shot?"

April

Random quotes

  • Truthiness applies to finance just as much as it does to politics. Stacy-Marie Ishmael (FT Tilt)
  • You may not care about the macroeconomy, but the macroeconomy cares about you. Jared Woodard (Condor Options)
  • Congress, a wholly owned subsidiary of Wall Street, Inc
  • "Excessive risk taking" by financial institutions means gambling with your money. And you own the losses.
  • The CPI is one of the most massaged organs the US Gubbment has
  • Economists only make predictions so that the weather guys have someone to laugh at.
  • "Fox is a non-reality based belief system" Chris Hedges
  • Greenspan appears to have taken to heart the old adage that "if you can't forecast well, forecast often" (Telegraph)
  • Can someone explain to me what is the essential difference, other than size and power, between the actions of the Federal Reserve and the Maddof scam?
  • "It's for good reason the stock market was dubbed "the bond market's idiot kid brother." Mike Santoli's Barron's
  • "The devil is no fool. He can get people feeling about heaven the way they ought to feel about hell. " --Thomas Merton
  • Having Rubin write about the economy is like having Pol Pot write about human rights... [Naked Capitalism]
  • "There is an old saying in Washington that if you are not at the table, you are on the table."Lobbying to Keep the Capital Markets a Casino
  • A sure sign of a crisis is the prevalence of cranks. Joan Robinson
  • Larry Summers, the most brilliant idiot on the planet (from comments to Fiscal Patriotism)
  • "He that will not apply new remedies must expect new evils, for time is the greatest innovator." -Francis Bacon, Essays

December

Time for debate on equity market structure

FT.com

If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys. That has long been the mantra of the financial industry when bankers want to defend their out-sized pay.

Put another way, paying "peanut" spreads is no use if trading ends up in the hands of computerized monkeys.

Calls for radical rethink of derivatives body

FT.com

No wonder: back then the derivatives market was exploding, and ISDA's belief in the value of self-regulation was so widely shared that one senior banker quipped that ISDA did not need external lobbyists "since we have Alan Greenspan [former Federal Reserve chairman] doing that".

PIMCO "Chump" Kashkari Rails Against Entitlement Spending After Providing Banks With $700 Billion Taxpayer Funded Blank Check

ussa:

PIMCO's 30 silver pieces were not enough for Mr. K?

DarkAgeAhead :

This confirms my long-held suspicion to beware of engineers with MBA's

docj :

Good Lord - can't these criminals at least have the common sense and dignity to shut the f**k up after having raped us dry lo these last - what? - 100-years.

NumberNone :

Is this the equivalent of telling the girl to get the fuck out after you've used her?

Trash-kari..not even going to pay for grandma's cab?

Misean:

Close. It's the equivalent of demanding that her mother pay for the reupholstery job on your Benz after you left the girl's dismembered corpse in a ditch.

Misean:

Methinks nitwit Cash-n-carry had a few too many "Rails" before burping up this screed.

fifth anniversary of then Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan's "Froth" speech

CalculatedRisk
Jon Lansner at the O.C. Register notes the fifth anniversary of then Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan's "Froth" speech: Greenspan's froth not bubble, 5 years later
"Although a 'bubble' in home prices for the nation as a whole does not appear likely, there do appear to be, at a minimum, signs of froth in some local markets where home prices seem to have risen to unsustainable levels." [said Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan, June 9, 2005 in testimony to Congress]
Perhaps to celebrate "Froth Day", Fed Chairman Bernanke made this statement:
[U]nderlying housing activity appears to have firmed only a little since mid-2009, with activity being weighed down, in part, by a large inventory of distressed or vacant existing houses and by the difficulties of many builders in obtaining credit.

Sippn:

A few more tattoo, thrift, check cashing stores and our recovery will really be rocking.

Lets open a Froth Shop

Juvenal Delinquent:

The business of selling people damn near anything in exchange for their food stamps must be good!

Nice bike, shill.

shill:

Besides that, its either wine or women, the rest is wasted.

No truer words spoken.

Anonymous Bosch:

Time wounds all heels.

Anonymous Bosch

Somebody should have given Greedspin a lower intestine full of froth a long time ago.

noob goldberg:

Who doesn't love froth week?

Vonbek777:

noob goldberg wrote:

Who doesn't love froth week?

I was trying to come up with a 99 bottles on the wall tribute...but have so far failed...can you bottle MBS and pass it around?

Sippn:

What....falling on swords?

Rob Dawg:

This is the froth I warned about. Prices both wishing and selling are going to be all over the place. The large and dynamic inventory will make for a cloudy market. The small number of sales will increasingly include exceptions rather than regular sales closings. The shift to buyers market will leave some sellers unable to cope and thus escrows will be messy. Buyers will increasingly dictate terms; fast close, slow close, etc. In math we call this sparse matrix analysis. I haven't done it but it looks like 5-6 dimensions about 5% populated. Don't sweat the math or try to visualize 5 dimensions. The point is that depending on how you look at it you can detect many patterns. Look at this picture for an example:

The analog of a cresting wave goes quite far. No more rising tide, the wave crests, froth. The biggest wave at the end of an unusually high tide leaves little fishies washed up on the beach and as the tide recedes we see who was swimming naked. It won't be a pretty sight but it won't be a tsunami either although I don't put it past our great leaders to possibly make things worse.

ResistanceIsFeudal:

noob goldberg wrote:

Who doesn't love froth week?

Towards the end of the Starbucks reign, froth was getting ridiculous, so much so that there was barely any coffee left in the cup. Worse yet people demanded their $5 cappucinos be delivered this way. We look back with laughter at our willingness to part with good money for what was actually excessive froth and very little coffee.

Juvenal Delinquent

One lie makes you larger
Another lie is good for us all
And the ones that Greenspan told us
Don't do anything at all
Go ask Alan
When his tales grow tall

And if you go chasing answers
And you know it's going to fall
Tell them an obfuscating octogenarian has given you the call
Recall Alan?
When we were all enthralled

When the men on the Fed board
Get up and tell you where to go
And you just had some kind of mushroom
And your mind is moving slow
Go ask Alan
I think he'll know

When logic and proportion
Have fallen sleepy dead
And the white knight is talking backwardation
And the red ink symbolizes dread
Remember what the ex-director said

Heed the Fed
Heed the Fed

YouTube - White Rabbit

Doc Holiday:

In retrospect the froth theme should have been about scum:

See: A layer of impurities that accumulates at the surface of a financial crisis

Juvenal Delinquent :

Froth is a fancy way of describing packaged air, right?

Clarke and Dawe ask the million dollar questions - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Video is more impressive then transcript ;-)

KERRY O'BRIEN, PRESENTER: Time for John Clarke and Bryan Dawe with a few reflections on Europe's financial woes.

BRYAN DAWE: Your name is Roger yes?

JOHN CLARKE: Roger.

BRYAN DAWE: Ah, that's your name?

JOHN CLARKE: Roger.

BRYAN DAWE: Good. And what do you do Roger?

JOHN CLARKE: I'm a financial consultant.

BRYAN DAWE: Ah, financial consultant, eh?

JOHN CLARKE: Roger, yes.

BRYAN DAWE: Terrific and Roger how is business at the moment?

JOHN CLARKE: Not bad thank you. Been a bit quiet lately.

BRYAN DAWE: How do you mean lately?

JOHN CLARKE: Since the war. Been a bit quiet.

BRYAN DAWE: Fair enough. Okay, Roger your special subject tonight is the economies of the European community. Your time starts now. Best of luck.

JOHN CLARKE: Thank you.

BRYAN DAWE: How much does Greece owe, Roger?

JOHN CLARKE: $367 billion.

BRYAN DAWE: Correct. And who do they owe it to?

JOHN CLARKE: Mostly to the other European economies.

BRYAN DAWE: Correct. How much does Ireland owe?

JOHN CLARKE: $865 billion.

BRYAN DAWE: Correct. Who do they owe it to?

JOHN CLARKE: Other European economies mostly.

BRYAN DAWE: Correct. How much does Spain and Italy owe?

JOHN CLARKE: $1 trillion each.

BRYAN DAWE: Correct. Who to?

JOHN CLARKE: Mainly France, Britain and Germany.

BRYAN DAWE: Correct. And how are Germany, France, Britain going Roger?

JOHN CLARKE: Well they're struggling a bit, aren't they?

BRYAN DAWE: Correct. Why?

JOHN CLARKE: Well 'cause they've lent all the vast amounts of money to other European economies that can't possibly pay them back.

BRYAN DAWE: Correct so what are they go to go have to do?

JOHN CLARKE: They're going to have to bail them out.

BRYAN DAWE: Correct. Where are they getting the money to do that Roger?

JOHN CLARKE: That is a good question. I don't know the answer to that one. (laughs)

BRYAN DAWE: How much does Portugal owe?

JOHN CLARKE: Hang on a minute, what was the answer to that earlier question?

BRYAN DAWE: Just keep answering the questions Roger.

Where is Portugal going to get the money it owes to Germany if Germany can't get back the money that it lent to Italy?

JOHN CLARKE: Just a minute. What was the answer to the previous que-

The question was: How can broke economies lend money to other broke economies who haven't got any money because they can't pay back the money the broke economy lent to the other broke economy and shouldn't have lent it to them in the first place because the broke economy can't pay back?

BRYAN DAWE: You are wasting valuable time Roger. How much money does Spain owe to Italy?

JOHN CLARKE: $41 billion. But where are they going to get it?

BRYAN DAWE: Correct. What does Italy owe to Spain?

JOHN CLARKE: $27 billion but they haven't got it - they're broke.

BRYAN DAWE: Correct. How can they pay each other if neither of them has any money?

JOHN CLARKE: They're going to get a bailout, aren't they?

BRYAN DAWE: Correct. And where is the money coming from for the bailout?

JOHN CLARKE: That is what I'm asking you!

BRYAN DAWE: Correct. Why are people selling the European currency and buying the US dollar?

JOHN CLARKE: Because the US economy is so much stronger than the European economy.

BRYAN DAWE: Correct. Why is that Roger?

JOHN CLARKE: Because it's owned by China.

BRYAN DAWE: Correct and very well done! And after that round you've lost $1 million.

JOHN CLARKE: I've lost $1 million? I thought you said well done!

BRYAN DAWE: Yes well done - you've only lost $1 million. That's an extraordinary performance Roger.

JOHN CLARKE: I've only lost $1 million.

BRYAN DAWE: Very well done.

JOHN CLARKE: That's quite good is it?

BRYAN DAWE: Oh it's excellent.

JOHN CLARKE: Sell everything immediately. Quickly!

Bespoke Investment Group

A few weeks ago we noted that we had just received a big delivery of an item we had made. Without further ado, behold Collapse! -- The Commemorative Game of the Financial Crisis.

Collapse! is a commemorative game that takes a light hearted approach to the very serious events of the financial crisis. The game allows players to relive the tension, anxiety, and second guessing characterized by this crazy period in history. As the global financial system began to crumble in 2007, it became frighteningly apparent just how precarious its foundation had been all along. While the bankruptcy of Lehman is often cited as the cause of the collapse, the reality is that under a different sequence of events, the pressures would have built up differently, causing something or someone else to bear the blame. There was no one cause. Instead, a thick web of diverse but interconnected culprits was revealed, with each playing their own important role.

In the game of Collapse!, each of the 54 blocks represents one of the factors or events that helped create the crisis or hasten its escalation. What better way to relive the financial turmoil than to grab some family or friends and try to build your own financial fortress that's too big to fail! After stacking the blocks (the included instructions provide a useful frame), players take turns pulling them out one by one until the entire structure collapses! Read the phrase on the block that caused the Collapse! and reminisce about the "bad old days."

>[Apr 10, 2010] Justice for Helicopter Ben and Co. ;-)
It's possible to hang some perpetrators but unfortunately bad ideas are bulletproof.

Mish's Global Economic Trend Analysis

Thurston Thisterthithington III:

"As much as I hate to admit it, this will validate the Bernanke/Paulson/Geithner response to our little shitstorm. OTOH, they caused the problem, profited from it on both sides of the deal (and maybe some sides we aren't even aware of), and, in truth, only made matters worse - offseting the due date for economic oblivion in the US by an indeterminate period of time. They should be hung in public (on the National Mall, right in front of the Fed) for their chicanery.

FatBeard:

(on the National Mall, right in front of the Fed) for their chicanery. TT III

At least demolish the Fed before their eyes first.

VegasBob:

"Thurston/FatBeard, that's actually a good idea. Blow up the Fed and then hang the miscreants. Unfortunately, the police state we live in would never permit true justice to occur.

FatBeard :

"If only bad ideas could be dealt with so simply. But they can't. As "V" said, ideas are bulletproof. That applies to bad ones too.

>[Apr 10, 2010] A Failure of Corporate Governance

Corporate governance is groupthink, if not worse, in the US

April 9, 2010 | The Baseline Scenario

Alan Greenspan was convinced the markets self-regulate. I believe it was Herbert Hoover who said: "The only problem with capitalism is the greedy capitalists.". I suspect that Hoover's sentiment is closer to the reality than Greenspans's as we have seen in the last two decades.

>[Apr 08, 2010] Junk bank rally
This is not only junk bonds but also junk banks rally :-).

Here's a banking data point in the context of that model-breaking, crisis-forgetting, junk-crazy, dash-for-trash.

>[Apr 08, 2010] Greenspan Love Him, Hate Him
Guinness record: From Maestro to "He's a bad man who should be in prison with bubba, with NO soap on a rope" in three short years.
The Baseline Scenario

eflotsam

...competence in the financial sector should be measured not in usefulness or finding a need and filling it, but in enrichment the professionals.

Russ

Nobody can ever just accept responsibility. There's always some kind of slimy caveat, like the fraudulent, "everyone's guilty."

Per Kurowski

A defender of free financial markets would never ever imposed on the markets, the way it was done in the regulations, the opinions of some few credit rating agencies.

Peter Donner

I agree with you and Simon 99% of finance is pure rent: a tax on the real economy to fund nefarious gluttons.

shellgamer

As I hear it Greenspan has not given up on either Ayn Rand or free-market economics. He has only suddenly realized that there is a cadre of scoundrels, schemers, opportunists and downright crooks attracted to a regulation-free culture, and that the market system, ironically, is not too big to fail.

ep3

He's a bad man who should be in prison with bubba, with NO soap on a rope.

>[Apr 08, 2010] Maestro legacy (from speech on Sept. 26, 2005):

In summary, it is encouraging to find that, despite the rapid growth of mortgage debt, only a small fraction of households across the country have loan-to-value ratios greater than 90 percent. Thus, the vast majority of homeowners have a sizable equity cushion with which to absorb a potential decline in house prices.

>[Apr 06, 2010] Bernanke is Walking on a Greased Tight Rope - Will TLT Go Up or Down-

"Bernanke is on a tight rope walking, trying to keep his balance, only it's the end of March fast approaching and all of a sudden, the rope has grease on it." © Seamus 2010

>[Apr 05, 2010] You and me as "yappers who do not know anything" and thus who should be fleeced by banking professionals like Robert Braswell, president of Greensboro-based Carolina Bank
As one commenter noted : The "ill-informed and under-educated" have been known to use torches and pikes to solve their problems. The well-informed and highly-educated might want to keep that in mind.
... Max Abelson got some investment bankers who used to work at Lehman to say what they really think about ordinary people:

... ... ...

"Yappers who don't know anything."

Well, the commercial bankers are not taking this lying down. They are out trying to prove that they can be just as offensive.

Speaking of the proposed Consumer Financial Protection Agency, bank president Robert Braswell had this to say, according to the News & Record of Greensboro:

"The consequences to the consumer will be equal or worse than what they're trying to legislate away," said Robert Braswell, president of Greensboro-based Carolina Bank. . . .

Banks, he said, will pass on added costs to consumers or stop offering some services, such as free checking. Braswell said when he has been on lobbying trips to Washington on behalf of bankers groups, congressmen and congressional staffers did not seem receptive to points made by those in the industry.

"There is no consideration to (whether it's duplicative); there's no consideration as to cost," he said. "Those who are behind this legislation are absolutely ill-informed and under-educated . . . They refuse to consult with anyone who does possess the requisite knowledge."

This isn't even worth a point-by-point rebuttal. Insofar as the CFPA is duplicative, it duplicates powers that existing regulators didn't use; and it also extends consumer protection to the nonbanks, which were not regulated at all. If free checking only exists because banks are gouging other customers, then free checking shouldn't exist. Oh, and Tim Geithner, Michael Barr, and Elizabeth Warren are "under-educated"? I guess I am, too.

I would be encouraged by Braswell's claim that congressmen and their staffers are not receptive to points made by the industry . . . except that it's not true. Anyone who knows what is going on in Washington knows that the bank lobbyists have been punching holes in the legislation successfully for the past seven months. Maybe they're not receptive to Braswell, but there are plenty of industry spokespeople doing a much better job - and not talking about it in public.

Russ:

"Ill-informed and under-educated" is very true. He meant that in an ideological sense, that even though the people have been brainwashed enough that they let these horse thieves who were caught red-handed not only avoid the noose and go free but continue their crimes, their brainwashing hasn't been sufficient to save the criminals the hassle of having to lobby against minor nuisances like a "CFPA" (which even in its strongest possible incarnation would still be just nibbling at the fringes of the problem).

I agree that the people are ill-informed and under-educated, for the reverse reason. If they truly understood the nature of these rackets, of how the FIRE rackets are completely useless and completely malevolent, how they do nothing but cause monumental social, economic, and political destruction (not to mention how swine like those quoted here sadistically enjoy the crimes they commit and the massive harm they inflict): If the people were better educated about this, if they could overcome their brainwashing, they would simply eradicate this parasite.

>[Apr 05, 2010] American Pastime- OverPaying CEOs
The Big Picture
How are shareholders hoodwinked so thoroughly? I can describe the legal corporate theft by insiders in 5 simple steps. The scam goes something like this:

Five Steps to Shareholder Wealth Transfer

1. The Board of Directors, usually cronies of the CEO (often hand picked by him) forms a compensation committee. To appear "objective," the committee hires an outside compensation consultant.

2. The compensation consultants are themselves well paid whores, who rather than turning tricks outside the Holland tunnel, offer up absurdly generous comp package. They deliver what they are paid to: They provide cover for the boards to make an otherwise indefensible giveaway of shareholder monies in the form of cash and stock options. It is typically called "Pay for Performance," but that is a horrific misnomer, as we see in step #3. The comp committee approves the consultants' nonsense, forwards it to the Board, who rubber stamps it.

3. Here's where things get interesting: If the stock price rallies, the exec can exercise and cash out, risk free. If the stock price falls, the exec requests a new round of options - or even easier, asks for a repricing of the old ones.

4. After the options are repriced, the exec simply waits. Whether the market rallies or falls . . . you simply go back to step three. Repeat until stock options are in the money. There is no risk or outlay of cash on the part of execs.

5. True "performance" is not a factor. Stock prices can rally for a vast range of reasons having nothing whatsoever to do with management or CEO performance. The market can rally, a sector can come into favor, or even when the Fed can cut rates.

>[Apr 04, 2010] Being John Malkovich means suing the Madoff estate for $2.2m by Stacy-Marie Ishmael
Apr 01. 2010 | FT Alphaville
Not an April fool's joke: actor John Malkovich was a client of Bernard Madoff's, and on Thursday, he sued the Ponzi schemer's estate to recoup his investments.

(For what it's worth, other Hollywood Madoff losers include Steven Spielberg, Kevin Bacon and Zsa Zsa Gabor)

According to a Reuters report, the renowned character actor is seeking to recover $2.23m from the liquidation of Madoff's securities firm.

>[Apr 04, 2010] Gap of doom

Asia Times

The United States government's total revenue for February was US$107 billion, and expenditures were $328 billion. Yikes!!! Even an idiot can work out that that gap is not healthy, and extrapolated over the next several years and translated into normal English it means one thing - we're freaking doomed!!! (Apr 1, '10)

>[Apr 03, 2010] Jim Grant Presents A Prospectus For The United States, Discusses The Death Penalty For US Coinage Debasers zero hedge

Keep in mind the UST raised $333 billion in net debt in March, as we pointed out yesterday. Grant also discusses the Coinage Act of 1792, whose section 19 stipulates "that the penalty for anyone who would debase the coinage of the US, is death." By that logic, a firing squad may soon need to be sequestered to Washington.

>[Apr 02, 2010] Models & Agents Merkel Places Hopes in Lysistrata Initiative

In a last-ditch attempt to get Greece to fix its public finances, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has turned to the wayward country's cultural heritage for ideas.

In a somewhat bizarre move, the Chancellor launched yesterday the so-called "Lysistrata Initiative", named after Aristophanes' eponymous play, which calls on the women of Greece to withhold sexual privileges from their partners until they file their tax returns.

The call comes on the heels of a European Council report showing Germany, along with Finland, trailing far behind France, Italy, Greece and Spain (or the FIGS) in the eurozone rankings for sexual activity.

"German taxpayers cannot be asked to finance the unrestrained lives of the Greeks" said an exasperated Ms Merkel.

>[Apr 01, 2010] Lloyd Blankfein Time Man Of The Year " The Baseline Scenario By Simon Johnson, co-author of 13 Bankers: The Wall Street Takeover and the Next Financial Meltdown

In a surprise announcement earlier this morning, Time Magazine brought forward its annual "Man of the Year" award – and conferred this honor on Lloyd Blankfein, CEO of Goldman Sachs. April 1st apparently is at least 7 months earlier than anyone else has ever won this award, since it began in 1927.

As the award has previously been conferred on controversial figures (including Joseph Stalin in 1942 and Mrs. Simpson in 1936), Time also saw fit to issue a statement clarifying Mr. Blankfein's merits,

"[Goldman is] very important. [They] help companies to grow by helping them to raise capital. Companies that grow create wealth. This, in turn, allows people to have jobs that create more growth and more wealth. It's a virtuous cycle. [They] have a social purpose."

A spokesperson for Goldman responded quickly,

"It was always clear to us that had [Lloyd not won], it would have been quite disruptive to the world's financial markets. We would have had to spend money, other people would have had to replace transactions as well. Generally for us, volatility is good for our trading business, however it would not have been good for the financial markets as a whole, so it would not have been good for our business…We would not have been affected directly by our exposure to [him], but the world's financial system would have been affected…there would have been no losses vis a vis our credit exposure."

Now it seems the Nobel Peace Prize Committee feels pressed to follow suit. Their statement just released in Oslo begins,

"The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided that the Nobel Peace Prize for [2010] is to be awarded to President [Lloyd Blankfein] for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples. The Committee has attached special importance to [Blankfein]'s vision of and work for a world without [credit derivatives]."

There may be more to this story. According to the website Market News Video, "Goldman recently upgraded Norway-based oil and gas company Statoil (STO) from neutral to buy, and even put the stock it on its conviction buy list". And Goldman has long predicted that oil prices would hit $200 per barrel – a forecast that has greatly helped buoy Norway's public finances and restrain pressures to join the eurozone.

In a conference call, David Viniar (Goldman's CFO) scoffed at the idea of a connection between the firm's market activities and Mr. Blankfein's recent slew of prizes,

"We had no material exposure to [Norway]."

Mr.Viniar further remarked, somewhat enigmatically,

"We also have taxpayer money at GS and it's our responsibility not to lose it."

He did not, however, clarify to which country's taxpayers he was referring – nor how exactly Goldman got its hands on their money.

Meanwhile, there are persistent unconfirmed rumors that Mr. Blankfein is the front-runner to win the Pillsbury Bake-Off.

This would be controversial, as we are still 10 days away from the competition itself and Mr. Blankfein is not one of the named finalists.

Still, Mr. Blankfein did recently win the Financial Times 2009 Person of the Year award – despite also being at the same time "a keen judge for the Financial Times and Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year Award."

In fall 2009 Mr. Blankfein had seemed to commit to stop fixing the results of various kinds of competitions that are widely believed to be free and fair – like the stock market:

"We participated in things that were clearly wrong and have reason to regret. We apologize."

But there may be divergent views within Mr. Blankfein's own senior management team. David Viniar, for one, is holding to a harder line.

With regard to what happened in the basketball gold medal game at the Vancouver Olympics, he was quite firm:

"There's no guilt whatsoever."

Rickk

Dr. Blankfein or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying & Love Goldman Sachs – excerpts

April 1, 2010

"The Financial Crisis was a Hoax. The global casino is open again.

No worries! You actually believed there was a problem when Paulson and Bernanke threatened Congress last year with Martial Law; to blast the U.S. economy back to the 16th century; to crash the market unless ransom was paid requiring each American to fork over $100,000, give or take, in impossible-to-payback future loans today to add to the hundreds of thousands of dollars each American already owes forever?

HAHAHA. It's all good, bro. Goldman Sachs and the other cruel sisters of syphilitic lending are reporting huge profits and bonuses….All efforts to remove the investment banking tapeworm from our collective colon have failed, but that's a good thing. We poked the monster….and made it angrier and greedier in ways never thought possible and daddy's feeling fine. Ain't no audit going on at the Fed, bud. I'm so happy I could just plotz. You're gonna LOVE what happens next. Insatiable greed meets infinite moral hazard when Goldman eats the Fed.

High Frequency Trading (HFT) aka 'flash trading' will continue to grow exponentially. Trading will become so fast, time itself will have a public offering after Microsoft secures a patent on it and trading time futures will catapult traders backwards and forwards through time until they need bailouts on debts they have not yet incurred.

Cloning time traders will get Congressional approval confusing the boundary between time and money further causing Warren Buffet to pass a kidney stone that looks exactly like Larry Ellison. Time Bandits will steal the DNA of time trading clones and sell the proprietary code to a Japanese housewife who will use it to crash the Icelandic Krona (again) because she thinks she's over paying for a plate of sushi in Reykjavik.

Thanks Lloyd Blankfein, current CEO of Goldman Sachs and future President of the United States. We are eternally in your debt."

>[Apr 01, 2010] Jamie Dimon Complains About Demonization of MegaBanks
That means that a new season for looting just opened.

bob:

"I've got it, its mine and fuck you if you think you can change any of this. I own your ass, your house, your town and your government."

demon:

You can take the little Jamie out of Queens,
but you can't take the Queen out of little Jamie.

risk:

"fact is that some businesses require size in order to make necessary investments, take 'extraordinary risks' and provide vital support globally"

http://www.zerohedge.com/article/whistleblower-exposes-jp-morgans-silver-manipulation-scheme

March

>[Mar 31, 2010] "Red States, Blue States and the Distribution of Federal Spending"
This neo-Nazi clown Glenn Beck is funny and dangerous simultaneously. Such personality is possible only on Faux channel. "If I were cynical, I might suspect that the reason that Glenn Beck, Michele Bachmann, and some Republicans are not enthusiastic about getting the most accurate numbers possible, from the census and otherwise, is that they don't want people to know who is getting federal handouts and who is paying."
Economist's View

Red States, Blue States and the Distribution of Federal Spending, by Jeffrey Frankel: April 1 is Census Day. Evidently Glenn Beck and Michele Bachmann are encouraging Americans to boycott the census - to refuse to fill out the whole form. This protest follows from their small government ideology. ... They say they want a government that intervenes less in the economic sphere. Perhaps they don't like the idea that the census numbers are used, among other things, to determine the allocation of federal spending across states, because they don't think it is the business of the government to redistribute income. That is "socialism." Even "Stalinism."

... ... ...

The question is geographical redistribution: which states receive subsidies from the federal government, and which other states are taxed to provide those subsidies. One might be able to sympathize with the feeling of those living in the heartland of the country that they should not have to subsidize the northeastern states or California...

... ... ...

If I were cynical, I might suspect that the reason that Glenn Beck, Michele Bachmann, and some Republicans are not enthusiastic about getting the most accurate numbers possible, from the census and otherwise, is that they don't want people to know who is getting federal handouts and who is paying. Probably they don't want to know themselves.

Red-blue
>[Mar 31, 2010] The terrorist model for banks

Terrorist networks operate on a modular model. They're divided into cells, so that should one cell be caught by the authorities, the other cells can continue. As Haldane describes it :

A series of decentralised cells, loosely bonded, make infiltration of the entire Al'Qaeda network extremely unlikely . . . These are all examples where modular structures have been introduced to strengthen system resilience. In all of these cases, policy intervention was required to affect this change in structure.

And so, to the inevitable conclusion:

The history of banking is that risk expands to exhaust available resources. Tail risk is bigger in banking because it is created, not endowed. For that reason, it is possible that no amount of capital or liquidity may ever be quite enough. Profit incentives may place risk one step beyond regulation. That means banking reform may need to look beyond regulation to the underlying structure of finance if we are not to risk another sparrow toppling the dominos.

Today's financial structure is dense and complex, like a tropical rainforest. Like the rainforests, when it works well it is a source of richness. Yet it is, as events have shown, at the same time fragile. Simpler financial eco-systems offer the promise of greater robustness, at some cost in richness. In the light of a costly financial crisis, both eco-systems should be explored in seeking answers to the $100 billion question.

Financial reform; thy inspiration is, err, Al-Qaeda?

>[Mar 31, 2010] Disappointing ADP Comes In At -23K, Consensus Was For +40K zero hedge
ZackAttack

Who needs jobs when you have a rising stock market?

>[Mar 30, 2010] Signs of a Top

we're not at the top of some over bought market recovery – we're at the bottom of the next bubble. One definition of insanity is repeating the same behavior and expecting a different outcome. (Einstein?)

>[Mar 29, 2010] Econbrowser PPACA and What If Scenarios

On issues relating to fiscal responsibility, it seems that the heat generated is often inversely proportional to the light.

>[Mar 27, 2010] Bi-Polar and on medication stock pundit
What a perfect fit...

CreateSpace:

Reading Todd Harrison's "E-Novel" over at Minyanville he has a very heart-rending post about finding out that Cramer is "Bi-Polar" and on medication.

I think that comes through on his "Mad Money" show.

One wonders if Cramer's Meds are really effective, though…. just saying…

Charlatan

...If a podiatrist walked into a hospital and started saying, "Brain cancer? Sure, I can treat that. I'm a brain surgery guru. Malaria? Well, I'm an expert on that too. Sickle cell anemia? Hey, I wrote the book on that, you should take my advice. Spinal fracture? Let me tell you what you need to know." Setting aside all other issues, what would you say about that individual's character and integrity. Would you say, "Well, gee, I mean nobody could know about all those things. He really has a tough job there. Anybody would find that near impossible." Ummmmmm………..no. You'd say, "That guy is a big fat creep."

subscriptionblocker:

Stewart refers to him as "Creamer"….. Thought it stuck?

Maverick1:

A classic: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gUkbdjetlY8

>[Mar 27, 2010] The Case for Buying Foreign Bonds from Low-Deficit Countries

Pimco talks their book more than El-Erian tries to sell his.

>[Mar 26, 2010] Fraudulent Usurious Corrupt Kleptocracy

i on the ball patriot

"This was not just a happenstance gang rape by a bunch of lusty wall street perverts that can be explained away as; "all had a hand in it".

ndk:

I'm shocked, shocked that the U.S. Government would prosecute its stagehands

Mickey Marzick in Akron, Ohio:

Fraudulent Usurious Corrupt Kleptocracy

>[Mar 22, 2010] Mason-Dixon line in economic profession
Are economists well paid political prostitutes pretending to be scientists or scientists who feel obligatory to engage in political prostitution ? ;-) The "Darwin Awards" works both ways.
March 19, 2010

...I did a fast tabulation (so, don't quote me on it), and what one finds is that of the list in favor, only 2 of 41 economists are affiliated with institutions in the South (defined using the most restrictive definition in this Wikipedia page -- so to be completely accurate, I haven't used the actual Mason-Dixon line). Of the 131 signatories to the against letter, 40 are affiliated with institutions in the South, i.e., essentially 30% of the total. A list of affiliations is below...

Tommy:

...Such displays draw into question the worth of the profession, not unreasonably.

>[Mar 22, 2010] Hurricane Ponzi
3/22/2010

1 currency now -yogi:

Comrade Gibbon wrote:

Encouraged by the fed, banks engaged in all sorts of financial innovation to keep the train rolling till it blew up four years later with loan to income ratios on many of the notes in MBS being almost 10:1 and shot through with obvious fraud.

Securitization is ponzi.

The Fed is ponzi.

It's "Hurricane Ponzi" (--J. Tavakoli's coinage)

>[Mar 21, 2010] Senators as little punk staffers
As GW Bush used to say to "have more": you are my base...

House Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio), told the crowd. "I know that's a dirty word, but that's what you're doing." He told the bankers not to be afraid to stand up to members of Congress or "these little punk staffers," as he called them. ...

>[Mar 20, 2010] On stock market rally

...if symptoms of viagra last longer than one year, we should see a head doctor, and not an economist

>[Mar 20, 2010] Federated's David Tice Is Not A Fan Of Bernanke-Manufactured, Free Money Driven, Bear Market Bounces, Sees Huge Potential For Decline
zero hedge

goldisok:

...I really liked a comment once made by an independent financial analyst David Roche.

He said that the FED is very naïve if it thinks that it can do anything gradually and achieve a gradual effect. He said that all bubbles burst violently and when FED says that it can gradually deflate a bubble it certainly deludes itself.

Roche said that attempting to control the bursting of a financial bubble is as ridiculous and futile as attempting to control our fart once it goes off.

>[Mar 19, 2010] New College Graduates To Be Cryogenically Frozen Until Job Market Improves
"The Frozen For Their Future Act" ;-)
The Onion

In a bold new measure intended to address unemployment among young professionals, lawmakers from across the political spectrum agreed on legislation Tuesday to subsidize the cryogenic freezing of recent college graduates until the job market recovers.

The bill, expected to swiftly pass in both houses, would facilitate the subzero preservation of any graduate of a two- or four-year educational institution. Sponsors of the initiative said that with the national unemployment rate at just under 10 percent, it only made sense for young job-seekers to temporarily enter a state of supercooled stasis.

"Finding employment is extremely difficult for today's college graduate," Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) said. "Our current economy offers few options for the millions of young men and women desperate to join the workforce."

"Were we to freeze these graduates at the height of vigor and ambition, however, there's a chance we could revive them during a more prosperous time," Hutchinson continued. "When the economy finally bounces back-10, 20, even 30 years from now-we'll have an entire generation thawed out and ready to contribute."

The Frozen For Their Future Act reportedly calls for the installation of thousands of cryogenic tanks at college commencement ceremonies around the country. Upon receiving their diplomas, newly minted graduates will immediately make their way to preservation stations where their hearts will be artificially stopped using electroshock or a potassium-salt solution. Once a graduate's blood is drained and replenished with an anti-crystallizing fluid, they will be submerged in liquid nitrogen, a process that will, in effect, put them into suspended animation until key sectors of the American economy such as real estate and information technology have rebounded.

According to Walter Reardon of the Cryonics Partnership Inc., it will be essential for the freezing procedure to be conducted as quickly as possible.

"Graduates will never be more primed to enter the workplace than at the exuberant moment they toss their caps in the air," said Reardon, who claimed that cryogenics was the only hope for an estimated two-thirds of the nation's students. "Wait even two days, and a graduate's brain will begin to show the effects of fretting about the dismal job market. Wait six months, and you might have a permanently cynical underachiever resigned to his position at a mall sunglasses kiosk."

>[Mar 19, 2010] Economist's View Ban Naked CDS

Who is more "naked"? The purchaser, without an insurable interest, or the seller, without insurance capacity?

>[Mar 18, 2010] We've Recreated Cramer's Official Soundboard!
>[Mar 18, 2010] Jim Cramer's TheStreet Is Being Investigated By The SEC zero hedge
This guy needs a lot of explanations to do. For example Jim Cramer explains how the Stock Market is Manipulated You could pretty much spend the entire evening at YouTube with Cramer thrashings. They are a riot, for instance, Cramer vs. Santelli montage: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SGkrNJ19DSU
And of course this brilliant call on 3/11/08:
http://www.youtube.com/watch#!v=gUkbdjetlY8&feature=related

Pamela Anderson:

Jim "Mr. Bozo" & "The Corrupt" Cramer represents all the values and reasons why American economy is where it is today. Arrogant, Stupid, Sociopath, Imprudent, etc. and also this proves that ERIN BURNETT has a lack of common sense that is JUST ASTONISHING...

aint no fortuna:

Every day I flip through Crammer's show for about 10 seconds, hoping and praying that this will be the day I see that officious little turd being led off the set in chains by US Marshalls.

It hasn't happened yet, but I continue my lonely vigil in hopes that one day I shall be rewarded...

Hulk:

The SEC couldn't find any problems with Madoff and you

expect that they will turn up something with Cramer?

HAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHA

AnonymousMonetarist

Cramer: You just create an image that there's going to be news next week that s going to frighten everybody. This is what s really going on under the market that you don t see.

Q: And that nobody else talks about except you.

CRAMER: Right, but what s important when you re in hedge-fund mode is to not do anything remotely truthful, because the truth is so against your view that it s important to create a new truth, to develop a fiction.

Q: SO you re talking about the mechanics of the market-

CRAMER: Well, the mechanics are much more important than the fundamentals.

Q: Well, okay, but in terms of the fundamentals-

CRAMER: Who cares about the fundamentals? Look at what people can do. The great thing about the market is that it has nothing to do with the actual stocks. Now look, maybe two weeks from now buyers will come to their senses and realize everything they heard was a lie but then again Fannie Mae lied about their earnings for six billion dollars, so you know-

Q: Right, and Bristol-Myers lied.

CRAMER: It s just fiction and fiction and fiction. I think it s important that people recognize that the way the market really works is to have that nexus: hit the brokerage houses with a series of orders that can push it down, then leak it to the press, and then get it on CNBC-that s also very important. Then you have sort of a vicious cycle down. It s a pretty good game, and it can pay for a percent or two

Roy Bush:

Awesome! I hope that phony chump goes to jail...better yet, gets put in the stocks and pelted with tomatoes.

I saw the tail end of his 5 year anniversary show last night. What was totally incredible was that Tim Geithner came on the television and congratulated Cramer on his success. This is a public official congratulating an open speculator and ex-Goldman hedge-fund manager who has a show that is produced by the former Jerry Springer producer! Chutzpah!

Reflexivity:

It would be interesting to know the demographics of his audience...IQ, net worth, career, schooling, income, etc., etc.

Unbelievable that people watch him.

>[Mar 17, 2010] TDS- In Dodd We Trust
Chris Dodd introduces financial reform legislation, and Jon pretends he has the same rights as a corporation.
The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
In Dodd We Trust
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political Humor Health Care Reform

(10:39)

> Will the Chinese yield to external threats
March 17, 2010 | naked capitalism

plschwartz :

I lost the quote so I will have to paraphrase Mencken:

Bush 43 filled his prophecy.

>[Mar 17, 2010] About That Seemingly Irrational Need for Bonuses...
Psychopath: A person with an antisocial personality disorder, manifested in aggressive, perverted, criminal, or amoral behavior without empathy or remorse.
Jesse's Café Américain

>[Mar 16, 2010] Guest Post Broken Incentives – "People See What They're Incentivized to See. If You Pay Someone Not to See the Truth, They Won't See the Truth"
naked capitalism

MyLessThanPrimeBeef:

If the reward for listening to loud music is hearing loss, and people continue to listen to loud music, the only conclusion is that people desire hearing loss…unless there is a reward-motivation disconnect here.

Im moe green:

Interesting economist trivia with respect to Akerloffs co-author Romer. He is a leading growth theorist and his wife is Christina Romer. His father was governor Romer of Colorado. And they say there is no elite class in the U.S. Heck its mind boggling that Larry Summers dad is Robert Summers brother of Paul Samuelson (the name was changed for some reason) and his (Larrys) mom is Anita Summers a distinguished real estate economist at Penn. Oh and Anita's brother is Kenneth Arrow. Larry has two nobel prize winning uncles (well one just died) a father who is an eminent economist and a mother who is a first rate real estate economist. Hmmm, guess family dinners not too informative…..

>[Mar 15, 2010] apple_wal-mart

The latest example? Apple is newly more highly valued in public markets than is Wal-mart. ...

To put Apple's $205-billion market cap in non-Wal-mart context, it is:

In short, this is a surreal number.

>[Mar 15, 2010] Guest Post 7 Questions About Public Banking
March 14, 2010 | naked capitalism

Inspector Asset:

For some comic relief go to http://www.WallSTOnion.blogspot.com

Tim Geithner announces the new and improved monetary policy for U.S. that was hammered out over the weekend with Lawerence Summers and received a two-thumbs up from the Obama administration. The new policy comes as a result of the new tough reforms coming out of DC against Wall Street due to the crisis in 2008. Tim Geithner, speaks excitedly about the new policy and states "unlike the past, this new reform package, and new monetary has plenty of transparency and oversight."

In fact the new policy is so simple that oversight may not be needed at all, as pointed out by Congress member Maxine Walters. It is better known on the hill as "The 3 rule system."

Geithner admits the plan may seem to simple, but argues "that sometimes complex problems require simple solutions, and oversight." "This plan being so simple, allows for that oversight that was lacking before."

When asked what happens when the FED balance sheet gets so big, would it pose a risk of being "To Big To Fail?" Geithner sniped back,

"Don't you worry about the FED, they will take care of themselves." "Long after America is bankrupted, just an example of course, the FED will still be here standing. Get it? They are a separate entity! "

Geithner closed out the interview saying "we should be more concerned about the actions of our own government, than snooping around the FEDS business."

When asked, by Congress Maxine Walters, "which government, do you work for?: Geithner lit up like an alien, seemed confused, and then left the room. He was unable to answer the question.

>[Mar 14, 2010] The great game - asset-trader style by By Julian Delasantellis
We should not view these people by what they say they are or how their bought stooges in government and the media defend them, but rather we should judge them by their actions. Do this and you will see they are the great financial terrorists of our times ;-)
Mar 10, 2010 | Asia Times

What if the commercials seem to feature people who maybe look a lot like you? You know, young, but not too young, professionals of various assorted ethnicities making breakfast for spouses and/or children, taking children to work, then putting in a full day's work before returning home for dinner or to watch the kids playing soccer against a sepia sunset in a golden sky. A calm, comforting voice-over implants into your cerebral cortex the theme the spinmeisters want to keep bouncing around in your head - "the future - you've got to prepare for it now".

And even before the regular programming returns, you know what it is. It's the US financial services industry come looking for some more of your money.

The answer to the question of why the US financial industry advertises as heavily as it does - by one estimate, about $10 billion last year - is intimately connected to the question of why any business or industry advertises. In a 1995 book, Fables of Abundance, by sociologist Jackson Lears, the concept of advertising is brought out of ancient history to the present:

What do advertisements mean? Many things. They urge people to buy goods, but they also signify a certain vision of the good life; they validate a way of being in the world. They focus private fantasy; they sanction or subvert existing structures of economic and political power. Their significance depends on their cultural setting. ... Longings for release from privation resonated with ancient religious hopes, the enduring myth of an earthly paradise melded material abundance with the spiritual abundance of salvation celebrating eternal ease in a nurturant land of plenty. ... The eroticism of consumption was a complex and elusive process. In part it arose from a self-defeating pattern of human desire - a pattern that may have been virtually universal and timeless but that resonated especially with the emergent market cultures of the modern West. As early as 1587, Montaigne caught the pattern when he wrote of what he called his "sole-error". "It is that I attach too little value to things I possess, just because I possess them and overvalue anything that is strangely absent, and not mine." This was the dynamic of deprivation at the heart of expanding consumption: purchase brought momentary satisfaction followed by dissatisfaction and renewed longing. ... It would not be until the 20th century that corporate advertisers would routinely combine unfulfilled longings with acts of consumption seeking to dispel the magic of recently purchased goods through doctrines of stylistic progress and policies of planned obsolesce.
Many observers have noted what might be called Montaigne's contradiction - not wanting what one does have in favor of what one does not; it's the reason fast-food hamburgers are made to look so meaty and juicy. But in the advertisements for financial services, it's not the orange juice from the family breakfast nor children's soccer shoes that are being pitched - it's something entirely different.

"FADE IN" as the ad copy script opens. It's morning in America again, and a very busy one at that. The kids are running wildly around the breakfast table, middle-aged mom's in her business suit loading her briefcase, middle-aged dad, in business slacks and tie, is making breakfast for the whole brood. Later, he will pack up the kids for school in the SUV, drive to one of the cubicles in the office park, work a full day.

But something's missing. Maybe, during his long workday, dad takes a break at the water cooler, looks up around him. Does he really want to be doing this, every morning, 50 weeks a year, for the next 30, maybe 50 years? If not, he had better get some retirement counseling from his local investment company professional; pretty darned quick.

"What a lucky break!" dad thinks; he just saw an ad for a local brokerage during the golf match over the weekend. The spot showed a friendly faced broker, about the same age and wearing an equally understated wedding ring as himself, operating out of an office in a traditional, brick storefront in the older part of town - not in a bland, soulless suburban office park like where he works; where he knows the merchants who are hawking all manner of the foulest mendacities operate all around him. This broker, dad knows, can be trusted, and trust sure is a dammed sight more important than a cheap brokerage fee on a stock trade.

Or maybe the pitch will head off towards other, more critical psychological receptors. Frequently the ads show financial responsibility and planning for the future as tasks - like coaching Little League baseball or organizing neighborhood crime watches - that actually make the American man a man. One advertisement drops all pretense with this pitch; it shows men carrying through the day a roughly 1.5 meter long woodcarving of the current value of their retirement portfolio, say, "$650,247" or "$2,785,144." Obviously, those with the biggest numbers are walking around with the biggest smiles and the widest strides.

Or, as Rose (Kate Winslet) inquired in Titanic, "Do you know of Dr Freud, Mr Ismay? His ideas of the male preoccupation with size might be of particular interest to you."

>[Mar 14, 2010] Cramer´s Bull Case For Banks..... I Can Smell A Top... ;-)
It's amazing how funny this Wall Street shill can be... It's even more funnier that some people consider his show as actionable advice...
March 10, 2010 | immobilienblasen

Oh boy..... After the ( even by his standarts.... ) famous "Housing & Bank Stock Shortage" call from January 2008 ( NO KIDDING > see "Ten Trillion $ Worth Of Good Calls" ) was a little bit "premature" he is predicting a bank stock shortage version 2.0.... Would at least be honest if he mentioned the "ultimate moral hazard trade" & the "Enron-esque characteristics" when it comes to accounting as the two main reasons behind the motives to own banks.... ;-)



Just for the record here are the two main ETF´s tracking the financial sector.....

>[Mar 13, 2010] Your Path to Homeownership
March 12, 2010 | The Mess That Greenspan Made

A funny look at Ginnie Mae's online tool that can be used to make that all-important rent versus buy decision, recently spotted over at Patrick.net.

The numbers are pretty funny too – $750 to rent and a purchase price of $950,000??

>[Mar 12, 2010] Long Periods of Drought … Followed by High Winds
zero hedge

High levels of debt, followed by extended low interest rates… Are these morons serious? This is an inviolable principle, if these economic imbeciles actually treated seriously their "field of study". Aren't these central planners supposed to be "adults" who dress themselves, tie their own shoes in the morning, and make themselves cold cereal before they go off to work to destroy people's lives? What the hell are they thinking?

This is like surgeons in the 1840's strutting around, "Hey, we're surgeons, and our brains are HUGE, and hand washing is stupid, because we've never heard of these things called 'germs'!" Surgeons continued to kill over a quarter of their patients for decades, including women delivering babies in hospitals, until the 1880's when Pasteur extended Koch's germ theory of disease. The murderers had no idea they were killing literally every one they touched, and were even so bold as to ridicule, show hostility, and discredit anyone who suggested hand washing was a good idea. Poor Holmes. Poor Semmelweis.

Our central planners in our central banks are religious nuts. They show none of the attributes of professionals in a disciplined field of study, and all the attributes of brain-dead zombies performing ritualistic incantations (like the banks they pretend to manage and regulate). Our treasury departments are equally insane. They refuse to wash their hands as they un-invitedly break into each of our homes to devalue our currency, and ensure sovereign defaults worldwide. They have muddy feet too.

"We're economists, and our brains are HUGE, and we can have free lunches FOREVER because we've never heard of this thing called 'debt'!" There's no possible way to engineer a setup for more complete destruction. Murderers. Morons.

Being charitable: Economists have a different world view from "normal" people.

Being non-charitable: Economists are literal economic and common-sense morons.

By artificially forcing interest rates too low for an extended period, economists are literally fanning the flames of stupidity. When deleveraging begins, the rates will rise sharply, causing a feedback loop that explodes the conflagration of debt unwind to the point where it will annihilate everything in its path. Can this be avoided? Not anymore, with Captain Jackass at the helm ensuring that little old ladies can no longer live on their fixed income CDs. We've already had our record levels of leverage and our extended period of low interest rates.

It's a good thing economists don't have any professional standards, or they would be guilty of professional incompetence. It's a good thing they remain unaccountable to society, because their actions are criminal negligence.

When a fire science professional screws up, someone usually dies, and the professional goes to jail. When an economist screws up, people lose everything they have spent a lifetime accumulating, people starve, nations fall, we go to war, and millions die. Economists will then pretend to tweak their theories and go on book tours.

How hard is this to understand? With high fuels loading, you will get a fire. We hope and pray the acreage burns when we have high humidity and low winds, to ensure it doesn't burn too hot and too fast. That helps ensure the destruction is not *so* complete that nothing remains. It's silly talk to say you won't get a fire, because that immediately disqualifies you from any sensible participation in the discussion with actual adults.

With record high debt levels, you will deleverage. We hope and pray the deleveraging occurs when you have a relatively healthy economy (ha!) and relatively high interest rates (ha!), to ensure leverage remains only for productive activities (ha!) and deleveraging starts with non-productive activities (ha!).

We are in a period of record high debt levels, followed by an extended period of record low interest rates. Oh, CR*P! At this point, because of the debt levels and leverage, raising interest rates is impossible (nearly all sovereigns would default instantly with even a one or two percentage point increase in interest rates). CR*P! CR*P! CR*P! Even today, we are held together only through accounting fraud collusion among private institutions, central banks, and sovereigns. (Yes, we're talking about go-to-jail fraud.) CR*P! CR*P! CR*P! CR*P! CR*P! CR*P! Still, we can be assured that defaults will inevitably happen, and interest rates will inevitably rise. These private institutions, central banks, and sovereigns are all toast. Pathetically, they all earned it.

The ship has sailed, and we are betrayed by the economists. Central banks and sovereigns the world over utterly failed in their job, not that they were ever qualified to do the job they pretended to perform. We will get a spark. Some happy camper will be irresponsible with his adult beverage around the too-big campfire. When the spark happens, a million acres burning across Yellowstone will look like a cute evening of nostalgic fun.

No, at this point, there is no way out. Thanks a lot, you friggin' central planning feeble-minded morons! Unlike you, normal people can actually do the math. Even now, you economists won't recognize your utter failure in your "field of study"? You pretend to use big words, but it's easy to recognize them as merely confused baby-mumblings. Clearly nobody should have let you wear "big boy" pants. In the true mark of immaturity, you won't even admit to the increasing stench from the pile of brown stuff in your underwear. Who the hell do you think will actually have to clean up that mess?

Mammas, don't let your babies grow up to be economists.

Shameful :

How can you say Greenspan had a belief in free markets? Simply because he said he did? If Hannibal Lector claimed to respect human life and that he would never harm a soul would you have him over to dinner? A man is judged by his deeds not words! And Greenspan's deeds show he would have fit in well in the Soviet Politburo.

>[Mar 12, 2010] NPR Planet Money- "We bought a toxic asset!"
From Planet Money: Podcast: We Bought A Toxic Asset!

And the story is here: We Bought A Toxic Asset; You Can Watch It Die. An excerpt:

Finally, we find a beautiful, totally toxic asset at what [Wit Solberg, a former Wall Street trader] thinks is a good price: $36,000. Back in the bubble, somebody paid $2.7 million for this thing. We buy a piece from Solberg for $1,000. It's going to be our encyclopedia of the financial crisis.

What Our Toxic Asset Looks Like

Our toxic asset has 2,000 mortgages, many of them in hard-hit states like California, Arizona and Florida. A lot of the people in our bond are really struggling. Almost half are behind on their mortgage payments, and 15 percent of the homes are already in foreclosure.

At some point those homes will be taken over and sold for a loss. Every time that happens, the bond shrinks. Eventually, our part of the bond will disappear entirely.

Until then, we get a little money every month from people paying off their mortgages. We just got a check for $141. If it goes to Thanksgiving, we could double our money.

By the way, we bought the asset with our own money. Any proceeds will go to charity. If we lose money, we take the loss.

Listen to the podcast - it is pretty funny!

Elvis:

Oh give me a home,
Where the bandos roam,
And the cable is hooked up,
All day.

Where seldom is heard,
The foreclosure word,
And utilities are running
All day.

>IMF Official: World's Regulatory Supervision Shockingly Inadequate
3/13/2010 | CalculatedRisk

From Tom Abate at the San Francisco Chronicle: Financial leaders dissect meltdown

"What is quite shocking," [John Lipsky, a senior official of the International Monetary Fund] said, is how inadequate the world's regulatory supervisors were in curbing the lax lending standards at the heart of the housing and credit bubbles.
Shocked? Hmmm ...

Posted by CalculatedRisk on 3/13/2010 11:15:00 AM
>[Mar 12, 2010] The WilliamBanzai7 Blog VINTAGE REPO 105 WARNING SIGN

>[Mar 9, 2010] ECB's Jürgen Stark- Lost Decade Possible

MLM:

pavel.chichikov wrote:

No one will be able to predict the course of events of the next decade.

Not true. With enough alcohol intake, LoserBeachBum can do it. But no one will understand his predictions.

Rob Dawg:

First the Lost Decade and then the Cost Decade.

pavel.chichikov:

"The rich will get richer; the poor will get poorer.

Let's meet back here in 2020 to see how I did. "

I can't even predict I'll be there to meet you.

Lobbyist Ben Dover:

If you move consumption and production forward a decade, does it take two decades to come back to even?

shill:

Spartan King Leonidas: Spartans! Ready your breakfast and eat hearty... For tonight, we dine in hell!

>[Mar 8, 2010] SNL 'Presidents' Reunite For Video Pushing Wall Street Reform (WATCH)
Ron Howard captures the Presidents in a enlightening discussion which reunites all past Saturday Night Live cast members impersonating presidents. "I've come back from the dead to tell Mr. Reach-Across-The-Aisle here to grow a pair," Reagan says. I love Hammond as Clinton. Also the line "That second term of yours was a real victory lapper, Dubbers." was pretty good... Bush line "The code is still 1,2,3,4 and it only took me 5 tries to get it" also say something about the character of ex president.
March 6, 2010 | The Huffington Post

Funny or Die's Presidential Reunion from Will Ferrell

Will Ferrell, Fred Armisen, Chevy Chase, Dan Aykroyd, Dana Carvey and Darrell Hammond, the Saturday Night Live actors who have played every American president since Gerald Ford -- save Ronald Reagan -- have teamed up on a web video meant to push Congress across the financial regulatory reform finish line and pass a strong, independent Consumer Financial Protection Agency.

In order not to miss the '80s, Jim Carrey was called in to play Reagan in the "Funny Or Die" video. Another former-SNLer, Maya Rudolph, stopped by to play Michelle Obama.

In the video, the fake presidents approach Obama in a dream as he contemplates the multimillion dollar lobbying campaign banks are waging against the CFPA.

"I've come back from the dead to tell Mr. Reach-Across-The-Aisle here to grow a pair," Reagan says.

Obama seems unpersuaded by the ex-presidents, whose financial deregulation, beginning with Reagan and extending through Clinton and the Bushes, led to the current crisis.

"What you're saying is, I should take on this mess that you all created? Take on the banks and their trillions of dollars?" Obama says. "How's this helpful?"

"It's a bitch. It's a bitch," says Reagan. "But as George Washington once said to John Adams: 'Tag. You're it.'"

"Nothin' wrong with one term, Barack," Ford tells him.

>[Mar 6, 2010] Blame It - Jamie Foxx- BARACK OBAMA SPOOF
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1D8lj3dg5-o

purplefetus3:

Video kicks ass!  I love the lyrics in this song as they provide a reminder of unfulfilled campaign promises:

"Fix the B-U-D-G-E-T"
"Stop all the spending...Get the banks lending"
"Get the troops home" (from Iraq)

Too bad we haven't seen any of this materialize :(

It's month 14 !!!

Speedfight2highend:

damm thats my shit
blame it on the news, tax payer blues.. blame it on the loans, now ya home´s gone
blame it on the e-e-e-e economy..
blame it in Bush, blame it on Cheney,
I`m not pointin blame.. well, ok maybe!
******

>[Mar 6, 2010] Morgenson on Municipalities' Swap Fiascoes " naked capitalism
  • Investcal

    "the market was billed as a weekly auction, but in fact was an OTC market with a once a week trading window"

    In the 19th cenury snake oil salesmen were tarred and feathered and ridden out of town on a rail. This practise sould be reinstated.

    >[Mar 6, 2010] Janitor Facing Eviction Cleans Up After CEO Whose Bank Bought Her House - Yahoo! News

    At first, Minneapolis janitor Rosalina Gomez said she didn't realize she was cleaning up after the CEO of the bank that bought her foreclosed home in a September sheriff's sale.

    "At the beginning I didn't know he was the guy," said Gomez through an interpreter in an interview with HuffPost. "I didn't know the relationship between my house and him. I saw him one time but never talked to him."

    The guy is Richard Davis, CEO of Minneapolis-based US Bank, the nation's sixth-largest bank and recipient of $6.6 billion in TARP bailout funds. On Feb. 28, Davis was set to receive an "Executive of the Year" award from the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal at a banquet -- 11 days before Gomez and her family had to comply with an eviction order.

    The Service Employees International Union, of which Gomez is a member, could not resist the opportunity to draw attention to the soon-to-be-evicted woman cleaning up after one of the bankers taking her home away (US Bank is the trustee; Chase is the mortgage servicer). The SEIU began agitating for Gomez, an effort which dovetailed with a union campaign on behalf of area janitors fighting for a better contract.

    "After they found out I was involved in the union activity, they assigned two security guards to follow me when I was cleaning," she said, adding that the guards helped her clean.

    Gomez earns $26,000 a year ($12.97 an hour) working for a janitorial services company cleaning up after Davis. He earns more than $2 million a year.

    >[Mar 5, 2010] Heck of a job
    The shills on CNBC are going wild because of the "upside surprise."
    >[Mar 3, 2010] The Importance of Donald Kohn " The Baseline Scenario
    Russ

    The mention of the health of such a person reminds me of the part in "The Madness of King George" where Pitt, discussing the king's mental health, says "We congratulate ourselves on how advanced our system is, but where it comes to the monarch's health we might as well be ruled by the Turkish sultan."

    >[Mar 3, 2010] TPOTUS
    See also Jon Stewart Tells Bill O'Reilly You're The 'Voice Of Sanity' At Fox News (VIDEO)
    While the White House has denied that President Obama used the teleprompter set up in a sixth grade classroom to address students, Jon Stewart is pretty sure it's a bad visual no matter what the excuse. Even if the TPOTUS wasn't in use, did he really need the podium and presidential seal, too?

    The Daily Show had a few other ideas or Obama to avoid.

    The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c
    Obama Speaks to a Sixth-Grade Classroom
    www.thedailyshow.com
    Daily Show
    Full Episodes
    Political Humor Health Care Reform
    >[Mar 3, 2010] ABI: Personal Bankruptcy Filings Up 14% from February 2009

    yagij

    Change I Can Believe In!

    CalculatedRisk

    green shoots if you are a bankruptcy attorney!

    Barley:

    You can't eat a granite countertop

    with no food it is a hech of a lot easier to keep clean, tho

    >[Mar 3, 2010] Bernanke Why are we still listening to this guy (video)
    I suspect that Helicopter Ben is not the first Harvard graduate characterized as "lying, thieving, manipulative, conniving, psychopathic, gangster criminal bastard" (coincidentally class of 1975 includes Lloyd Blankfein, who got J.D. from Harvard Law school; BTW Ben and Lloyd lived in the Winthrop House, one of the seven original Harvard dormitories), but he might the first Princeton professor to get this questionable honor ;-). I think it's time to give its due to Princeton professors at Fed and slightly correct the immortal Mark Twain quote "There is no distinctly native American criminal class, except Congress."

    rizdraver:

    America's Baghdad Bob.

    halfasheep:

    Ben, Barack, George, Alan....all puppets.

    PennyRoyaleTea:

    In the beginning Bernanke looks tired. I think he's tired of lying. Either all the BS is getting to him & his consciousness, or he's on a mild sedative.

    smb12321:

    Bernanke must be a plant; it's the only way to to explain this buffoon

    The "GREAT economist speaks:

    2005 - no housing bubble
    2007- car industry "OK"
    2008 - Few small banks may fail (3 wks before Lehman)
    2008 - Unemployment will not hit 10% (currently 17%)
    2008 - The Fed will not monetize the debt.
    2008 - Freddie/Fannie adequately capitalized
    2008 - Sub-prime problem contained

    immayhem:

    lying, thieving, manipulative, conniving, psychopathic, gangster criminal bastard.

    farmboycarl:

    Okay I admit it, he's not the leader of the evil empire, he's just completely incompetent. At least I no longer worry about losing all my retirement resources, or the ability to send my kids to college. I no longer want to live, and Bernanke, Obama, and the rest of them prove that an Ivy League education is totally worthless.

    Oh and by the way, Fuck You Time Magazine. If this is your Man of the Year, you're as bought and paid for as the politicians who allow the Fed to continue to exist.

    aceyorba:

    The only people that can keep a job with such crapy performance are government workers, union workers and weatherman

    coltranechilla:

    im sure thats why hes been federal chairman for the past 5 years, dumbass.

    toppermost1:

    Is he an idiot or is he wilfully obtuse? Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan have done alright by Uncle Ben. I think he knows exactly what he's doing - leech main street dry and give it all to his wall street buddies. Just like Bush's administration were full of people that were invested in oil, defence and construction - and hence profited from the Iraq war, Obama's administration is full of wall street people - who have profited from the cheap fed money and the bailouts.

    >[Mar 3, 2010] Time to outlaw naked credit default swaps By Wolfgang Münchau
    There is a difference between gambling with CDS and gambling in Las Vegas. In case of CDS after a gambler became broke he turns to taxpayer for assistance.
    February 28 2010 | FT.com

    "Three cheers for the Efficient Market Hypothesis on which the system is supposed to be based "

    >[Mar 2, 2010] Fed Vice-Chairman Kohn to Retire
    Jesse's Café Américain
    Don Kohn has always struck me as more of a 'company man,' coming from the Alan Blinder school of Public Service:
    "The last duty of a central banker is to tell the truth to the public."

    It will be interesting to see what kind of a truthteller Mr. Obama will nominate to take his place. Christina Romer's name has been mentioned.

    If it is Timmy, I may not be able to hold down solid food for a few days.

    >[Mar 1, 2010] Fed Vice Chairman Donald Kohn Resigns
    zero hedge

    "The Federal Reserve and the country owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to Don Kohn for his invaluable contributions over 40 years of public service

    Anonymous

    "The Federal Reserve and the country owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to Don Kohn" - TREMENDOUS DEBT is very true. Smart kid that Donny .. quitting while the going's good.

    Cognitive Dissonance

    Is it rats leaving the ship or rats playing musical chairs? Remember that there is a circle jerk that is followed in the corridors of power. A rotation from politics to academia to think tank to corporate to (sometimes) legislative, in any and all combinations imaginable.

    Around and around they go. Where they stop, nobody knows.

    Astute Investor:

    "I am confident that history will judge the Federal Reserve, under the leadership of Chairman Bernanke, to have met these challenges with great speed, imagination and effectiveness."

    What a bunch of self-serving horse sh**! Always nice when your "performance review" is just a de facto self-assessment.

    Anonymous

    "he will certainly be missed" - of course he will be now that BB has to take all the blame.

    >[Mar 1, 2010] why-no-regulatory-action-on-banksters-destabilize-the-markets-threats

    Curmudgeon

    Legally, there's essentially nothing stopping Obama from declaring intransigent FIRE CEOs to be enemy combatants and executing them by Predator strike.

    February

    >[Feb 28, 2010] US Banks Reject Effort by UK Bank Execs to Rein in Pay
    naked capitalism

    The evidence that US capital markets firms are firmly in the hands of hopeless sociopaths continues to mount.

    >[Feb 28, 2010] We're Officially Screwed - Fidelity.com Doing Stories on End of Financial Crisis
    Commodity Bull Market
    Speaking of contrarian investment indicators, they don't get much better than this.

    Fidelity.com posted a listing in a prominent public relations newsletter today:

    Summary: Buying stocks again?
    Name: Chris Taylor (Fidelity.com)
    Category: Business and Finance
    Email: query-100@helpareporter.com
    Media Outlet: Fidelity.com
    Deadline: 07:00 PM EST - 20 January
    Query: Looking for investors who are shifting some of their cash holdings back into stocks and bonds, now that the financial crisis has ebbed.

    That last line says it all. Get ready for the next shoe to drop, baby!

    >[Feb 28, 2010] Rubin to be Grilled by Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission
    naked capitalism

    "financial innovation" ... "finding legal ways to do things that used to be illegal under the old rules."

    >[Feb 28, 2010] Ben Bernanke Responds To Why Goldman Sachs Needs Fed VaR Exemption, And Other Questions
    zero hedge

    BlackBeard :

    blah blah blah we're corrupt - The End.

    FLETCH

    blah blah blah, we're corrupt, our puppetmasters are making money - The End

    FLETCH

    blah blah blah, we're corrupt, our puppetmasters are making money, we'll get jobs at GS soon - The End

    Zippyin Annapolis:

    Translation: we know VaR doesn't work at all and that it is a starting point for doing something that we just cannot describe and takes a long time not to describe. But boy is it Good! Trust us--we are the Federal Reserve Bank!

    Whizbang

    Ok, now I've finished reading and I am confused. Here's why:

    1. It seems like this letter just intimated that there is fundementally no difference between sound lending to small businesses and first time home owners, and walking into a casino with an eightball in one hand and a hooker's ass in the other.

    2. It appears that these "BHC's" were going to get a full years worth of access to the benefits of being a commercial bank before they ever had to produce any evidence that they were adhering to the requirements for being one.

    3. How could it possibly take a year for regulators to realize what goldman's business model was? They all frickin worked there

    >[Feb 27, 2010] How to Stay Awake During Obama Speeches: Play Bullshit Bingo
    February 26, 2010 | naked capitalism

    Via e-mail:

    1. Before Barrack Obama's next televised speech, prepare your "Bullshit Bingo" card by drawing a square. I find that 5″ x 5″ is a good size - and dividing it into columns –five across and five down. That will give you 25 1-inch blocks.

    2. Write one of the following words/phrases in each block:

    Restored our reputation
    Strategic fit
    Let me be clear
    Make no mistake
    Back from the brink
    Signs of recovery
    Out of the loop
    Benchmark
    Job creation
    Fiscal restraint
    Win-win
    Affordable health care
    Previous Administration
    At the end of the day
    Empower (or empowerment)
    Touch base
    Mindset
    Bipartisan
    Trust
    Inherited as in "I inherited this mess"
    Relief for working families
    Unprecedented
    Accountable (or held to account)
    Free market
    Reform

    Players can make substitutions to this list, but only one phrase can be used in any one block. Alternatives include:

    Change (as in "change you can believe in)
    Universal health care
    Brought the economy back from the brink

    3. Check off the appropriate block when you hear one of those words/phrases.

    4. When you get five blocks horizontally, vertically, or diagonally, stand up and shout "BULLSHIT!"

    Testimonials from past satisfied "Bullshit Bingo" players:

    "I had been listening to the speech for only five minutes when I won." - Jack W., Boston

    "My attention span during speeches has improved dramatically." – David D., Florida

    "What a gas! Speeches will never be the same for me after my first win." - Bill R., New York City

    "The atmosphere was tense in the last speech as 14 of us waited for the fifth box." – Ben G., Denver

    "The speaker was stunned as eight of us screamed "BULLSHIT!" for the third time in two hours." – Harry A. Chantilly

    >[Feb 28, 2010] Rubin to be Grilled by Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission
    February 27, 2010 | naked capitalism

    i on the ball patriot:

    STANDARD OF UNACCEPTABLE BEHAVIOR

    RUBIN AND THE LIMP DICK DREAMERS

    Behind the curtain,
    Of co-opted media prose,
    There exists a world,
    Of losers with no clothes,

    Insecure economists,
    With shit for brains,
    Sell out politicians,
    With greed in their veins,

    Pimply, preppy, quant tools,
    Products of the jivy league schools.
    Used by selfish effete old men.
    Who will never see an erection again,

    To justify and mask,
    Their Ponzi schemes,
    Created to fund,
    Their limp dick dreams,

    And crooked judges,
    And crooked cops,
    Insecure bullies,
    That are human flops,

    Behind the curtain,
    There is nothing to fear,
    Just human trash,
    That you should not revere …

    Deception is the strongest political force on the planet.

    >[Feb 27, 2010] Get Goldman
    And now, Bernanke.

    "We are looking into a number of questions related to Goldman Sachs and other companies and their derivatives arrangements with Greece.

    MoneyMarketExpert :

    The Squid has been betrayed by Ben!

    >[Feb 26, 2010] Rumor Versus Fact An Insider's Report On A Manipulated Market zero hedge

    gunsmoke011

    LOL -- Will the SEC investigate? Of Course They Will -- They Are Here To Protect ALL Investors and Insure A Transparent Market. It's Just part Of Their Job To Look Into These Types of Matters -- That Is Of Course If They Can Be Worked In With All Of The "Top People" From The FED Who Will Be Looking Into GS and Their Greek Activities. The "Looking Into Matters" Waiting Room Will Be Quite Crowded

    geopol

    Yes, The Creme De La Creme of gumshoe investigators will be eyes open while you sleep... GS Has no chance.....

    Cuban cigars for everybody...

    carbonmutant

    It's not the mandate of the SEC to investigate people doing God's work.

    >[Feb 25, 2010] Goldman To Advise Greece On the Sale of Strategic Assets to Avert Debt Crisis
    And then come the jackals...

    Note: obviously this is a cartoon, and Greece is not selling the Parthenon, yet.

    >[Feb 25, 2010] Economist's View Prospects For Financial Reform

    Guest Post Is The SPY Getting A Jump At Key Levels From A Quant Algo zero hedge

    >[Feb 23, 2010] Doonesbury@Slate - Daily Dose

    "America is not a clown show. America is not a circus."
    -- Glenn Beck

    >[Feb 23, 2010] Greenspan, Friedman and Summers win Dynamite Prize in Economics
    February 22, 2010 | Real-World Economics Review Blog

    Alan Greenspan has been judged the economist most responsible for causing the Global Financial Crisis. He and 2nd and 3rd place finishers Milton Friedman and Larry Summers, have won the first–and hopefully last-Dynamite Prize in Economics.

    They have been judged to be the three economists most responsible for the Global Financial Crisis. More figuratively, they are the three economists most responsible for blowing up the global economy.

    Most than 7,500 people voted-most of whom were economists themselves from the 11,000 subscribers to the real-world economics review. With a maximum of three votes per voter, a total of 18,531 votes were cast. The poll was conducted by PollDaddy. Cookies were used to prevent repeat voting.

    Dynamite Prize Citations

    Alan Greenspan (5,061 votes): As Chairman of the Federal Reserve System from 1987 to 2006, Alan Greenspan both led the over expansion of money and credit that created the bubble that burst and aggressively promoted the view that financial markets are naturally efficient and in no need of regulation.

    Milton Friedman (3,349 votes): Friedman propagated the delusion, through his misunderstanding of the scientific method, that an economy can be accurately modeled using counterfactual propositions about its nature. This, together with his simplistic model of money, encouraged the development of fantasy-based theories of economics and finance that facilitated the Global Financial Collapse.

    Larry Summers (3,023 votes): As US Secretary of the Treasury (formerly an economist at Harvard and the World Bank), Summers worked successfully for the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act, which since the Great Crash of 1929 had kept deposit banking separate from casino banking. He also helped Greenspan and Wall Street torpedo efforts to regulate derivatives.

    >[Feb 18, 2010] Wray- Memo to Greece- Make War, Not Love, With Goldman Sachs
    naked capitalism

    Where we disagree with Johnson and Boone is the suggestion that the IMF be brought in to craft a solution. Any help from this organization will come with tight strings attached-indeed, with a noose around Greece's neck. Germany and France would be crazy to commit their scarce euros to a bail-out of Greece since they face both internal threats from their own taxpayers and external threats from financial vampires who are looking for yet another nation to attack.

    Here's a more appropriate action: declare war on Goldman Sachs and other global financial firms that created this mess. Send the troops, the planes, the tanks, and the ships. Attack every outpost of the saboteurs on European soil. Blockade the airports and ports. Make Wall Street traders and CEOs fear for their lives, or at least for their freedom to travel. Build some Guantanamo-like facility to hold these enemy financial combatants until they can be tried, convicted, and properly punished.

    Ok, if a literal armed attack on Goldman is too far-fetched, then go after the firm using the full force of the regulatory and legal systems. Close the offices and go through the files with a fine-tooth comb. Issue subpoenas to all non-clerical staff for court appearances. Make the internal emails public. Post the names of all managers and traders on Interpol. Arrest anyone who tries to board a plane, train, or boat; confiscate their passports; revoke their visas and work permits; and put a hold on their bank accounts until culpability can be assessed. Make life at least as miserable for them as it now is for Europe's tens of millions of unemployed workers.

    Independent Accountant :

    If Greece declares war on the Vampire Squid, it should have no problem raising an army. Tens, perhaps, hundreds of thousands of American peasants will come, pitchforks in hand, to do battle. Greece can easily form a modern Abraham Lincoln Brigade in the US.

    arcad:

    However, in an ironic twist of fate, it was just announced that Petros Christodoulou will take over as the head of Greece's national debt management agency. He worked as the head of derivatives at JP Morgan, and also previously worked at Goldman-the firm that got Greece into all this trouble!

    >[Feb 22, 2010] Economist's View We Need Jobs, not Deficit Cuts
    Goldilocksisableachblond:

    The vast bulk of future jobs , if the past 30 years are indicative , will be directed towards the same essential task : shoe-shining. Whose shoes will we be shining ?

    A partial list :

    • Lloyd C. Blankfein, Goldman Sachs
    • James Dimon, JPMorgan Chase & Co.
    • James P. Gorman, Morgan Stanley
    • Vikram S. Pandit, Citigroup, Inc.
    • Brian T. Moynihan, Bank of America
    • Brendan McDonagh, HSBC
    • Robert W. Selander, MasterCard Incorporated
    • Kenneth I. Chenault, American Express Company
    • Rupert Murdoch, News Corporation
    • Glenn A. Britt, Time Warner Cable Inc.
    • Philippe Dauman, Viacom, Inc.
    • Jeffrey R. Immelt, General Electric Company
    • Brian L. Roberts, Comcast Corporation
    • Steven A. Ballmer, Microsoft Corporation
    • John T. Chambers, Cisco Systems, Inc.
    • Randall L. Stephenson, AT&T Inc.
    • Ivan G. Seidenberg, Verizon Communications
    • David G. DeWalt, McAfee, Inc.
    • Steven R. Loranger, ITT Corporation
    • Paul T. Hanrahan, AES Corporation, The
    • Riley P. Bechtel, Bechtel Group, Inc.
    • W. James McNerney , Boeing Company, The
    • Rex W. Tillerson, Exxon Mobil Corporation
    • Marvin E. Odum, Shell Oil Company
    • John S. Watson, Chevron Corporation
    • James J. Mulva, ConocoPhillips
    • John B. Hess, Hess Corporation
    • James E. Rogers Duke Energy Corporation
    • J. Larry Nichols, Devon Energy Corporation
    • Ronald A. Williams, Aetna Inc.
    • David Cordani, CIGNA
    • Jeffrey B. Kindler , Pfizer Inc.
    • Angela F. Braly, WellPoint, Inc.
    • John C. Lechleiter, Eli Lilly and Company
    • Edward B. Rust, Jr., State Farm
    • Andrew N. Liveris, Dow Chemical
    • James W. Owens, Caterpillar Inc.
    • Ellen J. Kullman, DuPont
    • Edward E. Whitacre Jr., General Motors Company
    • Michael T. Duke, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
    >[Feb 22, 2010] Hedge Fund Herding Into Citigroup
    "The Zombie Dance Party Rocks On"
    immobilienblasen

    Just as a reminder Citi has still a marketcap of $ 100 Billion! Far bigger than any German company listed in the DAX.....

    Not bad for a bank that Chris Whalen calls the "queen of the zombie dance party".....

    >[Feb 21, 2010] Shadows of the CDS Market
    From readers comments
    Feb 18, 2008 | Mish's Global Economic Trend Analysis

    Once we had an industrial economy,
    then a service economy,
    then a financial economy,
    and now a corruption and fraud economy.

    >[Feb 22, 2010] LEADER- Dangerous animals in the banking zoo
    "An investment bank is more like a zoo, full of bizarre, prideful and sometimes dangerous animals."
    Feb 23 2008 | Financial Times

    Commercial and retail bankers are like battery hens. You put them in a small cubicle, pressurize them with tough sales targets but provide a decent salary, and they will produce a steady stream of returns. Most are conservative, somewhat harassed souls, who seldom think to bite the hand that feeds them.

    An investment bank is more like a zoo, full of bizarre, prideful and sometimes dangerous animals. A zookeeper who pushes them around, or issues orders, is asking to have an arm bitten off. Instead, the job is to keep the animals in their cages, so they do not savage the paying customers, while understanding their individual behavior patterns. What does it mean, for example, when a derivative trader refuses to take a holiday...

    >[Feb 21, 2010] Bernanke discounts recovery risk By Julian Delasantellis
    Asia Times

    ...with job losses so far on a very similar slope to the 1929-1931 period, well, if this is what we got for the Great Depression's number one scholar, I'd hate to see the product of number two.

    So, for about six months now, the sheer extent that the Fed had left itself supine and prostate before the market's hungry eyes made observers wonder, with each successive post-Fed meeting statement, if and when the Fed's skirts would be pulled down, if and when the policies would start to be reversed. This the Fed did - sort of, recently hinting at an upcoming rate increase in the format of the bastardized Kremlinology under which Fed statements are produced and interpreted.

    ...A heroin addict, or one addicted to private borrowing, may kick the habit with the methadone of equally addictive public sector borrowing, but for society as a whole, it's hard to see any benefit here.

    >[Feb 21, 2010] Das Mark to Make Believe – Still Toxic After All These Years! "
    naked capitalism

    Michael Milken (the progenitor of "junk bonds" at Drexel Burnham Lambert) once noted:

    "Liquidity is an illusion. It is always there when you don't need it and rarely there when you do."

    >[Feb 21, 2010] Abby Cohen Sees S&P 500 Fair Value at 1,250 to 1,300"

    Goldman pigs dust her off again. Does this mean that the stock crash is near ? ;-)

    Bloomberg BusinessWeek

    The Standard & Poor's 500 Index may rise to between 1,250 and 1,300, said Abby Joseph Cohen, the Goldman Sachs Group Inc. strategist known for calling the bull market in the 1990s.

    "We do think the market overall is likely undervalued," Cohen, 57, said on Bloomberg Radio. "The recession is over and has been over for several months.

    >[Feb 21, 2010] Anybody want a Greenspan portrait
    "...at least one person has benefited from the Greenspan term at the Fed - artist Erin Crowe who sold an entire series of these paintings for thousands of dollars apiece."
    February 19, 2010 | The Mess That Greenspan Made

    It's hard to believe that, less than five years ago at the annual Federal Reserve gathering in Jackson Hole, Wyoming as the U.S. housing bubble was fully inflated and seeking out a pin, former Fed chief Alan Greenspan was lauded as the "greatest central banker ever".

    Today, according to this story in the Wall Street Journal, some people are hiding portraits that they paid outlandish prices for under their beds or in the back of closets.

    Fortunately, despite being largely responsible for two burst asset bubbles over the last ten years that have ruined the retirement plans (if not the lives) of millions of Americans, at least one person has benefited from the Greenspan term at the Fed - artist Erin Crowe who sold an entire series of these paintings for thousands of dollars apiece.

    >[Feb 21, 2010] "How Could I Be So Selfish and So Foolish"

    Were Lloyd and Jamie and the pigmen of Wall Street and Washington taking notes during Tiger Woods' apology?

    Doubtful.

    >[Feb 21, 2010] A parable about how one nation came to financial ruin By Charles Munger
    Slate Magazine

    But even a country as cautious, sound, and generous as Basicland could come to ruin if it failed to address the dangers that can be caused by the ordinary accidents of life. These dangers were significant by 2012, when the extreme prosperity of Basicland had created a peculiar outcome: As their affluence and leisure time grew, Basicland's citizens more and more whiled away their time in the excitement of casino gambling. Most casino revenue now came from bets on security prices under a system used in the 1920s in the United States and called "the bucket shop system."

    The winnings of the casinos eventually amounted to 25 percent of Basicland's GDP, while 22 percent of all employee earnings in Basicland were paid to persons employed by the casinos (many of whom were engineers needed elsewhere). So much time was spent at casinos that it amounted to an average of five hours per day for every citizen of Basicland, including newborn babies and the comatose elderly. Many of the gamblers were highly talented engineers attracted partly by casino poker but mostly by bets available in the bucket shop systems, with the bets now called "financial derivatives."

    Many people, particularly foreigners with savings to invest, regarded this situation as disgraceful. After all, they reasoned, it was just common sense for lenders to avoid gambling addicts. As a result, almost all foreigners avoided holding Basicland's currency or owning its bonds. They feared big trouble if the gambling-addicted citizens of Basicland were suddenly faced with hardship.

    ... ... ...

    The strong faith of these Basicland economists in the beneficence of hypergambling in both securities and financial derivatives stemmed from their utter rejection of the ideas of the great and long-dead economist who had known the most about hyperspeculation, John Maynard Keynes. Keynes had famously said, "When the capital development of a country is the byproduct of the operations of a casino, the job is likely to be ill done." It was easy for these economists to dismiss such a sentence because securities had been so long associated with respectable wealth, and financial derivatives seemed so similar to securities.

    Basicland's investment and commercial bankers were hostile to change. Like the objecting economists, the bankers wanted change exactly opposite to change wanted by the Good Father. Such bankers provided constructive services to Basicland. But they had only moderate earnings, which they deeply resented because Basicland's casinos-which provided no such constructive services-reported immoderate earnings from their bucket-shop systems. Moreover, foreign investment bankers had also reported immoderate earnings after building their own bucket-shop systems-and carefully obscuring this fact with ingenious twaddle, including claims that rational risk-management systems were in place, supervised by perfect regulators. Naturally, the ambitious Basicland bankers desired to prosper like the foreign bankers. And so they came to believe that the Good Father lacked any understanding of important and eternal causes of human progress that the bankers were trying to serve by creating more bucket shops in Basicland.

    Of course, the most effective political opposition to change came from the gambling casinos themselves. This was not surprising, as at least one casino was located in each legislative district. The casinos resented being compared with cancer when they saw themselves as part of a long-established industry that provided harmless pleasure while improving the thinking skills of its customers.

    >[Feb 19, 2010] Core Inflation Declines for the first time since 1982
    Calculated Risk

    burnside:

    ResistanceIsFeudal wrote:

    Deflation off the starboard bow? Bennie!! Start the presses!! Start the presses!!

    "Why ain't this thing turnin'?!?"

    ResistanceIsFeudal:

    burnside wrote:

    "Why ain't this thing turnin'?!?"

    You mean to tell me we can't turn, we can't stop, hell we can't even slow down? But there are ICEBERGS out there!! Who designed this piece of sh!t?!

    Pearl :

    ResistanceIsFeudal wrote:

    You mean to tell me we can't turn, we can't stop, hell we can't even slow down

    Well--we'll slow down long enough for squid the to deploy and board their life boats.

    DeeperDepression:

    as for Deflation..isn't Toyota kind of leading the bandwagon on that right now?

    scone:

    I'm betting on some weird unholy mating between Weimar and Japan. I think we're entering uncharted territory. Here be dragons.

    >[Feb 19, 2010] Capital One Credit Card Charge-Offs Increase to 10.41%
    Feb 16, 2010 | Calculated Risk

    Mr Slippery:

    Any more news out of the Reichstag today?

    Juvenal Delinquent:

    ...der consumer ist kaput

    Nanoo-Nanoo:

    ha...so...I didn't 'elect' them to shape my world. I may really need to cut up my credit card now and go Greece on them. YEEHAW!

    Investment Banker

    from the Princeton review

    A Day in the life of a Investment Banker

    .....

    At the profession's highest level, investment bankers serve as crucial figures in the shaping of the American and world economies, managing mergers of multibillion-dollar corporations and handling the privatization of government assets around the world.

    ....

    Still, the work is extremely interesting, and those who stay in the profession report high levels of job satisfaction. Investment bankers spend large amounts of time traveling, to pitch ideas to prospective and current clients or to examine the facilities of companies being purchased by their clients.

    In the office, they spend their time developing strategies to pitch to clients, preparing financial analyses and documents, or working with the sales forces of their banks in selling the bonds and stocks which are created by the investment-banking department's activities.

    >[Feb 18, 2010] Michael Hudson Wall Street Moves in for the Kill

    ...Paulson spelled out in step-by-step detail the strategy of "doing God's work," as his Goldman Sachs colleague Larry Blankfein sanctimoniously explained Adam Smith's invisible hand.

    Now that pro-financial free-market doctrine is achieving the status of religion, I wonder whether this proposal violates the separation of church and state. Neoliberal economics may be a travesty of religion, but it is the closest thing to a Church that Americans have these days, replete with its Inquisition operating out of the universities of Chicago, Harvard and Columbia.

    If the salvation is to give Wall Street a free hand, anathema is the proposed Consumer Financial Protection Agency intended to deter predatory behavior by mortgage lenders and credit-card issuers.

    >[Feb 18, 2010] FT.com - Columnists - Martin Wolf - How to walk the fiscal tightrope that lies before us

    Pinn illustration

    >[Feb 17, 2010] TransUnion- Mortgage Delinquencies at All Time High

    JimPortlandOR:

    Blackhalo wrote:

    "Resolution Trust Corporation"

    This time it needs to be called the Resolution No Trust Corporation

    ResistanceIsFeudal:

    JimPortlandOR wrote:

    This time it needs to be called the Resolution No Trust Corporation

    I wait with baited breath for "Revolution: Trust No Corporation"

    edit: "baited" was not a spelling error

    Werner the Wolf Eel:

    Kudlow must have loaded up on the blow before going on the air. I've never met anyone above 30 with that much energy naturally.

    Where he sees optimism in the Tea Party, I see the 21st Century American version of the German Workers Party.

    JimPortlandOR:

    The Republicans are now saying that health care reform should be started with a blank page.

    I like the idea of starting over again on commercial and investment banking, and real estate. Nationalize them all, and then charter some new institutions led by completely new people, and sell them the cremated remains of the old system.

    pavel.chichikov:

    Someone here a while back said GS was an arm of the CIA jokingly.

    Maybe not the arm.

    broward:

    pavel.chichikov wrote:

    Maybe not the arm.

    The beak?

    pavel.chichikov

    The beak?

    The tentacle is traditional.

    broward:

    pavel.chichikov wrote:

    The tentacle is traditional.

    What about the suckers? (somebody had to say it)

    >[Feb 17, 2010] Musings On Monetary Mendacity by Tyler Durden
    Feb 16, 2010 | zero hedge

    The U.S. economy ceased to function this week after unexpected existential remarks by Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke shocked Americans into realizing that money is, in fact, just a meaningless and intangible social construct. What began as a routine report before the Senate Finance Committee Tuesday ended with Bernanke passionately disavowing the entire concept of currency, and negating in an instant the very foundation of the world's largest economy.

    "Though raising interest rates is unlikely at the moment, the Fed will of course act appropriately if we…if we…" said Bernanke, who then paused for a moment, looked down at his prepared statement, and shook his head in utter disbelief. "You know what? It doesn't matter. None of this-this so-called 'money'-really matters at all."

    "It's just an illusion," a wide-eyed Bernanke added as he removed bills from his wallet and slowly spread them out before him. "Just look at it: Meaningless pieces of paper with numbers printed on them. Worthless."

    > Hussman Follow-Up On The Great $1.5 Trillion Unlegislated GSE Bail Out

    ...during the Q&A of Hoenig's speech reference earlier, the Kansas Fed president said "Our primary goal is the exit strategy. We need to remove the assets from our balance sheet. And we need to get out of this as early as we can." Of course, Ben Bernanke will never actually do this, and the "calendar" is so vague it could be referencing 3000AD.

    >[Feb 15, 2010] Goldman Goes Rogue – Special European Audit To Follow
    GS does is financial three card monty of one kind or another...
    The Baseline Scenario

    ...Goldman will probably be blacklisted from working with eurozone governments for the foreseeable future; as was the case with Salomon Brothers 20 years ago, Goldman may be on its way to be banned from some government securities markets altogether.

    Nemo

    Now remember, these guys take home 7- and 8-figure bonuses every year for "making the global economy more efficient".

    bmeisen

    Enron, Fastow, Arthur Anderson, deja vu all over agian.

    >[Feb 15, 2010] Weekend Homework President's Report on the Economy
    "This proves our leader has a sense of humor."
    February 12, 2010 | The Big Picture

    beatstreet:

    This proves our leader has a sense of humor. Cliff's note please.

    Moss:

    Well at least one Industry is booming:

    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=a7IMnXY_.OG4&pos=9

    >[Feb 15, 2010] New Jersey State of Fiscal Emergency

    LoserBeachBum:

    It is really amazing how mostly poor Republicans want to continue shooting themselves in the foot, year after year. "Ban public unions!" is almost as bad as the infamous: "Git damn guverment off my medicare!".

    Outsider

    Synchronized drowning.

    >[Feb 14, 2010] Dynamite Prize in Economics
    The Big Picture

    I love this:

    The Dynamite Prize in Economics is to be awarded to the three economists who contributed most to enabling the Global Financial Collapse (GFC), or more figuratively, to the three economists who contributed most to blowing up the global economy.

    Here's the short list:

    Fischer Black and Myron Scholes
    Eugene Fama
    Milton Friedman
    Alan Greenspan
    Assar Lindbeck
    Robert Lucas
    Richard Portes
    Edward Prescott and Finn E. Kydland
    Paul Samuelson
    Larry Summers

    Go vote now!

    inessence:

    To bad that dynamite prize is not literal in meaning…they should all be given the prize with a short lit fuse.

    Chief Tomahawk

    ...Greenspan is pretty difficult to argue against. I wonder how much of his behavior was driven by a need to be liked? Afterall, he wasn't exactly blessed with looks.

    Taliesyn:

    ...Greenspan: I Didn't Cause Housing Bubble
    http://moneynews.com/StreetTalk/Alan-Greenspan-Housing-Bubble/2010/02/12/id/349736?s=al&promo_code=972F-1

    I guess that makes Greenspan a financial holocaust denier.

    Winston Munn:

    Any teabag wearin', Palin votin, Rush listenin' Republican worth his Hannities can tell you the entire fault is on the shoulders of Barney Frank.

    SS:

    Milton Friedman, do you know that this idiot actually in Capitalism and Freedom actually advocated that the FDA be abolished and that market forces would provide adequate "information" on the quality of drugs on the market. That was not the only public service he wished to abolish, among others the FAA. Go figure. The schmuck that got him and his cronies Nobel prizes for over 30 years also deserves a lot of credit. But I'll go with the hit man rather than the mastermind. Friedman is my pick.

    alfred e:

    @MA: Phil Gramm should share the award with Larry Summers. And Rubin except he's not an economist.

    Greenspan was too much of a suckup woos (pussy?) to be a driving factor. The others were/are arrogant assholes.

    alfred e:

    @MA: Gramm? Correct. Shared with Summers.

    Greenspan was a toad. Gramm and Summers were/are arrogant greedy jerks.

    mcrcr4:

    Do wannabes count? If so, how about Ronald Reagan?

    Agree with alfred e re Gramm and Summers. As for Greenspan, I keep thinking of Peanuts: "How can they doubt us when we're so sincere?"

    Nice weekend everyone.

    Moss:

    Greeny has to get top billing since he was the tactical general of any and all misguided theory.
    He was in effect the boot on the ground, the implementer, the decider, the enabler and in the end admitted he was wrong. All of the others, that are still living, are still defending their BS.

    >[Feb 14, 2010] Fed as a financial heroin dispensing institution

    the implications to the stock and currency markets will be drastic should the Fed relapse to its old financial heroin-dispersing ways.

    >[Feb 13, 2010] Antidepressant use doubles in US, study finds
    Reuters

    More Americans may accept diagnosis of depression

    >[Feb 12, 2010] They Replaced Horses, Didn't They
    Economist's View

    Bruce Wilder:

    Humans, like horses, remain economically valuable for entertainment, decoration and as pets, to those with capital income.

    I've long been available as a pet.

    If I only knew a nice lady with a bond portfolio. ;-)

    roger:

    Actually, the destruction of horse power took a long time. The war in which the greatest number of horses were involved was... World War II.

    And in the Great War on Terror, the fearsome enemy of all mankind, bigger than King Kong, the man who America must spend 700 billion dollars a year to defeat and still has not (poor America), the one and only Osama bin Laden, escaped Tora Bora on the back of a little cute pony. Of course, OBL does have one edge: America is run by idiots. OBL runs an outfit dedicated to war, while the main function of the "Defense" department is corporate welfare, with the military function being a sort of vestiginal side. Still, I'm betting on the ponies over the drones in Afghanistan.

    evagrius:

    Happiness will prevail!

    >[Feb 10, 2010] God's work: Somebody pushed AIG out a window, to collect the insurance.

    This was no accident, no act of God. No unforeseen mishap, no simple miscalculation.

    Somebody pushed AIG out a window, to collect the insurance. Then they saw the opportunity to extort billions from the Congress and a Presidency in transition by bringing the financial system to the point of collapse. And they took it. And somebody knows who and how they did it.

    > The $700 Billion U.S. Funding Hole is Desperately Seeking A Very Indiscriminate Treasury Buyer
    Jan 24, 2010 | zero hedge

    Number 156:

    You need someone indiscriminate? No problem. The Fed will buy what they can't sell.

    Ben Shalom Bernanke, Suuuuuuuuuuper genius.

    strike for retu...

    The speculative activities of Goldman Sachs and the like have been made risk-free via their ownership of Treserve. Consequently all capital is driven to them. (Those in the know because they know. Those not in the know because heads squid wins, tails you lose, means that squid gets everything.)

    Anonymous:

    Can someone please tell me when the fed cant print anymore and admit defeat? This story is becoming boring...

    Doug:

    When you see tanks rolling down your street, you'll know the game is pretty much over.

    Miyagi_san :

    Its time for financial war bonds...Its your DUTY to country and future generations to unload whatever savings you have.

    docj :

    ALL UR 401K R BELONG TO US, in other words.

    blueskyscottsdale:

    and for the simple folk such as myself, the difference between USA today and Argentina in the 1990s would be what exactly?

    Anonymous:

    Latitude?:

    Anonymous:

    Evita was pretty. Hillary not so much so.

    > The best defense is a good offense, absolutely
    From the transcript, first on whether or not jobs will be created this spring:
    Absolutely. But remember where we were a year ago.
    On whether enough is being done to bring down unemployment:
    We need to -- we have more work to do, absolutely we have more work to do.
    On the U.S. losing it's AAA-rating:
    Absolutely not. And that will never happen to this country.
    On whether the proposed budget is a serious attempt at deficit reduction:
    Absolutely. Again, look what the president proposed.
    This is absolutely unconvincing.
    >[Feb 09, 2010] Fed Chair as Confidence [Con] Man
    Confidence con-man -- what a term :-). "a confidence game indeed, as well as try to lyingly instill confidence among the uninitiated readership". It's the standard psychology of totalitarian regimes.
    The Baseline Scenario

    Hopefully, most Americans will remember that a confidence game has been played on them

    Russ

    .. the Fed chief's job, from the establishment point of view, really is simply to maintain the confidence of Wall Street that the looting will continue for as long as possible. The actual mechanics of the job are pretty simple. Economic crashes, depressions, etc. are of no consequence as long as the system can hold onto power, so the Fed chief doesn't have to worry about that. All he has to worry about is seizing the disaster opportunities, shock doctrine style

    maynardGkeynes

    Robert Samuelson's entire career is based on the fact that the public has him vaguely confused with Paul Samuelson, to whom he is not related, and who, unlike Robert, was not a meatloaf. The only writer that I know of who is more thoroughly and consistently inane than R. Samuelson is Ben Stein, whom the public vaguely confuses with his father Herb Stein. The American public tends to get confused on names. Exit polls showed that in the '68 New Hampshire primary, more than 1/3 who voted for Sen. Eugene McCarthy thought they were voting for Sen. Joseph McCarthy.
    >[Feb 09, 2010] Amazing metamorphose: Maestro turned into the designated goat in short four years

    Four years after leaving the Fed as the Greatest Central Banker Ever, the longest-serving chairman, the Maestro, Alan Greenspan is the designated goat.

    >[Feb 09, 2010] The Blankfein bonus $9m in stock (updated)
    FT Alphaville

    williambanzai7 | February 7 3:29pm | Permalink
    | Options
    I SCAMMED EM MY WAY
    (My Way, Frank Sinatra)
    WilliamBanzai7

    And now the end is near
    And so I face the final subprime curtain
    My friend I'll say it clear
    I'll state a quantitative case of which I'm absolutely certain

    I've lived a Wall Street bankster life that's full
    I've swindled each and every way but sideways
    And more, much more than this
    I scammed them my way

    Regrets I've hedged a few
    But then again too few to mention
    I did what I wanted to do
    And did it through SEC exemptions

    I planned each toxic course
    Each innovative step along the ponzi highway
    And more, much more than this
    I scammed them my way

    Yes there were times I'm sure you knew
    When we bought more securitised shlock than we could chew
    But through it all when there was doubt
    I jacked the Fed and got bailed out, I escaped Lehman's final call
    And I stood tall and scammed them my way

    I've loved, I've laughed and lately cried
    I've had my fill, my share of bankster screwing
    And now as the Federal subsidies subside
    I find it all slightly less than amusing

    To think I did God's work
    And may I say not in a shy way
    Oh no, oh no, not me
    I scammed them my way

    For what is a Wall Street con man what has he got
    If not $100 million bonus bucks then he has not
    To see the things he truly steals
    And the words of a slippery Wall Street eel
    The record shows I took the populist blows
    And scammed them my way

    Yes it was my way...

    >[Feb 08, 2010] Bad News for Bears (humor)
    Feb 07, 2010 | CalculatedRisk

    First, via NPR: The Super Bowl Stock Market Predictor

    The Super Bowl Stock Market Predictor holds that if a team from the old NFL wins, the market will rise in that year; if a team from the old AFL wins, the market will fall.
    Both the Colts and the Saints qualify as "old NFL", so that is bad news for the bears!
    >[Feb 07, 2010] Art Cashin Market Commentary - An Encore Presentation
    zero hedge

    On this day (+2) in 1858, that august deliberative body, the U.S. House of Representatives was calmly discussing a matter of import to the nation. Well....maybe "calmly discussing" misses the point. The House was in mid-debate/mid-filibuster on the topic of admitting Kansas to statehood....and whether such admission should be as a Free State or slave state.

    The debate had been going since the prior day and as it moved into the wee small hours of February 6th the tension, partisanship and weariness began to show. Since night-time in February, in Washington, in the Capitol building, in the 1850's tended not to be too warm, several members of Congress were said to have sipped (or gulped) some alcoholic beverages....just to stave off the chill.

    Rep. Keitt of S.C. made a rather uncomplimentary remark about Rep. Galusha Grow of PA. (who had the floor at the time). Rep. Grow responded with an equally unkind assessment of Keitt. Keitt went for Grow's neck, but was knocked to the ground. Soon most of the House was wrestling, spitting, kicking and punching their worthy and distinguished colleagues. Spittoons and inkwells flew through the air. The Speaker gaveled for order with no success. The Sergeant at Arms beat members with his staff (in a non-partisan way, of course).

    Rep. Grow was being pummeled by Barksdale of Mississippi when Washburn of Wisconsin rushed to Grow's defense. Washburn's intention was to grab Barksdale by the hair with his left hand and knock him out with a right uppercut. But when he grabbed Barksdale's hair, it came off in his hand. Shocked, Washburn screamed. The rioting representatives looked up and saw a suddenly bald Barksdale…..and Washburn waving his wig. "My God, he's been scalped!" shouted someone and the riot broke up in riotous laughter.

    To mark the day, suggest to the bipartisan leadership that they appoint someone from the Hair Club as doorkeeper.

    >[Feb 06, 2010] Lies We're Being Told Interest is Consumption, Saving is "a Negative Act" - DollarCollapse.Com

    ...how can U.S. GDP be up by a robust 5% when oil imports and rail traffic are down and unemployment is still rising?

    The answer, in a nutshell, is that once again we're being conned.

    Get this: Washington defines interest on credit card debt as "consumer spending" and adds it to GDP.

    >[Feb 06, 2010] Proprietary Trading and Credit Default Swaps - Mission (Not) Accomplished
    The mutant Zombie Banks :-).

    Here's why the Volcker Rule ran into a brick wall of Senatorial gravitas and pusillanimous punditry.

    Give up prop trading AND banking status? The mutant Zombie Banks would not allow it.

    >[Feb 06, 2010] Outside The (Cardboard) Box - U.S. Workforce Disappearing At Alarming Rate

    After a careful review of BLS Employment Data, Outside The (Cardboard) Box analysts have determined that the U.S. workforce is shrinking at an inexplicable rate. Available census data indicates that the U.S. population is still expanding. Under normal conditions this would lead to an increase in the available labor pool. However BLS data confirms that able-bodied, productive people are just 'leaving the workforce' in massive numbers and for no apparent reason. Said one concerned economist, "We're still kashkaring the figures but it looks like it could be in the millions. We don't know where they've gone or if they're coming back. They've just disappeared without a trace!"

    "And it's not just people who are disappearing", said an unnamed Detroit Law Enforcement official. "It happens overnight. One minute there's a family living in a neighborhood; the kids are out playing in the yard. The next day we drive by and the house is empty; all of their possessions are gone and all of the copper piping has been ripped out of the walls. We sometimes find pets though. Only people under duress leave their pets…..(momentarily overcome, the Officer regains his composure)…. We know it's a crime scene but we can't prove a crime has been committed." A tour of Detroit's neighborhoods confirms the Officer's assessment: block after block of vacant homes, empty streets and shuttered businesses.

    ... ... ...

    >[Feb 06, 2010] NFP -20,000, Consensus +15,000, Non-Seasonally Adjusted Unemployment Rate (U3 And U6) Surges To Record 10.6% And 18%
    "In my younger days I remember how US officials used to disparage the Soviets for massaging their numbers to reflect desired outcomes........."
    Feb 05, 2010 | zero hedge

    glenlloyd :

    I don't think anyone believes the BLS report anymore. The U3 in particular has been ruin by policitical pressure over the years and it really says nothing about the state of unemployment, U6 is better but still lacking.

    The most important metric is the aggregate total of those without jobs, and any meaningful number will include those who have fallen off the back without finding work, because if you don't count them then why even bother.

    garbage in / garbage out

    nedwardkelly:

    I guess I shouldn't have been thinking "what does this particular number mean" I should have been thinking "what is their motivation for including this particular number in the report"

    Anonymous

    The Administration is working on a perpetual hiring loop where they are going to create an entire division of people whose job it is to count the census workers. There will be then be a third group created to count those people, and so on and so forth.

    slovester:

    I wonder how many people are employed by the Feds who sole job function is to calculate just how large of a lie the government can make out of reported numbers and still have the majority of the idiot citizenry believe them.

    suteibu :

    They don't call it the "Headline" number for nothing.

    Dixie Normous:

    The new model:

    Pick a number you are comfortable with, say 9.7%, then massage the "data" until you get there.

    SDRII :

    in other words, investment banking. Makes sense

    Anonymous

    With this kind of "Obamath" by August unemployment will be +7%.

    Great Depressio:

    OBAMATH!!! Hhahahahahahahaha!!!!! Did you come up with that yourself???? That made me laugh so much!

    >[Feb 06, 2010] Of Proprietary Trading and Credit Default Swaps - Mission Accomplished
    Jesse's Café Américain

    "Deficits are like putting dynamite in the hands of children," Taleb said in an interview with Bloomberg Television. "They can get out of control very quickly."

    >[Feb 06, 2010] January 2010NFP is . . .
    February 5, 2010

    Transor Zs:

    The United States of America

    (A division of Enron)

    >[Feb 05, 2010] Brilliant Marketing Meets Dark Humor
    The si