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Financial Humor Bulletin, February 2010

Jan Feb Mar Apr May June July Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

February

[Feb 28, 2010] US Banks Reject Effort by UK Bank Execs to Rein in Pay

naked capitalism

The evidence that US capital markets firms are firmly in the hands of hopeless sociopaths continues to mount.

[Feb 28, 2010] We're Officially Screwed - Fidelity.com Doing Stories on End of Financial Crisis

Commodity Bull Market
Speaking of contrarian investment indicators, they don't get much better than this.

Fidelity.com posted a listing in a prominent public relations newsletter today:

Summary: Buying stocks again?
Name: Chris Taylor (Fidelity.com)
Category: Business and Finance
Email: query-100@helpareporter.com
Media Outlet: Fidelity.com
Deadline: 07:00 PM EST - 20 January
Query: Looking for investors who are shifting some of their cash holdings back into stocks and bonds, now that the financial crisis has ebbed.

That last line says it all. Get ready for the next shoe to drop, baby!

[Feb 28, 2010] Rubin to be Grilled by Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission

naked capitalism

“financial innovation” ... “finding legal ways to do things that used to be illegal under the old rules.”

[Feb 28, 2010] Ben Bernanke Responds To Why Goldman Sachs Needs Fed VaR Exemption, And Other Questions

zero hedge

BlackBeard :

blah blah blah we're corrupt - The End.

FLETCH

blah blah blah, we're corrupt, our puppetmasters are making money - The End

FLETCH

blah blah blah, we're corrupt, our puppetmasters are making money, we'll get jobs at GS soon - The End

Zippyin Annapolis:

Translation: we know VaR doesn't work at all and that it is a starting point for doing something that we just cannot describe and takes a long time not to describe. But boy is it Good! Trust us--we are the Federal Reserve Bank!

Whizbang

Ok, now I've finished reading and I am confused. Here's why:

1. It seems like this letter just intimated that there is fundementally no difference between sound lending to small businesses and first time home owners, and walking into a casino with an eightball in one hand and a hooker's ass in the other.

2. It appears that these "BHC's" were going to get a full years worth of access to the benefits of being a commercial bank before they ever had to produce any evidence that they were adhering to the requirements for being one.

3. How could it possibly take a year for regulators to realize what goldman's business model was? They all frickin worked there

[Feb 27, 2010] How to Stay Awake During Obama Speeches: Play Bullshit Bingo

February 26, 2010 | naked capitalism

Via e-mail:

1. Before Barrack Obama’s next televised speech, prepare your “Bullshit Bingo” card by drawing a square. I find that 5″ x 5″ is a good size — and dividing it into columns –five across and five down. That will give you 25 1-inch blocks.

2. Write one of the following words/phrases in each block:

Restored our reputation
Strategic fit
Let me be clear
Make no mistake
Back from the brink
Signs of recovery
Out of the loop
Benchmark
Job creation
Fiscal restraint
Win-win
Affordable health care
Previous Administration
At the end of the day
Empower (or empowerment)
Touch base
Mindset
Bipartisan
Trust
Inherited as in “I inherited this mess”
Relief for working families
Unprecedented
Accountable (or held to account)
Free market
Reform

Players can make substitutions to this list, but only one phrase can be used in any one block. Alternatives include:

Change (as in “change you can believe in)
Universal health care
Brought the economy back from the brink

3. Check off the appropriate block when you hear one of those words/phrases.

4. When you get five blocks horizontally, vertically, or diagonally, stand up and shout ”BULLSHIT!”

Testimonials from past satisfied “Bullshit Bingo” players:

”I had been listening to the speech for only five minutes when I won.” - Jack W., Boston

”My attention span during speeches has improved dramatically.” – David D., Florida

”What a gas! Speeches will never be the same for me after my first win.” - Bill R., New York City

“The atmosphere was tense in the last speech as 14 of us waited for the fifth box.” – Ben G., Denver

“The speaker was stunned as eight of us screamed “BULLSHIT!” for the third time in two hours.” – Harry A. Chantilly

[Feb 28, 2010] Rubin to be Grilled by Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission

February 27, 2010 | naked capitalism

i on the ball patriot:

STANDARD OF UNACCEPTABLE BEHAVIOR

RUBIN AND THE LIMP DICK DREAMERS

Behind the curtain,
Of co-opted media prose,
There exists a world,
Of losers with no clothes,

Insecure economists,
With shit for brains,
Sell out politicians,
With greed in their veins,

Pimply, preppy, quant tools,
Products of the jivy league schools.
Used by selfish effete old men.
Who will never see an erection again,

To justify and mask,
Their Ponzi schemes,
Created to fund,
Their limp dick dreams,

And crooked judges,
And crooked cops,
Insecure bullies,
That are human flops,

Behind the curtain,
There is nothing to fear,
Just human trash,
That you should not revere …

Deception is the strongest political force on the planet.

[Feb 27, 2010] Get Goldman

And now, Bernanke.

We are looking into a number of questions related to Goldman Sachs and other companies and their derivatives arrangements with Greece.

MoneyMarketExpert :

The Squid has been betrayed by Ben!

[Feb 26, 2010] Rumor Versus Fact An Insider's Report On A Manipulated Market zero hedge

gunsmoke011

LOL -- Will the SEC investigate? Of Course They Will -- They Are Here To Protect ALL Investors and Insure A Transparent Market. It's Just part Of Their Job To Look Into These Types of Matters -- That Is Of Course If They Can Be Worked In With All Of The "Top People" From The FED Who Will Be Looking Into GS and Their Greek Activities. The "Looking Into Matters" Waiting Room Will Be Quite Crowded

geopol

Yes, The Creme De La Creme of gumshoe investigators will be eyes open while you sleep... GS Has no chance.....

Cuban cigars for everybody...

carbonmutant

It's not the mandate of the SEC to investigate people doing God's work.

[Feb 25, 2010] Goldman To Advise Greece On the Sale of Strategic Assets to Avert Debt Crisis

And then come the jackals...

Note: obviously this is a cartoon, and Greece is not selling the Parthenon, yet.

[Feb 25, 2010] Economist's View Prospects For Financial Reform

Guest Post Is The SPY Getting A Jump At Key Levels From A Quant Algo zero hedge

[Feb 23, 2010] Doonesbury@Slate - Daily Dose

"America is not a clown show. America is not a circus."
-- Glenn Beck

[Feb 23, 2010] Greenspan, Friedman and Summers win Dynamite Prize in Economics

February 22, 2010 | Real-World Economics Review Blog

Alan Greenspan has been judged the economist most responsible for causing the Global Financial Crisis. He and 2nd and 3rd place finishers Milton Friedman and Larry Summers, have won the first–and hopefully last—Dynamite Prize in Economics.

They have been judged to be the three economists most responsible for the Global Financial Crisis. More figuratively, they are the three economists most responsible for blowing up the global economy.

Most than 7,500 people voted—most of whom were economists themselves from the 11,000 subscribers to the real-world economics review. With a maximum of three votes per voter, a total of 18,531 votes were cast. The poll was conducted by PollDaddy. Cookies were used to prevent repeat voting.

Dynamite Prize Citations

Alan Greenspan (5,061 votes): As Chairman of the Federal Reserve System from 1987 to 2006, Alan Greenspan both led the over expansion of money and credit that created the bubble that burst and aggressively promoted the view that financial markets are naturally efficient and in no need of regulation.

Milton Friedman (3,349 votes): Friedman propagated the delusion, through his misunderstanding of the scientific method, that an economy can be accurately modeled using counterfactual propositions about its nature. This, together with his simplistic model of money, encouraged the development of fantasy-based theories of economics and finance that facilitated the Global Financial Collapse.

Larry Summers (3,023 votes): As US Secretary of the Treasury (formerly an economist at Harvard and the World Bank), Summers worked successfully for the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act, which since the Great Crash of 1929 had kept deposit banking separate from casino banking. He also helped Greenspan and Wall Street torpedo efforts to regulate derivatives.

[Feb 18, 2010] Wray- Memo to Greece- Make War, Not Love, With Goldman Sachs

naked capitalism

Where we disagree with Johnson and Boone is the suggestion that the IMF be brought in to craft a solution. Any help from this organization will come with tight strings attached—indeed, with a noose around Greece’s neck. Germany and France would be crazy to commit their scarce euros to a bail-out of Greece since they face both internal threats from their own taxpayers and external threats from financial vampires who are looking for yet another nation to attack.

Here’s a more appropriate action: declare war on Goldman Sachs and other global financial firms that created this mess. Send the troops, the planes, the tanks, and the ships. Attack every outpost of the saboteurs on European soil. Blockade the airports and ports. Make Wall Street traders and CEOs fear for their lives, or at least for their freedom to travel. Build some Guantanamo-like facility to hold these enemy financial combatants until they can be tried, convicted, and properly punished.

Ok, if a literal armed attack on Goldman is too far-fetched, then go after the firm using the full force of the regulatory and legal systems. Close the offices and go through the files with a fine-tooth comb. Issue subpoenas to all non-clerical staff for court appearances. Make the internal emails public. Post the names of all managers and traders on Interpol. Arrest anyone who tries to board a plane, train, or boat; confiscate their passports; revoke their visas and work permits; and put a hold on their bank accounts until culpability can be assessed. Make life at least as miserable for them as it now is for Europe’s tens of millions of unemployed workers.

Independent Accountant :

If Greece declares war on the Vampire Squid, it should have no problem raising an army. Tens, perhaps, hundreds of thousands of American peasants will come, pitchforks in hand, to do battle. Greece can easily form a modern Abraham Lincoln Brigade in the US.

arcad:

However, in an ironic twist of fate, it was just announced that Petros Christodoulou will take over as the head of Greece’s national debt management agency. He worked as the head of derivatives at JP Morgan, and also previously worked at Goldman—the firm that got Greece into all this trouble!

[Feb 22, 2010] Economist's View We Need Jobs, not Deficit Cuts

Goldilocksisableachblond:

The vast bulk of future jobs , if the past 30 years are indicative , will be directed towards the same essential task : shoe-shining. Whose shoes will we be shining ?

A partial list :

[Feb 22, 2010] Hedge Fund Herding Into Citigroup

"The Zombie Dance Party Rocks On"
immobilienblasen

Just as a reminder Citi has still a marketcap of $ 100 Billion! Far bigger than any German company listed in the DAX.....

Not bad for a bank that Chris Whalen calls the "queen of the zombie dance party".....

[Feb 21, 2010] Shadows of the CDS Market

From readers comments
Feb 18, 2008 | Mish's Global Economic Trend Analysis

Once we had an industrial economy,
then a service economy,
then a financial economy,
and now a corruption and fraud economy.

[Feb 22, 2010] LEADER- Dangerous animals in the banking zoo

"An investment bank is more like a zoo, full of bizarre, prideful and sometimes dangerous animals."
Feb 23 2008 | Financial Times

Commercial and retail bankers are like battery hens. You put them in a small cubicle, pressurize them with tough sales targets but provide a decent salary, and they will produce a steady stream of returns. Most are conservative, somewhat harassed souls, who seldom think to bite the hand that feeds them.

An investment bank is more like a zoo, full of bizarre, prideful and sometimes dangerous animals. A zookeeper who pushes them around, or issues orders, is asking to have an arm bitten off. Instead, the job is to keep the animals in their cages, so they do not savage the paying customers, while understanding their individual behavior patterns. What does it mean, for example, when a derivative trader refuses to take a holiday...

[Feb 21, 2010] Bernanke discounts recovery risk By Julian Delasantellis

Asia Times

...with job losses so far on a very similar slope to the 1929-1931 period, well, if this is what we got for the Great Depression's number one scholar, I'd hate to see the product of number two.

So, for about six months now, the sheer extent that the Fed had left itself supine and prostate before the market's hungry eyes made observers wonder, with each successive post-Fed meeting statement, if and when the Fed's skirts would be pulled down, if and when the policies would start to be reversed. This the Fed did - sort of, recently hinting at an upcoming rate increase in the format of the bastardized Kremlinology under which Fed statements are produced and interpreted.

...A heroin addict, or one addicted to private borrowing, may kick the habit with the methadone of equally addictive public sector borrowing, but for society as a whole, it's hard to see any benefit here.

[Feb 21, 2010] Das Mark to Make Believe – Still Toxic After All These Years! «

naked capitalism

Michael Milken (the progenitor of “junk bonds” at Drexel Burnham Lambert) once noted:

“Liquidity is an illusion. It is always there when you don’t need it and rarely there when you do.”

[Feb 21, 2010] Abby Cohen Sees S&P 500 Fair Value at 1,250 to 1,300"

Goldman pigs dust her off again. Does this mean that the stock crash is near ? ;-)

Bloomberg BusinessWeek

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index may rise to between 1,250 and 1,300, said Abby Joseph Cohen, the Goldman Sachs Group Inc. strategist known for calling the bull market in the 1990s.

We do think the market overall is likely undervalued,” Cohen, 57, said on Bloomberg Radio. “The recession is over and has been over for several months.

[Feb 21, 2010] Anybody want a Greenspan portrait

"...at least one person has benefited from the Greenspan term at the Fed - artist Erin Crowe who sold an entire series of these paintings for thousands of dollars apiece."
February 19, 2010 | The Mess That Greenspan Made

It's hard to believe that, less than five years ago at the annual Federal Reserve gathering in Jackson Hole, Wyoming as the U.S. housing bubble was fully inflated and seeking out a pin, former Fed chief Alan Greenspan was lauded as the "greatest central banker ever".

Today, according to this story in the Wall Street Journal, some people are hiding portraits that they paid outlandish prices for under their beds or in the back of closets.

Fortunately, despite being largely responsible for two burst asset bubbles over the last ten years that have ruined the retirement plans (if not the lives) of millions of Americans, at least one person has benefited from the Greenspan term at the Fed - artist Erin Crowe who sold an entire series of these paintings for thousands of dollars apiece.

[Feb 21, 2010] "How Could I Be So Selfish and So Foolish"

Were Lloyd and Jamie and the pigmen of Wall Street and Washington taking notes during Tiger Woods' apology?

Doubtful.

[Feb 21, 2010] A parable about how one nation came to financial ruin By Charles Munger

Slate Magazine

But even a country as cautious, sound, and generous as Basicland could come to ruin if it failed to address the dangers that can be caused by the ordinary accidents of life. These dangers were significant by 2012, when the extreme prosperity of Basicland had created a peculiar outcome: As their affluence and leisure time grew, Basicland's citizens more and more whiled away their time in the excitement of casino gambling. Most casino revenue now came from bets on security prices under a system used in the 1920s in the United States and called "the bucket shop system."

The winnings of the casinos eventually amounted to 25 percent of Basicland's GDP, while 22 percent of all employee earnings in Basicland were paid to persons employed by the casinos (many of whom were engineers needed elsewhere). So much time was spent at casinos that it amounted to an average of five hours per day for every citizen of Basicland, including newborn babies and the comatose elderly. Many of the gamblers were highly talented engineers attracted partly by casino poker but mostly by bets available in the bucket shop systems, with the bets now called "financial derivatives."

Many people, particularly foreigners with savings to invest, regarded this situation as disgraceful. After all, they reasoned, it was just common sense for lenders to avoid gambling addicts. As a result, almost all foreigners avoided holding Basicland's currency or owning its bonds. They feared big trouble if the gambling-addicted citizens of Basicland were suddenly faced with hardship.

... ... ...

The strong faith of these Basicland economists in the beneficence of hypergambling in both securities and financial derivatives stemmed from their utter rejection of the ideas of the great and long-dead economist who had known the most about hyperspeculation, John Maynard Keynes. Keynes had famously said, "When the capital development of a country is the byproduct of the operations of a casino, the job is likely to be ill done." It was easy for these economists to dismiss such a sentence because securities had been so long associated with respectable wealth, and financial derivatives seemed so similar to securities.

Basicland's investment and commercial bankers were hostile to change. Like the objecting economists, the bankers wanted change exactly opposite to change wanted by the Good Father. Such bankers provided constructive services to Basicland. But they had only moderate earnings, which they deeply resented because Basicland's casinos—which provided no such constructive services—reported immoderate earnings from their bucket-shop systems. Moreover, foreign investment bankers had also reported immoderate earnings after building their own bucket-shop systems—and carefully obscuring this fact with ingenious twaddle, including claims that rational risk-management systems were in place, supervised by perfect regulators. Naturally, the ambitious Basicland bankers desired to prosper like the foreign bankers. And so they came to believe that the Good Father lacked any understanding of important and eternal causes of human progress that the bankers were trying to serve by creating more bucket shops in Basicland.

Of course, the most effective political opposition to change came from the gambling casinos themselves. This was not surprising, as at least one casino was located in each legislative district. The casinos resented being compared with cancer when they saw themselves as part of a long-established industry that provided harmless pleasure while improving the thinking skills of its customers.

[Feb 19, 2010] Core Inflation Declines for the first time since 1982

Calculated Risk

burnside:

ResistanceIsFeudal wrote:

Deflation off the starboard bow? Bennie!! Start the presses!! Start the presses!!

"Why ain't this thing turnin'?!?"

ResistanceIsFeudal:

burnside wrote:

"Why ain't this thing turnin'?!?"

You mean to tell me we can't turn, we can't stop, hell we can't even slow down? But there are ICEBERGS out there!! Who designed this piece of sh!t?!

Pearl :

ResistanceIsFeudal wrote:

You mean to tell me we can't turn, we can't stop, hell we can't even slow down

Well--we'll slow down long enough for squid the to deploy and board their life boats.

DeeperDepression:

as for Deflation..isn't Toyota kind of leading the bandwagon on that right now?

scone:

I'm betting on some weird unholy mating between Weimar and Japan. I think we're entering uncharted territory. Here be dragons.

[Feb 19, 2010] Capital One Credit Card Charge-Offs Increase to 10.41%

Feb 16, 2010 | Calculated Risk

Mr Slippery:

Any more news out of the Reichstag today?

Juvenal Delinquent:

...der consumer ist kaput

Nanoo-Nanoo:

ha...so...I didn't 'elect' them to shape my world. I may really need to cut up my credit card now and go Greece on them. YEEHAW!

Investment Banker

from the Princeton review

A Day in the life of a Investment Banker

.....

At the profession’s highest level, investment bankers serve as crucial figures in the shaping of the American and world economies, managing mergers of multibillion-dollar corporations and handling the privatization of government assets around the world.

....

Still, the work is extremely interesting, and those who stay in the profession report high levels of job satisfaction. Investment bankers spend large amounts of time traveling, to pitch ideas to prospective and current clients or to examine the facilities of companies being purchased by their clients.

In the office, they spend their time developing strategies to pitch to clients, preparing financial analyses and documents, or working with the sales forces of their banks in selling the bonds and stocks which are created by the investment-banking department’s activities.

[Feb 18, 2010] Michael Hudson Wall Street Moves in for the Kill

...Paulson spelled out in step-by-step detail the strategy of “doing God’s work,” as his Goldman Sachs colleague Larry Blankfein sanctimoniously explained Adam Smith’s invisible hand.

Now that pro-financial free-market doctrine is achieving the status of religion, I wonder whether this proposal violates the separation of church and state. Neoliberal economics may be a travesty of religion, but it is the closest thing to a Church that Americans have these days, replete with its Inquisition operating out of the universities of Chicago, Harvard and Columbia.

If the salvation is to give Wall Street a free hand, anathema is the proposed Consumer Financial Protection Agency intended to deter predatory behavior by mortgage lenders and credit-card issuers.

[Feb 18, 2010] FT.com - Columnists - Martin Wolf - How to walk the fiscal tightrope that lies before us

Pinn illustration

[Feb 17, 2010] TransUnion- Mortgage Delinquencies at All Time High

JimPortlandOR:

Blackhalo wrote:

"Resolution Trust Corporation"

This time it needs to be called the Resolution No Trust Corporation

ResistanceIsFeudal:

JimPortlandOR wrote:

This time it needs to be called the Resolution No Trust Corporation

I wait with baited breath for "Revolution: Trust No Corporation"

edit: "baited" was not a spelling error

Werner the Wolf Eel:

Kudlow must have loaded up on the blow before going on the air. I've never met anyone above 30 with that much energy naturally.

Where he sees optimism in the Tea Party, I see the 21st Century American version of the German Workers Party.

JimPortlandOR:

The Republicans are now saying that health care reform should be started with a blank page.

I like the idea of starting over again on commercial and investment banking, and real estate. Nationalize them all, and then charter some new institutions led by completely new people, and sell them the cremated remains of the old system.

pavel.chichikov:

Someone here a while back said GS was an arm of the CIA jokingly.

Maybe not the arm.

broward:

pavel.chichikov wrote:

Maybe not the arm.

The beak?

pavel.chichikov

The beak?

The tentacle is traditional.

broward:

pavel.chichikov wrote:

The tentacle is traditional.

What about the suckers? (somebody had to say it)

[Feb 17, 2010] Musings On Monetary Mendacity by Tyler Durden

Feb 16, 2010 | zero hedge

The U.S. economy ceased to function this week after unexpected existential remarks by Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke shocked Americans into realizing that money is, in fact, just a meaningless and intangible social construct. What began as a routine report before the Senate Finance Committee Tuesday ended with Bernanke passionately disavowing the entire concept of currency, and negating in an instant the very foundation of the world's largest economy.

"Though raising interest rates is unlikely at the moment, the Fed will of course act appropriately if we…if we…" said Bernanke, who then paused for a moment, looked down at his prepared statement, and shook his head in utter disbelief. "You know what? It doesn't matter. None of this—this so-called 'money'—really matters at all."

"It's just an illusion," a wide-eyed Bernanke added as he removed bills from his wallet and slowly spread them out before him. "Just look at it: Meaningless pieces of paper with numbers printed on them. Worthless."

Hussman Follow-Up On The Great $1.5 Trillion Unlegislated GSE Bail Out

...during the Q&A of Hoenig's speech reference earlier, the Kansas Fed president said "Our primary goal is the exit strategy. We need to remove the assets from our balance sheet. And we need to get out of this as early as we can." Of course, Ben Bernanke will never actually do this, and the "calendar" is so vague it could be referencing 3000AD.

[Feb 15, 2010] Goldman Goes Rogue – Special European Audit To Follow

GS does is financial three card monty of one kind or another...
The Baseline Scenario

...Goldman will probably be blacklisted from working with eurozone governments for the foreseeable future; as was the case with Salomon Brothers 20 years ago, Goldman may be on its way to be banned from some government securities markets altogether.

Nemo

Now remember, these guys take home 7- and 8-figure bonuses every year for “making the global economy more efficient”.

bmeisen

Enron, Fastow, Arthur Anderson, deja vu all over agian.

[Feb 15, 2010] Weekend Homework President’s Report on the Economy

"This proves our leader has a sense of humor."
February 12, 2010 | The Big Picture

beatstreet:

This proves our leader has a sense of humor. Cliff’s note please.

Moss:

Well at least one Industry is booming:

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=a7IMnXY_.OG4&pos=9

[Feb 15, 2010] New Jersey State of Fiscal Emergency

LoserBeachBum:

It is really amazing how mostly poor Republicans want to continue shooting themselves in the foot, year after year. "Ban public unions!" is almost as bad as the infamous: "Git damn guverment off my medicare!".

Outsider

Synchronized drowning.

[Feb 14, 2010] Dynamite Prize in Economics

The Big Picture

I love this:

The Dynamite Prize in Economics is to be awarded to the three economists who contributed most to enabling the Global Financial Collapse (GFC), or more figuratively, to the three economists who contributed most to blowing up the global economy.

Here’s the short list:

Fischer Black and Myron Scholes
Eugene Fama
Milton Friedman
Alan Greenspan
Assar Lindbeck
Robert Lucas
Richard Portes
Edward Prescott and Finn E. Kydland
Paul Samuelson
Larry Summers

Go vote now!

inessence:

To bad that dynamite prize is not literal in meaning…they should all be given the prize with a short lit fuse.

Chief Tomahawk

...Greenspan is pretty difficult to argue against. I wonder how much of his behavior was driven by a need to be liked? Afterall, he wasn’t exactly blessed with looks.

Taliesyn:

...Greenspan: I Didn’t Cause Housing Bubble
http://moneynews.com/StreetTalk/Alan-Greenspan-Housing-Bubble/2010/02/12/id/349736?s=al&promo_code=972F-1

I guess that makes Greenspan a financial holocaust denier.

Winston Munn:

Any teabag wearin’, Palin votin, Rush listenin’ Republican worth his Hannities can tell you the entire fault is on the shoulders of Barney Frank.

SS:

Milton Friedman, do you know that this idiot actually in Capitalism and Freedom actually advocated that the FDA be abolished and that market forces would provide adequate “information” on the quality of drugs on the market. That was not the only public service he wished to abolish, among others the FAA. Go figure. The schmuck that got him and his cronies Nobel prizes for over 30 years also deserves a lot of credit. But I’ll go with the hit man rather than the mastermind. Friedman is my pick.

alfred e:

@MA: Phil Gramm should share the award with Larry Summers. And Rubin except he’s not an economist.

Greenspan was too much of a suckup woos (pussy?) to be a driving factor. The others were/are arrogant assholes.

alfred e:

@MA: Gramm? Correct. Shared with Summers.

Greenspan was a toad. Gramm and Summers were/are arrogant greedy jerks.

mcrcr4:

Do wannabes count? If so, how about Ronald Reagan?

Agree with alfred e re Gramm and Summers. As for Greenspan, I keep thinking of Peanuts: “How can they doubt us when we’re so sincere?”

Nice weekend everyone.

Moss:

Greeny has to get top billing since he was the tactical general of any and all misguided theory.
He was in effect the boot on the ground, the implementer, the decider, the enabler and in the end admitted he was wrong. All of the others, that are still living, are still defending their BS.

[Feb 14, 2010] Fed as a financial heroin dispensing institution

the implications to the stock and currency markets will be drastic should the Fed relapse to its old financial heroin-dispersing ways.

[Feb 13, 2010] Antidepressant use doubles in US, study finds

Reuters

More Americans may accept diagnosis of depression

[Feb 12, 2010] They Replaced Horses, Didn't They

Economist's View

Bruce Wilder:

Humans, like horses, remain economically valuable for entertainment, decoration and as pets, to those with capital income.

I've long been available as a pet.

If I only knew a nice lady with a bond portfolio. ;-)

roger:

Actually, the destruction of horse power took a long time. The war in which the greatest number of horses were involved was... World War II.

And in the Great War on Terror, the fearsome enemy of all mankind, bigger than King Kong, the man who America must spend 700 billion dollars a year to defeat and still has not (poor America), the one and only Osama bin Laden, escaped Tora Bora on the back of a little cute pony. Of course, OBL does have one edge: America is run by idiots. OBL runs an outfit dedicated to war, while the main function of the "Defense" department is corporate welfare, with the military function being a sort of vestiginal side. Still, I'm betting on the ponies over the drones in Afghanistan.

evagrius:

Happiness will prevail!

[Feb 10, 2010] God's work: Somebody pushed AIG out a window, to collect the insurance.

This was no accident, no act of God. No unforeseen mishap, no simple miscalculation.

Somebody pushed AIG out a window, to collect the insurance. Then they saw the opportunity to extort billions from the Congress and a Presidency in transition by bringing the financial system to the point of collapse. And they took it. And somebody knows who and how they did it.

The $700 Billion U.S. Funding Hole is Desperately Seeking A Very Indiscriminate Treasury Buyer

Jan 24, 2010 | zero hedge

Number 156:

You need someone indiscriminate? No problem. The Fed will buy what they can't sell.

Ben Shalom Bernanke, Suuuuuuuuuuper genius.

strike for retu...

The speculative activities of Goldman Sachs and the like have been made risk-free via their ownership of Treserve. Consequently all capital is driven to them. (Those in the know because they know. Those not in the know because heads squid wins, tails you lose, means that squid gets everything.)

Anonymous:

Can someone please tell me when the fed cant print anymore and admit defeat? This story is becoming boring...

Doug:

When you see tanks rolling down your street, you'll know the game is pretty much over.

Miyagi_san :

Its time for financial war bonds...Its your DUTY to country and future generations to unload whatever savings you have.

docj :

ALL UR 401K R BELONG TO US, in other words.

blueskyscottsdale:

and for the simple folk such as myself, the difference between USA today and Argentina in the 1990s would be what exactly?

Anonymous:

Latitude?:

Anonymous:

Evita was pretty. Hillary not so much so.

The best defense is a good offense, absolutely

From the transcript, first on whether or not jobs will be created this spring:
Absolutely. But remember where we were a year ago.
On whether enough is being done to bring down unemployment:
We need to -- we have more work to do, absolutely we have more work to do.
On the U.S. losing it's AAA-rating:
Absolutely not. And that will never happen to this country.
On whether the proposed budget is a serious attempt at deficit reduction:
Absolutely. Again, look what the president proposed.
This is absolutely unconvincing.

[Feb 09, 2010] Fed Chair as Confidence [Con] Man

Confidence con-man -- what a term :-). "a confidence game indeed, as well as try to lyingly instill confidence among the uninitiated readership". It’s the standard psychology of totalitarian regimes.
The Baseline Scenario

Hopefully, most Americans will remember that a confidence game has been played on them

Russ

.. the Fed chief’s job, from the establishment point of view, really is simply to maintain the confidence of Wall Street that the looting will continue for as long as possible. The actual mechanics of the job are pretty simple. Economic crashes, depressions, etc. are of no consequence as long as the system can hold onto power, so the Fed chief doesn’t have to worry about that. All he has to worry about is seizing the disaster opportunities, shock doctrine style

maynardGkeynes

Robert Samuelson’s entire career is based on the fact that the public has him vaguely confused with Paul Samuelson, to whom he is not related, and who, unlike Robert, was not a meatloaf. The only writer that I know of who is more thoroughly and consistently inane than R. Samuelson is Ben Stein, whom the public vaguely confuses with his father Herb Stein. The American public tends to get confused on names. Exit polls showed that in the ‘68 New Hampshire primary, more than 1/3 who voted for Sen. Eugene McCarthy thought they were voting for Sen. Joseph McCarthy.

[Feb 09, 2010] Amazing metamorphose: Maestro turned into the designated goat in short four years

Four years after leaving the Fed as the Greatest Central Banker Ever, the longest-serving chairman, the Maestro, Alan Greenspan is the designated goat.

[Feb 09, 2010] The Blankfein bonus $9m in stock (updated)

FT Alphaville

williambanzai7 | February 7 3:29pm | Permalink
| Options
I SCAMMED EM MY WAY
(My Way, Frank Sinatra)
WilliamBanzai7

And now the end is near
And so I face the final subprime curtain
My friend I'll say it clear
I'll state a quantitative case of which I'm absolutely certain

I've lived a Wall Street bankster life that's full
I've swindled each and every way but sideways
And more, much more than this
I scammed them my way

Regrets I've hedged a few
But then again too few to mention
I did what I wanted to do
And did it through SEC exemptions

I planned each toxic course
Each innovative step along the ponzi highway
And more, much more than this
I scammed them my way

Yes there were times I'm sure you knew
When we bought more securitised shlock than we could chew
But through it all when there was doubt
I jacked the Fed and got bailed out, I escaped Lehman's final call
And I stood tall and scammed them my way

I've loved, I've laughed and lately cried
I've had my fill, my share of bankster screwing
And now as the Federal subsidies subside
I find it all slightly less than amusing

To think I did God's work
And may I say not in a shy way
Oh no, oh no, not me
I scammed them my way

For what is a Wall Street con man what has he got
If not $100 million bonus bucks then he has not
To see the things he truly steals
And the words of a slippery Wall Street eel
The record shows I took the populist blows
And scammed them my way

Yes it was my way...

[Feb 08, 2010] Bad News for Bears (humor)

Feb 07, 2010 | CalculatedRisk

First, via NPR: The Super Bowl Stock Market Predictor

The Super Bowl Stock Market Predictor holds that if a team from the old NFL wins, the market will rise in that year; if a team from the old AFL wins, the market will fall.
Both the Colts and the Saints qualify as "old NFL", so that is bad news for the bears!

[Feb 07, 2010] Art Cashin Market Commentary - An Encore Presentation

zero hedge

On this day (+2) in 1858, that august deliberative body, the U.S. House of Representatives was calmly discussing a matter of import to the nation. Well....maybe "calmly discussing" misses the point. The House was in mid-debate/mid-filibuster on the topic of admitting Kansas to statehood....and whether such admission should be as a Free State or slave state.

The debate had been going since the prior day and as it moved into the wee small hours of February 6th the tension, partisanship and weariness began to show. Since night-time in February, in Washington, in the Capitol building, in the 1850's tended not to be too warm, several members of Congress were said to have sipped (or gulped) some alcoholic beverages....just to stave off the chill.

Rep. Keitt of S.C. made a rather uncomplimentary remark about Rep. Galusha Grow of PA. (who had the floor at the time). Rep. Grow responded with an equally unkind assessment of Keitt. Keitt went for Grow's neck, but was knocked to the ground. Soon most of the House was wrestling, spitting, kicking and punching their worthy and distinguished colleagues. Spittoons and inkwells flew through the air. The Speaker gaveled for order with no success. The Sergeant at Arms beat members with his staff (in a non-partisan way, of course).

Rep. Grow was being pummeled by Barksdale of Mississippi when Washburn of Wisconsin rushed to Grow's defense. Washburn's intention was to grab Barksdale by the hair with his left hand and knock him out with a right uppercut. But when he grabbed Barksdale's hair, it came off in his hand. Shocked, Washburn screamed. The rioting representatives looked up and saw a suddenly bald Barksdale…..and Washburn waving his wig. "My God, he's been scalped!" shouted someone and the riot broke up in riotous laughter.

To mark the day, suggest to the bipartisan leadership that they appoint someone from the Hair Club as doorkeeper.

[Feb 06, 2010] Lies We’re Being Told Interest is Consumption, Saving is “a Negative Act” — DollarCollapse.Com

...how can U.S. GDP be up by a robust 5% when oil imports and rail traffic are down and unemployment is still rising?

The answer, in a nutshell, is that once again we’re being conned.

Get this: Washington defines interest on credit card debt as “consumer spending” and adds it to GDP.

[Feb 06, 2010] Proprietary Trading and Credit Default Swaps - Mission (Not) Accomplished

The mutant Zombie Banks :-).

Here's why the Volcker Rule ran into a brick wall of Senatorial gravitas and pusillanimous punditry.

Give up prop trading AND banking status? The mutant Zombie Banks would not allow it.

[Feb 06, 2010] Outside The (Cardboard) Box - U.S. Workforce Disappearing At Alarming Rate

After a careful review of BLS Employment Data, Outside The (Cardboard) Box analysts have determined that the U.S. workforce is shrinking at an inexplicable rate. Available census data indicates that the U.S. population is still expanding. Under normal conditions this would lead to an increase in the available labor pool. However BLS data confirms that able-bodied, productive people are just ‘leaving the workforce’ in massive numbers and for no apparent reason. Said one concerned economist, “We’re still kashkaring the figures but it looks like it could be in the millions. We don’t know where they’ve gone or if they’re coming back. They’ve just disappeared without a trace!”

“And it’s not just people who are disappearing”, said an unnamed Detroit Law Enforcement official. “It happens overnight. One minute there’s a family living in a neighborhood; the kids are out playing in the yard. The next day we drive by and the house is empty; all of their possessions are gone and all of the copper piping has been ripped out of the walls. We sometimes find pets though. Only people under duress leave their pets…..(momentarily overcome, the Officer regains his composure)…. We know it’s a crime scene but we can’t prove a crime has been committed.” A tour of Detroit’s neighborhoods confirms the Officer’s assessment: block after block of vacant homes, empty streets and shuttered businesses.

... ... ...

[Feb 06, 2010] NFP -20,000, Consensus +15,000, Non-Seasonally Adjusted Unemployment Rate (U3 And U6) Surges To Record 10.6% And 18%

"In my younger days I remember how US officials used to disparage the Soviets for massaging their numbers to reflect desired outcomes........."
Feb 05, 2010 | zero hedge

glenlloyd :

I don't think anyone believes the BLS report anymore. The U3 in particular has been ruin by policitical pressure over the years and it really says nothing about the state of unemployment, U6 is better but still lacking.

The most important metric is the aggregate total of those without jobs, and any meaningful number will include those who have fallen off the back without finding work, because if you don't count them then why even bother.

garbage in / garbage out

nedwardkelly:

I guess I shouldn't have been thinking "what does this particular number mean" I should have been thinking "what is their motivation for including this particular number in the report"

Anonymous

The Administration is working on a perpetual hiring loop where they are going to create an entire division of people whose job it is to count the census workers. There will be then be a third group created to count those people, and so on and so forth.

slovester:

I wonder how many people are employed by the Feds who sole job function is to calculate just how large of a lie the government can make out of reported numbers and still have the majority of the idiot citizenry believe them.

suteibu :

They don't call it the "Headline" number for nothing.

Dixie Normous:

The new model:

Pick a number you are comfortable with, say 9.7%, then massage the "data" until you get there.

SDRII :

in other words, investment banking. Makes sense

Anonymous

With this kind of "Obamath" by August unemployment will be +7%.

Great Depressio:

OBAMATH!!! Hhahahahahahahaha!!!!! Did you come up with that yourself???? That made me laugh so much!

[Feb 06, 2010] Of Proprietary Trading and Credit Default Swaps - Mission Accomplished

Jesse's Café Américain

“Deficits are like putting dynamite in the hands of children,” Taleb said in an interview with Bloomberg Television. “They can get out of control very quickly.”

[Feb 06, 2010] January 2010NFP is . . .

February 5, 2010

Transor Zs:

The United States of America

(A division of Enron)

[Feb 05, 2010] Brilliant Marketing Meets Dark Humor

The site mentions below is http://www.despair.com/consulting.html and "If you are not a part of the solution, there’s good money to be made in prolonging the problem" is perfectly applicable to the solution of the current financial crisis ;-)
February 4, 2010 | naked capitalism
I came back from two weeks out of town, and one of the things waiting for me is a plain package. In it is a large book, The Rise of Charles Ponzi, and underneath it is a catalogue from a company called Despair, Inc. The book is one of four items on its cover. No note, nothing besides the book and the catalogue.

Whoever decided to send this to me is a genius. This entire enterprise is an exercise in morbid humor. For instance, they have a series of Demotivators, posters and computer covers in with black borders, a photo in the middle, a single word underneath photo and a tagline (if you saw one, you’d recognize this is a recent convention). The one on Consulting shows a handshake (just hands and wrists) of two men in suits. Caption:

If you are not a part of the solution, there’s good money to be made in prolonging the problem.

I’m a big believer in synchronicity (that is an intellectually respectable way to admit to being superstitious), and when I opened the catalogue, the very first page I saw showed “Dates of Despair” which has quotes for every day of the year. The one they chose to display was for the 15th of an unidentified month:

An S&P analyst in the Collateralized Debt Obligations Group emails a superior, ‘Let’s hope we’re all wealthy and retired by the time this house of cards falters. ;o) (2006)

chad:

The Despair Inc. demotivators have become an Internet meme. Just do a google image search for “demotivator”.

Here’s one of my favorites, imagine all the unemployed storm troopers there were after Luke blew up the Death Star in Star Wars: A New Hope.

The headline is “Unemployment” with the caption saying “sucks when your job gets blow’d up”.
http://i650.photobucket.com/albums/uu228/jradke138138/Unemployment.jpg

ex-PFC Chuck:

As a stocking stuffer this past Christmas my wife gave me a T-shirt from Despair Inc. that I happen to be wearing now as I read this post. The legend says in large print “The Time for Action Is Past”, followed below in a much smaller font “Now Is the Time for Senseless Bickering.” I’m still not sure what message she she was trying to send by giving me this.

PS: As I removed my outer shirt and looked down to read the T-shirt to make sure I quoted it correctly, I found that it was on inside out. My excuse is that, as is usually the case, I arose before dawn and dressed in the dark to avoid waking her.

[Feb 04, 2010] Is Blackrock Buying the US Equity Market ?

"There are repeated rumors of an invisible hand in several markets, as an arm of Washington." ;-) 2010: The year we realized that the modern economy is nothing but a giant Ponzi Scheme

Facilitating the hostile takeover of the rest of US real economy by a cabal of bonus taking Bonapartes?

...We suggested the other day that Blackrock and the NY Fed might turn out to be Obama's Halliburton and KBR - private contractors fulfilling administration policy. NY Fed Conspired to Hide Details of AIG There are repeated rumours of an invisible hand in several markets, as an arm of Washington. But this is a bit much.

[Feb 04, 2010] Debt Wars The Bankers Strike Back! Red Hot Energy and Gold

When Banksters Attack:  "Soon, the rebellion will crushed!"

When Banksters Attack: "Soon, the rebellion will crushed!"

[Feb 04, 2010] Did Fannie-Mae Cause the Financial Crisis

Feb 03, 2010 | Economist's View

Trance :

I think the occupation of "financial engineer" brings just very bad reputation to the general job of engineers. Engineers are supposed to build useful things that work reliably. Financial engineers are just con artists.

Moopheus:

Perhaps instead of saying "financial engineers" (indeed--I spent a couple of years in engineering school, and what those guys did is NOT engineering!) we should use the Disney term--imagineering. What they did was financial imagineering.

[Feb 03, 2010] Senator Bob Corker Needs to Be Updated on His Bank Failure History zero hedge

He's reading off the Bankster teleprompter.

More than half of all lawmakers own stock. In the House, the number of lawmakers trading stock jumped from 91 in 2001 to 259 today (November 23, 2009 date of article)…Is it surprising that senators behave like a pack of wolves challenging legislation on the premise...

Problem is the population is too busy watching reality TV and refinancing their houses for 5% to really care about what goes on in congress.

causes-of-the-crisis

Perhaps listings for houses should be priced in gallons of gasoline.

[Feb 3, 2010] Neil Barofsky says handcuffs may be coming….

February 1, 2010 | The Big Picture

km4

...Neil Barofsky, Elizabeth Warren, Paul Volcker, Elliot Spitzer trotted out for ‘dog and pony’ but we know who still rules the roost…..the Vampire Squid from Hell

Goldilocksisableachblond:

I hope Spitzer gave Barofsky some coaching on methods of discrete and untraceable use of escort services.

I’d hate to see Barofsky go down. He seems like one of the — too few — good guys.

[Feb 3, 2010] ISM Non-Manufacturing Shows Slight Expansion in January

ResistanceIsFeudal:

Vonbek777:

Better yet, my wife has a co-worker trying to unload 11 timeshares...11....timeshare addict I guess...or more likely can't say no...

She must enjoy albatross juggling... knives or chainsaws would be safer. Or tulips.

greenchutes:

Timeshares and annuities - God's gifts to con men.

[Feb 3, 2010] ADP- Private Employment Decreased 22,000 in January

Juvenal Delinquent:

New York's own reality TV show debuts: 'Job Hunt'

Suggested title: Serfvivor

Juvenal Delinquent:

How are they going to work in and explain away the -820,000 "adjustment" Friday?

I keep thinking they can't just keep ramping up the obfuscationary angle, but they can.

ResistanceIsFeudal:

Now that's what I call "Recovery"!

edit: recover : to cover again.

Juvenal Delinquent:

I'm gonna miss Timmay, he had Dr. Strangelovian tendencies and never quite mastered the art of public speaking...

...good luck with PIMCO, young Tim.

ResistanceIsFeudal:

Juvenal Delinquent wrote:

How do we go about severely reducing the gambling opportunities in our country?

All those indian casinos in your backyard are money siphons, they provide nothing really. Other areas that embraced other casinos/riverboats, etc have found that it was just a short sugar-high fix as well.

Casinos are so pre-millenial... We've baked casino gambling into everything now, from retirement to houses to the price of food and oil... and soon, human life (via healthcare)

LoserBeachBum:

"All those indian casinos in your backyard are money siphons, they provide nothing really"

Sitting Bull war plan #9023: White men can shoot all right, maybe we should try...gambling?

[Feb 02, 2010] The Populist Addiction - Readers' Comments - NYTimes.com

This "pervert of the pen" David Brooks is an interesting case.

He [David Brooks] must be in that top percentile, not worrying about the house being foreclosed, the job being shipped to Mumbai, and the hopeless future in which America just can't compete except in the packaging of fraudulent financial deals

."Someone has to nail the media establishment for its willing perversion of language, American history and the substance of today's genuine populism."

[Feb 01, 2010] Dear Wall Street: We're sorry

January 26, 2010 | Yahoo

Sorry always seems the hardest thing to say.

But isn't a big apology exactly what we owe Wall Street today?

We've foolishly given the financial industry a trillion dollars in support of its balance sheets and markets. We did so even though the big banks and brokerages clearly didn't need or want our help. Things were just fine in September 2008, but then we had to go and stick our noses into the world of high finance.

Now, we're making matters worse by trying to tell them how much to pay their people, how much risk they can take and what businesses are kosher. Suddenly, we feel we're better bankers than the bankers. We know to whom they should be lending. We have strong opinions about what they do with our money.

We're sorry about that.

We're sorry that we want strong control of our money supply. We regret that we want to have government protection of our deposits, our checking accounts, mortgages and credit cards. Maybe it's our simpleton ways. We get nervous when we lose our jobs and have to sell our homes at a discount to eat.

That's our bad.

The fact is Wall Street has done as masterful job of handling these accounts. And we should acknowledge that the overdraft fees, escalating interest rates and calamity in the mortgage market are really our fault, not the banks'.

It's funny that Lloyd Blankfein, the chief executive of Goldman Sachs Group (GS) should have to keep apologizing for his firm's success. He said that given hindsight Goldman would have done things a lot differently. Goldman engaged in "improper" behavior, he said. But when he made those comments Jan. 14, he wasn't talking about the bets Goldman made against toxic mortgage securities it was selling clients. That's the lord's work after all.

I think I speak for everyone when I write, sorry Lloyd, I don't know how we got that one confused. I guess that's why they pay you the big bucks ($68.5 million in 2007).

... ... ...

[Feb 01, 2010] Lloyd Blankfein -- $100 Million Man

doctoRx

If Larry Summers was worth $5.2 M for an alleged one day of work a week to DE Shaw, who knows what Mr. Blankfein is “worth”?

craazyman:

Don’t you whining peasants understand that we live in a different reality than you do. You are swarming crawling ants in the dirt, and we are gods that stride the earth like giants. What can an ant even say to a giant? When you scream, we hear nothing.

-Jolly B. Banksterino, Director of Something that Requires Talent and Going to Meetings Alot, LLC, LLD, BYOB

[Feb 01, 2010] realitybase - Journal - State of the Union, Part 1—Obama sees extraordinary economic problems but proposes only ordinary solutions.

... the captain of our ship of state has gotten on the horn and told us we've struck an iceberg and are in danger of sinking, but his call to action is all about deck chairs. And it's really worse than that.

[Feb 01, 2010] Economist's View

January

[Jan 31, 2010] Video CNBC Financial Advice The Daily Show Comedy Central

Old but good... Actually this might never get old...
The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c
CNBC Financial Advice
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political Humor Health Care Crisis

[Jan 31, 2010] Summers Statistical recovery and a human recession

Calculated Risk

Quote of the day ...

"What we see in the United States and some other economies is a statistical recovery and a human recession."

Larry Summers, Davos, Jan 30, 2010 (via CNBC)

rich:

Could it be that Obama stimulus, bank bailouts and Fed policies are designed to pump statistics...not help humans?

kidbuck:

So, Larry is admitting that GS employees aren't human?

km4:

@ kidbuck:

So, Larry is admitting that GS employees aren't human?

They are squid automatons

ResistanceIsFeudal:

"Sorry, Mom, the mob has spoken!"

double inverse recession:

kidbuck wrote:

If I can't live on 40 hour's pay, how can I live on 32?

Hulu - Saturday Night Live- Don't Buy Stuff

Continued...



Etc

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