The UK’s organized crime authority is looking into whether AIG’s request that employees return bonuses amounts to “extortion.” I knew there was a reason I got into blogging. (Yes please add TPM to your RSS blah blah)
Also: Michelle Caruso-Cabrera does not understand how CDOs work. She was just all “one mortgage defaults and then suddenly they’re worthless” etc. etc. Gary Parr, can’t you learn this woman something?
Remember how you paid James Brown fifty grand so people would not get crazy and riot in the streets just because everyone was so afraid people would riot in the streets because rioting in the streets was what everyone else was doing? Remember how you didn’t even knew who James Brown was but you paid him off because you thought he might calm people down and counterproductive and irrational mis-directed rage is a big fat hindrance to Getting Shit Done? (Just ask any girl who ever dated an asshole, that Barney was right.)
BARNEY, wtf. You have been watching the plutocracy conspire with wrongheaded contempt for Big Government to sow the seeds of this crisis for your entire fucking career. You sat powerless while Greenspan calmly told you the trillion dollars worth of systemic risk the Fed had so heroically averted by the LTCM bailout could in no way be taken as a sign of the moral hazards of allowing financiers to “self-regulate” complex derivatives securities when the fearsome specter of CONTRACT LAW was upon them. You sat powerless while homeownership swelled from 64 to 71 percent even as corporations moved every last industry with any record of facilitating class moblity to other countries. When it all came crashing down in a Hobbean fit of naked short-selling, collateral-calling, speculation and panic you held your nose and pledged trillions of dollars to save the financial system from collapse. You held your nose when Obama picked that underminery little twerp Tim Geithner over your Republican friend Sheila Bair as Treasury Secretary even that you knew no one at the New York Fed had ever shown any sign of having the faintest notion what it actually meant to serve the public. You invited wonks and eggheads to your committee all crisis and let Waxman play bad cop with Dick Fuld and his ilk because that’s not your style. Joseph Cassano and Jimmy Cayne and Alan Greenspan and Bob Rubin and David Rubin and Stan O’Neal and Angelo Mozilo and Dick Fucking Grasso and the rest of the villains are rich and free and the auto companies and underwater homeowners and clean coal plants can somehow get vilified for asking for what literally amounts to a few basis points of what it is going to cost to clean up after all of them, and after all this time you’re gonna cede the moral and logical right hand for the satisfaction of unloading on a guy who is making a fucking dollar a year?
Why? The shitheads who made bank off this are hello, NOT FUCKING WORKING AT AIG. Nor, honestly, did most of them ever work at AIG, or else maybe AIG would have thought twice before it wrote a trillion dollar insurance policy on a few thousand soon-to-be crackhouses. AIG obviously had a lot of idiots working there, but we now know who the greediest idiots are. Your job now is to call out the last standing greedy smart guys so that when they say shit like “Nationalization is not the answer” — interesting that your TARP-swilling freshly FDIC-insured zero-exposed-my-ass ass would say such a thing, Lloyd Blankfein! — or “the big problem with the US economy is our current account deficit” — hey, how you figure it got that way, Jamie Dimon? — the country can understand that some smart guys go into big bloated government because if they don’t all the greedy smart guys will invariably get caught up in a race to see who can most violently rape the economy fastest. And yeah, the bonus thing is totally insulting, like making rape victims pay for their rape kits like they do in Wasilla, but hello, the “rape” part is actually a lot worse, even I can admit that, and I guess the point is Ed Liddy DIDN’T RAPE ANYONE.
Reaction to the inevitable requisite short-term reaction to the massacre that wasn’t a massacre but rather uneasy home viewing (presuming you still have a cable and/or high-speed internet-equipped home) (which is highly suggestive of a copper piping and window and furnace-equipped home) plus the requisite semi-informed cynicism perpetuated/embodied by Stewart (who didn’t touch on AIG or CDS, nevermind LTCM, nevermind…oh whatever nevermind):
Dude that was scary. Like Cramer had not only come unprepared, he came without ever having considered Stewart’s totally obvious observations, to say nothing of the larger ideological questions hinted at by said observations, to completely cast aside the practical dilemma of Why Tell People You “Care” About To Invest In The Shitty Stock Market At All When Government Bonds Have Returned Like Bernie Madoff But With Actual Money. And Cramer — I say this as a CNBC aficionado — is one of the most sympathetic characters they allow on the network.
Six mostly unemployed months into the crisis, I am thinking you have to be unemployed to have the time for the reading necessary to comprehend how morally and socially destructive (and yeah also comically inefficient) the whole “investment banking” idea was to begin with.
How come nothing I seem to read about the new Neko Case album is by one of them? Like that Times Mag piece, “Wild Thing.” Although maybe the achievement of that piece is that the dude who wrote it was really old, and you could tell, and so it seemed just sort of, well maybe “distinctive” is how you’d put it, how little time he’d seemed to have spent trying to fathom what it was to be born not a dude — I mean I know he is in publishing but — and somehow still he managed to emerge unchafed from the process of being shuttled to the Arizona Whole Foods and introduced to this woman and being exposed to all her poetic “haunting” songs and finally furnished by some intern the transcripts for pull quote material, and oh well now that I think about it I suppose I’d better use that morbid line about how she “should have been an abortion,” as melodramatic as that sort of logic is when the subject is some poor worthless lived trailer park woman, especially one who has stumbled so auspiciously upon all this talent (and in ways so completely ad hoc and accidental!)
The cacti outside the store reminded me of the often-thorny music Case admires and composes. They appeared to grow out of nothing, beauty and strangeness from dust, and then new parts of them seemed to spring as if from nowhere out of other parts, the flowers looking completely ad hoc and accidental.