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by Eli

When Goldman Sachs Does It, It’s Not Illegal

4:28 am in Uncategorized by Eli

Fun legal fact I learned yesterday: Apparently it’s perfectly okay to outright lie to your customers, as long as there’s some possibility that they’re so “sophisticated” that they know you’re lying.

It’s apparently also okay as long as you have a whole bunch of innocent, hardworking hostages employees that would lose their jobs if your company got prosecuted out of existence. Of course, if you sent the individuals responsible to prison, that wouldn’t put everyone else out on the street. I can only assume that Breuer was worried that aggressive prosecution would drive those delicate souls to suicide like it did to Aaron Swartz.

I’d like to think Breuer is out at DOJ because of gross incompetence, but it’s probably more like he’s completed his mission of escorting the fraudsters safely across the statute of limitations threshold and is now ready to collect his reward.

Cross-posted at Multi Medium Read the rest of this entry →

by Eli

Thomas Sowell’s Analogy Fail

4:42 pm in Uncategorized by Eli

Thomas Sowell helpfully explains why it’s so terribly unfair to accuse the right’s Serious Budget Grownups of trying to destroy Medicare and Social Security:

When someone gives you a check and the bank informs you that there are insufficient funds, who do you get mad at? In your own life, you get mad at the guy who gave you a check that bounced, not at the bank. But in politics, you get mad at whoever tells you that there is no money.

Well, that certainly is some lovely and poetic imagery there, but perhaps a better analogy would be if the bank informs you that it has no money for withdrawals because it blew it all on freebies and giveaways for its most valued wealthy and corporate customers, expensive hunting trips overseas, and maybe losing big at Vegas.

Not only that, but that it intends to siphon off your savings and/or garnish your wages so that it can lavish even more money on rich people, gambling and bloodshed.

So yeah, I’m pretty sure I’d be mad at the bank.

(Cross-posted at Multi Medium)

by Eli

It’s Hard Out Here For The Rich

4:58 am in Uncategorized by Eli

Thomas Sowell tries to convince us that we should be grateful to the rich, because apparently everyone who has millions or billions of dollars accumulated them through some sort of innovation that made our lives better:

At one time, people like Rockefeller, Thomas Edison, Ford and the Wright brothers were regarded as heroes for having opened vast new possibilities for other human beings. The fact that they got rich doing it was an incidental part of the story.

We still have people revolutionizing our lives. Just think of the computer and the pharmaceutical drugs that have not only lengthened our lives, but made them more healthful, so that being 80 years old today is like being 60 years old in times past.

But today we seldom even know the names of those who have made these monumental contributions to human well-being. All we know is that some people have gotten “rich,” and that this is to be regarded as some sort of grievance.

Many of the people we honor today are people who are skilled in the rhetoric of grievances and promises of new “rights” at someone else’s expense. But is that what is going to make a better America?

So let’s all say thank you to the inventor of the residential mortgage-backed security – we wouldn’t be where we are today without you!

(Cross posted at Multi Medium)

by Eli

Tony Hayward Blames Everyone Else

4:33 am in Uncategorized by Eli

Tony Hayward attempts to spread blame across the drilling industry like his failed rig has spread oil across the Gulf of Mexico:

BP maintains that it alone does not deserve all the blame for the April 20 accident and its aftermath, and it intends to pursue legal action to have drilling partners share in the cost of containment and cleanup. Those partners include Transocean, which operated the rig; Cameron, which built the blowout preventer that failed to shut down the well; and Halliburton, which cemented the oil drill into place underwater.

"It is clear the accident was the result of multiple equipment errors and human error involving many companies," Hayward said in the webcast.

(…)

Hayward also defended his record on safety. "Safety, people and performance have been my watchwords," he said. "We’ve made significant progress."

Wow. Way to man up and accept responsibility, Tony. Even if we grant the rather shaky premise that Transocean, Cameron and Halliburton did shoddy work, it was BP calling the shots, and BP that made all of the fatally bad safety-last decisions that led inevitably to disaster.

It was BP that chose a wellbore design without seals or a liner – and then chose to skip the acoustic test which would have detected any flaws in Halliburton’s cement job. It was BP that falsely claimed that BOP failures were "inconceivable" and declined to install a backup unit. It was BP that cut corners on testing the BOP and ignored the presence of rubber sealant in the drilling fluid. And it was BP that ignored all the warning signs of dangerous pressure and replaced the drilling mud with seawater.

In short, even if there were quality issues with Transocean, Cameron and Halliburton, BP deliberately turned a blind eye to potential problems in order to get the Deepwater Horizon pumping as quickly as possible, and now eleven people are dead and the entire Gulf ecosystem may be dying. Heckuva job, Tony.

(Cross-posted at Multi Medium)

by Eli

Look At All the Ocean That’s NOT Polluted! Why Must You Be So Negative???

4:42 pm in BP oil disaster, Energy by Eli

BP CEO Tony Hayward has come up with a truly awesome explanation of why the Deep Horizon disaster really isn’t so bad after all:

In an interview with the Guardian at BP’s crisis centre in Houston, Hayward also insisted that the leaked oil and the estimated 400,000 gallons of dispersant which BP has pumped into the sea to try to disperse the slick were relatively "tiny" amounts.

"The Gulf of Mexico is a very big ocean. The amount of volume of oil and dispersant we are putting into it is tiny in relation to the total water volume," he said.

Well, that’s all right then. Because all that oil just dissolved harmlessly into the great vastness of the ocean without a trace. It’s not concentrated at all, it’s not befouling beaches (which are, to be fair, just a tiny fraction of the United States’ enormous coastline), it’s not confusing aquatic wildlife or forming giant underwater toxic plumes, nothing like that.

Or, alternatively, the areas (and volumes) of the ocean that it is completely despoiling are so trivially small in comparison to the whole that they’re barely worth worrying about. Surely the plants and animals that are dying are just a tiny fraction of Planet Earth’s total biomass, and the people who are losing their livelihoods are just a tiny fraction of the Earth’s total workforce.

The beauty of this defense is that it can be applied to pretty much every form of pollution known to man. Mountaintop mining? Nuclear waste? Just a tiny fraction of the Earth’s total mass. CO2 emissions? Just a tiny fraction of the Earth’s total atmosphere.

The next logical step will be to use it as a defense for murder: "Your honor, the bullets that my client fired into the deceased were such a tiny fraction of the deceased’s total body weight that they could not possibly have contributed to his death. And even if they did, the deceased was less than one six-billionth of the total world population – why should we make a fuss over anything less than one or two percent?"

by Eli

Love Your Horse, But Don’t LOOOOVE Your Horse.

5:06 pm in Uncategorized by Eli

Another day, another homophobic Republican wanker:

Former Rep. J.D. Hayworth (R-Ariz.) said Sunday that the expansion of state laws allowing gay marriage could lead to people marrying horses.

Hayworth, during an interview with an Orlando, Fla., radio station explained: "You see, the Massachusetts Supreme Court, when it started this move toward same-sex marriage, actually defined marriage — now get this — it defined marriage as simply, ‘the establishment of intimacy.’"

(…)

"I mean, I don’t mean to be absurd about it, but I guess I can make the point of absurdity with an absurd point," he continued. "I guess that would mean if you really had affection for your horse, I guess you could marry your horse."

The former Republican congressman then insisted that the "only way" to prevent men from marrying horses is to create a federal marriage amendment. Hayworth noted that he supports such an amendment.

Or you could, y’know, just make it illegal to marry horses.

Personally, I’d like to see Obama pass a bill outlawing cross-species marriage, just for the fun of watching Republicans and conservatives reflexively oppose it. Mitch McConnell would unleash the full fury of his obstructionist bag of tricks, and Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck would rant and rave about Obama the communofascist infringing on Americans’ God-given Constitutional right to wed farm animals.

Who knows, maybe the GOP would even add horse-buggery equiphilia as an official plank in the party platform, just to show those liberals that no one tells them what to do.

(Cross-posted at Multi Medium)