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SPOT ON


I am in law school at George Washington University! My mother has a masters degree! My father has TWO masters degrees! And this bank stole their house from them!

Obviously protestors have to do absurd things to get national media attention, but this guy is outrageous. We’ve now found out he was lying about the house thing, but just imagine we didn’t know that (everything else is true I guess). It’s a wonder that people got on this guy’s side so hard. If you go to GWU law school, and your parents are obviously well-educated/probably rich, why was your house taken away? I can’t imagine they just stole your home if you were on-time with your payments. I realize at times some of the stuff I say may seem cold-hearted and make it look like I lack empathy, but like… I get it. It’s sad that so many people lost their jobs/homes and it’s a very shitty deal. But you can’t blame corporations for trying to survive, and banks for taking back their property (that’s why you get a mortgage) when you don’t pay them. It’s real world shit. Things don’t always go as planned. Now obviously he was lying and his parents are good on their mortgage, but just b/c I (and a LOT of other people) don’t agree with you it doesn’t mean I’m a cold-hearted bastard. And just to reiterate, corporations are one of the best things about the US. They’re rich enough to be able to pay great wages/salaries. They cover medical expenses for the majority of workers. And they care so much about their reputation to the point where they don’t want to fuck us over. Why do you think you see so many product recalls on the news? A company hears one case of a faulty product and BOOM–recall. Whether you can admit it or not, we’re kept extremely safe compared to the rest of the world. Protestors, you’re what the French call les incompetents.

Here’s a non-partisan, rational analysis of the #OccupyWallStreet demands. It’s literally spot on. And BI usually rubs me the wrong way. If you wanna be taken seriously and “open up discussion”, then come to the table with some facts and not this blanket smear campaign. Nobody is out to get us. Yes, in general corporations care more about money than anything else… that is the reason for their existence. Short/quick read

Jamie Dimon asks Bernanke “Whatup, Bitch?”

During the Fed Chairman’s press conference today, Bernanke got a tough question from dopeboy Dimon. He asked:

“Has anyone bothered to study the cumulative effect of these things, and do you have the fear, like I do, that when we look at it all, it will be the reason” why banks aren’t lending, he asked. “Is this holding us back at this point?”

UpdateVideo

He goes on to mention that exotic derivatives are few and far between now, boards and regulators are tougher, banks’ liquidity and capital levels are very high, and lending practices are far tighter than in the past. On top of that, the new proposed 3% surcharge for “big banks” out of the Basel III discussions has created even more uncertainty.

People have been fuckin’ loving Jamie Dimon over the past year or two. JPMorgan is arguably on top of the financial sector right now, especially with GS on the ropes. One of the issues with him asking this question all the way down in Atlanta is pretty obvious: why did he have to ask such a basic (but important) question in a public forum? Two possibilities. The first is he’s had this conversation with Bernanke before, but didn’t get the answer he wanted. Asking it in front of an international audience might force Bernanke to give a different, crowd-pleasing answer. The second, and more intriguing one is that he’s actually never been able to ask the question. In other words, he’s tried to get an answer out of the Fed (preferably Bernanke) and has never gotten one. If that’s the case, then that’s not good. Even though conspiracy theorists would consider it a sign of our impending enslavement to the Fed, the CEO of JPMorgan should be able to have a conversation with the Chairman of the Fed pretty easily.

Now I’d love to have a strong opinion on this, but there’s not much of a point to that. Banking regulations could be a reason for slow growth (strict lending reduces consumer spending), but businesses are borrowing at ridiculously low levels. Corporate capital accumulation and investment is very strong right now. The uncertainty in the banking sector could just as easily be a symptom of the slow recovery. Some of that chicken or the egg bullshit I guess.

Wake me when there’s a verdict

Back from a weekend at the cottage so I have been disconnected from reality since Thursday morning. Now, I have to say something about this Goldman Sachs situation.

Goldman got subpoenaed for bad business practices. Your everyday average American is thinkin’ “YA! FUCK THOSE BANKERS!”. Well I got news for ya… nothing’s gonna happen. I’m sure Matt Taibbi is in his basement right now jerkin’ to the thought of them going down… but–as always–the media is overlooking one of the most important pieces of the puzzle: Goldman’s got some smart motherfuckers. Sure, many (if not the majority of) Americans see the bank as a bunch of scumbags. But if I’m a CFO lookin’ to issue new corporate bonds or an IPO, I’m gonna go to the smartest, most well connected people available. Anyone who denies that Goldman is exactly that has their head up their ass.

Obviously there’s plenty of greedy bastards on Wall Street and elsewhere whowere trying to screw people over before the onset of the crisis. But am I the only one that’s sick of news outlets framing this situation as Goldman “betting against their clients”? When Goldman created Abacus, the now notoriously awful CDO, they weren’t able to sell every part of it. Now I could talk for awhile about my thoughts on this specific case, but that’s for another time. In short, the bank had to hold the parts of the security that it couldn’t get rid of, which opened themselves up to a considerable amount of risk. How do you eliminate that risk? You take the opposite position. In this case, they had to short it. While I’m sure there were plenty of people who thought the market would plummet, I guarantee you there were others right there next to them claiming the party was still happening. So, by shorting these same securities they’re holding (CDS’s, interest rate swaps, whatever) they’re able to reduce some personal risk.

The amount of leverage and systemic risk throughout the banking system was obviously far too irresponsible. In retrospect, there were a lot of bad judgments made leading up to the crisis. But, I don’t think we can start locking people up because they guessed wrong. It truly is a god damn shame that so many people lost money in the financial crisis, but pinning the blame on a few people is just a way for everyone to feel they had no responsibility for the outcome. If there’s still no consensus on the direct cause of the Great Depression, it’s prolly time to focus our efforts on a recovery. I could care less how GS comes out of this, but if there’s one thing I fucking HATE… it’s media spin

    

Well this coincidence somehow doesn’t surprise me. As I’m writing this I have Fox News on in the background and whatdya know they’re talkin’ about this exact situation. This lady Brenda Buttner is doing exactly what I just pointed out. She is describing the subpoena and says “Goldman bet against its clients, or “shorted” the deals”. Yes… she put quotations around the word “short”. I get that they want to make the situation easier to understand. But tell me that fucking phrase doesn’t force everyone to assume that Goldman is guilty. WOW!!! My blood is fucking BOILING watching this. You are on national TV saying “Goldman designed these securities to fail”. Uhhhh… who the fuck are you? Could you possibly provide some… oh I don’t know… evidence? Ya, Fabrice Tourre got caught with an email calling these “shitty deals”. 4 months after they sold them. As in after they started to plummet. You don’t think their clients did a little bit of research before they bought them and maybe they thought they weren’t gonna fail?

Seriously… this is exactly why I can’t trust half of the shit I hear. Fox isn’t the only one to blame here. Everyone does it. Just once I’d like to hear some actual fact-based news. I’m not some batshit crazy conspiracy theorist, I just can’t stand bullshit. Gimme the facts and I’ll make up my own damn mind.