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It’s “Talk like a Pirate Day” — but which set of Pirates?

9:47 am in Economy by dakine01

Today (Thursday, September 19) is International Talk Like A Pirate Day so here is my obligatory “Yaaarrrr.” Or maybe it should be an “Arrrggghhh!”

Pirate Statue

Pirate Statue

Yeah, I think I will go with the “Arrrggghhh!” After all, that is my normal response when I read the daily idiocies in the TradMed like the articles on Sunday that inspired this post. I could probably link to most of the posts I have written these last few years as most of them are in response to some level of stoopid provided by the TradMed.

But the days of pirates sailing the Spanish Main are long in the past. No more sacking of Cartagena. No, today’s “pirates” wear business suits and do their sailing on Wall St. Just today, we have reports that JP Morgan Chase is paying a $920M fine for the “London Whale Fail” trading losses. Amazingly enough, JP Morgan is even admitting “fault”:

WASHINGTON JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) is paying $920 million in penalties and admitting wrongdoing over a $6 billion trading loss last year that tarnished the bank’s reputation.

Regulators said Thursday that the largest U.S. bank failed to properly supervise traders in its London operation, allowing them to assign inflated values to trades and cover up losses as they ballooned. Two of the traders are facing criminal charges of falsifying records to hide the losses.

Of course, JP Morgan had reported profits for their second quarter of the year as $6.5B so a $920M fine is still just a cost of doing business tax and nothing more.

Reuters is reporting that Wells Fargo is cutting 1,800 jobs in their mortgage business:

(Reuters) – Wells Fargo & Co (WFC.N), the largest U.S. mortgage lender, said on Thursday that it will cut 1,800 jobs in its home loan business due to lower demand for refinancing amid higher interest rates.

The fourth-largest U.S. bank provided a 60-day notice on Wednesday to employees whose jobs were to be eliminated, the bank said in a statement.

Chief Financial Officer Tim Sloan told investors at a conference on September 9 that the San Francisco bank had laid off 3,000 employees in its mortgage business so far in the third quarter. Sloan also said Wells Fargo expected to make $80 billion in home loans in the third quarter, nearly 30 percent below its second-quarter figure.

I wonder how this will impact the on-going problems Wells Fargo and other banks have in mortgage servicing. My WAG is it will not be pretty but I would also take a WAG that paying fines and “admitting no wrongdoing” is still cheaper than actually making things operate correctly.

It is not just the banksters that make me say “Arrrggghhh” though. The AP is reporting that a federal judge in New Orleans has accepted a guilty plea for destroying evidence after the BP oil spill in 2010. Of course, the corporate person known as Halliburton really won’t feel much pain from this plea – a $200K fine and a $55M donation to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (the donation is not a condition of the guilty plea.) Halliburton profits for the quarter that ended 30 June were $679M so $55.2M in fines and donations equals a cost of doing business and nothing more.

Today’s pirates don’t have to snarl and say “Arrrggghhh” or “Avast ye Mateys.” They do not need to carry cutlasses and sail the Spanish Main. They (mostly) walk amongst us wearing business suits. They sit in their board rooms, plot the ways to increase their profits, often on the edge of legality (well, they are pirates after all so those legal niceties are mostly a formality anyway), and leave the rest of us to clean up their messes while they sail their yachts away to the Caribbean.

Arrrggghhh! That is so not snark, believe me.

And because I can:

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Oh the Oppression! Oh the Tyranny! Oh the doG-awful Whining With No Reason!

10:55 am in Government, Media, Politics by dakine01

I was looking through various “news” web sites this morning when I came across this article from Tiger Beat On the Potomac (h/t Mr Pierce). The headline alone made me shake my head, “Wall Street gets misty as Bloomberg departs” then it just got worse as I read the “article”:

Michael Bloomberg - Cartoon

Michael Bloomberg – Cartoon

Michael Bloomberg isn’t leaving office until January but Wall Street is already beginning to miss the New York City mayor — and bracing for a possible backlash from his replacement.

In his 12 years leading the city, Bloomberg has been a vocal champion of New York’s business and banking communities. When the knives have come out, he has time and again come to the defense of the financial services industry without batting an eye at the political reality that advocating for Wall Street is a highly unpopular move for public officials.

Awwww. Da poor widdle babies have their fee-fees hurt by those big bad people, led by a politician who thinks they might do a bit more to pay for services:

Many in New York’s business and financial elite, stung by the abrupt ascent of Bill de Blasio, an unapologetic tax-the-rich liberal, are fixated on a single question: What are we going to do?

The idea that someone like DiBlasio might replace Bloomberg as NYC Mayor seems to set alarums blaring among the power elite and rich in New York.

Give. Me. A. Fucking. Break.

A couple of years or so ago, I wrote a diary after reading some whines from JP Morgan/Chase CEO Jamie Dimon. Now we have more of the rich 1% from Wall St whining about how their taxes might go up and how dare he! From Raw Story:

New York City, like much of the nation, is living with a vast divide between rich and poor. In appearances leading up to Tuesday’s primary election, Brooklyn-based Democrat di Blasio decried these inequalities, saying, “We are not, by our nature, an elitist city. We are not a city for the chosen few,” statements that have set off alarm bells among the city’s top tier of business leaders and the well-to-do.

Oh those oppressed Titans of Wall St and Masters of the Universe! They are so oppressed, just like the Fundamentalist Christians and straight white men, they never get things their way. Why, they just might have to go on Food Stamps after they pay their taxes in a DiBlasio administration:

When it comes to average per capita wealth, New York City has been eclipsed by a handful of other locales, but the city that never sleeps still holds sway in the public imagination as the capital of capital, the center of the financial industry, and a place where a $235,000 salary still only counts as middle class. But, as a couple of recent articles show, New York isn’t just a center of American wealth: it’s also a center of American wealth inequality, a place where the divide between the very rich and the very poor is sometimes only a matter of a few hundred feet … as the crow flies.

I’m sure you’ll pardon me if I shed no tears for these members of the Clueless Class.

And because I can:

Cross posted from Just A Small Town Country Boy by Richard Taylor
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Only MOTUs and Banksters get TARPs.

8:18 am in Uncategorized by dakine01

No Tarp for you, Hippy!! (Photo: raptortheangel, flickr)

No Tarp For You, Hippy!! (Photo: raptortheangel, flickr)


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So there I was this morning, having completed my daily check for jobs in my chosen field of Software Quality Assurance and Testing (I do wish it would take longer than five minutes as that would mean there are actually some improvements in the economy but such is life), when I reached the NY Times and saw this article with the headline from Mayor Bloomberg that “‘Tent City’ Goes Beyond Free Speech”:

“The Constitution doesn’t protect tents,” he said at a news conference in Queens. “It protects speech and assembly.”

The mayor expressed concern that those exercising a “right to be silent” might be getting drowned out amid the din of the protests.

“We can’t have a place where only one point of view is allowed,” he said. “There are places where I think it’s appropriate to express yourself, and there are other places that are appropriate to set up Tent City. They don’t necessarily have to be one and the same.”

A quick check of der Google shows that a lot of elected officials in places such as Durham, NC, Hennepin Co, MN, Seattle, WA, San Francisco and even Sydney, Australia are apparently in full agreement with Mayor Bloomberg. In fact, in this quick check, it was only Hartford, CT that did not seem to think tents and Tarps are the cause of the decline of Western Civilization. (I’m sure there are other cities fighting the use of tents and tarps and there may even be a couple of others allowing them besides Hartford). Read the rest of this entry →

The Future Is Here and Now

10:42 am in Financial Crisis, Government by dakine01

Today’s (Thursday, December 23) NY Times has an article that tells me the future has arrived and it is not going to be pretty. The pundits and those who want to destroy all aspects of public service have been calling and complaining for years that public pensions are going to destroy the universe. Never mind that those public employees have often foregone higher salaries in order to have those pension plans. Never mind that it is the elected officials who failed to properly fund those public pension plans, it will be the retired police, trash collectors, fire department employees and all the other municipal and state employees in their greed that are going to be the end of civilization. (That’s snark for the snark deficient)

But regardless of all the calls for austerity, and all the calls and drum beating about things needing to be done to “rein in out of control pensions,” it is not civil servants that caused the meltdown to the world economy. Civil servants have not been the people who took tax cuts and placed the bets in the Wall St casino. They did not commit the fraud in mortgage processing.  . . . Read the rest of this entry →