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Financial Humor Bulletin, November 2010

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November

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

November 29, 2010 | Financial Armageddon

Real Deal:

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

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

Isn't economics great, especially free-capitalism?

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

zero hedge

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

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

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

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

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

call me ahab:

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

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

hammerandtong2001:

Goldman, YES! Exactly.

Expat:

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

Darkness:

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

Calvin Jones and the 13th Apostle:

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

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

zero hedge

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

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

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

One of the most famous Nietzsche criticism of Christianity was related to the quote: “For me to believe in their redeemer, they’d have to look more redeemed". Which means who that actually believe should feel absolute bliss as they floated through life toward this wonderful heaven... Yet they’re always so greedy and discontented. So religion seems fails even at providing psychological relief.

Alpha Magazine reports the compensation for hedge fund managers each year. The top earner for 2006 received $1.7 billion, the second highest received $1.4 billion, and the third $1.3 billion. That adds to $4.4 billion for three people. The top 25 hedge managers received, on average, $570 million for a total of $14.25 billion.

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

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

Tom Toles (WashPost)::

btg

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

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

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

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

[Nov 26, 2010] Sudden Debt

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

November 26, 2010 | naked capitalism

Don:

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

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

November 24, 2010

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

XERXES: Brought peace.

REG: Oh. Peace? Shut up!

- Monty Python's Life of Brian

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

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

November 23, 2010

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

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

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

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

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

More here.

[Nov 24, 2010] Bernanke As Greenspan

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

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

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

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

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

The Big Picture

karen

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

[Nov 23, 2010] Sac-ked !

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Congressional Members' Personal Wealth Expands While National Economy Sours

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

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

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

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

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

Quantum Nucleonics:

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

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

CalculatedRisk

Rob Dawg:

Rajesh wrote:

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

You misspelled oligarchs.

Byzantine_Ruins:

Outsider wrote:

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

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

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

Byzantine_Ruins:

mp wrote:

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

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

Vonbek777:

Juvenal Delinquent wrote:

What is Glenn Beck economics?

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

Byzantine_Ruins:

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

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

"Fox is a non-reality based belief system”

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

Uh, no

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

billb

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

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

[Nov 14, 2010] Twilight's Last Gleaming

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

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

It's crucial to keep the sheeple shopping.

Nov 13, 2010 | zero hedge

chopper read:
the music has stopped. have you got your chair (and popcorn)?

Dollar Bill Hiccup:

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

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

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

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

November 13, 2010

F. Beard:

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

Oliver South:

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

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

Financial Armageddon

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

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

... ... ...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Doing It Again, by Paul Krugman, Commentary, NY Times:

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

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

Foppe De Haan:

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

Lafayette:

LA-LA LAND

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

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

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

LaLaLand extends from coast to coast.

[Nov 06, 2010] Cheap money won’t fix this economy - The Boston Globe

DaveVonNatickII:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AlterNet

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Democratic Party has the bad habit of coming on to voters like the neighborhood mafia extortion team. The Democrats have the incurably bad breath of reliably broken promises. They collar and corner us with mobster charm, they pick our pockets while pretending to pick our brains. Then as the big election day draws near, they lean heavily upon us and whisper an almost romantic confession: “Sure, we spit in your faces and ask you to pretend it’s rain. But the other guy is a real brute and would also break your arms.”

 

  • Continued...



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    Last modified: September 12, 2017