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Financial Humor Bulletin, June 2009

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[Jun 29, 2009] Goldman Sachs: The Great American Bubble Machine

June 25th, 2009 | The Big Picture

  1. Denise Hubbard Says:

    This is incredible! And the SEC just requested a copy of the new movie: Stock Shock!
    Market manipulation is about to be reigned in!

    Thank you Matt T. and STOCK SHOCK!

  1. BG Says:

    Denise Hubbard, I wish it were that simple. The cause runs much deeper than ignorance. The insiders including many who are supposed to be protecting the American public know exactly what they are doing. The SEC will do what they have historically done - not a damn thing.

    Sorry to bust your……. bubble.

[Jun 29, 2009] BIS: Toxic Assets Still a Threat

Counterpointer (profile) wrote on Sun, 6/28/2009 - 7:09 pm

We are all permatoxics now.

dryfly (profile) wrote on Sun, 6/28/2009 - 7:11 pm

I think the stress tests showed that the U.S. should have pre-privatized BofA, Citigroup and GMAC. Oh well ...

I think Churchill would say it's too early to write those options off... seeing how Americans practice 'crisis management'.

mmckinl (profile) wrote on Sun, 6/28/2009 - 7:12 pm

We all can't handle the truth now.


The truth is the easy part ...

the consequences will be the hard part ...

Counterpointer (profile) wrote on Sun, 6/28/2009 - 7:24 pm

Basel - "Erin Burnett was trying to justify the increased salaries at Citi by saying it was needed to "protect" the government's investment, so we couldn't let C fail via brain drain." Honestly? Has she moved to SNL?

A bit of preemptive brain drain might head of pretending the gangrene was a few surface lesions.

MrM (profile) wrote on Sun, 6/28/2009 - 7:50 pm

so converting debt to equity and orderly write downs are not working for me anymore

Public executions? What are you suggesting to do with depositors?

[Jun 28, 2009] Understanding Credit Card Debt & Credit Card Late Fees

But credit cards can also be a slippery slope. One misstep and you’ll tumble into the abyss of credit card debt


[Jun 27, 2009] Comic Relief: "Zombie Bank"

Jun 26, 2009 | naked capitalism

Posted by Yves Smith at 1:02 AM

[Jun 26, 2009] Song Parody: "Where Credit is Due"

6/26/2009 | CalculatedRisk

on Versusplus - a little credit card music!

Not One Cent (homepage, profile) wrote (in reply to...) on Thu, 6/25/2009 - 10:30 pm

Rebound In Housing Hampered By Slowdown in 'Short Sales'

I expect a CNBC analyst to say we need another government program to increase the number of underwater houses to strengthen our supply of short sales.

Not One Cent (homepage, profile) wrote (in reply to...) on Thu, 6/25/2009 - 10:44 pm

TJ: Mass psychology and macroeconomics are virtually one and the same.

That is why Bernanke and Krugman left the economics business for the propaganda business.

[Jun 27, 2009] Is Bernanke Toast- If he is, Summers is a shoo-in

[Jun 26, 2009] Bernanke testimony by Peter Boockvar

Ahead of Bernanke's 10am testimony on the Bofa-Merrill deal where he and Paulson are being accused of strong arming Ken Lewis to follow thru with the deal on its original terms, it hit me the striking similarity in looks that Bernanke has with Frank Pentangeli (without the beard), the character in Godfather II that went to Congress to testify against Michael Corleone:

[Jun 26, 2009] Now we can guess why the governor of SC does not need any stimulus: he got his from Argentina

Uncle Ar (profile) wrote on Wed, 6/24/2009 - 12:18 pm

Lucifer:"Ya.. underage boys and gay escorts are a careeerkiller for politicians."
But you can change careers and get a front row seat (and get picked often to ask questions) at the white house press conferences.

[Jun 25, 2009] FOMC Statement

[Jun 23, 2009] How to lose on a sure-fire bet

June 11, 2009 | Econbrowser

There was a wonderful story in today's WSJ about how some big banks managed to lose some of their hard-earned TARP money.

Let me begin with a little background. A credit default swap is sometimes described as an insurance contract written against the possibility of default of a particular underlying asset. If I buy a CDS and the specified asset defaults, I get to collect money from whoever sold me the contract. If I also have a long position in the asset in question, I might consider buying a CDS written against that asset as an insurance or hedge against the possibility that the asset loses its value.

But I don't actually have to own the asset in question in order to buy a CDS from somebody else. I might want to buy a CDS as a partial hedge against some other asset I hold with which the specified security could be correlated. Or maybe I just feel like making a bet with somebody I think is dumber than I am.

The fun and games begin when multiple contracts get written on a single credit event and the notional value of outstanding contracts on that event-- the total amount of money that is promised to be paid to the buyers of those CDS in the event of a default on the underlying asset-- becomes larger than the par value of the underlying asset itself. Then it would clearly pay the party who sold those contracts to buy the underlying asset itself at par, relieve the original debtors of their burdensome obligations, and be out only $X (the underlying event) rather than some multiple of $X (all the contracts written on the event).

And so the WSJ recounts the tale of a security based on $29 million (par) worth of subprime loans in California, half of which were already delinquent or in default. Betting that the loans weren't worth $29 million sounds like easy money, and the smart guys were willing to pay 80 to 90 cents for each dollar of CDS insurance.

It appears from the WSJ account as if little Amherst Holdings of Austin, Texas was happy to sell the big guys like J.P. Morgan Chase, Royal Bank of Scotland, and Bank of America something like $130 million notional CDS on a $27 million credit event, used the proceeds to buy off and make good the underlying subprime loans, and pocketed $70 million or so for their troubles. The big guys, on the other hand, paid perhaps a hundred million and got back zip.

Said big guys, naturally, are screaming bloody murder, trying to bring in the lawyers to show that Amherst wasn't playing by the rules of the game.

For my money, the first rule we need would be a law, not a rule, that notional not exceed actual.

Barring that, here's another rule I trust: a fool and his money are soon parted.

[Jun 23, 2009] Report Citigroup plans boost in salaries - Yahoo! Finance

[Jun 22, 2009] NAR, NAMB Fighting Appraisal Reform

The NAR and NAMB have the ethics of Taiwanese pimps selling 10 year olds girls to the sex tourist trade. To say these shameless whores disgust me is to understate the issue . . .

  1. Fools and their money will be separated.

    Reminds me of the old Marxism (Groucho, that is):

    “Who are you going to believe — me, or your own lying eyes?”

[Jun 22, 2009] The New U.S. Bill of Rights

charles hugh smith-Weblog and Essays

To fully reflect current "inalienable rights," a New Bill of Rights  should be added to the U.S. Constitution.

Given the mindsets which dominate American culture, a New Bill of Rights should be added to the U.S. Constitution to reflect our additional "inalienable rights." While the original United States Bill of Rights addressed basic liberties, it simply doesn't cover various financial and global rights which are now implicit in 21st century America.

Here are my proposed New Rights:

... ... ...

Amendment Three: The Right to Borrow From Other Nations
The rights of the Nation to borrow unlimited sums of money from other nations shall not be restricted by matters of finance, debt or international law.

Amendment Four: The Right to Cheap Goods
The rights of the people to buy commodities and manufactured goods from other nations at low prices shall be inviolate. (Also known as the "what's our oil doing under your land?" amendment.)

Amendment Five: The Right to Rising Real Estate
That real estate valuations shall always rise is a fundamental right of the people, and the Government is hereby ordered to move Heaven and Earth to insure this right.

Amendment Six: The Right to a Fiat Currency Which Does Not Fall to Zero
Though all fiat currencies are doomed to fall to zero valuation, it is the right of the Nation and its people to exchange U.S. fiat currency (dollars) for tangible goods without limit.

... ... ...

[Jun 21, 2009] Economist's View

Middle managers and affiliated secretaries and janitors and such count in the denominator of labor productivity.

[Jun 21, 2009] Buyers Fatigue? By Barry Ritholtz

[Jun 19, 2009] Obama Reform Plan Fails to Fix Whats Broken The Big Picture

  1. Marcus Aurelius Says:

    Obama is the new “Casey at the Bat.” And I had such high hopes.

  2. GB Says
    Change you can’t believe in.
    1. dcsos Says:

      Obama knows Wall St is already “FIXED”. What more could he do?

      1. “Politics is a dirty, dishonest, self serving business - it always has been, and always will be. Anyone who doesn’t understand that and thought that things would change all that much with Obama being elected is sorely out of touch with reality.”

        Sounds like the soft bigotry of low expectations to me. Quite frankly, I’m tired of it.

[Jun 19, 2009] Sudden Debt Where Are Profits Going

unregulated, laissez-faire, speculative's fantastic!!!

[Jun 19, 2009] Mish's Global Economic Trend Analysis

Dodd, a Connecticut Democrat, quoted one critic’s view that giving the central bank more power was like awarding a son a “bigger, faster car right after he crashed the family station wagon.” He added that he hadn’t made a conclusion on the issue.

[Jun 19, 2009] An Open Letter To The Secretary Of The Department Of The United States Treasury by Marla Singer

See also FRB Supervisory Letter SR 03-14 on fraudulent Federal Reserve note schemes -- July 16, 2003

Dear Mr. Geithner:

No doubt you are already aware of the wild stories circulating in response to the news that two Japanese nationals were caught trying to smuggle some $134 billion in U.S. Government bearer bonds into Switzerland from Italy. Since the Secret Service seems a bit slow in addressing the issue (What's the problem? Haven't you hired an undersecretary of Secret Service motivation yet? Couldn't you get Agent Frank Horrigan out of retirement and send him on special assignment or something?) and the Italians change their story about the instruments almost as often as they change governments, we thought you might benefit from some of our analysis.

Obviously, with respect to authenticity, there are three options:

1. All the documents are fake.

2. Some of the documents are fake.

3. None of the documents are fake.


$134 billion only? That's like children playing. (Hint to Yusuf, they play in Italy my friend).

You see, those two "Japanese" got beat by 4 guys in Denver in 2002.

See here:

Thursday, October 10, 2002
Four busted in $250B bond scam
Denver Business Journal - by Paula Moore

On Oct. 10, federal agents in metro Denver broke up a sting operation to sell bogus bearer bonds represented as worth $250 billion.

A deal to sell 250 bonds, supposedly with a face value of $1 billion each, was to have been concluded in Denver on Oct. 9, according to a U.S. District Court filing in Denver.

Officials at the U.S. Attorney's Office in Denver were unavailable for comment.

The dealers arranged to sell the bonds via a California company called Concord Capital Ltd. to a Greenwood Village-based company called NCO/Capstone Consulting, a fake company created by federal agents. NCO agreed to pay $100 million for the 250 bonds, according an agreement between the parties.

At Wednesday's meeting to consummate the deal, U.S. Customs and Secret Service agents arrested the brokers. They are: Johnny Tal of Agoura Hills, Calif., also called Yoni; Stephen M. Feldman of Encino, Calif.; Nathan A. Bickley of Dallas, Texas; and Jerry J. Tidmore, address unknown.

The four are charged with one count each of attempting to sell fraudulent securities. If convicted, each faces 25 years in prison and $250,000 in fines.

The government learned of the dealers in June of this year, when the U.S. Customs Service got a tip that Feldman was trying to broker the sale of fake Federal Reserve bearer bonds.

Bearer bonds are a type of bond not registered on the books of the issuer. Their owner holds them and gets interest payments by detaching coupons from the bond certificate, and delivering them to the paying agent.

A customs agent then went undercover as a representative of NCO/Capstone, and Feldman allegedly tried to sell him bogus bonds supposedly valued at more than $1 trillion. In July, the undercover agent offered Feldman $100 million for the fake bonds and was turned down.

Tal, saying he was client of Feldman's named Yoni, then allegedly contacted the agent in September, and said he would sell $25 billion worth of bonds for $100 million, according to the court filing. "Yoni" supposedly told the agent he had a company called Concord Capital and that he formerly was with the Israeli Secret Service.

[Jun 18, 2009] Recovery – or Not – in Pictures « The Baseline Scenario

  1. Clearly, your chart selection is faulty. You need to either find charts with “green shoots” in them or you need to manually paint “green shoots” lines over the graphs to render them all good and green shooty.

[Jun 18, 2009] Limits to inflating away debt and political commitments to future public spending Willem Buiter's Maverecon

where is JOE THE PLUMBER ?

[Jun 18, 2009] Paper Economy - A US Real Estate Bubble Blog

It appears that the "Green Shoots" have not found their way through the still smoldering patches of durable material production.

[Jun 17, 2009] Economists are Seeking Remedies to the Crisis

"as a profession, economics not only has nothing to say about what caused the world to come to the brink of financial collapse last autumn, but also a supreme lack of interest"

[Jun 17, 2009] Recycling, Larry Summers-Style - Real Time Economics - WSJ

When Hank Paulson, who played football at Dartmouth, sought to redo the financial regulatory system back in March 2008, he described the Federal Reserve as the “free safety” in the system. Now Larry Summers, who didn’t play football at MIT, is taking on the same chore — and using the same metaphor.

Paulson in his gridiron days. (Newsweek, via CJR)

[Jun 16, 2009] FDIC vs. the Banksters “Regulators Feud as Banking System Overhauled” The Big Picture

When the nonsensical economic policy being followed by President Obama — namely “continuity and confidence” — turns to dust later this year, President Obama will be lucky to have Sheila Bair available to pick up the pieces.  And when Bair goes to China to meet with our largest foreign creditor as the first female Secretary of the Treasury, the people in the audience will not laugh openly.   See Bob Kuttner’s piece from last October: “Sheila Bair for Treasury Secretary.”

[Jun 14, 2009] Where Are We Now Five Point Summary « The Baseline Scenario

Turn that BS on Wall Street into biofuel to drive the world economy.

Dow Positive for 2009

  1. Mark E Hoffer Says:

    reminds me of a snippet of Sheryl Crow’s lyrics: “Lie to me! I promise, I will believe..”

  2. GB Says:

    It’s to distract us from CA going out of business.

[Jun 12, 2009]  Hamilton on CDS Trade- "A fool and his money ..."

Casino banks: much better then playing roulette in Las Vegas...

At one point, at least $130 million of bets had been made on the performance of around $27 million in securities ...

Selected comments

Scrooge McDuck (profile) wrote (in reply to...) on Thu, 6/11/2009 - 3:32 pm

A corrupt system failing always cheers me up 

pavel.chichikov (homepage, profile) wrote on Thu, 6/11/2009 - 6:00 pm

""The budget should be balanced, the Treasury should be refilled, public
debt should be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be
tempered and controlled, and the assistance to foreign lands should be
curtailed lest Rome become bankrupt. People must again learn to work,
instead of living on public assistance." - Cicero - 55 BC"

Didn't he die an unnatural death?

ResistanceIsFeudal (profile) wrote on Thu, 6/11/2009 - 6:15 pm

pavel.chichikov (homepage, profile) wrote on Thu, 6/11/2009 - 8:10 pm

An incessant and unlimited piling up of wealth at last becomes irrational and without purpose. If in the end our society is based on this and on momentary pleasure it too is irrational and without purpose.

And in the end it turns on itself in an act of self-destruction. The snake eating its own tail.

JD (profile) wrote on Thu, 6/11/2009 - 7:06 pm

credit default swaps are indeed the realm of the absurd. What perverse accounting standards gave birth to these crazy financial instruments from OZ? One group of college educated, but real world ignorant, pinstriped suit wearing, concrete canyon living boneheads generates a 200 page contract to insure a bundle of notes on some real estate they have never seen, and they negotiate said contract with another group of college educated, pinstriped suit wearing, concrete canyon living boneheads... all for the purpose of gaming some accounting guideline. And the boneheads get paid seven figure bonuses for doing that, and the boneheads actually think they deserve the seven figure bonuses, but they are too obtuse to realize it is blood money.

[Jun 12, 2009] "Money is better than poverty, if only for financial reasons." —Woody Allen

Hat tip to Big Picture

[Jun 11, 2009] Countrywide Exec Warned the Fed About Toxic Mortgages -- Seeking Alpha

What's funny is that this was stated after "McMurray gave an almost academic presentation that included 29 slides packed with graphics and charts on the risks and causes of mortgage delinquency. He explained how larger loans, lower credit scores, higher loan-to-value ratios, and less required documentation from loan applicants were coinciding with greater delinquency, wrote Cabray Haines, who summarized the conference for the Chicago Fed Letter.

“Borrowers have more choices and greater access to credit; lenders and investors are better able to measure and manage risk; and, because of the dispersion of financial risks to those more willing and able to bear them, the economy and the financial system are more resilient,” Bernanke said, according to a transcript of his speech.

Chairman Bernandke,
Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago’s annual conference
on bank structure and competition
 May 18, 2006

[Jun 10, 2009] Zero Hedge Can We Get This Guy On CNBC

[Jun 9, 2009] Clusterfuck Nation by Jim Kunstler

The biggest emerging new class in America is the "former middle class."

[Jun 8, 2009] The Age of Folly - Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr. - Mises Institute

How about a bit of reality? Not the ridiculous promises from Washington: the absurd talk of "green shoots" while unemployment soars and investment falls; the silly guarantees that GM has a bright future, even as its stock price falls to less than the price of a Snickers bar; the nonsense about how if we spend more and inflate more, recovery will come tomorrow morning.

[Jun 7, 2009] Jobs and the Unemployment Rate

RockyR wrote on Sun, 6/7/2009 - 11:07 am

Something tells me NBER will declare the recession over long before the recession is over.

[Jun 6, 2009] China’s fake recovery redux, or who’s laughing now

June 3, 2009 | FT Alphaville

As we reported here, Geithner’s attempts to reassure Beijing authorities that the US government was still upholding a strong US dollar policy were met with loud laughter by an audience of students at Peking university.

This fact, apparently, went mostly unreported among the US press according to Gartman. As he surmises:

The utter and harsh reality of the US present fiscal circumstance is that the world is laughing at the Obama Administration’s handling of it. Mr. Geithner is the global vicar of the US fiscal policy, and never, ever in our lifetime have we seen or heard of a US Treasury Secretary being laughed at… until now. It is one thing to be derided; it is entirely another to be laughed at, and the US is now being laughed at.

[Jun 6, 2009] Quote of the day economist will forcefully express the view that the only meaningful goal of the rational business executive is the maximization of his own profits. But, even that is not going to ring true to anyone who has ever experienced a situation where he had to put his son-in-law in a business.

 —Stephen M. Axinn, "A lawyer's response," Antitrust Law Journal 52(3), September 1983, p. 647.

[Jun 6, 2009] Is there insider trading on Wall Street? Do Germans drink beer?

[Jun 6, 2009] NFP is . . . -345k

Stuart Says:

600K new filings each week and records levels of continuing claims, 9.4% unemployment rate, a U-6 of over 16.4% and they post 345K lost. Who the hell is running the show at the BLS? Baghdad Bob?

Rajesh Says:

Birth/death model added 220k jobs: I guess a lot of Chrysler workers suddenly opened up new businesses. Who knew they were such go-getters.

[Jun 5, 2009] Monetizing Debt- The Grandest of Larcenies

06/05/09 |

“Either cuts in spending or increases in taxes will be necessary to stabilize the fiscal situation,” said Ben Bernanke in response to a question posed by a member of Congress. Then, he added…

“The Federal Reserve will not monetize the debt.”

That last sentence has a ring to it. It reminds us of Richard Nixon’s “I am not a crook.” Surely, it is destined to make its way into the history books, alongside Bill Clinton’s “I did not have sex with that woman” and the builder of the Titanic’s “even God himself couldn’t sink this ship.”

[Jun 3, 2009] How funny:  Travelers replaced Citi in Dow...

[Jun 2, 2009] China Data Rally

The four golden rules of econometrics:

  1. Think brilliantly,
  2. Be infinitely creative,
  3. Be outstandingly lucky,
  4. Otherwise, stick to being a theorist

                                  —David Hendry

[Jun 1, 2009] "Incarceration as a Labor Market Outcome"

...our bet on EU and US unemployment rates, which was that the combined rates of unemployment and incarceration in the US would exceed those in the EU over the next ten years.




Groupthink : Two Party System as Polyarchy : Corruption of Regulators : Bureaucracies : Understanding Micromanagers and Control Freaks : Toxic Managers :   Harvard Mafia : Diplomatic Communication : Surviving a Bad Performance Review : Insufficient Retirement Funds as Immanent Problem of Neoliberal Regime : PseudoScience : Who Rules America : Neoliberalism  : The Iron Law of Oligarchy : Libertarian Philosophy


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