Monday, May 8, 2017

War Against Taxpayers and Whistleblowers  (Trump Picks All Part of the Problem)  Trump Threatens WikiLeaks "Nuclear Option" Against the First Amendment  (Why So Easily Manipulated)   Global Neoliberalism Coming to All

Damn it. "Billions" is over.

Damn. It.


Just catching up after the furor.

Wanker of the Day - Rep. Chris Collins of Upstate New York wins today's all-pro wanking award. What kind of prize should he get? Discuss.
Total of 4.2Mln of French Voters Cast Empty Ballots - Millions of French voters cast empty ballots in the presidential run-off on Sunday, a survey revealed.
Macron Wins In France - Le Pen’s result is actually somewhat worse than the polling, at 35%. . . . Macron, who ran Hollande’s disastrous economic policy, will be a Trudeau style leader, very shiny and so on, good on talking about social issues, but his policies are neoliberal norm: take away worker rights, grind them down, in the name of labor market flexibility. They won’t improve the economy. . . . It remains a pity that we have to grind this out, in great misery, rather than simply leaping to candidates like Corbyn, Melenchon or (to a lesser extent) Sanders, but the electorate is still not willing to actually embrace positive change.  Even when they want change, they want it done by assholes (Cameron/May/Trump) or by people whose track records indicate servile subservience to NeoLiberal norms (Trudeau, Obama, Macron). . . . So be it, we will simply have to wait for death and time to make changes.  That will cost us much misery and many deaths, but it is unavoidable.

X22 Report, “Central Banks Injected Trillions Into The Market To Prop It Up & It's Not Enough”

Messing Up Badly In Korea - In many areas where many were worried that President Trump would do this that or the other crazy thing he has held back for one reason or another.  But one very serious location where he has recently made a total botch of things has been in Korea, a series of unforced errors.  Of course before he got into it in Korea it looked like he might get in a shooting war with China, but then he decided that Xi Jinping is a great guy after the Chinese paid his family gobs of money and Trump realized that he needed to make nicey nice with Xi in order to deal with unquestionably serious problem of the North Korean nuclear weapons program, possibly the most dangerous situation in the world right now. . . . Curiously this resembles in some ways a former messup there made by then President George W. Bush in March, 2001, which I have posted about here.

The Burdened Sourpusses of the Ruling Class - It was the guffaw heard round the world. Code Pink protester Desiree Fairooz snorted in disbelief when she heard Attorney General Jeffrey Beauregard Sessions III lauded as a champion of racial justice at his Senate confirmation hearing on January 10th. She and her group were duly escorted out of the building for daring to poke fun at Sessions and his whole crowd of withered old racist reprobates. . . . Hillary Clinton must be grimly cackling all the way to her new SuperPac as she hilariously tries to refashion herself as the elite face of the Trump Resistance. Therefore, it is all the more vital that we resist her brand of Resistance - Elitivism - with all the persistence we can muster. Our continuing existence as the free laughtivists of the Counter-Resistance depends upon it.
In case you're feeling depleted and powerless in the face of all this daunting resistant elitism, take a break from mocking the withered racist corpus of Jeff Sessions, and remember another monumentally tasteless joke. It was back in 2011, at the beginning of the Arab Spring, that then-Madame Secretary Hillary quipped: "Our assessment is that the Egyptian government is stable. I really consider President and Mrs. Mubarak to be friends of my family."

As Crawshaw writes in his book, millions of ordinary Egyptians then began to laugh so heartily that they took to Tahrir Square in a fit of peaceful protest, and Mubarek soon shuffled his dour way out the door to several years in the slammer. But that was a dictatorship, and we Americans still enjoy a modicum of constitutional rights. If only Mubarek had installed a private server and pretended to be holding a free and fair electoral primary. If only he'd cracked a scripted joke or two. If only WikiLeaks had not become the face of public interest journalism, then the fortunes of the Mubareks and the Clintons might be very different today.

The joke was on the Wall Street wing of the Democratic Party when WikiLeaks emails revealed that Citigroup had literally appointed Barack Obama's cabinet for him. The treasury secretary, Timothy Geithner, was able to deadpan his way through his own Senate confirmation hearing, insisting that his failure to pay his personal income taxes was just an oversight. He later cracked the sick joke that foreclosing on victimized homeowners would be stretched out so as to "foam the runway" for unprosecuted banksters. He and his cronies laughed all the way to the bank in one big fat big circle of fun.

In case you're still not getting the neoliberal, insiderish brand of dry elitivist counter-humor, try this, because Hillary Clinton had her audience absolutely shaking. How could any one political standup routine be so creatively zany?

Man Trump Named to Fix Mortgage Markets Figured in Infamous Financial Crisis Episode

Former Morgan Stanley banker once dumped "shitbag" CDOs on clients
n early 2007, a group of Morgan Stanley bankers bundled a group of subprime mortgage instruments into a package they hoped to sell to investors. The only problem was, they couldn't come up with a name for the package of mortgage-backed derivatives, which they all knew were doomed.

The bankers decided to play around with potential names. In a series of emails back and forth, they suggested possibilities. "Jon is voting for 'Hitman,'" wrote one. "How about 'Nuclear Holocaust 2007-1?'" wrote another, adding a few more possible names: Shitbag, Mike Tyson's Punchout and Fludderfish.
Eventually they stopped with the comedy jokes, gave the pile of "nuclear" assets a more respectable name – "Stack" – and sold the $500 million Collateralized Debt Obligation with a straight face to the China Development Industrial Bank. Within three years, the bank was suing a series of parties, including Morgan Stanley, to recover losses from the toxic fund.
The name on the original registration document for Stack? Craig S. Phillips, then president of Morgan Stanley's ABS (Asset-Backed Securities) division. Phillips may not have written the emails in question, but he was the boss of this sordid episode, and it was his name on the comedy-free document that was presented to Chinese investors.
This is just another detail in the emerging absurd narrative that is Donald Trump naming Phillips, of all people, to head up the effort to reform the Government-Sponsored Entities, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
As ace investigative reporter Gretchen Morgenson of the New York Times noted in a piece back on April 7th, Phillips headed a division that sold billions of dollars of mortgage-backed investments to Fannie and Freddie. Many of those investments were as bad as the ones his unit sold to the Chinese. In fact, as Morgenson noted, Phillips became a named defendant in a lawsuit filed by the Federal Housing Finance Authority (FHFA), which essentially charged, as the Chinese did, that Morgan Stanley knowingly sold Fannie and Freddie a pile of crap.
Morgan Stanley ended up having to pay $625 million apiece to Fannie and Freddie to settle securities fraud charges in that case.
Phillips worked in an area of investment banking that was highly lucrative and highly predatory. The basic scam in the subprime world in particular was buying up mortgages from people who couldn't possibly afford them, making those bad mortgages into securities, and then turning around and hawking those same mortgages to unsuspecting institutional dopes like the Chinese and Fannie and Freddie.
Phillips had a critical role in this activity. As Morgan Stanley's ABS chief, he was among other things responsible for liaising with fly-by-night subprime mortgage lenders like New Century, who fanned into low-income neighborhoods and handed out subprime mortgages to anyone with a pulse.
. . . Of those bad actors, there is a subset of still-worse actors, who not only sold these toxic investments to institutional investors like pension funds and Fannie and Freddie, but helped get a generation of home borrowers – often minorities and the poor – into deadly mortgages that ended up wiping out their equity.
Phillips, who helped Fannie and Freddie into substantial losses and worked with predatory firms like New Century, belongs in this second category. As Beavis and Butthead would put it, Phillips comes from the "ass of the ass."

Donald Trump, then, has essentially picked one of the last people on earth who should be allowed to help reshape the mortgage markets. This is like putting a guy who sold thousand-dollar magazine subscriptions to your grandmother on the telephone in charge of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, or the A.A.R.P.

More foxes for more henhouses. Welcome to the Trump era.


Those hundred days have really changed this country.

Trump Threats to WikiLeaks "Nuclear Option" Against the First Amendment


"Obama having opened the legal campaign against the press by going after the roots of investigative reporting on national security - the sources - Trump is going to go after the gatherers/gardeners themselves (and their bosses, publishers). To switch the metaphor, an indictment of Assange is a 'first use' of 'the nuclear option' against the First Amendment protection of a free press. (By the way, the charges they're reportedly considering against him - conspiracy, theft, and violation of the Espionage Act - are exactly the charges I faced in 1971.)

"If journalists and publishers fail to call this out, denounce and resist it - on the spurious grounds that Julian is 'not a real journalist' like themselves - they're offering themselves up to Trump and Sessions for indictments and prosecutions, which will eventually silence all but the heroes and heroines among them."

The statement by Ellsberg was read by Army veteran and retired diplomat Ann Wright at a news conference Friday morning outside the Department of Justice organized by ExposeFacts, a project of the Institute for Public Accuracy.

No comments: