Financial Humor Bulletin, 2011

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[Dec 24, 2011] Totally Doable

"Of course Santa, like markets, is magic and that is not accounted for in this analysis."
Economist's View

The Atlantic says:

There are just over 526,000,000 Christian kids under the age of 14 in the world who celebrate Christmas on December 25. In other words, Santa has to deliver presents to almost 22 million kids an hour, every hour, on the night before Christmas. That's about 365,000 kids a minute; about 6,100 a second. Totally doable.

On the "totally doable" point, an old post (2005) gives the physicist's view:

Is there a Santa Claus? - a physicist view : Consider the following:

1) No known species of reindeer can fly. But there are 300,000 species of living organisms yet to be classified, and while most of these are insects and germs, this does not COMPLETELY rule out flying reindeer which only Santa has ever seen.

2) There are 2 billion children (persons under 18) in the world. BUT since Santa doesn't (appear) to handle the Muslim, Hindu, Jewish and Buddhist children, that reduces the workload to 15% of the total - 378 million according to Population Reference Bureau. At an average (census) rate of 3.5 children per household, that's 91.8 million homes. One presumes there's at least one good child in each.

3) Santa has 31 hours of Christmas to work with, thanks to the different time zones and the rotation of the earth, assuming he travels east to west (which seems logical).

This works out to 822.6 visits per second. This is to say that for each Christian household with good children, Santa has 1/1000th of a second to park, hop out of the sleigh, jump down the chimney, fill the stockings, distribute the remaining presents under the tree, eat whatever snacks have been left, get back up the chimney, get back into the sleigh and move on to the next house.

Assuming that each of these 91.8 million stops are evenly distributed around the earth (which, of course, we know to be false but for the purposes of our calculations we will accept), we are now talking about .78 miles per household, a total trip of 75-1/2 million miles, not counting stops to do what most of us must do at least once every 31 hours, plus feeding and etc.

This means that Santa's sleigh is moving at 650 miles per second, 3,000 times the speed of sound. For purposes of comparison, the fastest man- made vehicle on earth, the Ulysses space probe, moves at a poky 27.4 miles per second - a conventional reindeer can run, tops, 15 miles per hour.

4) The payload on the sleigh adds another interesting element. Assuming that each child gets nothing more than a medium-sized lego set (2 pounds), the sleigh is carrying 321,300 tons, not counting Santa, who is invariably described as overweight.

On land, conventional reindeer can pull no more than 300 pounds. Even granting that 'flying reindeer' (see point #1) could pull TEN TIMES the normal amount, we cannot do the job with eight, or even nine.

We need 214,200 reindeer. This increases the payload - not even counting the weight of the sleigh - to 353,430 tons. Again, for comparison - this is four times the weight of the Queen Elizabeth.

5) 353,000 tons traveling at 650 miles per second creates enormous air resistance - this will heat the reindeer up in the same fashion as spacecraft re-entering the earth's atmosphere. The lead pair of reindeer will absorb 14.3 QUINTILLION joules of energy. Per second. Each.

In short, they will burst into flame almost instantaneously, exposing the reindeer behind them, and create deafening sonic booms in their wake. The entire reindeer team will be vaporized within 4.26 thousandths of a second.

Santa, meanwhile, will be subjected to centrifugal forces 17,500.06 times greater than gravity. A 250-pound Santa (which seems ludicrously slim) would be pinned to the back of his sleigh by 4,315,015 pounds of force. In conclusion - If Santa ever DID deliver presents on Christmas Eve, he's dead now.

(NOTE: This appeared in the SPY Magazine (January, 1990) )

Of course Santa, like markets, is magic and that is not accounted for in this analysis.

[Dec 18, 2011] Too pig to fail

[Dec 13, 2011] Derivatives and free trade By Zhuubaajie

The United States depends on "free trade" for continued expansion - whether in the shape of opium pushed on China or as no less destructive derivatives forced on the rest of the world.

...On its face, derivatives are brilliant. As a postindustrial move, derivatives are not constrained by natural resources, not limited by labor, and restricted only by the salesmen's ability to sell. Upside growth looks unlimited, as "derivatives trading" is based solely on the "ingenuity" of the new-fangled breed of financial engineers.

The salesmen do not even need to explain (and very often cannot) the convoluted "contracts". Instead they rely on the age old "trust me" confidence games. The number of "contracts" is not constrained by anything in the real world. As long as you can find new suckers (buyers), you are set to profit, so the belief goes

Like opium, derivatives cost very little to "manufacture"; the profits are humongous, and it is hugely destructive. In the 1800s, Anglo Americans (Google "Delano" and "opium") forced opium on China, and in one generation or two caused China's economy to drop from being the world's No1 or 2, to below No 100. Just like opium, this time around this new "drug" is also pushed as part of "free trade". Demands are made on all nations that want to do business that they must open their banking industry and relevant markets to the derivatives trade.

Except the difference this time is that it is done backwards. The opium trade was supposed to plague foreigners, and to be banned domestically. But the swashbuckling "traders" this time around are so greedy they have no qualms about profiting from the pain of their own brothers and sisters and even grandmothers - and they did. The derivatives drug is so potent, it took down the Anglo American societies and economies before they could kill the Chinese economy.

[Dec 02, 2011] Survey- Small Business hiring picking up


Outsider wrote:

That's a :greenchute: , you have to admit.

Dammit, if we have an actual economic recovery I'm going to be living a relatively stable middle class life with very little debt and a surplus of cash plus the dumber investments in my retirement accounts will probably go up in value. This can't be allowed, I need that damn collapse.


And just what are those qualifications that no one seems to have?

I still like the guy who walked out of our interview when he found out that he would have to mop the floor(ETA..take out the trash also) as a job duty. Yep, he was unemployed at the time(no idea now).

We still haven't filled the position. I guess rural Georgia isn't agreeable to most.


ResistanceIsFeudal :

Former Idealist wrote:

Willingness to work for next to nothing with no benefits while losing foodstamps.

Sounds good for employers! It's lucky for us that debtors, not creditors, are in control of the machinery of our government. Can you imagine what a boon a deflationary environment could be to companies with little to no debt and plenty of cash, plus a surplus of qualified workers?


Sure, but what is needed isn't growth, it's optimism about the future.

The peasants will be happy if they have hope. The elite will be happy if they maintain their power.

[Nov 25, 2011] Black Friday Antidote: George Carlin on Advertising and Consumerism

"I've always had the impression that corporate HR and IT departments are managed by former Soviet bureaucrats." -- from comments
naked capitalism

Americans roll from a holiday that has come to be about overeating to a day where merchants hope to seduce customers into an orgy of overspending.

In an interesting bout of synchronicity, Michael Thomas just sent me a link to this George Carlin video. It may help steel the will of Black Friday conscientious objectors. I'm also looking forward to Carlin's characteristic crudeness offending the Proper Discourse police (this clip is tame compared to The Aristocrats).

  • postmodernprimate says:

    November 25, 2011 at 2:02 am

    Bill Hicks is another comic genius who would be having a field day with the obscenely target-rich satire bounty modern America has become.

    Bill Hicks on Marketing

    "By the way if anyone here is in advertising or marketing… kill yourself. I'm just trying to plant seeds. Maybe one day, they'll take root – I don't know. You try, you do what you can. Seriously though, if you are, do. I know all the marketing people are going, "he's doing a joke…" there's no joke here whatsoever. Suck a tail-pipe, hang yourself, borrow a gun – I don't care how you do it. Rid the world of your evil machinations. I know what all the marketing people are thinking right now too, "Oh, you know what Bill's doing, he's going for that anti-marketing dollar. That's a good market, he's very smart…"

  • Sock Puppet says:

    November 25, 2011 at 2:35 am

    George Carlin on the American Dream:

  • Finance Addict says:

    November 25, 2011 at 2:41 am

    Also consider this on Black Friday: a research paper with a claim of hard evidence that television led to increased debt in the U.S.

  • [Nov 23, 2011] OSHA App Costs Gov't $200k

    The project wasn't completed by a government developer. It was done by a contractor, because everybody knows that the government is inefficient and costs a lot of money.

    So they demand that they outsource it to the private sector, which means all kinds of extra overhead. Private contractors, being driven by the profit motive, will turn in crappy work unless you spend huge amounts of effort clarifying precisely what's required, followed by meetings to ensure that they have done it. Just the product spec meeting cost more than the time spent actually doing it. All because the Government is Bad.

    itwbennett writes "How much does it cost to make a phone app to tell local temperature and suggest how not to get heatstroke, such as drink water and avoid alcohol? If you're the U.S. Government, it'll cost you a pretty penny. Using MuckRock to file a Freedom of Information Act, Rich Jones of GUN.IO discovered the Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration paid $106,467 for the Android version; $96,000 for the iPhone version, and an additional $40,000 for a BlackBerry app that never got distributed."


    It was actually $467 for the Android version

    ... plus $106,000 for change management.


    You know as well as I do that you can't function as a developer unless you spend at least half your day reporting progress to management. If the six layers of management above you don't know what you're doing, how could you?


    Summary can't add

    The iPhone version was $56,000. The Blackberry version was $40,000. Together, they were $96,000. It says this very clearly in the original scan.


    The iPhone version was $56,000. The Blackberry version was $40,000. Together, they were $96,000. It says this very clearly in the original scan.

    It doesn't sound that much once you have dealt with specs and tenders with govt orgs.

    [Nov 14, 2011] LPS- House Price Index Shows 3.8 Percent Year-Over-Year Decline in August


    Rob Dawg wrote:

    The police have always carried machine guns.

    Banks have always used deposit accounts for leveraged speculation and traded against their own client books.

    Comrade Kristina:

    We have always been at war with Oceania

    Bruce in Tennessee:

    I am proposing a new economic index..the Involuntary Austerity Index...IAI

    This would be the amount you need to spend to meet expenses/the amount you actually have available...

    Gallup polling would be done monthly..

    the IAI should always be <1.

    IAI 1.5 would be recession....

    IAI 2.0 would be a depression...

    IAI of >3, you sleep under a bridge...

    J. R. Richard - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    [Nov 09, 2011] Zombie Economics: How Dead Ideas Still Walk among Us

    S. H. Swenson

    The book that Quiggin should have written is the one describing how the zombies took over economics. This is the more interesting story I think. The zombies in Economics are different than the zombies in other fields, where they are mostly insane or senile. In Economics, the zombies have made a conscious choice to be zombies. They have, in effect, sold their own brains. I think this subject is ripe for economic analysis.

    The wealthy have benefited enormously from the ideas put forth by the zombies (the rich should always pay less taxes for example) and they have showered money on the fresh water zombies and their schools. It would be interesting to examine how much return they have achieved on their investment.

    [Nov 06, 2011] Frankfurt, H.G. On Bullshit

    See also Bullshit

    One of the most salient features of our culture is that there is so much bullshit. Everyone knows this. Each of us contributes his share. But we tend to take the situation for granted. Most people are rather confident of their ability to recognize bullshit and to avoid being taken in by it. So the phenomenon has not aroused much deliberate concern. We have no clear understanding of what bullshit is, why there is so much of it, or what functions it serves. And we lack a conscientiously developed appreciation of what it means to us. In other words, as Harry Frankfurt writes, "we have no theory."

    Frankfurt, one of the world's most influential moral philosophers, attempts to build such a theory here. With his characteristic combination of philosophical acuity, psychological insight, and wry humor, Frankfurt proceeds by exploring how bullshit and the related concept of humbug are distinct from lying. He argues that bullshitters misrepresent themselves to their audience not as liars do, that is, by deliberately making false claims about what is true. In fact, bullshit need not be untrue at all.

    Rather, bullshitters seek to convey a certain impression of themselves without being concerned about whether anything at all is true. They quietly change the rules governing their end of the conversation so that claims about truth and falsity are irrelevant. Frankfurt concludes that although bullshit can take many innocent forms, excessive indulgence in it can eventually undermine the practitioner's capacity to tell the truth in a way that lying does not. Liars at least acknowledge that it matters what is true. By virtue of this, Frankfurt writes, bullshit is a greater enemy of the truth than lies are.

    [Nov 06, 2011] Differing Attitudes Toward Genuine Hypocrisy

    November 05, 2011 | Economist's View

    Paul Krugman has a question for you:

    Genuine Hypocrisy, And Attitudes Thereto, by Paul Krugman: Not sure how much blogging I can do this weekend... But here's an item that caught my eye, given what I wrote about hypocrisy yesterday:
    Deadbeat Rep. Joe Walsh, Who Owes $100k In Child Support, Receives 'Pro-Family' Award From Family Research Council.
    Now that's real hypocrisy - and if the past is any indication, it won't matter at all for Rep. Walsh's career.
    There's a big difference between the left and the right in such matters, one that I don't fully understand, although I'm trying. Here's how it goes: if a liberal politician is caught behaving badly - enriching himself while preaching the need to help the poor, or just in general showing himself less than admirable by having an affair, visiting call girls, whatever - his career is over.
    But if a conservative politician who preaches stern traditional morality is caught engaging in actions that are at odds with what he preaches - buying sex, taking wide stances in restrooms, or, in this case, stiffing his family even while preaching family values - he may well ride right through the scandal. Witness what's going on now with Herman Cain.
    How can this be? Here's what I understand: on the right, "moral values" are considered to be, literally, God-given principles. And a politician is well-regarded for advocating those values, no matter what he does personally. Instead of his personal behavior devaluing his political position, his political position excuses his personal behavior; a philandering politician who preaches the sacred bond of marriage is considered a good man because of what he says, no matter what he does.
    And I sort of understand the logic of that position; if the cause is what matters, the flaws of those who serve that cause can be overlooked.
    In a way the liberal attitude is more puzzling. Why don't people like me show an equal willingness to overlook the sins of those who espouse ideas we like? And we don't. I'm willing to cut some slack; it really matters not at all whom FDR may have turned to for solace, but I can't imagine forgiving a liberal politician who behaved like Walsh.
    The answer may lie in a greater degree of openness, which makes the principles less absolute and therefore gives greater weight to the personal attributes of the messenger. But I'm not entirely sure. Discuss.

    I am not sure about this, but let me give another explanation a try anyway. The right believes that the need for government programs derives from the lack of morals of the lower classes. That is, the reason some people are asked to give up a portion of their income to support others -- a redistribution of income the right abhors -- is because these people make poor choices. If they had the necessary morals, if they behaved better, we wouldn't have to take so many resources from those who are successful and waste them on people who could do better if they only had the right value structure.

    A successful politician, businessperson, etc. obviously doesn't have these problems. They are successful and their transgressions won't, in the end, result in someone else having to give up income to bail them or their families out. They are not the problem the right is trying to solve. If a poor person takes drugs, endangers their family, drinks too much, etc. the result is a strain on social services and hence on the successful. But when a successful person doesn't live up to the moral code in every way, there's no danger that it will cost others anything -- there are no social externalities to worry about as there are with the poor.

    The moral code for the right is really about finding a way to stop asking the good, hard-working people to support people who could support themselves, but make bad choices the hard-working who care about their families would never make. Everyone makes mistakes and people who are basically moral -- and have proven they must be by their success -- should be forgiven when they step over the line, politicians included, it's the fundamentally immoral people that are the problem.

    The left, of course, believes social conditions rather than exogenous personal choices have a lot to do with economic outcomes, and that part of this is due to the moral transgressions of those who are better off exploiting the vulnerable. Thus, moral transgressions by the powerful are harder to forgive -- they are a sign that the powerful have no respect for those who are less powerful (e.g. sexual harassment). A tax cheat probably cheats on wages, safety, etc. too, their morals matter for the economic outcomes of the less fortunate, and transgressions are harder to forgive.

    But surely you'll have better explanations in comments...

    [Nov 03, 2011] Were Customer Accounts Pilfered at Jon Corzine's MF Global (Updated)

    October 31, 2011 | naked capitalism


    There once was a prick named Corzine

    His firm looked sick but he said it was fine

    Then he finally went broke

    Client funds went up in smoke

    With any luck he'll be doing some time

    H/T: Red Pill at Zero Hedge

    [Nov 02, 2011] Remains Of Ancient Race Of Job Creators Found In Rust Belt

    The Onion
    WASHINGTON-A team of leading archaeologists announced Monday they had uncovered the remains of an ancient job-creating race that, at the peak of its civilization, may have provided occupations for hundreds of thousands of humans in the American Northeast and Midwest.

    According to researchers, these long- forgotten people once flourished between western New York state and Illinois, erecting highly distinctive steel and brick structures wherever they went, including many buildings thought to have held hundreds of paid workers at a time.

    "It's truly fascinating-after spending a certain number of hours performing assigned tasks, the so-called 'employees' at such facilities would receive monetary compensation that allowed them to support themselves and their families," said archaeologist Alan H. Mueller, citing old ledgers and time-keeping devices unearthed at excavation sites in the region. "In fact, this practice seems to have been the norm for their culture, which consisted of advanced tool users capable of exploiting their skills to produce highly valued goods and services."

    "It's a complex and intriguing set of rituals we're still trying to fully understand," Mueller added. "But it appears as if their entire society was centered around creating, out of thin air, actual jobs that paid an actual living wage."

    [Nov 02, 2011] Obama Publishes Tell-All Book About America

    The Onion - America's Finest News Source

    In the 800-page volume, titled O Say Have I Seen: The Real Truth Behind The Red, White, And Blue, the president renders in explicit detail numerous shocking revelations about the United States, including its inability to manage its finances, its struggles with oil addiction, its willful ignorance of the issues that affect it most deeply, and its frequent battles with obesity.

    "Anyone with even a passing interest in the nation is going to want to read all the juicy tidbits the president offers up here," publicist Armand Neal said of the book that draws from Obama's firsthand experiences as well as candid conversations with millions of U.S. insiders. "Nobody has had as much firsthand access to America's demons as the president, and he dishes dirt on everything from the nation's self-destructive, codependent relationship with the pharmaceutical industry to its habit of repeatedly borrowing and spending its way into massive amounts of debt. I promise you, he spills everything-everything-about the United States."

    [Nov 02, 2011] Bank of America Will Refund Your $5 for a Simple, One-Time $10 Refund Fee by Leslie Savan

    November 2, 2011 | The Nation

    Andy Borowitz channels Bank of America as it tries to make nice after dropping plans to charge costumers $5 a month to use their debit cards.

    "Dear Valued Costumer," BofA writes. "We are writing to you today with a simple message: 'Our bad.' And to tell you that we are refunding the $5 to you, effective immediately. All you have to do is pay a simple, one-time $10 refund fee."

    [Nov 01, 2011] Do MF Global and Long Term Capital Mgmt Have Anything in Common

    The Big Picture
    1. Levered 40:1.
    2. "The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of justice is to fill the financial world with criminals."

    [Oct 31, 2011] Sachs: A Nation of Vidiots


    Jeff Sachs does not like TV:

    the mental-health effects of TV viewing might run even deeper than addiction, consumerism, loss of social trust, and political propaganda. Perhaps TV is rewiring heavy viewers' brains and impairing their cognitive capacities

    [Oct 29, 2011] Charlatans and Cranks


    Suzy Khimm poses a question to the Perry campaign:

    1) How will the new tax breaks for the wealthy be paid for?
    Perry campaign: The purpose of this bold tax proposal is to give the economy the jumpstart it needs to get people back to work. ... Gov. Perry is confident that the economic growth that results from this plan will generate the necessary revenue to balance the budget by 2020.

    So the tax cuts will pay for themselves? Greg Mankiw:

    I used the phrase "charlatans and cranks" in the first edition of my principles textbook to describe some of the economic advisers to Ronald Reagan, who told him that broad-based income tax cuts would have such large supply-side effects that the tax cuts would raise tax revenue. I did not find such a claim credible, based on the available evidence. I never have, and I still don't.

    [Oct 29, 2011] Voluntarily 50% haircut of Greek debt

    Calculated Risk

    skk wrote on Sat, 10/29/2011 - 6:58 am (in reply to...)
    dilbert dogbert wrote:

    Common event here in the eastern foothills of the CVBB. Got a good nights sleep at least.

    ahhh sleep.. a precious commodity. what was it that Shakespeare said :
    O sleep! O gentle sleep!
    Nature's soft nurse, how have I frighted thee,
    That thou no more wilt weigh my eyelids down
    And steep my senses in forgetfulness?
    Why rather, sleep, liest thou in smoky cribs,
    Upon uneasy pallets stretching thee,
    And hush'd with buzzing night-flies to thy slumber,
    Than in the perfum'd chambers of the great,
    Under the canopies of costly state,
    And lull'd with sound of sweetest melody?

    Shakespeare Sleep Quotes

    [Oct 26, 2011] But This Means That 29% of Americans Are Completely Bonkers...

    Delong blog

    Eric Boehlert:

    Twitter: @EricBoehlert Eric Boehlert:

    great job Boehner: 71% of Americans don't think GOP has clear plan to create jobs;

    [But this means that 29% of Americans are completely bonkers...]

    [Oct 24, 2011] Chaat, ola leaves and the curious case of Raj Rajaratnam by John McDermott

    October 24, 2011 FT Alphaville
    To be fair to Mehta, he does provide an alternative, "irrational explanation", which we hope is told with tongue lodged firmly in cheek:

    A Sri Lankan diplomat close to Rajaratnam told me that she'd met him shortly before he was convicted. "He'd gone to the ola-leaf readers. They told him he'd be acquitted." Ola-leaf readers are Sri Lankan astrologers. They believe that 3,000 years ago, seven Indian sages decided to write down the horoscopes of every person yet to be born, on a series of palm leaves. A skilled reader can read the leaves to present a complete life story of an individual, including his future. So on a subsequent meeting with Rajaratnam, I ask him about the ola leaves. "A friend did it for me," he says, startled that I know. The friend took his (and his wife's) date and time of birth to a leaf reader in Sri Lanka, who sat before a sheaf of leaves and asked a series of questions to which the friend answered yes or no, as at a deposition.

    "Is his name Vijay?"


    "Is his name Karun?"


    "Is his name Raj?"


    Then the correct ola leaf was picked out by the astrologer and Rajaratnam's fortune read. The astrologer chanted into a tape for 45 minutes. The recording said there was a government case against Raj, that he was in the stock business, that he was world-known. That he had to close his business down.

    "So I don't generally believe in fortune tellers and astrologers," Rajaratnam says. "But the ola leaves were written thousands of years ago. In those days there was no share business. I found it interesting." The leaf reader also divined that his wife was born in "some Southeast Asian country." Asha was born in the Philippines.

    There were other unorthodox influences on Rajaratnam. "Two or three years ago, before all of this stuff happened, my sister Vandani was in Singapore-she's into all this stuff. She called me one day and said, 'Raj, I met this person who said you'll be betrayed by an Indian woman with a mole on her face.'?" He didn't pay much attention to this prophecy. "Then I got indicted, and I saw a photo of Roomy Khan, with a huge mole on her face. The picture was from a few years ago. She had it surgically removed."

    And at the end of the ola-leaf reader's tape, the astrological conclusion heartened him. "He said that eventually I would prevail." It fueled his conviction that he should fight the case all the way. It explains his puzzling insistence that he is innocent, in spite of the massive wiretap evidence to the contrary.

    This was his edge; this was inside information that no one else had.

    Related links:
    The outsider – The Daily Beast
    A dirty business – The New Yorker

    [Oct 19, 2011] Mid-Week AM Reads

    The Big Picture

    [Oct 19, 2011] October 19, 1987 Dow Down 22%

    The Big Picture

    A Brief 1987 Recap – Even if there had been no "October Surprise", the year 1987 would have been a remarkable one for Wall Street. The Dow started the year below 2000 and ran to 2722 by early Fall. (A gain of nearly 38%.) The rally was breaking all the old rules. A group of guys in Chicago came up with a new rule called Portfolio Insurance ( or Dynamic Hedging) which might be synopsized as buy strength/sell weakness (we'll explain another day). The U.S. dollar was weak and the subject of controversy. There was some conflict and confrontation in Iran (U.S. bombing Iranian oil platforms). The President's wife and right hand had gone into the hospital for a rumored cancer operation. And there was a new SEC chairman who was misquoted in the midst of the free-fall suggesting that maybe markets should close. The misquote greased the skids.

    Okay, that's enough background. Now – "The Insurer" (after the jump)

    Once upon a Monday dreary
    Traders waited worn and weary
    As they gazed upon news tickers
    warning of the day in store
    Foreign markets were imploding
    sending senses of foreboding
    With positions overloading
    sellers would be bringing more
    To dump upon a bloody floor
    October now had past its middle
    as investors faced this riddle
    With their Quotrons they would fiddle
    looking for The Bull of yore

    Greenback's value falling quickly
    trade deficit behaving sickly
    And with Iran, relations prickly
    raised the specter of a war
    Ahead a day that promised gore

    So on the open there came selling
    much faster than the tape was telling
    While in Chicago they were yelling
    "Dynamic hedging" is no more!

    Specialists were inundated
    as futures prices unrelated
    Kept the selling unabated
    stocks once eight now sell at four

    Futures dipped below the cash now
    and insurers made a dash now
    Trying not to be the last now
    rushing for the exit door

    Then news reporters often shrewder
    began misquoting Chairman Ruder
    A trading halt?…a new intruder
    caused yet more panic on the floor

    Bethesda had a guest named Nancy
    an operation somewhat chancy
    Helped to make the markets antsy
    adding to our selling lore

    Throughout the day as prices melted
    brokers, dealers all got pelted
    And bank accounts not safety-belted
    were blown away forever more

    The bell, it rang to end the sorrow
    while traders ran to banks to borrow
    To have an ante for tomorrow
    not knowing what it held in store

    Two dozen years have since gone by *
    with circuit breakers now we try
    To tame computers gone awry
    and restore calm upon the floor

    The Dow now stands full six times higher *
    than when it closed that day so dire
    despite two wars and terror fire
    the Bull arose to run some more

    This anniversary, headlines new *
    dwell upon that day we rue
    They ask us veterans to review
    a time that left us scared & sore

    Yet chills we get from déjà vu *
    fear that banks may run askew
    While trading partners threaten too
    as in that sad October yore.

    But keep your faith it's a new day *
    though there are hints that skies may turn gray
    We'll hope such clouds won't bring a blue day
    let's hope the Bull returns once more!!
    *Updated Revisions

    [Oct 19, 2011] The Ballad of a Would-Be, Too-Big-to-Fail Banker The Rundown News Blog PBS NewsHour


    Our favorite country-western money manager, Harvard-trained Nashville econo-crooner Merle Hazard, has collaborated with brilliant lyricist Marcy Shaffer to produce his slickest video to date: the tuneful tale of a would-be banker who travels to Charlotte, N.C., to meet up with a mogul of modern-day finance, "Diamond Jim."

    'The Ballad of Diamond Jim' Lyrics
    by Merle Hazard, Marcy Shaffer and Curtis Threadneedle

    I was visiting Charlotte, a town I knew well.
    The sunset was scarlet. I fell under its spell.
    At the hotel bar, in the back of the place,
    I saw a strangely familiar face:
    Diamond Jim.

    I knew Diamond Jim from accounts in the press.
    He ran a New York bank with skill and finesse.
    They say he had brains, but lacked a heart.
    J.P. Morgan himself was only half as smart
    As Diamond Jim.

    Diamond Jim,
    Diamond Jim.
    Oh, oh, Diamond Jim.

    Diamond Jim raised a toast, in a bankerly way,
    To his massively outsized Wall Street pay.
    "Our game is diseconomy of scale.
    The key is to be too big to fail,"
    Said Diamond Jim.

    He mocked risk control, called it a sham.
    He said there's no need when you have Uncle Sam.
    I thought back to my days at the F.D.I.C.,
    And I knew I'd need to confront this S.O.B.,
    Diamond Jim.

    So I said, "Diamond Jim, there's a problem to prevent.
    Banks aren't safe with capital of just a few percent.
    They need more like thirty percent, or higher.
    That's what Simon Johnson has said they require,
    Diamond Jim."


    Diamond Jim, "Son, do you know who I am?"
    I said, "You're Diamond Jim. And you know what's a scam?
    The crime's not what's criminal. The crime is what's legal.
    You'd be buyin' fewer diamonds if we still had Glass-Steagall,
    Diamond Jim."

    "Low blow!" he cried. "You're naive, and a fool.
    You have thrown down the gauntlet. OK, let's duel!
    There are weapons to use in these banking law cases.
    Securities lawyers at thirty paces!"
    Said Diamond Jim.

    So at noon the next day, hired guns at our side,
    We met, and let our corporate lawyers collide.
    They fired their mouths off, a few times at least.
    My counsel fell down, desisted, deceased,
    Because of Diamond Jim.


    "You lose," Diamond Jim said. "You could never win it."
    With a scoff, he rode off, in a New York minute.
    Well, at least I had tried. Yet, still, my heart sank.

    I started to wonder: am I really a better man than Diamond Jim? Maybe not.
    Because I had come to Charlotte to meet with investors, and to try to start up what
    I hoped, deep down, would some day be my very own, high-paying, too-big-to-fail bank.

    Oh, curse you, Diamond Jim!



    One of the inspirations for the sound of this song was Dimitri Tiomkin. His most famous composition is the theme to Rawhide. Tiomkin also wrote the scores for many of the great Hollywood westerns, including High Noon, Gunfight at the OK Corral and Giant. He is known as the great composer for the Hollywood westerns, in other words.

    What makes it really interesting is that he wasn't American by birth. He was Russian, of Jewish descent, and educated at the St. Petersburg Conservatory. Even more interesting, while in Russia, he helped stage Communist festivals. So when you hear those cowboy choruses of men singing, and they sound like a Russian military chorus, it's not accidental. That's what they really are, apparently, in Tiomkin's mind.

    And to cap it off, his Academy Award acceptance speech in 1955 is absolutely priceless. Instead of thanking his agent and his family, he thanks Brahms, Beethoven, Rimsky-Korsakov, Gershwin, etc., and gets guffaws from the audience.

    [Oct 19, 2011] So While Every Bank Is Defending PrimeX, Here Is What Fannie Mae Really Thinks ZeroHedge


    NEW YORK - The following is a letter released today by Lloyd Blankfein, the chairman of banking giant Goldman Sachs:

    Dear Investor:

    Up until now, Goldman Sachs has been silent on the subject of the protest movement known as Occupy Wall Street. That does not mean, however, that it has not been very much on our minds. As thousands have gathered in Lower Manhattan, passionately expressing their deep discontent with the status quo, we have taken note of these protests.

    And we have asked ourselves this question: How can we make money off them?

    The answer is the newly launched Goldman Sachs Global Rage Fund, whose investment objective is to monetize the Occupy Wall Street protests as they spread around the world. At Goldman, we recognize that the capitalist system as we know it is circling the drain - but there's plenty of money to be made on the way down.

    The Rage Fund will seek out opportunities to invest in products that are poised to benefit from the spreading protests, from police batons and barricades to stun guns and forehead bandages. Furthermore, as clashes between police and protesters turn ever more violent, we are making significant bets on companies that manufacture replacements for broken windows and overturned cars, as well as the raw materials necessary for the construction and incineration of effigies.

    It would be tempting, at a time like this, to say "Let them eat cake." But at Goldman, we are actively seeking to corner the market in cake futures. We project that through our aggressive market manipulation, the price of a piece of cake will quadruple by the end of 2011.

    Please contact your Goldman representative for a full prospectus. As the world descends into a Darwinian free-for-all, the Goldman Sachs Rage Fund is a great way to tell the protesters, "Occupy this."

    Sincerely, Lloyd Blankfein Chairman, Goldman Sachs

    [Oct 18, 2011] The Data That the Economy is Not So Hot is Getting Harder to Ignore " naked capitalism


    Herman Cain is on CNN this afternoon, explaining how his 9-9-9 tax plan will benefit even the working poor. It's that third 9, you see. The 9% national sales tax. That's where an American family can win or lose.

    Herman says your future prosperity all depends on whether you buy new or used. Buy used stuff and you pay no tax. Insist on buying everything new, and you pay sales tax. You won't feel the benefit of his plan that way.

    So be smart, and buy used stuff only.

    There is an empty big box store in my town. I'm going to rent it, and sell smart Americans used gasoline, used heating oil, used propane, used electricity, used bath water, used food, used toilet paper, used medicine, used diapers - the list is just about endless.

    If Herman's right, I'll prosper right along with my smart American customers!

    [Oct 15, 2011] See-Saw Economy or a Series of Shocks

    ResistanceIsFeudal :

    Former Idealist wrote:

    The $1trillion hit is wearing off and the junkie is demanding $500 billion more. Now. Before its too late!

    This time, I promise, this will be my last one... just one more, to get me through... I swear...

    black dog:

    i own a discretionary spending store in virginia. One of my former customers (now deceased) had the same biz on long island. We oftened talked shop. One time he told me of one his customers - a vanderbilt heir. Tried to sell her something at $1200 ... she liked it but wouldn't bite after he told her the price ... too low. He quickly discerned ... found something similar (and in price) but told her $8000 ... SOLD.


    black dog wrote:

    needs to explain how his QE induced business/household margin squeeze good for employment.

    1.Print money and give it to TBTF banks

    2.Banks hold on to money instead of making crappy loans in a bad economy to people with no money


    4.Job creation


    Juvenal Delinquent wrote:

    This is the stan box and this is how it runs

    One is for fighting and one is for funds

    LOL; did you do a stint in the Army?

    [Oct 14, 2011] In Praise of Marx

    The Chronicle of Higher Education

    In Praise of Marx 3

    [Oct 13, 2011] A Breathtaking Act of Economic Vandalism

    Economist's View

    Fred C. Dobbs:

    Fool us once, fool us twice,
    um, er, just keep on foolin' us.

    So, why, in our democracy, do we
    keep electing these GOP assh*les?

    Please, sirs, may we have another?

    Fred C. Dobbs said in reply to Fred C. Dobbs...

    Herman Cain's 9.99 Pizza Deal, with a side order of Ron Paul.

    Fred C. Dobbs:

    And if you like lame 'Late Night' Letterman Top-Ten lists...

    David Letterman - Herman Cain Top Ten

    [Oct 09, 2011] WHo KiLLeD THe ECoNoMY, WHY aND WHaT'S THe ReaSoN FoR


    (Who Killed Davey Moore, Bob Dylan)
    WilliamBanzai7 Blog

    Who killed the Economy,
    Why an' what's the reason for?

    "Not I," says Greenspan and Bernanke,
    "Don't point your finger at me.
    We could've stopped it before it was too late
    An' maybe kept the markets from this fate,
    But the crowd would've booed, I'm sure,
    At not gettin' their bubble's worth.
    It's too bad it had to pop,
    But there was a pressure on we two, you know.
    It wasn't we that made the economy fall.
    No, you can't blame we at all."

    Who killed the Economy,
    Why an' what's the reason for?

    "Not us," says the short selling bear market crowd,
    Whose screams deflated the subprime cloud.
    "It's too bad the economy tanked that September night
    That Lehman was left to its sorry plight.
    We didn't mean for Fuld's bank to meet its death,
    We just meant to see some sweat,
    There ain't nothing wrong in that.
    It wasn't us that made Lehman fall.
    No, you can't blame us at all."

    Who killed the Economy,
    Why an' what's the reason for?

    "Not me," says the Politician,
    Puffing on a big cigar.
    "It's hard to say, it's hard to tell,
    I always thought Wall Street was a bottomless well.
    It's too bad for our wives an' kids the Bull is dead,
    But if he was sick, someone else should have said.
    It wasn't we that made him fall.
    No, you can't blame me at all."

    Who killed the Economy,
    Why an' what's the reason for?

    "Not me," says the gambling man,
    With his 401k Statement still in his hand.
    "It wasn't me that knocked the Bull market down,
    My hands never touched it none.
    I didn't commit no ugly sin,
    Anyway, I put all my money on it to win win win.
    It wasn't me that made it fall.
    No, you can't blame me at all."

    Who killed the Economy,
    Why an' what's the reason for?

    Not us said the clowns over at AIG
    We sell insurance to those in need
    Our risk models run infallibly
    It was a financial tsunami worse than any natural calamity
    How big is our hole we just can't see
    We're too big to fail
    So bail us out Uncle Sam if you please]

    Who killed the Economy,
    Why an' what's the reason for?

    "Not me," says the feckless financial news writer,
    Pounding print on his digital typewriter,
    Sayin', "CNBC ain't to blame,
    There's just as much danger in the finance game."
    Sayin', "Wall Street greed is here to stay,
    It's just the old American way.
    It wasn't me that made it fall.
    No, you can't blame me at all."

    Who killed the Economy,
    Why an' what's the reason for?

    "Not me," said the Wall Street conman whose securitized risks
    Laid the markets low in an opaque cloud of toxic mist,
    Who came here from some Ivy League door
    Even though Ponzi scheming ain't allowed no more.
    "We scammed and we scammed them, yes, it's true,
    But that's what we are paid the big bucks to do.
    Don't say 'fraud,' don't say 'steal.'
    It was destiny, it was God's will."

    Who killed the Economy,
    Why an' what's the reason for?


    [Oct 04, 2011] The Case for Using Predator Drone Strikes Against Wall Street Executives:

    The Rude Pundit

    ... ... ...

    - We can say, with certainty, that certain executives in various firms were responsible either directly for or directed others to engage in the reckless investment schemes that resulted in firms going bankrupt or in need of a bailout from the federal government. Under this condition, we can target [name redacted] of [firm redacted] who concealed $50 billion in loans in order to inflate the firm's value while at the same time personally taking several hundred million dollars in compensation. We know this occurred. We have evidence that it occurred. We know that [redacted]'s actions, in part, led directly to the financial crisis of 2008-2009.

    - If the targeted killing of American citizens is justified in our ongoing war with terrorists above and beyond any previous congressional authorization, and if the military has previously been involved in the ongoing war on drugs, then we can say with confidence that the proposed targeted attacks on financial executives falls under the purview of the "War on Poverty," which was declared by President Lyndon Johnson in 1964 and which, like the ten-year war on terrorists and the forty-year war on drugs, has not been successfully concluded. This might seem to strain legal justification, but we are talking about criminals who have done grievous harm to the nation.

    ... ... ...

    The total use of Predator drones against financial industry executives would most likely be minimal. After several strikes, we anticipate that others will turn themselves in to authorities for prosecution out of fear for their lives.

    ... ... ...

    Respectfully submitted,
    [name redacted]

    [Oct 04, 2011] A Brief History of Corporate Whining Progressive Political Cartoon by Barry Deutsch

    A Brief History of Corporate Whining

    [Oct 03, 2011] Just another Moral Code of The Builder of Capitalism (Part 1)

    April 28, 2010 | Zed244's Blog

    In the left-hand-side column you find a translation of the original Moral Code of The Builder of Communism [1] which you can compare with the newly formulated Code on the right hand side. With this arrangement the unquestionable superiority of the latter can be clearly seen and appreciated. For non-monolingual people – ref. [2] contains the original text of the Code in Russian.

    Moral Code of the Builder of Communism Moral Code of the Builder of Capitalism
    1. Devotion to the cause of Communism, love of the socialist Motherland and of the socialist countries. Devotion to the cause of capitalism, love of the capitalist Motherland and of the other capitalist countries.
    2. Conscientious labor for the good of society: he who does not work, neither shall he eat. Conscientious effort to obtain a direct government assistance, the government contracts or any other form of public money: those who don't receive government funds, will only find themselves funding the government.
    3. Concern on the part of everyone for the preservation and growth of public property. Concern on the part of everyone else for the preservation and growth of public property by them for you to use
    4. High sense of public duty; intolerance of actions harmful to the public interest. High sense of capitalistic public duty and sanctity of (your) private property; intolerance of actions by others harmful to your private business interests.
    5. Collectivism and comradely mutual assistance: one for all and all for one. Individualism and readiness to fight for your piece of pie: each one for himself, against everyone. Remember: the only goal of any business is to make the owner richer than other people, so the others might be permitted to benefit only if it cannot be avoided.
    6. Humane relations and mutual respect between individuals: man is to man a friend Show humility and do respect the potential strength of others – up until you have measured them up: human humanum lupus est. Remember: competition is the primary driving force of capitalism. Elimination of the competition is the fastest road to your financial success.
    7. Honesty and truthfulness, moral purity, unpretentiousness and modesty in social and private life. Public display of appearance of honesty and truthfulness, libertarian moral purity Friedman-style, unpretentiousness and modesty in social and private life (so as not to disturb the plebs too much).
    8. Mutual respect in the family, concern for the upbringing of children. Mutual respect in the own family – proportional to the individual contributions to the family budget, concern for the upbringing of your own children in accordance with this code. Remember that your family are just people – they are as much after your money as anyone else.
    9. Irreconcilability towards injustice, parasitism, dishonesty, careerism, and profiteering. Irreconcilability towards unjust distribution of unearned income to others, including social benefits. Fight dishonesty, careerism and all other attempts of profiteering by hired labor force.
    10. Friendship and brotherhood among all peoples of the USSR, intolerance of national and racial hatred. If and when – and only if & when – this helps your business – open and public display of friendship and brotherhood among all people, intolerance of national and racial hatred. In other cases you will be a fool not to use such inexpensive tool as racism to efficiently reduce the cost of hired labor.
    11. Intolerance towards the enemies of communism, peace, and freedom of nations. Intolerance towards the enemies of capitalism, enemies of peace (if you are not in defense industry) and enemies of the freedom of other nations to follow your nation's understanding of economic liberty principles appropriate for them.
    12. Fraternal solidarity with the working people of all countries, and with all peoples. Fraternal solidarity with capitalists of all countries up until you see a chance to rip them off dry.
    PS. On a (slightly) more serious note – I am not a communist, have never been one and most likely will never be – because I haven't yet met sufficiently large number of people ready to live strictly by the rules in the left-hand-side column above. "Sufficiently large" – to form a party, that's it. Perhaps, this shortage was the reason why the "communism" as economic system had never worked as intended. But neither did pure ("wild") capitalism – as Russian experience of 90s demonstrated all too clearly.

    [Oct 02, 2011] Money Out of Thin Air or Tale About $100 and The Door


    this is not written by zed244 - it is a translation of the text in Russian at . More of the same author here (in Russian) – highly recommended.

    For those who want a touch of reality – as of 21 of September 2011 – it is here

    Quote"..To support a stronger economic recovery and to help ensure that inflation, over time, is at levels consistent with the dual mandate, the Committee decided today to extend the average maturity of its holdings of securities. The Committee intends to purchase, by the end of June 2012, $400 billion of Treasury securities with remaining maturities of 6 years to 30 years and to sell an equal amount of Treasury securities with remaining maturities of 3 years or less.."

    Let say we – I, You and Chronoscopist – were on a plane across the Pacific Ocean. While on board, we consumed substantial amount of absinthe, kicked up a row and in the process tore off a door to the toilet. For our noble deeds we were promptly thrown out of the plane via emergency exit. Luckily, next to where we plunged into the water, was a small nameless Polynesian island. After we climbed on its soil, we held a short council and decided to name the island The United States of Absinthe (USA).

    Naturally, when we were thrown out of the plane, they forgot to return us our luggage. As the result, all our tangible and intangible assets consisted of the toilet door, which You forgot to leave on the plane and a single $100 note which You discovered in your wallet. Thus all non-financial assets of our USA consist of one toilet door, and all financial, aka "money supply", of a single $100 note. This is all our country has. Since we have nothing else, it can also be said that our material assets – the toilet door, supports (secures) the money supply of $100. Or, in other words, our door costs $100.

    Still under the influence of absinth, we decide that we need to start getting the things organised. The Chronoscopist, proved to be the shrewdest – he announces that he opened a bank and is ready to accept deposits from the island's population and promises to pay 3% interest annually. You give him your $100 and he writes it under "Liabilities" -> "Deposit Accounts" in his book.

    But I am too not just out of the woods – indeed, after so many years I spent investigating economic swindles, I now know how to expropriate your door and your $100. I offer You 5% interest on your $100. I tear off a sheet of paper from my notebook and write "Bond Certificate of USA. Issued for the amount $100 at 5% interest, paid annually". You feel that You have drawn a full hand. You withdraw your money from the deposit account You have with the disappointed Chronoscopist and give it to me in exchange for my Bond. I take your $100 and immediately deposit it into my account with now smiling Chronoscopist.

    Ideally, we could have stopped right here and then, and start doing something real, say, shake the palm tree or try to collect shell fish – to eat our bread in the sweat of our faces, so-to-speak. But you all know that I am indefatigable financial genius, and I am not interested in the petty things such as coconuts and oysters. After a refreshing tour of our island – 50 steps from South to North and 30 from West to East, I invent an ingenuous combination. I approach You and offer You to earn an additional 1% annually. You should take a loan in Chronoscopist's bank at 4% and use it to buy from me another USA Bond at 5% interest. This second Bond Certificate for $100 I have just written, and now I wave it in front of your nose. Immediately You rush to the bank and borrow $100 there, using my first Bond as a security. The Bank has the money – I put it there on my deposit account. You give me the $100 You have borrowed and put the second USA Security Bond into your wallet. Now You have $200 worth of USA Bonds. I put $100 in the Bank – now I have $200 on my deposit account. Chronoscopist jumps from joy – his credit business is growing up!

    Do you really think I am going to stop there? Hold your horses – I have already written a third USA Bond for You. You rush to the Bank to borrow another $100, secured this time with my second Bond. Closer to the night, got tired of running around the island with this single $100 note and having used all pages in my diary to write USA Bonds, we have the following results: You have $5,000 worth of USA Bonds, while I have $5,000 deposited on my account.

    Now I feel that this is the right time to expropriate your toilet door. I offer to buy it from You for $100. But You do not want to sell the only toilet door on the island for $100 and ask $1,000. Well, I agree – after all I have $5,000 on my deposit account. I use the last page left in my diary to write a Payment Order to Chronoscopist to transfer $1,000 from my account to yours – and take your door.

    If this accounting is given to an American economist, he or she will inform you that our USA had $1,000 in assets in the form of toilet door and $10,000 financial assets in bank deposits and USA Bonds. Which means that our combined wealth increased 110 fold in one day. Well, a less refined and educated observer, might say that we are the three idiots, because by the end of the day we still have nothing but the same one toilet door and $100, and that only complete imbeciles could have spent the whole day tearing sheets out of their diaries to write nonsense, instead of collecting coconuts or shell fish. Who of the two is correct –you, the Reader, should decide yourself.


    "Global Recession Finally Over Let the Good Times Roll"

    NEW YORK - USA - The global recession is finally over and millions of people around the world are celebrating the end of the largest recession in the world's history.

    There were mass street celebrations all over the world including cities like Sidney, Vienna, Phnom Penh and even in London.

    Millions of people took to the streets to celebrate the end of the recession.

    Banks were happy too, and were giving away unsecured loans to anyone without so much as a form being filled in.

    "I walked into a branch of Midland bank and they sat me down on a chair and gave me a loan for £10,000 at a dirty low interest rate and a 130% mortgage. They just said, you can pay it back whenever you want," Larry Jagger, 25, from Hartlepool, England, told the BBC.

    Global stock markets jumped up 46% on Tuesday as the news headlines streamed the glorious announcement.

    Not only have the banks opened up again, so have the car manufacturers who are doing buy one get one free deals. Both Ford and GM are giving away brand new SUV's if you buy a mid size luxury car.

    Supermarkets were giving away free food to people in the streets and Apple stores were literally shedding ipods in malls all across the Western world.

    Credit card companies all over the world immediately started promoting 0% APR credit cards.

    Consumers all over the world rejoiced: "We're out of the recession. I feel like a black cloud has been lifted from the land and I can breathe again. I can spend, spend, spend, again without the old fear creeping around the corner for awhile. I think I just had a multiple cash orgasm all over the shopping mall," Dana Kurvinski, 23, from Daytona Beach, Florida told CBS.

    [Oct 01, 2011] What baseball can tell us about financial crises by Jason Abbruzzese

    Sep 29, 2011 | FT Alphaville

    Yogi Berra, 1973:

    "It's not over til it's over."

    Timothy Geithner, 2006:

    "In the financial system we have today, with less risk concentrated in banks, the probability of systemic financial crises may be lower than in traditional bank-centered financial systems

    [Sep 30, 2011] Friedrich Hayek Joins Ayn Rand as a Hypocritical User of Medicare

    naked capitalism
    Per Yasha Levine and Ames in the Nation:

    IHS vice president George Pearson (who later became a top Koch Industries executive) responded three weeks later, conceding that it was all but impossible to arrange affordable private medical insurance for Hayek in the United States. However, thanks to research by Yale Brozen, a libertarian economist at the University of Chicago, Pearson happily reported that "social security was passed at the University of Chicago while you [Hayek] were there in 1951. You had an option of being in the program. If you so elected at that time, you may be entitled to coverage now."

    A few weeks later, the institute reported the good news: Professor Hayek had indeed opted into Social Security while he was teaching at Chicago and had paid into the program for ten years. He was eligible for benefits. On August 10, 1973, Koch wrote a letter appealing to Hayek to accept a shorter stay at the IHS, hard-selling Hayek on Social Security's retirement benefits, which Koch encouraged Hayek to draw on even outside America.

    [Sep 23, 2011] BoA is using BK as a threat to get waivers from liability.

    September 23, 2011


    ...In other words, "we're *so* guilty that if the shit storm of liability claims is unleashed against all the leverage we did at 30:1+ odds, the entire economy will crater for five generations."


    A quick slash of Occam's Razor … and we get to the simpler conclusion that the BofA execs might be such dim bulbs that they actually truely believe that BK'ing Countrywide really *is* the solution to all their problems.

    [Sep 23, 2011] HP's Implosion Continues Hapless Board Prepares To Fire CEO, Hire Meg Whitman

    What else useful a board member can do if he/she can't meet the future CEO -- play cards, drink or smoke something strong, or engage is sexual innuendo with staff ?
    Yahoo! Finance

    The market cheered news that Apotheker might get canned, but the idea of Whitman as HP CEO was greeted with laughter and derision in Silicon Valley.

    ... ... ...

    Remarkably, when the 12-member board voted to name Mr. Apotheker as the successor to the recently ousted chief executive, Mark Hurd, most board members had never met Mr. Apotheker.

    "I admit it was highly unusual," one board member who hadn't met Mr. Apotheker told me. "But we were just too exhausted from all the infighting."

    [Sep 23, 2011] 'Free Market' Champions Go Begging for Bailouts

    "Just like there are no atheists in foxholes, there really are no libertarians on Wall Street."[at the time of the crisis]
    Taken to Task/Daily Ticker - Yahoo! Finance

    All the taking low traders like free market capitalism traders on Wall Street and believe in the principles in unfettered capitalism evaporate instantly when situation became hot. Now bailout, any bailout is the prayer of each and every trader.

    It look like champions of free market capitalism on Wall Street like free market capitalism only when market are rising.

    "Like there is no atheists in foxholes there is no libertarians on Wall Street" [at the time of the crisis]

    This weekend, traders are hoping for some plan - ANY plan - to deal with Greece, whether it comes from the ECB, the IMF, the World Bank, Poseidon or Zeus. ... a generation of traders has been conditioned to believe the Fed - or some other institution - will come riding to their rescue if things get really dicey, or even just a little bit uncomfortable.

    Just like there are no atheists in foxholes, there really are no libertarians on Wall Street.[at the time of the crisis] The only ideology traders believe in is making money and if that means more government intervention, bring it on! Someday, maybe, we'll get back to something approaching a free market. But if such a thing ever really existed, it was a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.

    [Sep 22, 2011] Mass Pillaging, American Style

    The American Congress (Parliament) a den of thieves, megalomaniacs and jackarses as the world has rarely seen, except maybe in the final days of the Roman Senate, are about to help their owners, the super bankers, to become the biggest owners of improved property, in the world.

    How is this?

    Very easy. The American government organizations of HUD, Fanni Mae and Freddie Mac have become the primary owners of the vast majority of American "distress" property.

    [Sep 22, 2011] The Fed Twists in the Breeze

    September 21, 2011 | naked capitalism

    Tertium Squid:

    "this reduces the profitability of the basic operation of banking, which is maturity transformation (borrowing short and lending long)."

    Wow – are there any banks out there that still do that? I thought they were all equity casinos right now.

    Jim Haygood

    What El Bernanko has done with his deranged caper is to buy the exact freaking top of a thirty-year secular bull market in bonds.


    "I am beginning to believe there is some concerted effort on foot to utilize the stock market as a method of discrediting my Administration. Every time an Administration official gives out an optimistic statement about business conditions, the market immediately drops." -–Herbert Hoover

    [Sep 22, 2011] Randy Wray The Biggest Bubble of All Time – Commodities Market Speculation

    naked capitalism


    Can we financialize worker wages?

    Make it a commodity and let the pension funds speculate and drive it up to 5 standard deviation away from trend.

    Actually, workers are already a commodity. What we do is we will financialize their wages in the form of futures contracts.

    Here is to the coming bubble in worker wages!

    Richard Alford The (Re)Education of Ben Bernanke and the FOMC

    naked capitalism

    …we read newspaper reports about Japan, where what seems to be a relatively moderate deflation…has been associated with years of painfully slow growth, rising joblessness, and apparently intractable financial problems in the banking and corporate sectors

    I believe that the chance of significant deflation in the United States in the foreseeable future is extremely small, for two principal reasons. The first is the resilience and structural stability of the U.S. economy itself….A particularly important protective factor in the current environment is the strength of our financial system: Despite the adverse shocks of the past year, our banking system remains healthy and well-regulated, and firm and household balance sheets are for the most part in good shape.

    The second bulwark against deflation in the United States… is the Federal Reserve System itself… I am confident that the Fed would take whatever means necessary to prevent significant deflation in the United States and, moreover, that the U.S. central bank, in cooperation with other parts of the government as needed, has sufficient policy instruments to ensure that any deflation that might occur would be both mild and brief.

    -- Bernanke, 2002 FOMC speech

    [Sep 17, 2011] Blast from the past

    [Sep 16, 2011] Links 9-15-11

    September 15, 2011 | naked capitalism


    On FDR:

    1. Clearly stated goals and reasons for legislation.
    2. Clearly stated limitations of the legislation and reasons why.
    3. A tax increase.
    4. Congratulating Congress for a job well done.
    5. A "signing statement" that actually supports the legislation and effectively promises to administer it.

    What was this man thinking?

    He clearly did not spend enough time working with focus groups, pollsters, campaign strategists, and "expert" lobbyists. He must have left a ton of potential campaign donation money on the table. He clearly did not understand the proper role of a modern era politician.

    [Sep 15, 2011] My new biggest priority

    Hat tip to Barry Ritholtz

    QOTD: Alan Greenspan on Moral Hazard By Barry Ritholtz

    September 9th, 2011

    The ever ironic former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan on whether government intervention can create moral hazard:

    "There were unintended consequences to almost every action I was involved in" as Fed chairman, said Mr. Greenspan, who himself cut interest rates to help stave off a bond-market crisis in 1998, and later was accused of helping inflate the stock bubble of the late 1990s. "If we anticipated the unintended consequences that were going to happen we might have changed the policy," he said, but he added that it is impossible to forecast all the consequences of government action.

    -WSJ August 29th, 2011

    Please make it stop . . .

    [Sep 09, 2011] Bernanke "Let Them Buy Cake" Reveals Pathological Blindness

    September 9, 2011 | naked capitalism


    Instead of bashing Ben Bernanke…an excellent economist, a dedicated public servant, and a decent person…why don't you write something constructive about how to help the economy? The Fed is not the enemy here. They used up there usual ammo to help the economy quite quickly and have been working hard to write a new and expanded play book. The Fed as made mistakes but they have not sat idly by doing nothing. I dare you to find a person who is a student of the Great Depression and who grew up in a small town in the South (like Ben) and who does not recognize the immense costs of high unemployment…I am fairly certain Ben Bernanke gets it. His job constrains what he can say in public, he would never say 'Let the Eat Cake.' You are the one telling dumb jokes (in my opinion).

    Jim Haygood

    At the center of this web of regulatory nonfeasance was none other than the Chauncey Gardiner of finance, Al 'Blind Magoo' Greenspan.

    Although to ward off recession by placating the gods, it certainly would not hurt to hurl Greenspan into the caldera of a volcano as a human sacrifice. Spare the virgins - sacrifice Magoo!

    [Sep 08, 2011] 25 Big Corp CEOs Made More Than Their Companies Paid in Federal Taxes

    That's only logical as they are the real government...

    [Aug 16, 2011] Man Pretends To Be Hank Paulson To Make Fake $353,000 Mortgage Payment To Citi, Succeeds

    Aug 16, 2011 | Zerohedge

    Perhaps the most surreal fact about the case of 35 year old Bryan Gardner who back in 2009 sent CitiMortgage a $353,000 money order "drawn on the account of the 'Secretary of the Treasury Hank M. Paulson, Jr." in order to satisfy the final payment for a property in Bowie, Md, is that.... he succeeded.

    Fox Biz has more: "CitiMortgage erroneously accepted the document and credited Gardner's mortgage account in full," according to a Secret Service affidavit. Within months, Gardner sold the property for $254,900 and then "distributed the proceeds to others," according to public records and the Secret Service affidavit.

    Seasmoke :

    looks like is a member of Friends of Hank


    Good thing they caught the "criminal imposter" Hank Paulson who stole $353,000 and not the "honest real" Hank Paulson who stole $850,000,000,000 for his banking friends.

    Caveman93 :

    It's so easy to do it's scary. Get Social Security check acct# and ABA#, get printer and check stock. Complete info and mail in. When I was in bank operations we would lose hundreds of batched checks and sometimes whole cash letters. We'd then have to go to film and re-create these items and process them "photo in lieu of original" with an indemnification stamp because the originals were missing or destroyed. I bet this check was one of those.

    These banks are so large they have no way to clean up the millions of exceptions they have each year and probably wrote off the whole missing items or item in the batch of work. You should see what happens when a $3.00 check gets encoded for $30K and deposited. LOL!

    [Aug 15, 2011] A nice video to watch for improving your sleep ;-)

    [Aug 13, 2011] 10 Myths That Politicians Want You to Believe by John DeFeo

    Hat tip to Barry Ritholtz
    August 12th, 2011

    From John DeFeo at, comes these 10 Myths That Politicians Want You to Believe (but you shouldn't)

    10. Quantitative Easing Helps the Economy
    Yes, quantitative easing is "printing" money. No, it won't help the economy. Make no mistake, quantitative easing is a gift to bankers and nothing else. The Federal Reserve is giving bankers risk-free trading profits and causing food and gas prices to surge (making it even harder for Americans to get out of debt).

    9. Republicans Are Fiscal Conservatives
    From 1946-2010:

    Democratic President
    * Total Years: 29
    * Average Inflation Adjusted Deficit: $150.73 billion

    Republican President
    * Total Years: 36
    * Average Inflation Adjusted Deficit: $202.28 billion

    8. President Obama Is an Enemy of Wall Street
    * The two men who served as principal negotiators for banking deregulation: Gene Sperling and Larry Summers.
    * The two men who President Obama appointed to become his top economic advisers: Gene Sperling and Larry Summers.
    * Two guys who happen to be paid millions of dollars in consulting and speaking fees by "too big to fail" banks: Gene Sperling and Larry Summers.

    7. The Financial System Is Safer Today Than in 2008
    The majority of "too big to fail" banks are even bigger. Meanwhile, high-frequency trading is alive and well and the causes of the Flash Crash have not been addressed.

    6. The 'Bush Tax Cuts' Increased Tax Revenue
    Washington has always had a spending problem, but since the "Bush Tax Cuts," we have a revenue problem as well. From 1990 to 2000, U.S. tax revenue had a period of exceptional growth. Following the 2001 tax cuts, revenue plummeted - then recovered - then plummeted again.

    5. 'No One' Could Have Seen the Financial Crisis Coming
    No one - except for everyone who did. TheStreet has interviewed numerous economists and money managers who have been pounding the table for years.

    4. If You Support Capitalism, You Support Big Business
    Can a corporation be socialist? Corporations and governments are very similar entities, and both can have capitalist or socialist leanings. If a politician praises big business while chastising big government, or the other way around, be skeptical.

    3. Republicans Are a Bunch of Fat-Cat Millionaires
    The average congressperson is a millionaire, and if you break down the 50 richest members of Congress by political party, here's the split:
    Republican: 22
    Democrat: 28

    2. The U.S. Has the Highest Standard of Living in the World
    According to the United Nations' most recent Human Poverty Index (from 2008), the U.S. standard of living ranks 17 of 19 among developed countries. The ranking is a composite of life expectancy, literacy, long-term unemployment and income equality - while this data is over three years old, it's not unthinkable that our situation has worsened in the aftermath of the Great Recession.

    1. U.S. GDP Is Growing
    U.S. GDP has increased by 4.26% from 2007 to 2010, according to data compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the same period of time, the U.S. national debt has increased by 61.6%, according to the U.S. Treasury. Looking at these numbers, you don't need to be an economist to see that something is very, very wrong.

    [Aug 12, 2011] Economist's View Stavins Why Polarized Politics Paralyze Public Policy

    "Soon "the moderate middle" will actually be ... people who don't want the death penalty for shoplifting."

    The only solution we see is in sensible policies being proposed by Presidential candidates, proposals that seek the middle ground.

    Take the Republican debate tonight, for example. These candidates exhibited genuine centrism in their proposals to abolish the capital gains tax and at the same time to abolish unemployment benefits, because, as we all know, median real earnings have grown at such breakneck speed that even lower paid employees can easily afford their own unemployment insurance. Which they'll really need because, let's face it, those losers will be looking for a job pretty soon if we cut spending like we mean to.

    The key to all this prosperity? Simple. Don't increase taxes! Even if Islamic terrorists surround the Capitol and threaten to toss 100 new-born American babies into a pool of molten steel every ten minutes unless Congress passes a bill raising taxes on the richest ten Americans by a dollar a year, these Republican candidates want those babies to die screaming rather than raising JOB-DESTROYING taxes in this great, utterly batshit-crazy country of ours.

    And talking of terrorism, surely it is time for moderate people of reason and sound judgement from all sides to come together and agree to hunt down and kill every last EPA official in America. Let their epitaph be a warning to all future generations:


    This has been a presentation by The Republican National Committee.

    Additional funding has been provided by the Koch brothers, and by other ordinary conservative psychos like you.

    EMichael said in reply to stunney...

    To paraphrase Mark Twain, it's not the things I do not understand about Michelle Bachmann that bothers me, it is the things I do understand that bother me.

    [Aug 12, 2011] Two Headed Monster

    The Big Picture

    [Aug 12, 2011] 10 Thursday AM Post-Crash Reads

    August 11, 2011 | The Big Picture

    [Aug 6, 2011] And Just Because.... "Is There A Risk The US Could Lose Its AAA Rating-" Tim Geithner- "No Risk"

    Peter Barnes "Is there a risk that the United States could lose its AAA credit rating? Yes or no?"

    Geithner's response: "No risk of that."

    "No risk?" Barnes asked.

    "No risk," Geithner said.

    USSAAA - S&P Reconsiders Downgrade After White House Challenge

    McGraw-Hill: meet Chicago-style negotiations. And there, in one sentence, is all that is broken with this country. The reason for the beyond ridiculous horse trade, according to CNN: S&P analysis of U.S. revenue, deficit picture was questioned. Presumably S&P ignored to add the $10 quintillion dollars that were saved by America not declaring war on Tatooine and its most infamous Hutt resident: Larry Summers. Indeed, again according to CNN, S&P acknowledged some errors in its analysis. Isn't it amazing what being threatened with having your NRSRO license can do for motivation to double check your work, eh you pathetic sellouts? Who would have thought that last week's farce debt ceiling would continue and develop into a national pastime. Below, for the sake of S&P's non-existent conscience and incompetence, are their own guidelines for what constitutes an AAA-rated credit. Readers can decide if the US is one.

    In other news, in USSAAA, government downgrades rating agency.

    [Aug 05, 2011] Blast from the past

    [Aug 05, 2011] Fed Watch That. Was. Unpleasant.

    Economist's View


    Clearly, the markets have given a massive thumbs down to the centrally planned, state-owned economies of Europe, while giving a COLOSSAL, simply GIGANTIC thumbs up to the Boehner War on Federal Debt.

    The only reason markets tanked in the US is because the president rattled investors with his Obama Plan to raise JOB-OBLITERATING TAXES on the hyper-wealthy and his SECRET TERRORIST plan to commit atrocities against the military-industrial complex!!!

    This has been a presentation of:

    Statements So Dumb That Michele Bachmann Might Actually Have Made Them In A Conference Call With Conservative Activists

    [Aug 04, 2011] Market Craters Dow Falls 512 Points

    August 4, 2011 | naked capitalism


    Down 512.76. "To the Batcave."


    If no one is around, does a falling market make a sound?

    Dave of Maryland:

    You mean, the sound of bankers jumping from tall floors with a single bound?

    No, I didn't hear any of those, either.

    [Aug 03, 2011] Washington Chain Saw Massacre - Readers' Comments -


    "The Night of The Living Dead"- 1969 movie, the Zombies were a metaphor for the implosion of American capitalism, the cannibalism was a metaphor for a society...

    Although zombie cannibals were inspired by Matheson's I Am Legend, film historian Robin Wood sees the flesh-eating scenes of Night of the Living Dead as a late-1960s critique of American capitalism.

    Wood asserts that the zombies represent capitalists, and "cannibalism represents the ultimate in possessiveness, hence the logical end of human relations under capitalism." He argues that the zombies' victims symbolized the repression of "the Other" in bourgeoisie American society, namely civil rights activists, feminists, homosexuals and counterculturalists in general"..

    [Aug 03, 2011] Randy Wray The Budget Compromise – Congress Creates a Rube Goldberg Doomsday Machine

    August 2, 2011 | naked capitalism


    The Dow is down 265.87. What's up with that?

    Maybe it just dawned on Mr. Market; if everybody is busted, including Mother Milk Cow,* there will be no one left to rob.

    And if Mr. Market can't rob, he can't gamble, and if he can't gamble, he gets depressed.

    [Aug 02, 2011] reminder-from-obamas-february-2009

    In answer to the generic question regarding President Obama's actions regarding the debt ceiling, I am re-posting this from 2/25/09. In comments of the original I stated that cutting the deficit by 1/2 seemed to "optimistic" for me.

    Ok, here are my basic issues with the substance of President Obama's speech. First, may I remind everyone
    that as of 11/08 I declared my divorce successful. Has it become my mission accomplish moment?

    I heard this:

    "And we will expand our commitment to charter schools. but as a father when I say that responsibility for our children's education must begin at home."
    And thought: 2 tier education system/vouchers, no thank you. Education begins at home when home means one parent has the time to spend at home oppose to both working.

    I heard this:

    "And we must also begin a conversation on how to do the same for Social Security, while creating tax-free universal savings accounts for all Americans."
    And thought: Are you freak'n kidding me! In this time of financial collapse we're still going to talk about turning an insurance for the masses against the follies of finance into some form to include finance? The entire reason we want to create jobs is because we have suddenly realized that the vast, vast majority do not earn their money from money. Tax free? Has he not heard of 401K, IRA and all it's versions, HSA, higher education accounts? Italy?

    I heard this:

    "Yesterday, I held a fiscal summit where I pledged to cut the deficit in half by the end of my first term in office."
    And thought: Yeah, how'd that work for the last administration who made such a declaration? Did he have to say "in half"? Has his advisors not taught him about the blip during the FDR recovery? Only one way I can think of doing this: Raise taxes where the money is and whack the defense budget in half and I mean take a swipe at all moneys related to security. Are we really $1 trillion dollars worth of paranoid?

    [Aug 02, 2011] Word War Two: After Calling Bernanke A "Hooligan", Putin Now Says America Is "A Parasite" Living Off The Global Economy by Tyler Durden


    Three weeks ago Putin called Bernanke a hooligan. Since that remark came from the (allegedly) largest oil producing country in the world, it provoked nary a peep from America's foreign department. Today, he decided to ratchet up the rhetoric, and in a speech to a Kremlin youth group told his listeners what the bulk of the rest of the world thinks of America: ""They are living beyond their means and shifting a part of the weight of their problems to the world economy," Putin told a Kremlin youth group while touring its summer camp north of Moscow. "They are living like parasites off the global economy and their monopoly of the dollar."" Russia has not made its distrust of America clear in the past, and while others (ahem China) have been jawboning about selling Treasurys even as they continue buying US one-ply paper, Russia has been actively dumping its Treasury paper to the lowest in years. The reason for the unprovoked outburst? The insanity in Congress. "Thank god," Putin said, "that they had enough common sense and responsibility to make a balanced decision." The former KGBer's solution? Other, and more deserving, reserve currencies.

    [Aug 01, 2011] And the Wrong Words Make You Listen in this Criminal World by Ken Houghton
    Mark Thoma, who supported (and probably voted for) the man during the primaries, is much more gracious than I am:
    A vague promise from Democrats about the future is all but worthless right now, we've had too many promises broken already. Obama's promises in particular mean nothing.
    The nicest thing I can do is describe this as BarryO's "Only Nixon could go to China moment." ...Obama's version is selling out Democrats and Middle-Class and Aspiring Middle-Class Americans.

    ...Democrats may still run someone against Obama from the left, though Timothy McVeigh is unavailable.

    [Aug 01, 2011] Complete Transcript Of Obama's Not So Grand Compromise ZeroHedge

    The fact that we are here today to debate raising America's debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. Government can't pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government's reckless fiscal policies.

    America's debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that ''the buck stops here.'' Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better.

    I therefore intend to oppose the effort to increase America's debt limit."

    U.S. Senator Barack Obama (3/16/2006)

    [Aug 01, 2011] It Gets Madder by MattWuerker

    img alt="Matt Wuerker" src="" width="550" height="508">

    [Jul 31, 2011] Random Thoughts


    I talked to a grocery clerk today who is planning on retiring this year. I asked how much of his SS and Medicare he is will to contribute to bring the budget back in balance. He stared at me: "None. I earned it."

    But he wants to cut spending sharply. On what I asked? On government ...

    Maybe we are in deeper trouble than I thought.


    CalculatedRisk wrote:

    I talked to a grocery clerk today who is planning on retiring this year. I asked how much of his SS and Medicare he is will to contribute to bring the budget back in balance. He stared at me: "None. I earned it."

    Sure, he gives up a hundred dollars a year and Goldman Sachs gives up a hundred dollars a year. That's fair.


    josap wrote:

    So you begin to think everyone is bright. It isn't true.

    I was talking to someone just the other day who suggested IQ needs to be adjusted for inflation since he is pretty sure average today isn't what it was 30 years ago...


    looking at polls, a good chunk of people think we can cut 'foreign aid' and balance the budget. They think the US government goes around the world handing out charity and foodstuffs when most of our 'aid' is weapons exports (which supports a decent chunk of the middle class). Or that we can end presidential cocktails and balance the budget. . .


    purple wrote:

    Or that we can end presidential cocktails and balance the budget. .

    Think of what the White House could save if it used paper cocktail napkins.


    purple wrote:

    most of our 'aid' is weapons exports


    But you know, Israel really needs granny's SS money. .


    Pearl wrote:

    Who died and left Standard and Poors and Moody's in charge of our economic policy?

    They did, in an attempt to restore their credibility by pretending last night never happened.


    Mr Slippery wrote:

    I am still angry about the gross mismanagement, the bail outs, the double dealing, the lack of honest leadership, the failed regulation. No trust.

    Who can blame you?


    Jurgis Rudkus wrote:

    Random thought: 53% of those classified as "impoverished" in America have two or more TVs.

    Random thought: I can buy a tv for every room at Goodwill, and still not have enough money to feed by kids properly...


    Jurgis Rudkus wrote:

    classified as "impoverished" in America have two or more TVs.

    I agree with this. Have you seen the absolute Bullshit that is television?

    It's called "programming" for a reason.


    Jurgis Rudkus wrote:

    53% of those classified as "impoverished" in America have two or more TVs.

    Either that or build stadiums where they can watch soap opera with live actors.


    Vonbek777 wrote:

    we launch a few cruise missiles at Moody's last weekend

    I'm sufficiently pissed about a lot right now. But I REALLY resent Moody's and Standard and Poors right now.

    Just in case no one noticed--they really suck at their job.

    [Jul 31, 2011] Economist's View A Spending-Only Trigger


    Mark, before you go check out this funny Onion piece at,21008/

    It's a spoof where al-Zawahiri complains about America's crumbling infrastructure depriving Al-Qaeda of decent targets. Just one sample:

    "He also revealed the terrorist organization had wasted six months planning to take down Amtrak's regional operations before realizing that with its constant delays and malfunctions, the government-owned passenger train service "basically terrorizes itself."

    [Jul 29, 2011] ‪Former Reagan Policy Advisor Bruce Bartlett Explains How Bush Facilitated Economic Mess

    "Fact-Free Assholes" -- LOL!



    the Tea Party will defeat you muslim terrorist Jew Killing Socialist thugs and this Bartlett is nothing but a TRAITOR like Benedict Arnold


    Bartlett is a Anti American bastard who backs the Muslim terrorist Obama and Hates Capitalism.

    Reagan would have? told this Bartlett that he was nothing but a TRAITOR

    the man is a Kooky liberal who backs Nazi Anti Semite High taxes and Hates America

    [Jul 28, 2011] Double Dippin' (music video)‬‏ - YouTube

    A song by Merle Hazard and his band. Lyric here:

    BBC World Service coverage:

    The roller coaster occupants during the guitar solo (1:39) are FDR, John Maynard Keynes, Paul Krugman, and Benoit Mandelbrot, followed by Merle and his band.

    That's Hazard with a "z" (not Haggard with a "gg").

    [Jul 24, 2011] Is "Finance" a Cult-

    Consider, for a second, a quick list of characteristics of mind control techniques that cults use:
    "Studies performed by those who believe that some religious groups do practice mind control have identified a number of key steps in coercive persuasion:[31][32]
    Let's go through each one by one.

    [Jul 24, 2011] Horrible Bosses - The Daily Show with Jon Stewart - 07-19-11 - Video Clip Comedy Central

    See also Horrible Bosses - Fox News Won't Dumpster Dive - The Daily Show with Jon Stewart - 07-19-11 - Video Clip Comedy Central
    July 19, 2011

    Horrible Bosses Scotland Yard doesn't consider the death of the News of the World whistleblower suspicious, and Rupert Murdoch and his son appear before Parliament.

    are u s'ing me

    Fox Tool Channel. Did you notice in that clip of Murdoch his hair(what's left of it) was jet black? Two years later it's now white. Must be the stress.

    [Jul 24, 2011] Economist's View Sachs America Needs a Third-Party Movement


    No, no, no. America doesn't need a third party. It needs a third AND a fourth party. The Inane Party and the Insane Party.

    The Inane Party will be for war, the plutocracy, a police state and abortion rights.

    The Insane Party will be for war, the plutocracy, a police state and gun rights.

    Only when those two new parties join the fray will the American voter have a real choice.

    [Jul 23, 2011] Shorter Obama Press Conference, by Michael Froomkin

    I tried repeatedly to surrender to the House GOP, but they wouldn't take even my most abject surrender. I have summoned them back to the White House tomorrow morning in another attempt to force them to accept it. If worst comes to worst, and they will not accept my surrender, I am prepared to accept theirs, but I really don't like it, and will use the opportunity to campaign against Democratic values in the next election.

    [Jul 22, 2011] So What Might Happen if We Get to August 3 With No Deficit Deal

    naked capitalism


    ...If 'they' put the same 'gang that couldn't shoot straight' in charge as they did in Iraq, we're in for a very bumpy ride. Snark says: "I'm in Awe of the American Shock Doctrine."


    ..give them a few extra weeks and they'll come to agreement over the corpse of the New Deal.

    Robert Asher:

    ...Look at the reluctance of the European narco dealers (I mean banks of course) who are unwilling to take a loss after the people they addicted cannot afford more drugs.

    Middle Seaman:

    ...It is clear to me that Obama's bosses, i.e. the rich, will not let the country descend into chaos; it's way too costly for them.

    Mr Seaman;
    Sorry to quibble, but your comment on the 'elites' thinking gives them a bit too much credit for breadth of vision and foresight. E

    [Jul 21, 2011] Is Bank of America At Risk of a Death Spiral

    July 21, 2011 | naked capitalism


    Rats like to gain entry, in dwellings, pilfering small bits at first. Eventually they start chewing on all manner of things, including the wiring, till it creates a short, becoming a furry flare igniter.

    Skippy…hutia estampida!

    Jim A:

    Remember back in 2008, when the idea was that BoA was going to be a big enough carpet to cover up all the poo at Countrywide and Merril? As it turns out there was alot more poo than was anticipated by the power that be. Even with the Fed aggressivly pumping money onto the balance sheet, that poo is still stinking up the living room something awful.

    [Jul 18, 2011] Rupert Murdoch: what will MPs do without someone to fear by Charlie Brooker

    July 17, 2011 | The Guardian

    You know the liberating feeling when someone unpopular leaves the room and everyone breathes a sigh of relief before openly discussing how much they dislike them? I don't. What's it like? What do people say? I only ever catch the odd whisper as the door shuts behind me. I'd love to hear the full conversation. Fortunately, watching Britain's politicians queue up to denounce Rupert Murdoch has given me a taste of how such talk might play out.

    A few weeks ago, Murdoch, or rather the more savage tendencies of the press as a whole, represented God. Fear of God isn't always a bad thing in itself, if it keeps you on the straight and narrow – but politicians behaved like medieval villagers who didn't just believe in Him, but quaked at the mere suggestion of a glimmer of a whisper of His name. You must never anger God. God wields immense power. God can hear everything you say. You must worship God, and please Him, or He will destroy you. For God controls the sun, which may shine upon you, or singe you to a Kinnock. Soon he will control the entire sky.

    Furthermore, like all mere humans, you are weak. And God knows you have sinned. Chances are he even has long-lens photographs to prove it. But even as he chooses to smite you, God is merciful. You can do this the easy way or the hard way. Confess your sins in an exclusive double-page interview, or face the torments of hell. Have you seen what happens in hell? It isn't pretty. Rows of the damned having buckets of molten shit poured over their heads by someone who looks a bit like Kelvin MacKenzie, for eternity.

    But then suddenly everything changed. The revelations over the hacking of grieving relatives' voicemails were the equivalent of a tornado ripping through an orphanage. "What kind of God would allow such a thing?" asked the villagers, wading through the aftermath. And they started to suspect He didn't exist.

    They thought about the hours and days they'd spent in church, saying their prayers, rocking on their knees, whipping themselves with knotted rope, or flying round the world to address one of God's conferences, and they grew angry.

    One by one they stood up to decry God. "He's a sod," said one. "No he's not, he's a monster," said another. Eventually they formed the consensus view that he was a sodmonster.

    [Jul 12, 2011] Twitter hilarity as Simpsons poke fun at Rupert Murdoch - Telegraph

    Anyone see "Fraudcast News" on Sky News just now? Ha! Hilarious! Complete coincidence I'm sure!" and "hahaha! Sky One broadcasting Fraudcast News, one of the best Simpson episodes ever tonight!"

    "The Simpsons' "Fraudcast news" is all about Monty Burns corruptly buying up the free press.... Oh the irony!" and "Rupert Murdoch: a real-life Mr. Burns'!"

    The immediate reaction to the show by viewers on Twitter reinforces Twitters rapidly growing popularity. The speed in which it enables its users to 'tweet' allows views and opinions to be shared worldwide within seconds.

    The Simpsons poke fun at Rupert Murdoch takeover bid

    [Jul 11, 2011] The Moneysburg Address

    The shadow (or should we say nimb) of Bush v. Gore and Citizens United over Scalia head...

    Remarks rumored to have been delivered by Justice Antonin Scalia at an Opus Dei gathering on July 4, 2011

    Eleven score and fifteen years ago our Incorporators brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in free markets, and dedicated to the proposition that all corporate persons are created equal.

    Now we are engaged in a great financial and legal crisis, testing whether those markets, or any markets so conceived and so dedicated, can long remain totally free. We are met on an inflated balance sheet of that crisis. We have come to extend a mighty portion of assets, as a book value preserving holding place for corporate persons who finessed enormous fortunes through beggaring men and women so that those corporate persons might prosper. It is altogether fitting and proper that we, the free market acolytes of corporate persons, should do this.

    ... ... ...

    [Jul 10, 2011] The first and the last press conference of President Obama: same theme, different years

    [Jul 10, 2011] The New Wall Street Reality 2011


    On the two year anniversary of the original New Wall Street Reality list, it is time for a long overdue update.

    [Jul 09, 2011] Organizational Charts Bonkers World

    [Jul 09, 2011] The Pathology of Elite Organizations

    July 8, 2011 | naked capitalism

    Up the Ante:

    The NYT,

    "Its ethos can be best summed up with the phrase "You are lucky to be here." "

    A large part of me suspects that phrase became the dark humor lesson of 9/11 at the Times. That part of me still wonders why one of the liners was not diverted at the last minute to inadvertently slam into NYT's HQ.

    Greg Reyes sentenced

    The 2 critical success factors for salesman are: a capacity for self-delusion – so you can sincerely and honestly tell your prospects how good it is; and a resolutely short term focus, because making this quarter's numbers is what counts. Don't hire a salesman to design your products or your strategy.

    [Jul 04, 2011] The coming firing of employee Obama


    Remember Sen Durbin's bottom line truth: 'And, frankly, they own the place.'

    'They' being Big Bankster and their Big Everything Else Corporate Partners; 'the place' being the government of the United States of America.

    Obama is nothing more than an employee of 'the place.' Employees do what they're told or they're fired.

    [Jul 03, 2011] Open Thread- The Dance Goes On

    Tony Auth via

    [Jul 03, 2011] Look What You Can Buy in the Greek Liquidation Sale!

    July 3, 2011 | naked capitalism


    Is the Parthenon available? I've always had a keen desire to own an authentic Greek temple. It sure would look swell in my back yard.

    Sufferin' Succotash:

    I'll take Delphi myself. I've always wanted to have my very own private prophet.

    [Jul 02, 2011] Tim Geithner's Cover Letter To Goldman Sachs Leaked zero hedge

    Timothy F. Geithner
    Department of The Treasury
    1500 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
    Washington DC 20220
    (202) 622-2000
    [email protected]

    HR Department

    Goldman Sachs & Co.

    200 West Street

    New York, NY 10282

    Dear Mr./Ms. Last Name:

    I am writing to apply for the position of Master Of The Universe at Goldman Sachs as advertised in The Bilderberg Group Daily News. I believe my experience in experimenting on the economy playing with other people's money makes me an excellent candidate for this position. As requested, I am enclosing a completed job application, my certification, my resume and three references. (Please call Dr. Kissinger first. He's not getting any younger.)

    I have extensive experience working for with the rich and powerful. My most recent job was as secretary of the U.S. Treasury (a situation which put a premium on diversity awareness). Even before I took the job I was the center of attention in Washington. And despite not paying any income taxes for four years, my nomination was opposed by only a third of the Senate. As Treasury Secretary, I ended all those fluctuations in the unemployment rate and kept it at a nice steady level. Despite the job's title, I did NOT answer phones or any filing. Although I can do both while typing 120 wpm. With one hand.

    Among my many other accomplishments: Helping a large number of financial institutions avoid the consequences of their actions. As many of the very large number of our mutual friends (hint, hint) will tell you, the quid pro quo on this - cutting executive salaries and perks while limiting dividends and corporate acquisitions - was strictly window dressing. Remember the bonuses AIG paid to executives in its Financial Services division after receiving $170 billion in bailout?

    Prior to my current position I served as president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. It was in that job, when I got Bear Stearns a $30 billion bailout, that I discovered my true vocation: Giving large amounts of other people's money to down-on-their-luck wealthy institutions. This was very important to help the economy, no matter what Paul Krugman says. I mean really, what's he ever done?

    In closing I would just like to say how much I respect and admire your CEO, Lloyd Blankfein, whom everyone agrees is very spry for a man of his age.

    Very Sincerely Yours,


    P.S.: Don't believe what you read in the press about me: I still want the job. Actually, just don't believe anything about me you read in the press. Call me!

    [Jun 22, 2011] Frances beat the USA as for stock market appreciation: aka socialism beat cowboy capitalism

    [Jun 22, 2011] Whom GS and company fleece

    What is called "Households and non-profits" is probably "Robber barons and non-profits" aka top 1% of the US population.

    [Jun 22, 2011] Debt Ceiling Choices

    [Jun 13, 2011] Obama Gives In to Whining on Wall Street

    Economist's View


    "...President Obama convened two dozen Wall Street executives, many of them longtime donors, in the White House's Blue Room."

    This lede needs a rewrite. A truer version would read:

    The CEO brought in to manage the leveraged buyout of CSB Corp (Corporate States of Banking, formerly USA) held a meeting of outside directors in the White House's Blue Room. Suspected at times of excessive sympathy with the employees affected by restructuring plans which include extensive layoffs and termination of pension and health benefits (aka 'entitlements'), Mr. Obama sought to reassure investors in the deal of his commitment to delivering a quick return on their capital.

    Most of this capital was provided in the form of subprime CDO collateral during the famous TARP bailout, and has itself been described (by anonymous sources, concerned for their safety) as of 'questionable quality'. But the outside directors who assembled in the White House have denounced these criticisms as 'scurrilous'.

    [Jun 09, 2011] The Nose Knows

    Financial Armageddon

    Yeah, they sure do like to tell porkies in that part of the country, as a commentary from TheStreet's John DeFeo,"10 Myths That Politicians Want You to Believe," will attest:

    The financial system is on the brink of collapse after trillions in bad loans were issued by greedy bankers. If you were a U.S. political figure, would you:

    A.) Tell everyone to suck a lemon, and (maybe) let the economy implode.

    B.) Fire the bankers who made the bad loans, prosecute the guys who broke the law and guarantee a portion of the loans in a grin-and-bear-it show of good faith.

    C.) Reward the bankers who made the bad loans with billions of dollars in bonuses and guarantee every loan with U.S. taxpayer money (with interest, because we borrowed the money from China).

    If you answered C, then maybe you should run for office, support laws that funnel billions to insolvent companies, retire from politics and start working for one of the companies you helped bail out. Heck, that's what former Republican-senator Judd Gregg did (newly hired by Goldman Sachs).

    Hotels and Their Pervs, Revisited Mother Jones

    Don't let the first spin of the corporate media fool you.. there was/is much more at stake than just a perv reaction

    Bsdetector 05/27/2011 03:52 AM

    Men must remain fully clothed while in a Hotel Room.

    That seems to be the only sensible way to to things, considering how MEN are.

    Now about those beds in those hotel rooms. Do they not seem to be INVITING trouble? Considering how MEN are, wouldn't beds be suggestive of something too HORRIBLE to mention?

    And as for the cleaning staff, how irresponsible i it for the management to send women into harms way where men may be present with their penises and testicles flying every which way threatening to cause bodily harm, blindness, bruisings and pregnancies?

    I think the prudent thing to do is to replace all the female cleaning staff with Thai Lady Boys, who will both look good in a cleaning uniform and not be challenged or threatened by the loathsome appendages of other males of similar gender and who know, this may all turn out for the best because one rude flash deserves another.

    [Jun 03, 2011] Post-Recession Lingo Need-to-Know Phrases for Today's Consumers Moneyland By Brad Tuttle

    [May 30, 2011] No touching

    [May 22, 2011] Taibbi -- "US Politics – Reality Show Sponsored by Wall Street"

    He is close: only it's not a reality show, it's a horror show ;-)

    [May 21, 2011] Jon Stewart's DSK Takedown Or The Market's Touchy Feely Invisible Hand

    In the USA Jon Steward show is one of few news sources that can be used :-)
    zero hedge

    Ever since the DSK rape allegation surfaced, there has been an avalanche of opinions that the former head of the IMF has been "set up by vengeful Americans" and that the entire affair is nothing but a classic "Spitzer" repeat. It has gotten so far as 57% of the French population saying DSK was trapped in a plot by his enemies, a number that rises to a staggering 70% when only French socialists are queried. Well, since everyone is innocent until proven guilty, there is no point in further digging until DSK is either convicted by a jury or set free... But that does not mean that various media personalities can not have some long overdue fun at the IMF head's expense, whose past transgressions toward poor countries and "emerging economies" one can argue, dwarf his dramatic career implosion from last Saturday. And in keeping with the spirit of amusement, below is Jon Stewart's amusing takedown of the DSK situation to date.

    The Daily Show
    Tags: Daily Show Full Episodes,Political Humor & Satire Blog,The Daily Show on Facebook

    Imminent Collapse:

    The Daily Show and Colbert are my primary sources for real news.

    [May 18, 2011] The bellicose frivolity of senile empires

    "The bellicose frivolity of senile empires"…Barbara Tuchman's reference to Austria-Hungary before 1914.
    May 18, 2011 naked capitalism


    I'm safe too. I am THE oligarchic fat cat. The system works for ME. This is oligarch nation now! This MY world now! So bow down before me, you peasants! I foreclosed on your homes, I'll cut your grandma's medicare, I'll privatize your social security, and I am going to make all of you MY serfs.

    Is that clear?!


    [May 16, 2011] Ex-Programmer at Goldman Sachs Sentenced to 8 Years


    We can only hope that same 'tough love' applies to the former board member of Goldman who is accused of leaking insider information. It would be great to see our justice system apply the same standards to CEO's and Board Members that they do to russian computer programmers. Why do I get the sense that this is probably not the case?


    What's the difference between stealing while at Goldman and from Goldman? 8 years.

    Disgruntled Boomer

    Great! This is lovely. The big shots give to us up both ends and out the middle, and the only person who's going to jail is a programmer. Oh boy!

    What does a trillion dollars look like zero hedge

    The illustration starts with a $100 dollar bill. Currently the largest U.S. denomination in general circulation. Most everyone has seen them, slightly fewer have owned them. Benji's are certain to make friends wherever they go.

    A packet of one hundred $100 bills is less than 1/2" thick and contains $10,000. 100 burritos can fit in your pocket easily and is more than enough for week or two of shamefully decadent fun.

    Believe it or not, this next little pile is $1 million worth of bills (100 packets of $10,000). You could stuff that into a grocery bag and walk around with it.

    While a measly $1 million looked a little unimpressive, $100 million in bread is a bit more respectable. It fits neatly on a standard pallet...

    And 1 billion bux... now we're getting somewhere...

    And finally..

    $1 trillion dollars…

    Notice the pallets are double stacked. ...and remember those are $100 bills. The next time you hear someone toss around the phrase "trillion dollars"... that's what they're talking about.



    Whats the current population of the U.S? About 320m?

    That's 15trillion / 320m = $46,875 approx each for every man woman a child.

    Did i forget a zero?

    It's a hell of a lot more if you just count the working population.

    End result: f**ked.

    Only looks like $1/2 trillion to me.

    50 x 50 x 2 pallets x ($100 million / pallet) = $500 billion.

    Need to quadruple-stack them to get to $1 trillion.

    [May 12, 2011] Scocca P.J. O'Rourke Says Don't Vote Republican

    Conservative Busheviks have a chance to be as disasterious the USA Inc. as Bolsheviks were for Russia ;-) "It's an elegant warning against the Republican obsession with winning at all costs. The party that marches back into command behind the banner of Christine O'Donnell and Sharon Angle, O'Rourke is warning his readers, is on a suicide mission"
    Prankster and humorist P..J. O'Rourke has fooled the Weekly Standard into printing a savage takedown of the conservative movement, masquerading as a takedown of liberalism. Democrats, O'Rourke writes, are nihilists with no interest in passing good legislation.
    They don't just hate our Republican, conservative, libertarian, strict constructionist, family values guts. They hate everybody's guts. And they hate everybody who has any. Democrats hate men, women, blacks, whites, Hispanics, gays, straights, the rich, the poor, and the middle class.

    [May 10, 2011] Dodo Bird Bankers By Barry Ritholtz

    May 9, 2011

    The dodo (Raphus cucullatus) was a flightless bird endemic to the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius. Related to pigeons and doves, it stood about a meter (3.3 feet) tall, weighing about 20 kilograms (44 lb), living on fruit, and nesting on the ground.

    In biology, extinction occurs when an organism or species dies off. Through evolution, new species arise and thrive when they are able to find and exploit an ecological niche - while other species become extinct when they are no longer able to survive in changing conditions or against superior competition.

    We should have had an extinction event in late 2008, but unnatural forces prevented the natural order of things from coming to pass. One of the most significant downsides to the bank bailouts was that they kept on life support creatures whose failings should have led to their demise. We prevented the normal process of failure to take place.

    Thus, the economy is presently saddled with banks so maladapted to their environment, to changing conditions, that, despite the fact they could no longer survive on their own, they are still with us. Rather than allow superior competitors to arise naturally, we artificially prolonged the lifespan of these maladapted banking creatures.

    Hence, we created an entire generation of Dodo Bird Bankers.

    [May 10, 2011] Housing Roller Coaster

    [May 10, 2011] Alan Greenspan "Betrayed" Ayn Rand and Ruined the Economy, Says Rand Institute President - Yahoo! Finance


    Greenspan is the "Peter Principal"

    Jim 20:



    CORRECT! It is "principle". One of my pet peeves is the number of illiterates on bulletin boards.


    Must be nice to be perfect, Charles. I just had surgury on my hand, and don't worry too much right now about the typing. There are many intelligent people who don't spell every word perfectly. You need to get over yourself.


    One of my pet peeves is people with pet peeves.


    surgery Sammy, surgery

    [May 09, 2011] Economist's View We Dare Not Let This Happen (But Don't Support Doing Anything About It)


    In FDR's day, he created the jobs. In LBJ's day, he treatened to create jobs. In BHO's day, he waited for the mostly Republican businessman to create jobs. And he waited, and waited, and waited...

    [May 09, 2011] Paul Krugman The Unwisdom of Elites

    Economist's View



    {The answer is, three main things.}

    Bunkum from our Nobel Laureate.

    The first "thing" is not relevant, meaning that Billy-boy's Budget Surplus was a freak of history (largely brought on by the ephemeral boom 'n bust). It would have withered away naturally. That Lead-head used it as an excuse for giving away the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow was his first, but not last, exercise in Colossal Cronyism.

    But remember, we, the sheeple, voted for Lead-head not once but twice.

    The second "thing" was Lead-head's second Colossal Mistake that he undertook out of personal Texas-style vengeance. He wanted Hussein's ass on a skewer because Hussein tried to assassinate his father. Don't believe that claim? Then debunk this CNN news report: . And this report is not the only one of it's kind on record.

    But Lead-head settled for Hussein's hanging (and the pair of white six-guns along with holster that Rumsfeld had given Hussein as a gift). A PotUS who uses his office to settle family feud's is despicable. A PotUS who uses his office to start an excessively useless and expensive war that would divert precious taxpayer dollars to a family-feud is worth only a footnote in the dustbin of history.

    The third "thing" hits the spot. The Great Recession was caused, yes, by both the lack of Federal market oversight authority AND the Colossal Stupidity of its Chairman at the time.

    Greenspan had a fundamental belief in Cheap Money to assure low unemployment. The Fed had the duty to oversee the Mortgage Market and, instead, looked the other way. The concomitance of both factors prompted Americans to binge on cheap credit with which they built the pile of Toxic Waste that busted America's Credit Mechanism and began its economic decline into the Great Recession.

    And all that was "just fine" because Wall Street was making money hand over fist - whilst Main Street net-worth went to hell in a hand-basket.

    No, Mr Nobel Laureate, I humbly submit that this time around you've got your history not quite right.

    [May 08, 2011] New Yorker Rakes in $120,000 From Bin Laden Death

    May 6, 2011 |

    File under: Entrepreneurship to the rescue.

    A New Yorker started selling T-shirts celebrating Osama bin Laden's death and sold $120,000 of them in less than two days, TMZ reports.

    Maurice Harary, 23, went straight to his New York apartment when he heard Sunday that bin Laden was killed and began building the web site "bin Laden is dead" T-shirts.

    Harary claim to have sold aprox. 10,000 shirts.

    Judging from many of the comments left at EPJ stories on bin Laden, there's probably a market for T-shirts that say,"bin Laden Died the First Time in 2001".

    [May 08, 2011] In 2009 I Learned That…

    Jan 1, 2011 | The Reformed Broker

    [May 08, 2011] special-st-patricks-day-economic-meltdown-report-portrait-of-a-celtic-tiger-as-a-kangaroo-rat by Paddy O' Fenian

    March 16, 2010 | THE EXILED

    Well, as the Guinness induced intoxication begins to clear and those whimsical spirits fade away; when you wake up next to a stranger only to find that both of you have huge shamrocks tattooed on your arses; when you begin to survey the vaguely recalled chaos of the night before – now you're ready to read about the fair green isles.

    You see Ireland isn't in a good way. Ireland's coming out of a bad bender – and it fucking hurts!

    "Jesus! How did this happen?" you ask yourself the morning after. Why is your novelty hat full of sick? Which drink was the "one too many" that pushed you into that self-destructive spiral? Well, the Irish are asking themselves – or, at least should be asking themselves – the very same questions. Let's start from the beginning.

    Historically, Ireland has been a very poor place. Up until the mid-twentieth it was basically an agrarian economy – an economy dominated by landlords, bailiffs and peasants. The landlords were prosperous class who laughed at the hungry poor; the bailiffs, a mean bunch of drunken bullies who liked nothing better than to batter some poor emaciated hut-dwellers with their shillelaghs (I believe your Bill O' Reillys and your Sean Hannitys inherited the "bailiff gene"); and the peasants? They were a terrible bunch – a personification of the smell of a rotten potato.

    Sure there were a few built up cities – Dublin was alright, Cork wasn't too bad – but even here the poverty was pretty disgusting. You know that Schopenhauerian idea that life is essentially embodied pain? Well, for most of their modern history, the Irish have been living evidence of this.

    And the culture? It was crap. Completely saturated by a Catholicism spread by a well entrenched and highly organised Church (although in fairness to the Church, if it hadn't been for their civilising influence, which only sort of half-worked, I'll bet that the Irish would still be living in their own filth).

    Anyway, then the revolts came. The big dates that you'll be swigging to this Paddy's Day: 1916, 1921 – 1923. They were okay. Well, to be fair 1916 was great; a bunch of poets, nationalists and an admirable Scottish Marxist called James Connolly basically signed a suicide pact and took over the GPO, one of Dublin's main strategic buildings. Then the British came in and absolutely crushed them – oh well.

    Once the dreamers and the fools were out of the way a heavy and ignorant nationalism set in that can still be felt today. When the Civil War ended in 1923 no one really cared about anything except Catholicism and the tri-colour – well a few did, but they were just ignored.

    For the next 60 or so years nothing really happened. The Church banned a few films; a load of people went to Latin mass and the new ruling-class that had taken power after the Civil War tried at some rather feeble attempts to industrialise the country. Pretty boring stuff – oh, well there was the troubles, but they're a bit of a fetish; if you want a discussion of them do a Google search, you'll get plenty.

    So, then the early 80s hit. While Maggie Thatcher's own version of the Cheka were murdering people in the North, the Fianna Fail Party – a bunch of corrupt right-wingers formed after the Civil War who refer to themselves as the "Republican Party" – got their hands on the doctrines of Milton Friedman and his cronies – in watered-down form, I'm sure (these people are cretins, real troglodyte types, in both brain and body). Neo-liberalism had come to Ireland.

    The effects were slow to pick up, but the cuts in public services were quick, sharp and deep. The free-market warrior who implemented them was a man called Ray MacSharry. He quickly became known as "Mac the Knife", after the seedy character in Brecht's "Threepenny Opera". He finished his career, like many of the characters we will meet along the way and also like many Friedmanesque reformers, in public disgrace – he was involved in a Watergate-style scandal, using police equipment to tape some of his colleagues. But no worries, even if an Irish politician ends his career in the proverbial stocks he'll always be able to make himself a small fortune in the business world – where moral vice turns into practical virtue.

    The cuts of the 1980s were to be felt for the ensuing decades. It might be expected that during the boom years the funding would be restored. To expect that would be to misunderstand the nature of the "boom". One of the main policy measures which allowed the boom to take place was an extremely low corporation tax rate. Ireland was never able to fund its public services because it was, and still is, a tax haven for international corporations – an international money-launderer. We launder so much corporate money that economists don't measure our economic growth in terms of GDP (the standard international measure), but instead measure it in terms of GNP, so that we don't take into account all the money the corporations are washing through Ireland to avoid paying taxes in the countries where they set up shop. Somehow I doubt that magazines like the Economist took nuggets like these into account when they were championing Ireland as an economic paradise some years back.

    In the mid-1990s economic growth was starting to pick up and by the late-90s it was accelerating at a rapid pace. The right-wingers were patting themselves on the back for their infinite cleverness. The stupidly named "Celtic Tiger" was here (the term is cut-and-pasted from the "Asian Tiger" phenomenon – further evidence that the international business press is full of drooling idiots and lobotomised hacks – especially since the Asian Tigers imploded in 1997-98).

    To anyone who maintained their sobriety during this period it was remarkably obvious that the boom was dangerously unsustainable.

    Actually, I won't say "maintained their sobriety" because anyone who was remotely realistic throughout this period would have found it hard not to reach for the bottle. You see the Irish came up with a stupid colloquial phrase to describe critical reasoning: doom and gloom.

    "Ah, Johnny", Mary would say with a moronic smile plastered on her face, "sure he's always talking doom and gloom". The RTE's (our national broadcasting service) economics editor who warned of the disaster that was coming? Doom and gloom. People who pointed out that spending your pension fund on a second home in order to turn around a quick bit of cash was a bad idea? Doom and gloom.

    Throughout the so-called Celtic Tiger period the unquestioning subservience the Irish people had learnt under the rule of the Catholic Church fused with the facile optimism of the consumerist age to create a chemical compound of mass-stupefaction. Why vote out the corrupt bastards that were fleecing the country when a new Tommy Hilfiger shop had opened in the city centre (this one has jeans that come pre-faded!)?

    Oh, and the corruption… no, I won't move on to the corruption quite yet, we'll stick with the culture of the era for the moment. You see, Ireland modernised remarkably fast – culturally speaking. Don't get me wrong, I'm truly thankful for this – it really isn't a bad thing when large swaths of the population stop believing that the immaculate Virgin has appeared in Bally-nowhere to tell some sexually abused girl that God loves her.

    The Irish culturally modernised by leaps and bounds. Most people of my generation sneer at the mention of organised religion – or at the very least are fairly flippant about the whole thing. But if history has taught us nothing it is that one superstition will inevitably be replaced by another. China got Maoism; we got consumerism.

    A strange sort of consumerism it was too. The Irish writer Brendan Behan once said "Other people have a nationality. The Irish and the Jews have a psychosis". How right he was. When both these peoples tried to forge their own national identities they were horrified to find a big, dark void where their nationality was supposed to be. The Zionists went mental – existential threat this and holocaust that. The Irish weren't quite so unfortunate. They hung onto the whole Catholic thing for a while; but ditched that whole miserable affair at the first chance they got. When the imported American cultural goods started to arrive by the shipload, the shopping malls began to fill up – Dawn of the Dead style.

    Then something weird started happening – young people started mimicking the characters they saw on inane MTV-style shows like "The OC" and "One Tree Hill". Why is this weird? Well, it's a matter of geography, really. You see, we're not L.A. – we're REALLY not L.A. Ireland has shit weather – really, really shit weather (the Irish burn significant amounts of carbohydrates just complaining about it). So when you see the guys (yes, we say "guys" now) wearing beach shorts in the pouring rain, or the girls doing the oompa-loompa through the application of fake tan, it's just that – a little weird.

    Anyway, let's move away from the cultural pathologies and get back to the political pathologies. Corruption got pretty bad – no, scratch that… corruption got really bad. One of the major figures of the 1980s reforms was on-again off-again Taoiseach (translation: Prime Minister) Charles Haughey. Haughey was a crooked bastard and everyone knew it. A total pisshead (translation: regular consumer of alcoholic beverage) and a notorious womaniser; he was also embroiled in an IRA arms deal in 1970. "Cool", you say? Don't let this fool you – as I said earlier Irish nationalism is a murky ideology; where greed mixes with social responsibility and venture capitalist drug-dealers form alliances with committed socialists.

    Through the eighties Haughey amassed a small fortune by accepting bribes from scumbag businessmen. He even bought himself an island – yes, that's right, the Irish Taoiseach had his own island-lair! But it wasn't your typical lair. It didn't have sharks and scuba-men swimming around it or a skull-cave housing a biological warhead. Instead of playing the Bond villain, Haughey used to take helicopter trips to the island with his buddies on the weekends (his son owned Ireland's biggest helicopter firm) and they all used to get so thrashed on whisky that many claimed Haughey couldn't work properly come Monday. Corruption – Irish style.

    Haughey pretty much got away with it too. Everyone thought he was a scumbag – well apart from his elite buddies, and that's all that matters. Unfortunately corrupt bastards don't pay for their crimes in Ireland; they merely step down from public office, go in front of some bullshit tribunal that goes nowhere and end up in a cushy business job or live out the rest of their days on their private islands – drinking their brains out.

    For the rich boozing isn't the escape it is for the poor. Instead it's a Bacchic dance of transgression. The elites in Ireland don expensive clothes, go to the trendy spots and get absolutely trashed. Enter one of these hip clubs and you'll encounter the décor of a Parisian restaurant, the dress of an awards ceremony – and the stagnant stench of an alley bar. Approach one of the sneering patrons they'll tell you, in their stressed, pretentious accent, all about their wealth, about their loathing for the poor – then they'll stumble, try to steady themselves and fall on their ass. Coke is popular too – the perfect drug for Ireland's verbose, yet vapid elite. What these people seek is a chemical to accentuate their vulgar arrogance – and vulgar it is. There's no class about this arrogance. There's no ironic distance toward it – it's fully felt, fully embraced. Many Irish elites would get-off on telling you just how brilliant they are. There's no need for culture of any kind – say, talking about Renoir or Joyce as a point of prestige – the arrogance sells itself. This is an attitude of pure brilliance, esteem and privilege and it feeds the corruption like cancerous tumour feeds off its host body – why would you have any responsibilities for a society and a country which you are so far above?

    The corruption theme is a tired one in Irish political discourse – as drawn out and tedious as an Al Gore speech. To give a recent example take our last Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern (another Fianna Fail-er). You've probably seen him before. He's the stammering, dithery monkey-man in the shabby suit you often see standing next to world leaders, complete with shit-eating grin. Ahern was also disgraced for taking bribes from dodgy businessmen and stepped down from his government office. As the financial crisis unravelled and the activities of some of the bankers came to light Ahern commented that "he'd only taken a few bribes" – a perfect example of the sense of arrogance and untouchability that pervades Ireland's elite. Interestingly, Ahern's autobiography went on to be a best-seller.

    This is another thing people need to understand about Ireland. Ask the average Irish person what they think of the politicians. "Feckin' corrupt eejits", you'll be told – but in reality what Shaun O' Shaughnassy really wants is to cultivate that drive to fuck over other people himself. This is what a large portion of the Irish population looks for in Ahern's autobiography – but they find themselves only able to apply it in the most petty manner; say, by hiring a builder off-the-books, or by ripping their customers off by selling overpriced crap through their shit businesses. These people, who sneer at the arrogance and corruption of the elites, really just want in on the game.

    In Ireland we have a term for the attitude of the corrupt (yes, another): "cuteness". Cuteness is a strange one; it's a sort of mix between criticism and praise. "Ah… he's a cute bastard" means at once "He's a corrupt dickhead" and at the same time something like "He's very clever". In reality these people aren't in any way clever – they're simply ruthless. They're the type of people you wouldn't leave your wallet around – and the Irish people have an intense love-hate relationship with them. The average Irishman's conscience says "no, what these people do is wrong", but the little Bertie Ahern-shaped devil on their shoulder says "ah, go on – no one will notice, you'll get away with it!".

    In following these supposedly lovable rogues – and again I stress there's nothing lovable about these rogues, they're just crooks – Ireland has walked blindly into an economic catastrophe. As mentioned earlier an enormous property bubble inflated during the so-called Tiger. Who would have thought that a sty of corruption would be fertile ground for a speculative bubble to emerge? Well, emerge it did. Property prices went wild – prices tripled between 2000 and 2006.

    People were fed the illusion of wealth. Their bank accounts were empty, as part of our economic policy was to artificially stifle wages, but people thought that because their house was worth €500k they were in the big leagues. Like a punter at a street-corner playing three-card monte, the Irish people bought what they were sold in a dizzy state of unquestioning optimism.

    Then it all crashed. What a bang it was! The floors fell out of these houses; their value dropped into the netherworlds. Then the banks started going under. One after another they imploded. Property developer after property developer was discovered to have been bribing corrupt government officials. As in most developed countries, for most people the "boom" was never a boom at all – it was merely the using of the public purse to generate a speculation induced bourgeois orgasm. There was public outcry. Things really started to heat up. And then… silence.

    As things quietened down, the government began setting up NAMA (National Asset Management Agency). NAMA makes the US bailouts look as transparent as a Spielberg film. The scheme pumped money into some of the worst banks; institutions that should have died a death, but instead were kept on life-support. Joseph Stiglitz, speaking at Ireland's main university, commented "Countries which allow banks to go under by following the ordinary rules of capitalism have done fine. The US has let 100 banks go this year alone, as did Sweden and Norway in their crises… this bank bailout is a simple transfer from taxpayers to bondholders, and it will saddle generations to come. The only thing that might give you solace is that, as chief economist of the World Bank, we see this type of thing happening in banana republics all over the world. Whenever a banking crisis happens, the financial sector uses the turmoil as a mechanism to transfer wealth from the general population to themselves."

    Stiglitz's comparison to a banana republic is apt. In those countries the ruling elite is so tightly knit, so closely interlinked that one of them couldn't roll over in bed without getting a hand job from another. Here we see another of Ireland's political diseases: localism. We're a small community, with good social ties. "How lovely", you might think, "I might go there on holiday" – but throw unregulated capitalism in the mix; then what you get is a tightly knit oligopoly whose members literally all know each other.

    The Fianna Fail government, for example, used to have a tent at the country's major horse-racing event where they would drink with the biggest property developers and cut deals. No one else was allowed in. No citizens; no press. You didn't need a cool password or a complicated handshake to get in – you just needed your face to be recognised. "Jimmy, come on in, boy. Wait'll I tell ye about this luvely piece-a land the Dublin council has and can't afford to develop because we fucked them in the budget…".

    So when the property developers' banks went under the government drove the tax-payers money in by the truckload without thinking twice about it.

    Then the debt crisis hit. The politicians realised that they'd been haemorrhaging cash on utter shit – such as electronic voting machines that didn't work – and now the government budget was fucked. Last January the budget was announced – two words: bad medicine. And people's attitude? Those involved in running the country – political types, legal peeps, businessmen etc – have a weird masochistic attitude toward the whole thing. They take this weird pleasure in implementing the cuts. It's a binge and purge mentality – and these people seem eager to administer the enema. The average worker, on the other hand, just feels powerless and finds solace in typical Irish cynicism – and drink, lots and lots of overpriced drink (we tax drink loads – ostensibly to stop people drinking so much, but really because it's such an easy target).

    So when you're out drinkin', singin' and reminiscin' remember that the ol' Emerald Isles aren't the paradise many purport them to be. There ain't no rainbow folks. No pot of gold either. Just a rather backward country that failed to modernise its institutions properly; that is now being run by an almost nihilistic group of cynics who know they can get away with almost anything – and which is now paying the price, big time.

    Ireland followed the route that so many countries have since the late-1970s (Russia, the United States, Chile, Indonesia etc): neo-liberalism. They used economic policy to float the wealth to the top of the pond where it collected, like scum, until it smothered all those that lived beneath. In Ireland this was undertaken in a cultural atmosphere that many will be celebrating today.

    To end on a more positive note: [raises glass] Here's to the death of neo-liberalism, Reaganism, Thatcherism and monetarism!!! [swigs].

    Happy St. Patrick's Day eXiled readers!!! Have a fucking mad one!!!

    [May 07, 2011] Markey- GOP now means 'get old people'

    May 05, 2011 | Citizens for Legitimate Government

    Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) has a new definition for GOP: "Get Old People." At a press briefing detailing Democrats' strategy to lower gas prices, the ranking member of the House Natural Resources Committee accused Republicans of "drilling into the pockets of grandma and grandpa" to give tax breaks for the oil industry.
    "GOP now stands for 'Gas and Oil Party,' and we're going to make sure the American people understand that," Markey said. GOP, he quickly added, also stands for "Get Old People."

    [May 03, 2011] JSOC The Black Ops Force That Took Down Bin Laden

    "...the NSA and CIA have been shut down and their personnel are being reassigned to a brand new Wall Street and Washington Ethics Police Force. " ;-)
    May 03, 2011 | The Nation


    I imagined aloud that Obama was going to immediately step back to the mike, after having seemingly finished, to throw in an, "Oh, by the way, I've officially shut down Guantanamo Bay for good, and as of today, the War on Terror is officially declared "won", ALL of our troops and "contractors" are on their way home as I speak, Bradley Manning has been freed on his own recognizance, and the NSA and CIA have been shut down and their personnel are being reassigned to a brand new Wall Street and Washington Ethics Police Force. That is all. Good night, and God bless America."

    [May 01, 2011] Economist's View Needed A Clearer Crystal Ball


    "Can we really call them theories? What do their predictions say, . . . "

    In the 2003 presidential address to the American Economic Association, Robert E. Lucas, Jnr of the University of Chicago said:

    "My thesis in this lecture is that macroeconomics in this original sense has succeeded: Its central problem of depression-prevention has been solved, for all practical purposes, and has in fact been solved for many decades."

    and B. Benanke. B.Bernanke highlights:

    "The increased depth and sophistication of financial markets, deregulation in many industries, the shift away from manufacturing toward services, and increased openness to trade and international capital flows are other examples of structural changes that may have increased macroeconomic flexibility and stability."

    [Apr 26, 2011] Texas Manufacturing survey shows slower expansion in April


    ac wrote:

    It sure makes it hard to talk about economics though!

    Naaa. Come on, that's EASY. Just focus on the Botox index growth. German cars are doing great. Cruise ships going like gangbusters.

    Rob Dawg:

    I don't think we are seeing lies so much as an epic case of survivors bias.

    black dog:

    Good thing we've saved enough in this recovery to cover the coming recession


    shill :

    Manufacturing is so 40's and 50's...we have I-pads now.

    mock turtle:

    New Texican wrote:

    What are they manufacturing? Pace Picante Sauce?

    they manufacture political dynasties

    [Apr 25, 2011] Mirabile Dictu! Economists Agree All the Fed Has Done is Goose Financial Markets!

    naked capitalism


    The kind of easing we really need is a dose of financial salts and a toilet that flushes into space.

    Fat Tom Cat:

    What are you talking about!? QE2 worked wonders for me. I got 50 billion interest free, with which I kick started my Grand Strategy of buying up the entire state of Michigan. That money was instrumental in helping defund Detroit's public schools and foreclosing on all the deadbeats whose property I wanted, 5000 houses in total. It also helped me finance the closure of 25 more manufacturing plants, and the outsourcing of 32,000 jobs to China. I also contributed 10 million of it to my favorite Tea Party governors' Swiss bank accounts for the good work they have been doing for me. Finally, I used 500 million of it to fund my FatCat Foundation so that my and my children's interests aree looked after in perpetuity. So I don't want to hear another bad word about QE2 or MY Fed, MY Bernanke, MY Geithner, MY government, and MY USA. This is MY country now - you're all just tenants here. Got that?!

    Fat Tom Cat

    Bill Black Fiat Justitia Ruat Caelum (Let Justice be Done, Though the Heavens Fall) "

    April 17, 2011 | naked capitalism

    Eureka Springs:

    The system is completely corrupted, criminals are still in charge/own both parties.

    Do something!

    Get out of either party… if you are still there… shame on you. If you are a member of or even kind to other members for remaining members of the D or R party you are part of the problem. Demand everyone from Obama to Boehner step down today. Dismantle both of those criminal party organizations. Resist! … be that through tax revolt, or stop paying on liars loans/ inevitable fraudclosure, high credit card rates…. there are countless ways to at the very least limit your participation in the big ponzi.

    Get out of big banks… even if you have little money.

    It is way past time for us to refuse the ponzi instead of just gasping at it.

    And never ever give the Yglesias pearl-clutchers of the world a click.


    I love you.

    FatCat :

    FatCat here. I honestly don't understand why all the bitching here, because I had a great year. Just got my tax refund (all 100 million of it), plus a nice 2 billion tax credit for all my good environmental work (I am THE major shareholder in British Petroleum). plus 700 million in subsidies for all my biofuel investments (using top notch Monsanto genetically engineered corn).

    I also got my fair share (2 billion dollars, to be exact) of America's."foreign aid" for all my sales of cluster bombs to Israel and Libya. Plus, I made a handsome 1.5 billion dollars in tax-free bonuses for all my good work on the boards of Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, Citibank, and Bank of America, as well as United Healthcase, Blue Cross Blue Shield, and, last but not least, AIG. I had a great year, as did all my friends.

    So why all the bitching?! Please explain yourselves…


    [Apr 17, 2011] Guest Post Too Much Finance

    April 15, 2011 | naked capitalism


    I am fine with the big banks expanding into the emerging markets.

    The fastest and most effective way to disembowel our competition is to have these firms set up shop in places like China. One decade, and those countries will be brought to heel with massive financial crises.

    Beats the heck out of having to invade them with soldiers.

    [Apr 17, 2011] Stone McCarthy Sees Severe Economic Deterioration In April, And Q2, As A Result Of Japanese Supply Chain Destruction

    This is what happens when you misperceive creative destruction as just pure f*&ken destruction.
    04/15/2011 | zero hedge

    Lately we have heard of occasional documented cases of ear canal bleeding exhibited by people who have been listening too long to morons on TV (and in print) saying that the Japanese economic slow down and supply chain collapse won't have an impact on the US Economy, and will, in fact, be beneficial (it's not pronounced Döuche Bengk).

    To our immense satisfaction we have confirmed this latest outbreak of bacillus idioticus is localized (to below Canal street), is so far not airborne, and is merely contained to the water supply on Wall Street. In a note just released by a far more credible source of analytic information than anything coming out from Wall Street in the past 3 years: Stone McCarthy, we discover just why the cut to Q1 GDP is about to be magnified for Q2 (and quite possibly for the rest of the year). From SMRA: "According to Automotive News, Japan's big seven automakers have lost more than half a million units of domestic production.

    The most affected automaker is Toyota, which lost 260,000 units since the March 11 earthquake. How about the U.S.? Will U.S. economic output be affected by the supply disruptions to the Japanese auto manufacturers? The answer is unequivocally yes and the economic impact will be quite severe in April and for Q2 as a whole." There, it wasn't that difficult to admit the truth now, was it.

    [Apr 07, 2011] Fat cats, dirty politics rule on McConnell's farm By TOM BERRY

    July 6, 2000 | Kentucky New Era

    During a recent election on Old McConnell's farm, the other animals were shouted down by a very large, sneering, boisterous pig with a bullhorn.

    The pig's endless squealing was so deafening that the other animals could not be heard voicing their opinions about whether the horse or the cow should become barnyard leader.

    The pig defended his "free speech rights" by saying his voice should be the only one heard because he was rich, privileged and could afford an expensive bullhorn while others could not. After all, uninformed, poverty-stricken, democratically deceived peasants don't care or don't matter anyway.

    "This is about free speech," snorted the pig. "Old McConnell has determined that the animal with the might ($$$) is the animal that is right. If the rest of you cannot be heard - well, that's the American way."

    Here, there, and everywhere

    April 5, 2011 | naked capitalism

    Attacking another aspect of Dodd-Frank, Mr. Dimon said rules requiring companies to put up collateral as they trade derivatives would "damage America". Gesturing at the chief executive of Caterpillar, Mr. Dimon predicted the industrial company would take its derivatives business to Singapore.

    Salviati :

    The banksters can relocate their business operations to Hell and take their clients and the Fed with them.


    Are you suggesting they might not be doing god's work?


    Perhaps. But you never know, I could be a Satanist. After all, I did spend a good amount of my adult life working for the bottom feeding banksters.

    To be honest, Hell is too pleasant a place for these scoundrels, I can envision it clear as day. Dante's jaw gasping in the 9th level of Hell, at the sight of Llodd Blankfein devouring Satan.


    I love the smell of derivatives in the morning.


    A new country needs to be founded called Neo-Liberia that all corporations including banks can re-locate to. There'll be no taxes and so no government to speak of so it will pretty much be like Somalia but at least everybody can be free to be as greedy as they want.

    [Apr 05, 2011] Blacklisted Economics Professor Found Dead NC Publishes His Last Letter

    Brilliant satire. April 1 joke, but the fools are not people who thought this was real economics (if any). Hat Tip to Yves Smith...
    Apr 04, 2011 | naked capitalism

    Professor Outis Philalithopoulos was found dead in his home three days ago; the coroner's report cited natural causes that were left unspecified. Unfortunately, all of the professor's academic work has disappeared; the only trace left appears to be the following letter, which he sent to an admirer shortly before his death. The understandably concerned recipient of the letter has shared its contents with Naked Capitalism, and has insisted that her identity be protected.

    Dear * * *,

    Reading your generous letter was an unexpectedly encouraging experience. I rarely feel that others truly understand the purport of my theories, but when I see a high school student such as yourself navigate her way through the vilifications that surrounds my work, it makes me want to redouble my efforts to explain my ideas to a larger audience.

    Q: How did you become the most courageous economics professor of our time?

    A: Really, you are far too kind. I never thought of myself as anyone out of the ordinary while working as a young PhD on technical questions in Public Choice theory. As you probably know, Public Choice is the pathbreaking theory that demystified the decisions of politicians, showing that they act rationally in order to maximize their own economic benefits.

    Soon after receiving tenure, it occurred to me that we were being profoundly inconsistent. While we had correctly criticized the previous mainstream view that politics involved benevolent efforts to serve the common good, we had failed to apply the same rigor to the community of academic economists. As a result, we were modeling both economic and political actors as self-interested utility-maximizing agents, while continuing to see economics professors as idealistic pursuers of truth. I decided to correct this oversight by developing my theory of Academic Choice, in which economists are theorized as rational agents who continually seek to maximize their future earnings potential.

    Q: The way I would describe Academic Choice theory is that it is "the sociology of economists, without romance." Is this right?

    A: What an insightful comment. As you say, Academic Choice theory is a descriptive project, with no normative orientation. We apply a critical approach in order to counterbalance pervasive earlier notions of economists as scientific heroes struggling against popular ignorance in order to serve the common good.

    What would you identify as the central insights of Academic Choice theory? The theory begins by identifying three principal ways in which economists try to maximize their utility.

    Q: Is it really plausible that economists threaten top banks that in the absence of some kind of payoff, they will change the theories they teach in a direction that is less favorable to the banks?

    A: There are certainly cases in history of the following sequence:

    a. Economist E espouses views that are less favorable to certain special interest groups S. Doing so threatens the ability of S to extract rent from the public.
    b. Later, E changes his view, thereby withdrawing the prior threat.
    c. Still later, E is paid large amounts of money by representatives of S in exchange for services that do not appear particularly onerous.

    For example, let E = Larry Summers and let S = the financial services industry. In 1989 E was (a) a supporter of the Tobin tax, which threatened to reduce the rent extracted by S. This threat was apparently later withdrawn (b), and in 2008 E was paid $5.2 million (c) in exchange for working at the hedge fund D. E. Shaw (an element of S) for one day a week.

    However, it is naturally more difficult to witness the negotiations in which specific threats were appeased with specific future payouts. This is a problem that also bedevils Public Choice theory, in which it is likewise difficult to show exactly how a particular politician is remunerated in exchange for threatening businesses with anti-business legislation. The theory assures us that such negotiations occur, although they are difficult to observe directly. Perhaps further theoretical advances will help us to close this gap.

    Q: Isn't it offensive to assume that economists, for motives of personal gain, shade their theoretical allegiances in the directions preferred by powerful interest groups?

    A: How could it ever be offensive to assume that a person acts rationally in pursuit of maximizing his or her own utility? I'm afraid I don't understand this question.

    Q: Is there a "behavioral" version of Academic Choice theory, in which the basic premises are enriched by the possibility that economists sometimes act irrationally?

    A: Great question. One of my students developed just such a theory – he postulated that economists sometimes do act benevolently, but they have access to limited information and are subject to cognitive biases. Under these assumptions, he proved that economists would produce theories that are flawed in similar ways to what is independently predicted by Academic Choice.

    However, while his dissertation was unquestionably a valuable contribution to the literature, I am personally convinced that the original Academic Choice theory is more empirically realistic. Studies have shown that many people do act irrationally, but not economists – to the extent possible, their decision-making conforms to the model of Homo economicus.

    Q: If the theories of economists are harmful to the general welfare, why doesn't someone try to persuade the public that these theories are mistaken?

    A: Collective action in this sense is infeasible. If we instead consider the efforts of a single individual, the cost in terms of time and effort of discrediting an economic theory is substantial, while the benefits are dispersed over many people and so are comparatively small. In any case, the efforts of one person are unlikely to be decisive in swinging the consensus of economists away from a given erroneous theory. It follows logically that the rational decision for an intellectual consumer is to be inactive on this front, and even to be ignorant of the flaws in economic theory.

    It might be thought that when economic theories are marred by particularly glaring problems, the public would notice. However, the consequence may simply be to select for economic theories that are particularly difficult for the public to evaluate, without implying any increase in the aggregate accuracy of such theories.

    Q: Do you simply assume based on the theory that people are generally ignorant about mistakes in economic theories, or are there other reasons why you would think this?

    A: Public Choice scholar Bryan Caplan was able to prove empirically that democracy subsidizes irrational beliefs. He looked at one political issue after another and found that the views of voters are very different from the mainstream views of economists and are therefore obviously irrational. I would love to be able to prove that intellectual consumers are ignorant of biases in economic theories with an equal degree of rigor, but so far have not thought of a way. See, however, the response to your next question.

    The core claim of Academic Choice is that valid economic theories are an underprovided public good, due to a combination of academic entrepreneurship and rational public ignorance. Is this merely a prediction of the mathematical models, or is there real world evidence of this claim? Originally I did arrive at this result as a logical consequence of the theoretical model; however, the prediction has since been corroborated through empirical investigations.

    Consider the following seven propositions. All of them have been effectively promoted and publicized by academic economists:

    P1. (e.g. Greenspan) It is unnecessary to worry about deception in financial markets since market discipline will make sure that dishonest agents are permanently ostracized.
    P2. (Clarke) A person whose income is 100 times as large as that of another person has contributed exactly 100 times as much to the general welfare.
    P3. (First Welfare Theorem) Corporations, if left to themselves, will always provide employment to everyone and produce an economy featuring constant recession-free growth.
    P4. (Arrow-Debreu) A necessary condition for this ideal economy is the availability of arbitrarily complicated securities that reference cash flows in all times, in all places, and in all ways imaginable.
    P5. (Borrowing at the Risk-Free Rate) Economic institutions should be designed under the assumption that whenever a firm or bank tries to obtain a low interest loan, it succeeds.
    P6. (1997/2008) If a Third World country has a banking crisis, bedrock principles of economics dictate that its largest banks should be allowed to fail and be acquired by U.S. and European banks. However, if the U.S. has a banking crisis, bedrock principles of economics dictate that its largest banks should be saved through massive subsidies from the public.
    P7. (EMH, etc.) It is impossible for investment funds to beat the market. However, the current capital market system centered around funds trying to beat the market is this most perfect system conceivable by human beings.

    As a bright high school student like yourself can clearly see, the list consists entirely of statements that are obviously wrong, and several of them are internally inconsistent. If economists were simply confused, we would expect to find no pattern in these statements. Instead, as predicted by Academic Choice, statements P1-P7 all directly enable rent-seeking by certain influential minorities (financial sector employees and corporate executives). Moreover, P1-P7 have also helped to generate market discontinuities with significant public costs, among which the recent global financial crisis.

    Q: Some of your critics have insinuated that the true aim of your research is to restore faith in the possibilities of democracy. How do you respond?

    A: I confess feeling rather hurt by this accusation. Let me explain to you, though, the reasons for this misunderstanding. A generation of Public Choice economists had proposed guidance by economic theories as an efficient alternative to the mistakes inherent in democratic processes, or in other words, to political market imperfections. Academic Choice suggests, however, that once one introduces "academic" market imperfections, we may need to confront the possibility that far from correcting political failures, the authority of economists may actually prove to be a source of further distortions in the economy, leading to what I call the "academic dissipation of value."

    This much is correct. However, to make the leap to assuming that I intentionally created Academic Choice theory in order to favor democracy is malicious and unfair – it is just like claiming that the main goal of the founders of Public Choice was to discredit politics.

    Q: What kinds of proposals could help to minimize value destruction by academic economists?

    A: You are quite right that from the point of view of the public this issue looms large. Even in most Western democracies, more than half of the total GDP is allocated according to principles promoted by agents subject to Academic Choice dynamics, i.e. economists. One simple remedy to the large negative externalities generated through their academic entrepreneurship could be to shrink the size of the sector of academic economists.

    Another approach is indicated by the game theoretic insight that winning strategies in competitive games usually involve a random element. Following this principle, ever since antiquity trials have been decided by juries who are chosen by lot. We should therefore strongly consider periodically repopulating economics departments with people selected at random.

    Q: How are your personal relations with your economist colleagues?

    A: When I began to develop Academic Choice theory, I fully expected resistance from historians of science, since I knew they would see me as trespassing on their terrain. But I was heartbroken when I realized that colleagues in my own departments now regarded me with something akin to hatred. I tried to help them to see the elegance of my mathematical models and proofs, but their hostility continued unabated: no one would publish my articles, and even my most promising graduate students were refused jobs everywhere. I could not understand how my attempt to extend the reach of economic theory had led to this rancor, and my only solace was to remind myself that Howard Roark in The Fountainhead had also been misunderstood by colleagues who did not understand his individualistic dream of creating beauty.

    But nonetheless, I persevered, and one day it dawned on me that the reactions of my colleagues were actually a startling confirmation of Academic Choice theory. After all, economists are very familiar with the free rider problem, whereby individuals take advantage of group benefits without contributing anything. In order to guard against free riders, economists had instituted the tenure process and the journal review process. And since my theories could conceivably weaken the ability of economists to extract rent in the future, they had classifed me as a free rider and were attempting to impose costs on me!

    Now that I have realized this, even the most malevolent stares of my colleagues are unable to disturb my sense of inner peace – for I realize that every attempt to disincentivize me from my chosen career path is yet another vindication of the explanatory potential of economic models.

    Q: If economists are generally self-interested utility maximizers, how can one explain your own passion to pursue the truth at all costs?

    A: I confess that your question has forced me to reconsider many things. Indeed, after thinking about the financial outcomes associated with my career, it seems hard for me to avoid the conclusion that I myself constitute a refutation to Academic Choice!

    Trying to address this paradox has led to the humbling realization that I am a flawed example of Homo economicus. In fact, I suffer from a cognitive bias known as harmonization bias – i.e., my personal utility function is distorted by virtue of ascribing positive value to harmony between the real world and my economic theories.

    My initial reaction to this disturbing discovery was fear that the validity of Academic Choice could be compromised – what if other economists also suffer from harmonization bias? Thankfully, the disorder appears to be rare in the community, and so Academic Choice theory remains applicable to the real world.

    Q: Would you recommend a research career in Academic Choice theory?

    A: There are certainly a few obstacles. You would have to resolutely conceal your interest in Academic Choice during your entire educational career, at least until you receive tenure. Once you reveal your true passion, you would have to accept both relative poverty and ceaseless acrimony on the part of your colleagues.

    Academic Choice is certainly not for everyone –at the very least, it is necessary to suffer from harmonization bias. In light of these considerations, I had begun to accept that the chances of ever finding another student willing to study Academic Choice were slim. Still, your brilliant and lively letter has led me to question my pessimism.

    Wouldn't it be marvelous to see new faces in Academic Choice! The theory is full of beautiful unsolved problems that doubtless stand only in need of a fresh examination. Maybe harmonization bias is not as rare among people in general as it is among economists. Maybe I should try to offer a scholarship for younger students. What do you think?

    Good luck with your senior research report and all the best,

    [Apr 03, 2011] Moral Code of the Builder of Capitalism

    In the left-hand-side column you find a translation of the original Moral Code of The Builder of Communism [1] which you can compare with the newly formulated Code on the right hand side. With this arrangement the unquestionable superiority of the latter can be clearly seen and appreciated. For non-monolingual people – ref. [2] contains the original text of the Code in Russian.
    Moral Code of the Builder of Communism Moral Code of the Builder of Capitalism
    1. Devotion to the cause of Communism, love of the socialist Motherland and of the socialist countries. Devotion to the cause of capitalism, love of the capitalist Motherland and of the other capitalist countries.
    2. Conscientious labor for the good of society: he who does not work, neither shall he eat. Conscientious effort to obtain a direct government assistance, the government contracts or any other form of public money: those who don't receive government funds, will only find themselves funding the government.
    3. Concern on the part of everyone for the preservation and growth of public property. Concern on the part of everyone else for the preservation and growth of public property by them for you to use
    4. High sense of public duty; intolerance of actions harmful to the public interest. High sense of capitalistic public duty and sanctity of (your) private property; intolerance of actions by others harmful to your private business interests.
    5. Collectivism and comradely mutual assistance: one for all and all for one. Individualism and readiness to fight for your piece of pie: each one for himself, against everyone. Remember: the only goal of any business is to make the owner richer than other people, so the others might be permitted to benefit only if it cannot be avoided.
    6. Humane relations and mutual respect between individuals: man is to man a friend Show humility and do respect the potential strength of others – up until you have measured them up: human humanum lupus est. Remember: competition is the primary driving force of capitalism. Elimination of the competition is the fastest road to your financial success.
    7. Honesty and truthfulness, moral purity, unpretentiousness and modesty in social and private life. Public display of appearance of honesty and truthfulness, libertarian moral purity Friedman-style, unpretentiousness and modesty in social and private life (so as not to disturb the plebs too much).
    8. Mutual respect in the family, concern for the upbringing of children. Mutual respect in the own family – proportional to the individual contributions to the family budget, concern for the upbringing of your own children in accordance with this code. Remember that your family are just people – they are as much after your money as anyone else.
    9. Irreconcilability towards injustice, parasitism, dishonesty, careerism, and profiteering. Irreconcilability towards unjust distribution of unearned income to others, including social benefits. Fight dishonesty, careerism and all other attempts of profiteering by hired labor force.
    10. Friendship and brotherhood among all peoples of the USSR, intolerance of national and racial hatred. If and when – and only if & when – this helps your business – open and public display of friendship and brotherhood among all people, intolerance of national and racial hatred. In other cases you will be a fool not to use such inexpensive tool as racism to efficiently reduce the cost of hired labor.
    11. Intolerance towards the enemies of communism, peace, and freedom of nations. Intolerance towards the enemies of capitalism, enemies of peace (if you are not in defense industry) and enemies of the freedom of other nations to follow your nation's understanding of economic liberty principles appropriate for them.
    12. Fraternal solidarity with the working people of all countries, and with all peoples. Fraternal solidarity with capitalists of all countries up until you see a chance to rip them off dry.

    [Apr 03, 2011] "NASHI" Chicago-style (updated)

    "None of Browder's voluntary or otherwise "assistants" was paid from the billions Hermitage & Co made in Russia, but why should have they been paid? They were asked to do what was their job anyway, right?"
    Browder's "business model"
    1. Find a potentially undervalued stock. Use what essentially is an industrial espionage to find why the stock is underperforming and who is stealing what – and I am sure we were not told how Browder's "research department" got access to at least some databases and how much they paid or promised to pay for the access or even for an opportunity to invest.
    2. Buy the stock – while it is cheap – and then by organizing a public campaign, effectively force the state and police to clean up all the mess in the companies you have just bought
    3. Bingo! The sight of your stock flying up so high starts to generate in your body those precious cocaine-like chemicals you are addicted to. Your personal wealth does not need to be mentioned – it is linked to the chemicals by a magic formula..

    Is anything wrong there? After all, the public got what they wanted – a proof to the gut feeling that there is something (or everything) deeply wrong with the Russian model of "capitalism", the capitalists" themselves and, especially – with the idea that the government offices, where everyone employed strictly follows The Moral Code of The Builder of Capitalism, can think about and do anything other than the enrichment of the tenants of these same offices. The Russian MVD … well, was not it their job in the first place? Surely, they must be thankful. The government? ..Should not they be happy that someone helped them to fight corruption, to make the population happy and to make Russian business to look more attractive for overseas investors? None of Browder's voluntary or otherwise "assistants" was paid from the billions Hermitage & Co made in Russia, but why should have they been paid? They were asked to do what was their job anyway, right?

    Or something is not quite right? Could it be that at a certain point in time his activities started to look like it was Browder who was running the whole country instead of the Russian Government? By effectively forcing the Russian Government structures to do what he wanted them to do?

    [Mar 30, 2011] Out of the crooked timber of humanity, no straight thing was ever made

    "With notably rare exceptions, Russian Roulette is a fun, safe game for all the family to play,"
    Crooked Timber

    Alan Greenspan is back as free market evangelist, and it's rather wonderful.

    Today's competitive markets, whether we seek to recognise it or not, are driven by an international version of Adam Smith's "invisible hand" that is unredeemably opaque. With notably rare exceptions (2008, for example), the global "invisible hand" has created relatively stable exchange rates, interest rates, prices, and wage rates.

    It's best not to interpret this as an empirical claim, but a carefully-thought-out bid for Internet immortality. It has the sublime combination of supreme self-confidence and utter cluelessness of previously successful memes such as "I am aware of all Internet traditions" and the "argument that has never been made in such detail or with such care," but with added Greenspanny goodness. I tried to think of useful variations on the way in to work this morning – "With notably rare exceptions, Russian Roulette is a fun, safe game for all the family to play," and "With notably rare exceptions, (the Third Punic War for example), the Carthaginian war machine was extremely successful," but none do proper justice to the magnificence of the original. But then, that's why we have commenters. Have at it.


    "With notably rare exceptions, Newt Gingrich is a loyal and faithful husband."


    With notable rare exceptions Glenn Beck is a rational and conscientious media personality. .

    [Mar 29, 2011] Case Shiller Dismal Start to Home Prices

    March 29, 2011 | The Big Picture


    Speaking as a proud American, I'm so happy that the poor cilvil servants who work so hard are weathering this housing crash so well in Washington. They all deserve our continuing support.


    Yes, BennyProfane; our men and woman in uniform, serving the military-industrial complex, deserve a market with overpriced houses – that is the least we can do for them.

    [Mar 29, 2011] In Today's Round Of "Guess The Macrosievert Emission" We Have Fred "Napoleon Dynamite" Mishkin

    Everyone's favorite Iceland expert, Fred "Napoelon Dynamite" Mishkin was on Bloomberg TV today. He said a bunch of stuff. None of it mattered, for the simple reason that as has been now confirmed beyond a reasonable doubt, Mishkin will say anything that he is paid $___ to say. In other words, only those who enjoy experiencing subdural hematomas from absorbing macrosievert emissions of hypocrisy, should subject themselves to the following clip.

    [Mar 25, 2011] Nice Obamism

    it's simply dishonest

    "So it's not a war; it's a kinetic military action that is time-limited and contribution-limited on the front end."

    [Mar 25, 2011] Good News- Only 83% Say Now is a Bad Time to Find a Quality Job

    A recent Gallup survey shows Gallup's Job Creation Index Sees Its Best Week Since Sept. 2008

    While 83% of Americans in a separate question think March 2011 is a "bad time" to find a quality job, this is the lowest percentage since October 2008. Still, for more than two years, at least 8 in 10 Americans have been pessimistic about the job market.

    [Mar 23, 2011] Fox News - Less Honest than Dictatorships

    March 22, 2011 | The Big Picture


    It's all so obvious, BR.

    Blitzer and Robertson just don't love freedom.

    Either Sarah Palin with her sensitive Libya contacts, or a local Tea Party chapter there in Tripoli, keeps the Fox News journalists informed of all the facts they could ever need.

    [Mar 23, 2011] Fannie and Freddie Hiding Over $100 Billion of Losses "

    March 23, 2011 | naked capitalism

    Three things are no longer possible in this culture:

    Goin' South says:

    1) being too cynical;

    2) being too skeptical of TPTB; and

    3) appreciate a parody – reality always outdo it.

    [Mar 22, 2011] BaRaCK's LaTiN AMeRiCaN VaCaTioN CuT SHoRT by williambanzai7


    Evidently, the Teleprompter in Chief has finally surmised that it is not a good idea to go on a state vacation the same time you decide to wage a new war, the third largest world economy and a key ally is in the middle of a Level 5 nuclear disaster and epic natural catastrophe and your Ponzi reserve currency is in a tailspin.

    This being so, our second highest priest (behind his Hindmost Bernanke) has decided to cut his Latin American vacation stop in El Salvador short by two whole hours according to Reuters.

    But before he departs, he will be able to skype a conference call with his national security team, consult some replica Mayan doomsday calendars and dress in traditional highly priestly garb.

    [Mar 21, 2011] obama-strategy-share-credit-and-blame MICHAEL D. SHEAR

    Too bad that Obama is just a political animal...
    March 15, 2011

    "As they prepare to wage political war against President Obama, the potential 2012 Republican candidates are doing everything they can to draw sharp distinctions with him.

    But Mr. Obama isn't cooperating.

    Rather than emphasize his differences with potential Oval Office rivals or Republican adversaries on Capitol Hill, the president is taking every opportunity he can to embrace members of the other party as co-conspirators in his efforts to confront the country's challenges.

    According to Mr. Obama, the two parties have cooperated -- or are showing signs of being willing to work together -- on education reform, tax cuts, energy security, economic growth and potential changes to an entitlement system that has become a drain on the nation's budget."

    [Mar 19, 2011] Is Nuclear Power Worth the Risk

    March 19, 2011 | naked capitalism

    Wile E. Capote:

    I don't mind getting cancer to support the expediency of U.S. corporations' quarterly profits. It's getting cancer from Japanese radiation leaked due to their corrupt practices that I object to.


    "…we require several orders of magnitude improvement in design if it's going to be possible at all to have nuclear power with acceptable risks…"

    Improvement in design of nuclear power plants, or of human beings?

    Trust me, guys like Bush and Obama and their corporate masters could f_ck up a crowbar.

    [Mar 19, 2011] Dean Baker: TARP's Gift to Goldman-Sachs

    Dean Baker:
    Buffett Tells Country, TARP Gave Over $1 Billion to Goldman Sachs, by Dean Baker: At a time when all the tough guys in Washington are making plans to cut Social Security and Medicare benefits for high-living seniors and to cut Head Start for low-income kids, it was generous of Warren Buffett to point out that we taxpayers gave over $1 billion to Goldman Sachs through TARP. Buffett probably didn't intend to point out this fact to the country, but it is an unavoidable implication of his $2 billion profit on his loans to Goldman.

    [Mar 18, 2011] Breakfast with Dave: Market & Data Musings

    The uptrend that began in early July has come to an end; evidence is mounting that the economy and corporate earnings are losing precious momentum; it is becoming more difficult to identify what the tangible effects were under the bond buying program; the widespread view that Treasury yields will rise sharply once QE2 is over is wrong

    [Mar 18, 2011] How close is your home to a nuclear plant

    Should price of the house factor in this distance? Especially for houses within 10 miles zone...

    [Mar 18, 2011] If Banks Can Resume Dividends, Can the Fed Resume Normalized Rates-

    March 18, 2011

    Here is the punchline to the joke:

    "Overall, both the quantity and quality of capital at many large bank holding companies have improved since the financial crisis," the Fed said. "The return of capital to shareholders under appropriate conditions is a step in the process of improvement in the financial sector and will help to promote banks' long-term access to capital."

    If I didn't see the humor, I might end up crying . . .

    b_thunder :

    "The return of capital to shareholders under appropriate conditions is a step in the process of improvement in the financial sector and will help to promote banks' long-term access to capital."

    should read:

    "The TRANSFER of TAXPAYER capital to shareholders under appropriate conditions is a step in the process of ENRICHING the financial sector and will help to promote banks' long-term BONUS PAYING ability."

    [Mar 14, 2011] "Anonymous" Whistleblower Charges BofA With Large Scale Force Placed Insurance Scheme With Cooperation of Servicers

    March 14, 2011 | naked capitalism


    It's just a few bad apples who did a few questionable things. BOA is is good, solid, well-run company that is essential to the American economy and American democracy. I am sure a small fine to a few clerks at Balboa (the CEO surely could not have know or he would have not allowed such a thing) will set an example and prevent this kind of rare financial shenanigans from happening again.

    Luckily this kind of behavior is rare and small. God forbid we should see this on Wall Street at major institutions like GS or Citi. If that were the case, then I would be worried about the integrity and purpose of our financial system.

    Paul Repstock:

    Absolutely right Expat! The only reason the bulk of the money the government is printing goes into the bank accounts of a very small number of people is that the ordinary people are too narrow minded and too weak to take their fair share.

    Expat :

    I worked for Citi a while back. We had to spend a few days every quarter in anti-corruption/anti-money laundering/anti-cheating seminars. Basically, they were so busy stealing and cheating at the top that they were worried the peons would get caught and bring attention to the entire scheme.

    The guy who ran the seminar always showed the same picture of Chuck "Dancin' Fool" Prince bowing to Japanese authorities as part of his penance for some pension mis-selling by by Citi Japan. After the third time, I finally said to the guy "Chuck Prince got paid $15 million the same year he bowed to a bunch of Japanese bureaucrats. For $15 million, I would have sucked their cocks."

    I was fired from Citi a few months later for undisclosed reasons…maybe that was why!

    [Mar 13, 2011] Weekend at Bennie's

    "While 100,000 workers protest in Wisconsin, Hosni Obama stays mum in his palace. "

    [Mar 12, 2011] Sex and economy

    It looks like White House is missing a power stimulus, but some small business owner are already using it ...
    Jill Anne, a store owner in New York City pole dances in her store and claims business is better than ever.

    In a small room in lower Manhattan, the boots come off, the pole is prepared, the music comes on, and the show begins.

    The place is far from a strip club or porn shop. Anne is a greeting card store owner.

    [Mar 12, 2011] Politics and banksters

    It could the defense Fuld can use in his case
    Republican US presidential contender Newt Gingrich said his passion and love for America drove him to cheat on his wife early in his political career.

    "There's no question at times of my life, partially driven by how passionately I felt about this country, that I worked far too hard and things happened in my life that were not appropriate," he said in an interview with CBN's David Brody. "I was doing things that were wrong."

    [Mar 12, 2011] The United States on Track to Pay Off the Debt by End of the Decade

    This funny, disingenuous, sexually obsessed Bubba...
    December 28, 2000

    Today, President Clinton will announce that The United States is on course to eliminate its public debt within the next decade. The Administration also announced that we are projected to pay down $237 billion in debt in 2001. Due in part to a strong economy and the President's commitment to fiscal discipline, the federal fiscal condition has improved for an unprecedented nine consecutive years. Based upon today's new economic and budget projections for the coming 10 years from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB):



    [Mar 12, 2011] Should the Fed Respond to Commodity Price Increases

    March 10, 2011


    I predict Ben Bernanke has a nervous breakdown before QE3 sees the light of day. His last coherent statement before they haul him away will be :

    "Please !! , just tax the rich and send checks to everyone else! That'll work , I tell ya! That's what we should have done from the getgo , and I knew it. I'm so ashamed of myself!

    Mommmmmmyyyy !!!......."

    [Mar 12, 2011] The Intelligent Investor Rookie Regulators Take On Wall Street -

    After months of dithering and backstage bickering about who should regulate the nation's roughly 26,000 investment-advisory firms, this week there was movement. Two students at the University of Mississippi law school held a news conference to announce that if no one else was ready to oversee independent financial advisers, they would do it.

    Timothy Collins, a 25-year-old second-year student, and Tyler Roberts, 26, who is in his third year, launched the Self-Regulatory Organization for Independent Investment Advisers to "provide investors with the best protection we can," Mr. Collins says.

    ... ... ...

    Messrs. Collins and Roberts have no money, no staff and no experience. They don't have the required congressional authorization to become financial regulators. Nor do they have the needed official recognition from the SEC. About all they do have is moxie.

    Something is tragicomically wrong when a couple of quixotic newbies can seize the moral high ground on regulating the nation's advisory firms, which collectively handle an estimated $38 trillion. "We're the ones getting the ball rolling," Mr. Roberts says. "No one else has done it yet."

    ... ... ...

    Will two idealistic rookies end up in charge of regulating thousands of financial advisers?

    [Mar 11, 2011] Wall Street Not Worried So Long as SEC only Goes After Foreign-Types " Manure Lagoon

    Wall Street has been understandably nervous in recent times as the SEC has crawled out of a deep memory hole to charge billionaire hedge fund manager, Raj Rajaratnam, with insider trading. The prosecutor has also named four of Mr. Rajaratnam's associates: Anil Kumar, Rajiv Goel, Rajat Gupta and Adam Smith.

    An anonymous board member of Goldman Sachs has said that he believes all the charges, especially relating to Mr. Gupta's involvement, are baseless and that "it is unfortunate that America is returning to an over-regulated nanny state, just as we are are emerging from a recession."

    "The only thing that makes this palatable is that the SEC has chosen to go after people who haven't typically been associated with Wall Street. If you see the SEC start going after people who look like Hank Paulson or John Paulson or Tim Geithner then the SEC will have a big problem."

    The Goldman Sachs executive pointed out that it was unfortunate that the prosecutors were going after a man named Adam Smith. "Not only is his name not Raj Rajawhatever, his name is symbolic of the whole free market economy. The SEC is showing that despite it's surface attempt to go after foreign-type people, it is really engaged in ideological warfare against the whole idea of western capitalism itself."

    [Mar 07, 2011] Ben Trader

    [Mar 06, 2011] Wisconsin Humor Fest

    March 4, 2011 | naked capitalism

    First, Jon Stewart on the teacher versus Wall Street pay logic (hat tip reader Scott via Jesse):

    The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
    Crisis in Dairyland – For Richer and Poorer – Teachers and Wall Street
    Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor & Satire Blog The Daily Show on Facebook

    Second, a new and improved Downfall parody which, according to Josh Marshall, is vastly better than an earlier attempt (not being a connoisseur of the genre, I'll take his word. Hat tip reader Scott A):

    Topics: Banking industry, Curiousities, Legal, Politics, Social values

    [Mar 06, 2011] Wisconsin Humor Fest

    First, Jon Stewart on the teacher versus Wall Street pay logic (hat tip reader Scott via Jesse):

    Read the Rest...

    [Feb 28, 2011] The Oracle Of Oppenheimer by Tyler Durden

    If CNBC is wondering whom to invite to its highly objective and oh so critical news dissemination service, they should take a long hard look at Oppenheimer's Brian Belski.

    Feb. 28, 2010 (Bloomberg) -- "Rising oil prices simply do not have the shock value they once possessed" for U.S. consumers, according to Brian Belski, chief investment strategist at Oppenheimer & Co.

    After all, Belsky has an impeccable oracular record.

    Nov. 8, 2007 (Bloomberg) -- The decline in technology stocks today is an "overreaction'' and investors should buy shares of technology companies because they are undervalued, Merrill Lynch& Co.'s U.S. sector strategist Brian Belski said.

    We look forward to Belski's appearance on nanosecond Fast Money.

    [Feb 27, 2011] Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

    Rickkk :

    CR wrote: "Jobs, Jobs, Jobs"

    FEBRUARY 27, 2011, 2:23 P.M. ET

    Saudi King Orders Permanent State Jobs for Citizens -

    RIYADH-"Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah ordered Sunday permanent state jobs for Saudis on temporary labor contracts amid regional uprisings that have toppled regimes in Tunisia and Egypt and infected neighboring Bahrain."

    Great minds think alike. .


    sportsfan wrote:

    How many will be created over the next two years by extending the Bush tax cuts for the top 2%?

    Can you mix a good cocktail? .

    [Feb 23, 2011] MERS Endgame Nearing One County Seeks Over $22 Million for Unpaid Recording Fees

    How do you turn the sausage back into a a hog?
    February 23, 2011 | naked capitalism

    Olddeadmeat :

    ...Remember, a lot of pension funds invested in this AAA-rated crap, and they are basing their ability to pay benefits on 2 assumptions – 1st, that these assets still are worth what they paid for them, and 2nd, that these assets will appreciate 8% annually.

    Actually, thinking about that, I can almost understand why Geithner and Bernanke are covering for the banks. Once the little boy says the emperor has no clothes, there will be a bank run like the world has never seen – everyone will be frantic to convert their paper into canned goods and shotguns.

    ...Those mortgaged properties had the loans (theoretically with the liens attached) lumped in large groups, ground up like sausage, rolled in a tube, and then sold by the slice to various investors.

    Every investor has a slice, every slice has a tiny bit of each loan. How do you turn the sausage back into a a hog?


    ...All of this has been quite public for three years. Yet, no one is going to jail. To call this crony capitalism is a contradiction in terms.

    [Feb 21, 2011] Summary for Week ending February 19th


    gabyjan wrote:

    Waiting for a 'real' revolution - Opinion - Al Jazeera English

    This sentence made me laugh -

    The head of the repressive regime may have fallen, but those who served as the tools of that regime are still around. They are now scrambling to align themselves with the revolution in the hope of consigning their misdeeds to the pages of history or, worse still, propelling themselves back into positions of power.

    Do they mean.. errr US [govt.] ?



    I'm just real tired of people here - on CR bitching about crap few of them really know much about except what their spin meisters tell them. We can do better.

    I wrote one of my doctoral theses on the mating habits of Wisconsin's badgers and the role cheap beers plays, so I am an expert on Wisconsin. My conclusion was that cheap beer put the sin in Wisconsin, and there is a direct link between heavy consumption of cheap beer in Wisconsin and the mating habits of people in the state. Anyway, "Yes, we can't" do any better than that. So, leave me out of the third hand information people here. I'm on top of the cheese curd food chain when it comes to knowledge about Wisconsin. That is all.


    pavel.chichikov wrote:

    I'm miserable. Why shouldn't they be miserable?

    The central premise of the crab bucket brigade... .


    Let us not also forget the sucking black hole going back more than a decade of these business tax 'breaks' along with corporate 'evasion' of taxes overseas and the wealthiest whose funds are also safely hidden away. I love the talk of 'fiscal responsibility' in the face of these well know facts.


    Paul Ryan on MTP

    "If we keep kicking the can down the road there's going to be pain and austerity for everyone"

    ?Instead of just for those who are bearing the brunt now? Heaven forfend. .


    And when will that healthy economy manifest itself?

    I believe the Dawg's earlier prescription was when wages declined to the point that there were no more than ten applicants per open position...

    If you could persuade US workers to receive ten dollars a day and sell what they produce to the Chinese? That would work. I think there might be some political and social buffeting first, but it is a logical solution.

    [Feb 19, 2011] Bernanke Blames the Global Financial Crisis on China

    February 19, 2011 | naked capitalism


    ...I was just remembering the movie from the late 1990s with Morgan Freeman as the President and he had to deal with the fact that an asteroid was heading straight for the earth.

    I was thinking S@#t, an afro-dude gets elected president and look what happens. bowahahahahah. Not cause and effect, mind you, just bad luck. It could have been Herbert Hoover or even James Garfield.

    Who knew, in 1998, that the asteroid would be neoliberalism, and the president would be Professor Obama himself?

    pope john:

    Foreign investors' hunger for safe US assets helped to cause the 2007-2009 crisis by encouraging banks to turn risky mortgages into AAA rated bonds, Ben Bernanke, US Federal Reserve chairman, argued in Paris on Friday.

    US demand for Grade A heroin helped to cause their domestic drug epidemic, argued drug baron Mahmoud "Needles" Amjab from his yacht in the Maldives. "We'd rather grow food for our people, but we're just cogs in the machine. And you know those crazy Americans, they love to self-medicate."

    Pixy Dust

    China held a gun to American corporations' heads yelling "move your factories to China because you'll maximize profits!" Sure, yeah. More amnesia. And productive, hard working Chinese saving too much are at fault? Yeah, that's makes sense in their parallel universe. But really, these guys make it up as they go along.

    Let's face it, those Federal Reserve Notes aren't even pretty. Some socialist democratic countries like Canada have had colorful holographic currency for years. Now they have healthy economies and people. Maybe art is a good thing. But try telling these cheapskates that.

    Tom Hickey:

    Fedspeak: Foreign investors' hunger for safe US assets helped to cause the 2007-2009 crisis by encouraging banks to turn risky mortgages into AAA rated bonds, Ben Bernanke, US Federal Reserve chairman, argued in Paris on Friday.

    Translation: China's saving the proceeds from its export to the US in dollars caused US banks to commit massive fraud.

    [Feb 18, 2011] Willie Sutton Wept, by Paul Krugman, Commentary, NY Times:

    ... things you need to know about the current budget debate.

    1. First, it's essentially fraudulent.
    2. Second, most people posing as deficit hawks are faking it...

    [Feb 16, 2011] Matt Taibbi's Latest- " Why Isn't Wall Street In Jail"

    "Everything's fucked up, and nobody goes to jail. You can end the piece right there."

    Over drinks at a bar on a dreary, snowy night in Washington this past month, a former Senate investigator laughed as he polished off his beer. "Everything's fucked up, and nobody goes to jail," he said. "That's your whole story right there. Hell, you don't even have to write the rest of it. Just write that." I put down my notebook. "Just that?" "That's right," he said, signaling to the waitress for the check. "Everything's fucked up, and nobody goes to jail. You can end the piece right there."

    [Feb 16, 2011] All You Need to Know About Why Things Fell Apart Michael Lewis


    Financial Crisis Cause No. 2: The moral collapse of the American working class.

    AIG head Robert Benmosche has recently pointed out that the reason his firm has enjoyed such great success is precisely because it has avoided selling insurance to the large number of Americans who believe, as Benmosche put it, "that the government is responsible for what happens to me." (As we know, the government is responsible only for what happens to AIG).

    The CEO of JPMorgan, Jamie Dimon, has often called our attention to the outrageous amount of banker bashing by Americans outside the financial sector, who seek to blame their troubles on others.

    Wall Street leaders now understand that they made a mistake, one born of their innocent and trusting nature. They trusted ordinary Americans to behave more responsibly than they themselves ever would, and these ordinary Americans betrayed their trust.

    Amazingly, these ordinary Americans don't even appear to feel guilty for their actions. Like wild animals that have lost their fear of humans, they continue to wander down from the hills to rummage through our garbage cans for sustenance.

    Best Subprime

    Frankly, the commission's report does nothing to improve public morals. In discussing the role of the 1977 Community Reinvestment Act, for instance, the report notes that the loans made by big banks to meet the act's requirements -- that is, loans to poor people in crap neighborhoods -- outperformed, dramatically, the general run of subprime loans.

    Such nitpicking merely obscures the critical point. For at least two centuries the U.S. government has encouraged people who didn't work on Wall Street to think of themselves as "equal." Government policies have emboldened ordinary Americans to borrow money they never intended to repay, just like rich people do, and cowed the financial elite into lending it to them. You can't forget to bear-proof the garbage cans, and expect the bears won't notice.

    Along these same lines I cannot help but point out...

    Blame China Financial Crisis Cause No. 3: The Chinese.

    The willingness of this remote and curious people to sell us goods at ridiculously low prices is disruptive. It encourages our poor to believe they can afford many items which they should not be able to, for instance. And the vast number of dollars these same Chinese people willingly lend to us at absurdly low rates of interest places an unfair burden on our financiers, who must find someplace to put them.

    This is a far more difficult job than is commonly understood; it often leaves Wall Street people feeling overworked and underappreciated. If we want our financiers to perform even better than they do, we must cease to expect more from them than they can give.

    Which brings me to...

    Financial Crisis Cause No. 4: Upon our trusting, hard- working and underappreciated financiers we thrust the impossible task of overcoming impersonal historical forces.

    The most distressing aspect of the commission's report is its attempt to blame actual human beings for the financial crisis: fraudulent CDO managers, greedy ratings companies, Wall Street bond traders and, especially, Wall Street CEOs. Think about this: If everyone on Wall Street is guilty, how can anyone be? If no one on Wall Street saw it coming, how can anyone be expected to have seen it?

    Details for Dummies Anyway, as several Wall Street CEOs tried patiently to explain to the commission, the details were never their responsibility. Martin Sullivan, the CEO of AIG in the three years leading up to its near collapse, even went so far as to prove that he had no idea how much he'd been paid ($107 million).

    The commission proved incapable of grasping the point: the rare man capable of running a big Wall Street firm remains focused on the big picture. And in the big picture, from the point of view of their firms and their earnings potential, the so-called financial crisis was a blip. They've already forgotten about it.

    And they assume that, eventually, you will, too.

    (Michael Lewis, most recently author of the best-selling "The Big Short," is a columnist for Bloomberg News. The opinions expressed are his own.)

    [Feb 15, 2011] Today's Quote Of The Day Comes From Tim Geithner

    Presented without comment


    [Feb 15, 2011] Obama's Revenue Estimates Are Either Fantasy Or Comedy

    Some think that Obama's Budget Is A Fantastic Comedy ;-) "He has no enemies, but is intensely disliked by his friends." Oscar Wilde

    Alaric the Goth:

    If that's the change you all voted for, I think you need your money back.


    "The president's job is not to lead, but to divert attention from those who do." Douglas Adams

    Steve Giglio:

    This is a brand new genre, the first since invention of the Mockumentary

    Let's call it FAMEDY

    The unholy alliance of fantasy and comedy.

    [Feb 15, 2011] SF Fed -- What Is the New Normal Unemployment Rate?


    The obvious solution is for the government to distribute free fried chicken, hot dogs, baked beans and potato chips. They should also provide free tickets to ongoing sports events: Basketball, hockey and football in the winter, baseball in the summer. We could call it: Chips and Circuses.


    pavel.chichikov wrote:

    The obvious solution is for the government to distribute free fried chicken, hot dogs, baked beans and potato chips.

    I would also like mashed and gravy; some cole slaw would also be nice.

    edit: And biscuits. .


    pavel.chichikov wrote:

    Chips and Circuses.

    The diet alone has the added benefit of hastening heart disease and earlier death. Of course, healthcare must be prohibited as well. We wouldn't want to overburden the system with the effects of the system. Now, I am off to a pulled pork sandwich in honor of the mortgage pig. God, I love the smell of pork and non-performing mortgage assets in the morning!!! It is dawn in 'Merica. Long live 'Merica. After that I will go home and plop down on the couch to me some Jim Cramer and get my fix of financial knowledge for the day. It's great to be a 'Merican. We are so smart and healthy. .

    [Feb 13, 2011] The Perfect Metaphor

    February 10, 2011 | Financial Armageddon

    I admit I've been very confused by the ever-growing gap between Wall Street and Main Street, but when I looked at this chart, suddenly it all became clear.


    (Note: In case you were wondering, this is not a forecast and I don't have any position in the stock. Cisco's trading history just seemed like the perfect metaphor for the kind of market environment we find ourselves in).

    [Feb 12, 2011] Who Was Astroturfing Forged Letters Against FinReg? By Barry Ritholtz

    February 12th, 2011

    Q: Why do Burger King Franchisees care about derivatives reform?
    A: huh ?

    NPR discusses what a Bloomberg reporter found:

    Last summer, one still unnamed company hired a PR firm to launch a "grassroots letter writing campaign" on derivatives reform. The PR firm hired a contractor, who hired a subcontractor in Arkansas. And instead of finding real people who care about derivatives - financial contracts tied to some other asset - the subcontractor went ahead and forged letters from grassrootsy sounding people.

    [Feb 11, 2011] More Fed Dissent Theater- Fed's Fisher Joins Lacker In "Just Saying No"

    The "good money printer - bad money printer" routine is starting to get old.

    [Feb 07, 2011] Economist's View The Slow Recovery of Unemployment


    ... the Hamilton Project of the Brookings Institution has announced a $25,000 prize award for the "best proposals to create jobs and enhance productivity". Deadline for submitting proposals is April Fools' Day!

    [Feb 04, 2011] The Daily Capitalist's translation of Bernanke's remarks

    Hat tip to Yves Smith...

    Since August when we began to flood our primary dealers in Wall Street with newly printed money the market went up because they used the money to buy financial products, including stocks. We are trying to cause price inflation because the majority of the FOMC is concerned about price deflation. If we cause price inflation then we will fool everyone into thinking that because prices are going up, such as in the stock markets, that it is real growth even though it's just price inflation. Even better the national debt can be paid down with cheap dollars. Yields on Treasurys initially went up because the bond vigilantes aren't stupid: they know it will cause inflation so they wanted higher yields. But, ha, ha, the Euro went into the tank because of the PIIGS and money flooded back in to the US and drove Treasury yields back down, for the time being. Screw the vigilantes. The same thing happened when we tried QE1, but as we all know, that failed and we are desperately trying again because we don't have too many arrows left in our quiver. Hey, if it had worked, would we be doing QE2? We are desperate because if unemployment doesn't come down, the Obama Administration will be screwed and I'll lose my job. We are ready to do QE3 because we don't have a clue what else to do.

    [Feb 02, 2011] Croesus Watch -- Banker Pay Levitates to New Highs

    My pet joke from the dot bomb era scandals is now looking a bit tired:

    If you steal $1000 from the local convenience store, you go to jail for ten years. If you steal $100 million, you get called before Congress and get called bad names for ten minutes.

    You need to add at least another zero to the amount you need to steal before Congress can even be bothered to take notice.

    David Porter

    The most elegant solution to banker looting I have seen is to pay ALL of their bonuses in Tier 3 "assets" at the value that they are held on the banks' books at. Beautifully poetic.

    [Jan 30, 2011] Bank Bailouts Explained

    Do you work for a bank? No. Did you get any of the bailouts? No. Do you pay taxes? Yes. Then the joke is on you.

    [Jan 29, 2011] Advance Report- Real Annualized GDP Grew at 3.2% in Q4

    "And some practitioner of economic austerism will snarkily say, "But har har and tut tut. You obviously do not understand that the deflator has nothing to do with inflation, although it purports to perform the function of taking out the inflationary effect. The deflator is merely what we say it is."


    GDD9000 wrote:

    uh, are you like forgetting about the large chunk of amerika that thinks CNN is too heavy, and just watches good morning america, with mr smiley george stephanapolous?

    Forget Ben Franklin's Turkey, we should have imported the Ostrich and made it our bird, head in the sand and all.

    ... ... ...

    The problem with living in a declining empire is you always think you have reached the lowest rung on the ladder, then the rest of the world reminds you how far you have to go. .


    Vonbek777 wrote:

    That night I dreamed a surreal Dilbert type revolution where oppressed cubical workers everywhere rose up and pitched workstations out windows, torched the server rooms, danced on the backup tapes in the streets, and bowled mid-level managers strapped to fake leather office chairs into vending machines and stacks of office water bottles, the big ones.

    Perhaps you should seek professional help :-)


    JP wrote:

    Perhaps you should seek professional help.

    Are you suggesting that isn't a normal fantasy for frustrated IT people everywhere?

    [Jan 29, 2011] Ayn Rand Railed Against Government Benefits, But Grabbed Social Security and Medicare When She Needed Them


    Jim the Skeptic

    This quote is priceless:

    "The reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand," said Paul Ryan, the GOP's young budget star at a D.C. event honoring the author

    If I were vindictive, I would send a copy of that quote to him every year on his birthday! :^)

    Of course I assume he has actually read Ayn Rand. It took me about a year or 2 to figure out that no thinking person could possibly believe what she wrote.

    [Jan 29, 2011] Herbert Hoover Obama by David Rosenberg

    Jesse's Café Américain

    I receive an automatic email from Dave Rosenberg of Canadian firm Gluskin Sheff every morning. He is always informed and clever, but occasionally he just makes my day. You can receive his e-letter by registering here.


    A long-standing colleague and reader sent this off to me yesterday and it blew
    me away. Read on:

    Obama's State of the Union:

    "Two years after the worst recession most of us have ever known, the stock market has come roaring back. Corporate profits are up. The economy is growing again."

    Herbert Hoover, May 1st 1930, US Chamber of Commerce Meeting:

    "While the crash only took place six months ago, I am convinced we have now passed the worst and with continued unity of effort we shall rapidly recover."

    Obama's State of the Union:

    "Thanks to the tax cuts we passed, Americans' paychecks are a little bigger today. Every business can write off the full cost of the new investments they make this year. These steps, taken by Democrats and Republicans, will grow the economy and add to the more than one million private sector jobs created last

    Herbert Hoover, October 22, 1932, campaign speech in Detroit:

    "It can be demonstrated that the tide has turned and that the gigantic forces of depression are today in retreat. Our measures and policies have demonstrated their effectiveness. They have preserved the American people from certain chaos. They have preserved a final fortress of stability in the world."

    Obama's State of the Union:

    "But now that the worst of the recession is over..."

    Herbert Hoover, June 1930, to a delegation requesting a public works project:

    "Gentlemen, you have come sixty days too late. The depression is over."

    Obama's State of the Union:

    "The steps we've taken over the last two years may have broken the back of this recession…"

    Herbert Hoover, State of the Union, December 6, 1932:

    "The unprecedented emergency measures enacted and policies adopted undoubtedly saved the country from economic disaster…"

    [Jan 28, 2011] S&P Touches 1300, 1300 Says it Liked it

    Despite new claims for unemployment putting up the largest weekly increase since September 2005 (and you all remember September 2005, right? Alan Greenspan was still a genius, iPads were still just the truncated spelling of a sanitary napkin, and Kim Kardashian's vagina was still underwraps (and some guy named Damon Thomas too)), despite Japan being downgraded by S&P due to greater risk of default than Charlie Sheen's liver, and despite a little bit of happiness being squelched by studies showing breast implants are linked to a rare form of cancer (And no shit, really? You mean to tell Money McBags cutting open your tit and shoving something artificial in there might be a health risk? Shit, what's next, finding out that eating Twinkies causes obesity or watching CNBC causes dementia?), the market continued to rally as investors buy the fucking rip.

    [Jan 28, 2011] Quelle Surprise! Goldman Profited From AIG Bailout Via Abacus Trades

    January 27, 2011 | naked capitalism


    I wish I could make $2.9 billion dollars without knowing how I did it. It just happened! :)

    That would be quite an immaculate conception.

    You wake up in the morning and $2.9 billion is in your checking account. And it's all yours! No strings attached!

    [Jan 27, 2011] The Teleprompter Tells It Like It Is

    [Jan 27, 2011] The phrase "when the economy picks up" has apparently become ironic...

    The Urban Dictionary declared it Word of the Day today, and suggests it's a handy-dandy way of saying "whenever," pace the Spanish "mañana."

    when the economy picks up

    January 10, 2011 Urban Word of the Day

    Common beginning or ending to a sentence. It can serve to:

    1. provide an excuse for why one has not yet done something.

    2. suggest a vague intention of doing something later (similar to how Spanish speakers use the word "mañana.")

    3. add minimal credibility to an idea that is a pipe dream.

    1. There's no point in looking for a job until the economy picks up.
    2. I'll start my business when the economy picks up.
    3. Unemployment levels will go back down to the levels they were in the late 1990s when the economy picks up.

    [Jan 22, 2011] WHAT WILL TURN ME MORE BULLISH ON THE U.S.A. by David Rosenberg

    January 22, 2011 | The Big Picture

    Chief Tomahawk Says:

    David's too honest. He should've just said "The return of Wall St. creativity aided by bought-off politicians."

    [Jan 22, 2011] American Competitiveness, and the President's New Relationship with American Business by Robert Reich

    Whenever you hear a business executive or politician use the term "American competitiveness," watch your wallet.

    [Jan 22, 2011] Economics of Toilet Seat Etiquette by Paul Kedrosky

    This guy Jay P. Choi definitely has a sense of humor. Or not ...
    January 21, 2011 | Infectious Greed

    Important stuff in new paper. Good to see ace economists aren't being distracted by all this "economic malaise" and "unemployment" stuff.


    JAY P. CHOI,†

    This paper develops an economic analysis of the toilet seat etiquette. I investigate whether there is any efficiency justification for the presumption that men should leave the toilet seat down after use. I find that the "down rule" is inefficient unless there is a large asymmetry in the inconvenience costs of shifting the position of the toilet seat across genders.

    I show that the "selfish" or the "status quo" rule that leaves the toilet seat in the position used dominates the down rule in a wide range of parameter spaces including the case where the inconvenience costs are the same.


    Based on the past decade, we would be better of if all of the economists, especially those working in policy positions, focused on issues like this instead of the likely outcome of tax cuts, how to increase employment, deregulation, etc.

    [Jan 21, 2011] Does Ben B-52 Bernenke have enough ink to prop market indefinitly

    Will mass bombing of the USA with dollars by B-52 Bernanke secure the sustanable recovery or he is just kicking the can down the road...

    "OUR UNEASE ABOUT THE STOCK MARKET and, to a lesser extent, the economy, also springs from the fact that the Fed has been the prime agent of stimulus for both.

    ... ... ...

    The critical question is how much of this fabulous performance is attributable to the Fed? While it obviously can't be determined to the penny, Barry reckons that even if only half the market's superior showing compared with the best of previous postwar rallies can be credited to the Fed, it means that the U. S. central bank created out of thin air "several trillion dollars in market cap."

    He refuses even to guess "the end game of this or the unintended consequences." We're brave enough to hazard that the latter won't be all good.


    Note that mathematically, it would require a gain of over 131% to recover the near 57% drop from the S&P's 2007 record high to its 2009 bear market low.

    When you're using a rubber ruler like our brightly-colored, sloppily-printed Federal Reserve Notes, this is no big deal. As the late Saddam Hussein used to say, 'Anything is possible now, my brothers!'

    Chairman Bensane declined comment.

    [Jan 21, 2011] Life After Captitalism

    Economist's View


    GE's Immelt to Replace Volcker


    obama is such a socialist...

    [Jan 21, 2011] JP Morgan: King of Food Stamps

    (via The Economic Collapse)

    Ever wonder who is processing the transactions of the record 43.2 million member food stamp program?

    Yup, you guessed it. JP Morgan.

    You couldn't make this stuff up. So after ruining an economy by placing bets on trillions of dollars of worthless derivatives, forcing the government (people) to bail you out at gunpoint, getting endless amounts of money from the Fed at almost zero interest and front-running said Fed in the Treasury market and making billions in profits for literally nothing, JP Morgan wants to benefit from the growing misery and hunger of the US population?

    [Jan 21, 2011] Stunner- Gold Standard Fully Supported By... Alan Greenspan!

    You read that right. After such establishment "luminaries" as World Bank president Robert Zoellick, Warren Buffett's father Howard, Jim Grant, and, most recently, Kansas Fed president Thomas Hoenig, all voiced their support for a return to a gold standard, the most recent addition to the motley group of contrite voodoo shamans is none othe than the man who is singlehandedly responsible for America's addiction to cheap toxic credit, who spawned such destroyers of the middle class as the current Chaircreature, and who currently is the chief advisor in John Paulson's crusade to gobble up every ounce of deliverable physical in the world: former Fed Chairman - Alan Greenspan!

    In an interview with Fox Business, the man who refuses to go away into that good night: "We have at this particular stage a fiat money which is essentially money printed by a government and it's usually a central bank which is authorized to do so. Some mechanism has got to be in place that restricts the amount of money which is produced, either a gold standard or a currency board, because unless you do that all of history suggest that inflation will take hold with very deleterious effects on economic activity... There are numbers of us, myself included, who strongly believe that we did very well in the 1870 to 1914 period with an international gold standard." And a further stunner: Greenspan himself wonders if we really need a central bank. Now our only question: why couldn't the maestro speak as clearly and coherently during his tenure which resulted in our current near-terminal financial state.

    [Jan 21, 2011] "All In All It Appears That Eisenhower's Worst Fears Have Been Realized And His Remarkable And Unique Warnings Given For Naught" by George Washington

    "While I do not entirely agree with your scathing judgment of GW, this is brilliant satire! "

    loup garou:

    ----> Little Georgie's Blog

    I'm against all war. Every war ever fought has been the result of "false flag" attacks. No nation in history has ever actually attacked another nation, except of course the U.S.A. Because I said so in my blog. (See this.) Also, war costs a lot of money, which would be better spent on stuff like "Cash-for-golf carts" programs and more frisbees for prison inmates.

    I'm a "Truther", and we "Truthers" have a monopoly on the truth. Because I said so. (See here.) And to prove it, I will use any flimsy crap -- printed or spoken in any venue by any dubious entity -- if it fits the pre-ordained template of my open mind. And if you disagree, it's because you're closed-minded or brainwashed or a CIA plant or in denial or something. (See this and that.)

    Also, you should realize that I'm telling the truth because all of my sources are either "prominent", or "legendary", or "leading", or "noted", or "experts" in their respective fields. Because I always say so in my blog. (See here, there, and everywhere.)

    The U.S.A., and especially Bush/Cheney, are evil. Corporations are evil too, because they're always making a mess of the environment and stuff. Intentionally. Because all they care about is making profits by screwing people. And because they hate people and the Earth. All other entities are OK; or, at least, less evil than corporations and George Bush and Dick Cheney, whose real name is "Dick Planet Raper Cheney The Master Of Torture."

    The financial world is full of crooks (duh) and the economy can't recover until they are all in jail being savagely sodomized by a very large, heavily tattooed inmate named "Big Hector". If I keep repeating this notion in my blog -- and if I hold my breath until my face turns red -- this fantasy will magically come to pass. Then I'll be almost happy; but not quite, because I know at least one of them will get away scot-free without being sodomized by Big Hector. And because it's unlikely that I would get any sodomy video footage to link to. (Not here.)

    The "left/right paradigm" is obsolete. There is no more "left" or "right". Because I said so. (See this and that and there.) So take that, you right-wing scum. However, my usual "sources" (like the Guardian, New York Times, Huffington Post, Daily Kos, FireDogLake, Salon, Der Spiegel, The Nation, Mother Jones, NPR, Bill Moyers, Noam Chomsky, Dennis Kucinich, Michael Moore, MSNBC, Keith Olbermann, The Libtard Gazette, The Hammer and Sickle Herald, and on and on and on…) are as yet oblivious to this new non-ideological reality. Probably because they haven't read my blog, in which I said so. (See this and that and the other thing again.) Anyway, whatever I copy-and-paste from these unbiased, objective sources is absolute gospel, because they have no agenda except the truth, just like me. Furthermore, I agree with my fellow liberals and lefties that there are no such things as liberals and lefties.

    As you can see, my name is "George Washington", not "George Soros"; even though all the sources where I camp out are media organs for Nazi collaborator George Soros. That's just a coincidence you should disregard. Because I say so. (See here.) Therefore, I am not a KGB/FSB agent, even though I might as well be.

    It is also just a coincidence that America-haters, Marxists, "Truthers", "Birthers", Holocaust deniers, Stalin apologists, anti-Semites, Christian haters, racists and other bigots, paranoid schizophrenics, illiterates, frauds, plagiarists, liars and drug dealers… are drawn to me like buzzards on a gut wagon. This has nothing to do with me. It's not my fault that my fans are so high-class. They read my blog so they can learn from me, because I'm so much smarter and better informed than they are. If they didn't have me, just think how wretched they would be! (See somewhere.)

    Because I have the mind of a child, I can't repeat myself often enough. Because I have the mind of a child, I can't repeat myself often enough. Because I have the mind of a child, I can't repeat myself often enough. Because I have the mind of a child, I can't repeat myself often enough… (See this and that.)

    Do svidaniya,
    Georgie One Note


    While I do not entirely agree with your scathing judgment of GW, this is brilliant satire!

    [Jan 19, 2011] The myth of 'American exceptionalism' implodes by Richard Wolff

    January 18, 2011 |


    Until the 1970s, US capitalism shared its spoils with American workers.

    Goddam Commies.


    The richest 10-15% – those cashing in on employers' good fortune from no longer-rising wages – helped bring on the crisis by speculating wildly and unsuccessfully in all sorts of new financial instruments

    While the poorest 85% speculated wildly and unsuccessfully on the housing market by buying houses at least 8 times as expensive as they could actually afford.

    [Jan 19, 2011] Compassionate GOP

    Economist's View

    Ralph Musgrave:

    Contrary to Krugman's suggestions, the G.O.P. has shown great concern for the "unfortunate": look at all those "unfortunate" crooks, criminals and incompetents on Wall Street who have been bailed out with the odd trillion of taxpayers' money. And please note – the fact that some of this bailout money is then used to fund the election campaigns of G.O.P. politicians is entirely coincidental.

    [Jan 19, 2011] Guest Post Most Economists Fall Back Into Neoclassical Stupor …

    January 18, 2011 | naked capitalism


    When are these econo-pontificator jobs going to get outsourced to Mexico, India and China? When? When?

    Justicia :

    You don't expect the "theoclassical" economists to recant, do you? Why, you might as well wait for the Pope and the College of Cardinals to become atheists.

    Tom Stone:

    They know which side their bread is buttered on. That is all they need to know.

    Hugh says: January 18, 2011 at 10:48 pm I echo lambert's and scraping by's sentiments. The economics profession is not about an analysis of our economy that can make reasonable predictions about it. Economics and economists are enablers of the con and validators of kleptocracy. They say the many must make do with less and do not say that the result of this policy will be the few will have more.

    These are not innocent, unworldy types tied to outdated and obsolete ideas. They are abettors and apologists for the greatest economic crimes in human history. We should call and treat them for what they are: criminals. Kleptocracy is not a some time thing. It is not a label you apply occasionally. Kleptocracy is a system. The looters can't function without corrupt politicians, a complacent propagandizing media, or complicit enabling academics. With kleptocracy, there is no middle ground. You either stand with the looters or their victims. I think this is the critical choice we all must make.

    [Jan 18, 2011] A Modest Proposal On How To Fix A Rigged, Centrally Planned Stock Market

    A portfolio manager submits the following modest proposal on how to fix a centrally planned, and utterly busted and discredited, stock market:

    "Here is my proposal. Starting from the assumption that the equity market is probably a tad expensive on fundamentals, like the chocolate bar that prices at $1.20 even if really it should only be priced at $1.10, then governments should introduce "sale periods" and stock promotions. Sale periods would attract retail buyers "en masse", awakening in them their "bargain hunting" animal spirit. Exchanges should be able to organize these sale periods in pre-market trading hours, on a quarterly basis. If shoppers are forming night queues for Iphone 4s, I am sure that they would turn on their laptops at 4am for a heavily discounted stock sale...

    [Jan 17, 2011] Zeroing in on Unemployment

    Zero is so in these days.

    [Jan 17, 2011] Finnish lesson on principles for Goldman by Lucy Kellaway

    Principle 5: "We stress creativity and imagination in everything we do." One sincerely hopes that people in the compliance department don't take this edict too seriously.

    ... ... ...

    ...then maybe that was the point of the exercise. To bore detractors into submission, leaving the bank free to conduct its business according to the time-honoured principles it has always followed.


    Rule # 15: Don't Get Caught


    This reminds me of likely the best Onion article ever...,108/

    lol :

    A corporation with good principles is like pornography: hard to define, but I know it when I see it.

    Brian Kaye:

    Surprised that there are 14 commandments. 10 would have better accorded with Goldman's self-image

    William Keller:

    Should a firm be indemnified against faulty hypocrisy? Could it purchase a plenary indulgence or have its statements declared kosher? To god or Goldman, as Gabriel would say, everything is possible.

    [Jan 16, 2011] Breakfast_with_Dave_011411

    Tiffany's should probably consider giving Bernanke a discount after the high-end jeweller managed to rack up an 11% sales pickup in December

    [Jan 15, 2011] Yellen forecasting skills(From FOMC Debates the Housing Bubble in 2005)

    She was probably very good at serving coffee to Chairman Greenspan...

    Bob Dawg:

    WASS 3:

    The Greenbook forecast depicts an almost textbook scenario of an economy continuing along the path toward a rather attractive steady state. Going forward, there are obviously some sizable risks, and I count the unwinding of possible house and bond market bubbles as one or two that are high on my list. But I think the most likely outcome is-as in the Greenbook projection- that we will continue to move in a positive direction over the next couple of years.

    Worse, this was Yellen!

    [Jan 15, 2011] The FOMC Debates the Housing Bubble in 2005: CHAIRMAN GREENSPAN. Let's take a break for coffee.

    Jan 15, 2011 | CalculatedRisk

    The Federal Reserve just released the transcripts of the FOMC meetings in 2005. This will take some reading, but the June meeting was focused on housing.

    From then Atlanta Fed President Jack Guynn:

    For example, the number of major projects planned or under construction in Miami now totals 114, most of which are high-rise developments. That includes 61,000 condo units-eight times the number that were built in the last decade-and a total of 100,000 new parking spaces. I know we don't have any process for introducing exhibits into the record, but I'd like to pass Dave Stockton this pictorial of the new projects in Miami, so that he can continue to worry a little bit along with me. [Laughter]

    My supervision and regulation staff thinks this is an accident waiting to happen in our area. And while the local market excesses probably do not represent systemic national risk, the shakeouts could have serious regional consequences. My bank supervision staff points out that housing-related credit risks to our bank lenders are not so much from defaults on permanent mortgage financing that we talked about yesterday, but rather from lending for land acquisition, development, and construction. The ugly picture we have seen before-and that they think we may very likely see again before long-goes something like this: the drying up of sales of new units; the painful decision of developers to go ahead and complete the construction of additional units to make them saleable, further depressing the market; and speculators who had hoped to see big capital gains walking away or defaulting on their contracts, giving their properties back to the lender. Perhaps it's because of where I sit, but I am less comforted than some of my colleagues about the housing situation. ...

    CHAIRMAN GREENSPAN. Let's take a break for coffee.
    Here are the presentation materials for the June meeting with plenty of graphs on housing.


    Nanoo-Nanoo wrote:

    mp, I've lost any and all confidence this will happen.

    Between the massive number of Wall*Street prosecutions for fraud and racketeering, and the stonewalling and ridicule our elected representatives subjected TARP to, not to mention the brilliant surprise of seeing Goldman-Sachs prosecuted under the Patriot Act, I find it hard to believe we won't do the right thing. .

    Doc Holiday

    mp wrote:

    re-thinking what constitutes a recovery

    That would imply re-thinking what constitutes a systemic economic collapse.... .



    After Greenspan: The Taylor Rule? - TIME

    Was it really right for one 72-year-old man, fond of long baths and Ayn Rand, to have so much control over our economy? "What would you do if something happened to Greenspan?" a reporter drilled John McCain during the primaries. "Well," said the Senator, "I'd put sunglasses on him and prop him up like that guy in Weekend at Bernie's."


    The Middling Lebowski wrote:

    I'd pay 20 bucks, just so I could pour hot coffee on him.

    I'd pay $50 to watch. .

    dilbert dogbert:

    HomeGnome wrote:

    Let's take a break for coffee.

    I think greeny was going to take a break for hopium. Lots and lots of hopium. .


    bearly wrote:

    Productive houses from last thread...

    Need more ?

    ResistanceIsFeudal :

    Rob Dawg wrote:

    But I think the most likely outcome is-as in the Greenbook projection- that we will continue to move in a positive direction over the next couple of years.

    She was right! .

    black dog:

    VICE CHAIRMAN GEITHNER. I wanted to ask a different question on the international side. Karen, on the external forecast, how much of a change is this view of where the current account-GDP ratio goes relative to your expectation six months ago or thereabouts? It seems to me that it looks slightly darker.
    MS. JOHNSON. I think it's the dollar.
    VICE CHAIRMAN GEITHNER. Yes, that's my point. Where do you expect it to stabilize now?
    MR. LEAHY. The dollar?
    VICE CHAIRMAN GEITHNER. No. What happens to the current account if you project out a little longer than the forecast horizon you have now?
    MS. JOHNSON. Sticker shock, sticker shock, and more sticker shock.
    VICE CHAIRMAN GEITHNER. I know, but it crosses 8 percent and goes to what?
    MR. LEAHY. It depends on how far into the future you want to go. It's an unsustainable path.
    MS. JOHNSON. Absent a dollar depreciation that's now probably on the order of 8, 9, or 10 percent, the deficit is going to steadily worsen. If the dollar were to start depreciating, that would slow the rate of deterioration. If the dollar depreciation that we put into the forecast were to get as high as 8 or 9 percent, that might plateau the deficit.
    CHAIRMAN GREENSPAN. One thing we can be sure of is that the value of the dollar will be worth 100 cents. [Laughter]

    [Jan 15, 2011] Acute problem of prostitution among overage economists

    1 currency now -yogi

    Prostitution is a gray area for libertarians. Underage prostitution, not so much. .


    Hackman wrote:

    we are all in this together

    The incestuous relationship between DC and Wall St proves we are not all in this together. The government works for the banks who pay them.

    [Jan 15, 2011] Fed Economist To Greenspan In 2005: Discovery Channel's 'Flip That House' Should Cause 'Existential Crisis'

    "I offer one more piece of evidence that I think almost surely suggests that the end is near in this sector. While channel-surfing the other night, to the annoyance of my otherwise very patient wife, I came across a new television series on the Discovery Channel entitled 'Flip That House,'" economist David Stockton said, prompting a roomful of laughter according to the transcript. "As far as I could tell, the gist of the show was that with some spackling, a few strategically placed azaleas and access to a bank, you too could tap into the great real-estate wealth machine. It was enough to put even the most ardent believer in market efficiency into existential crisis. [Laughter]"

    [Jan 14, 2011] Fed's Rosengren- Two Key Questions about the Economic Recovery

    Isn't corporatism funny?

    mp wrote:

    This country desperately needs productive assets.

    MP, dear man, don't you realize that the FIRE sector is the heart and nervous system of the economy? Our social betters tell us so, and show no delay in sacrificing everything else for its health, or at least the engorged resemblance of such.

    Mr Slippery:

    Our central planners are always hard at work for you.

    As they were for Mother Russia


    They will too, Gnome. They just haven't figured it out yet.

    Then that will be the end of US FEDgov as they are intertwined.

    Isn't corporatism wonderful?

    I wonder when the riots started when they gamed it out? .


    Anger as JP Morgan bankers get $10bn pay and bonus pot | Business | The Guardian

    J P Morgan prepares to divvy up $10 billon more in bonuses.

    My heart is brimming with joy. God has looked down on the work they are doing and He is pleased.

    I am, too. I'm so happy for the people at J. P. Morgan.

    This is our system at its finest.

    [Jan 13, 2011] Rules of 401K scam

    You can't win.
    You can't break even.
    You can't leave the game.

    [Jan 13, 2011] Outsized Pay on Wall Street Persists

    January 13, 2011 | naked capitalism


    I believe the medieval name for 'trick down' is 'droit du seigneur.'

    The lord gets the first shot at the maiden and then passes on down to the peasants.

    [Jan 12, 2011] How The Fed Spent $2 Trillion And In Exchange We Got 650,000 Temp, Leisure And Retail Jobs zero hedge

    From comments:

    [Jan 11, 2011] When the Economy Picks Up

    The phrase "when the economy picks up" has apparently become ironic. Nice. The Urban Dictionary declared it Word of the Day today, and suggests it's a handy-dandy way of saying "whenever," pace the Spanish "mañana."

    when the economy picks up

    January 10, 2011 Urban Word of the Day

    Common beginning or ending to a sentence. It can serve to:

    1. provide an excuse for why one has not yet done something.

    2. suggest a vague intention of doing something later (similar to how Spanish speakers use the word "mañana.")

    3. add minimal credibility to an idea that is a pipe dream.

    1. There's no point in looking for a job until the economy picks up.
    2. I'll start my business when the economy picks up.
    3. Unemployment levels will go back down to the levels they were in the late 1990s when the economy picks up.

    [Jan 08, 2011] take-jobs-report-and-shove-it

    ...headlines touting the drop in the unemployment rate as positive are more absurd than editing the language of Huck Finn or casting Ellen Degeneres as a leading lady in a romantic comedy. That's because the reason for the drop from 9.8% to 9.4% wasn't because more people found work, rather it was because more people found looking for work to be too f*king hard, big difference.

    [Jan 08, 2011] On the value of Cocal-Cola based diet and high school diploma

    In April 2010, for instance, a group of retired top brass and others released a report claiming that 27% of Americans between 17 and 24 are "too fat to fight." "Within just 10 years, the number of states reporting that 40 percent of their 18- to 24-year-olds are obese or overweight went from one [Kentucky] to 39." No reason to focus on that, though. After all, it was so last year.

    Just as the year ended, however, the Education Trust issued a report indicating that nearly a quarter of all applicants to the Armed Forces, despite having a high-school diploma, can't pass the necessary military entrance exam.

    This isn't Rhodes Scholarships we're talking about, but not having "the reading, mathematics, science, and problem-solving abilities" to become a bona fide private in the U.S. Army. We're talking the sort of basic that, according to an Education Trust spokesperson, makes it "equally likely that the men and women who don't pass the test are [also] unprepared for the civilian workforce."

    First Commercial proved to be really first



    And the award for First Bank Failure of the year goes to....drumroll please....

    First Commercial Bank of Florida, Orlando, FL

    Cost to DIF = $78 million

    [Jan 07, 2011] Food Stamp Usage Hits New High Of 43.2 Million

    zero hedge

    Ever wonder where all the money for equity inflows came from?

    Here's the answer: with all the money saved from participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, better known as foodstamps, which in October hit a brand new record, 43.2 million Americans decided to join in on this "wealth effect" they had been hearing so much about and buy Apple stock.

    After all 190 hedge funds are doing it: and there is no way that 190 hedge funds can possibly be wrong.

    [Jan 04, 2011] texas the huge state budget crisis nobody is talking about

    Tech Ticker, Yahoo! Finance

    A Yahoo! User:

    Everything in TX is bigger -- including delusions, denial, and ultimately fiscal meltdown.

    Flyer1 20:

    I agree Snafu. I think Texas ought to just completely eliminate all of the state government from the governer on down. I mean everything. Get rid of all education and healthcare services and show those liberals what Texas is really made of.

    Texans don't need education, they are born smarter than everyone else.

    [Jan 04, 2011] knight-capitals-take-fomc-minutes


    Damn insolvent businesses just refuse to hire! FED doing all this Gods works to pump up valueless stocks and MBS junk on their books, and these spoiled brat business people won't even hire a few million people? Simply outrageous!


    Unemployment is high so we are giving more money to our friends bitchez!

    [Jan 01, 2011] Outlook 2011 daniel gross puts on his prediction cap

    Tech Ticker, Yahoo! Finance


    I predict we will have a full, rapid recovery back to Dow 14,000 and beyond, based on the fact that I have hopes and dreams and goals and plans, and if we don't have this recovery, my plans will be all messed up, and that would make me sad.

    So that's how I know everything will be okay. Ignore the naysayers - they are simply closed-minded, and cannot see.

    [Jan 01, 2011] only-2011-forecast-bizarro-chance-getting-it-all-correct

    12/31/2010 |

    Sitting back while other commentators issue their lists of predictions is like being in front of the salty nuts and chips at a party, watching everyone else grab handfuls of the tempting treats. I've held off so far but my resolve has finally broken down.

    Despite the ridicule that is sure to be heaped on my head for being wrong, wrong, wrong about everything I expect to happen, at least I share that ignominy with 99.99% of humanity.

    Life and history are not predictable, hence the temptation to go ahead and fling a guess or two at the dartboard.

    So here goes nothing:

    ... ... ...

    2. The Bernanke Put will turn out to be more than a figure of speech. When the U.S. stock market "unexpectedly" craters in the first quarter, despite the Federal Reserve's QE2 POMO buying of Treasuries and the positive news about retail sales, employment and Pres. Obama's pickup games on the D.C. basketball courts, the Fed will reveal that it raked in billions of dollars in profits from a massive bet against the SPX (S&P 500), NDX (Nasdaq 100) and DJIA (Dow Jones 30) via index puts.

    After the revelation, the markets will rebound on rumors that the Fed exited the Bernanke Puts and has secretly loaded up on calls. A contract for a new luxurious Fed resort on Jekyll island will be announced via mimeographed newsletter distributed on a "need to know only" basis.

    3. The convergence of Hollywood, politics and finance will gather momentum. President Obama will start subbing for the L.A. Lakers, getting the nod from Jack Nicholson and Magic Johnson, while the First Lady will start attending tractor pulls and motocross races.

    Ben Bernanke will be a guest on "Jeopardy!", while Tim Geitner will do a turn on "Dancing with the Stars." Everyone's favorite member of the Financial Power Elite, Warren Buffett, will guest-star on "CSI: Omaha" as the avuncular billionaire who has misplaced a few billion dollars invested in Goldman Sachs stock at the bottom of the market in early 2009.

    Lloyd Blankfein, the CEO of Goldman Sachs who famously declared that he and the firm were "doing God's work," will join Brangelina on a goodwill tour of East Africa, offering U.S. Treasury bonds to village chiefs in exchange for any diamonds they might have laying around gathering dust. He will be welcomed as a very amusing fellow, though lacking Brangelina's star power and charisma.

    4. The SNAP food stamp program will be expanded to include cable TV access to a new U.S. government-sponsored channel, "Bread and Circuses." The new channel will be carried by all cable and satellite carriers, and will feature 24 hours of America's favorite "reality" shows (or their knockoffs and copycats if the original show is unavailable). The lineup will include the full menu of instant-celebrity entertainment: "survivor" copycats, "American Idol" and "Dancing with the Stars" clones, and a revolving schedule of demeaning, obnoxious TV-judge shows featuring citizens confessing to lying, cheating, stealing, wife-beating, child abuse, bungled burglaries, serial addictions, going to church solely to "pick up the ladies," coloring in their kid's coloring books and other assorted crimes and indiscretions.
    ... ... ...

    6. QE3 will include issuing U.S. Treasury bonds directly to households. The sole stipulation will be that any proceeds from the sale of the bonds must be invested in the U.S. stock market.

    7. Markets in precious metals, oil, commodities, stocks and bonds will rise and fall in an unpredictable fashion. Every analyst, pundit and commentator will be right about the movements, but at the wrong time. Most players will lose money while convincing themselves they made a killing. Bat guano and 'roo innards will emerge as the "hot commodities" of the year, as both will go parabolic.

    Everyone betting on the oil futures contango will be wiped out.

    [Jan 1, 2011] In 2009 I Learned That…

    The Reformed Broker

    [Jan 9, 2010] If you take Viagra long enough...

    According to a Bloomberg survey of 11 strategists, the consensus year-end target for the S&P 500 by Wall Street
    strategists is 1,371. Goldman Sachs's strategist David Kostin expects it to reach 1551.

    [Dec 23, 2008] David Michael Green Hey, Reagan Democrats!

    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."



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