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Ha Ha!

July 5, 2009

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  1. cometman permalink*
    July 5, 2009 9:23 pm

    This made me laugh. Sort of.

    If the allegations are true, it looks like Goldman’s hi-fi quant trading desk was thoroughly penetrated by a “spy”, and as readers will recall, Serge(y)’s description of his job duties mirrors what Mr. Ed Canaday conveniently provided to Zero Hedge as a description of Goldman’s SLP program. (Sources connected with the office of the United States Attorney have confirmed to Zero Hedge that Aleynikov was at one time or another a Goldman employee.”).

    The plot thickens: per FBI agent Michael McSwain’s sworn deposition, Sergey quit a firm described as “Financial Institution” in the affidavit, which according to circumstantial evidence and according to Goldstein is none other than Goldman Sachs, on June 5, at that time earning $400,000 annually. As Matt reports, he proceeded to move to a Chicago firm engaged in “high volume automated trading” where he would make 3x his $400k salary (Hey Getco, is it time for a formal release at least denying you guys had anything to do with this, cause if you did it might not look that hot. No matter, we have reached out to our sources in law enforcement to confirm or deny Getco’s, and Goldman’s, involvement: once we get a response we will immediately advise our readers).
    In the 5 days immediately preceeding his departure from “Financial Institution” (potentially GS), Sergey allegedly downloaded 32 megs of ultra top-secret quant trading proprietary code, that, according to Special Agent McSwain’s affidavit, he then proceeded to encrypt and upload to a website in Germany, with a UK owner. One can only imagine the value of this “code” not only to Goldman but to the highest bidder. After all, from the affidavit: “certain features of the [code], such as speed and efficiency by which it obtains and processes market data, gives the Financial Institution a competitive advantage among other firms that also engage in high-volume automated trading.The Financial Institution further believes that, if competing firms were to obtain the [code] and use its features, the Financial Institution's ability to profit from the [code]'s speed and efficiency would be significantly diminished." Needless to say, many others are now also likely hot on the trail of the code.

    More from Reuters.

    As Tyler Durden notes, pretty amazing how fast the authorities can move when there's a crime perpetrated against Goldman Sux, but when it's perpetrated by them, not so much.

    Durden's other post from Sunday is also quite enlightening. The guy who wrote the letter Durden describes must have quite a pair on him trying to get away with that bullshit.

  2. Stemella permalink*
    July 6, 2009 8:35 am

    I laughed too, sort of, because there will no doubt be massive collateral damage (meaning to us peons) if Goldy Sux gets eaten quickly by the Big Bad Wolf of its jealous overseas competitors.

    Good on Tyler Durden for smelling predators and persisting. It would be absolutely awesome if Goldman could be knocked off its pedestal, perhaps wholesaling its politicians back to the ownership of their constituents (one can dream, no?)

    Speaking of predators this is an interesting sciencey piece about symbiosis and its transformative capability.

    I gotta go earn a living today, but will be back to follow up this evening. I hope you had a good weekend!

    • cometman permalink*
      July 6, 2009 10:01 am

      Nice link. Pretty amazing stuff. Lynn Margulis talked about similar things in her book “Microcosmos”. IIRC she mentioned that the cilia in the human body are constructed exactly the same as the cilia on various microbes and she theorized that they evolved from a symbiotic relationship with spirochetes. Here’s a link where she talks about that. Also found Part 3 of that same interview with Margulis where she mentions that bacteria shouldn’t have species at all since they can change from one thing into another so rapidly.

      She’s a really interesting woman. She bucked the conventional wisdom and when she first published her theories a couple decades ago she was viewed as somewhat of a crackpot. But today many of her theories are widely accepted and scientists like those from your link are expanding on them.

    • cometman permalink*
      July 6, 2009 7:44 pm

      Just checked Bloomberg for more news of this Aleynikov guy and found this which contained the follwing from the US attorney who’s already on the case:

      “The bank has raised the possibility that there is a danger that somebody who knew how to use this program could use it to manipulate markets in unfair ways,” Facciponti said, according to a recording of the hearing made public today. “The copy in Germany is still out there, and we at this time do not know who else has access to it.”

      Someone could use it to manipulate the market unfairly! I guess he means somebody other than Goldman Sux. When they used the program it wasn’t a problem evidently. And the fact that the Sux have all these authorities looking out for their interests in such a short time is really astounding. Can they all just drop the pretense and admit that Goldman pretty much runs the whole damn dog and pony show in this country?

      • Stemella permalink*
        July 6, 2009 9:08 pm

        From the update of your link at Bloomberg, which really does make me smile a sly sardonic smile. I’ll laugh plenty if it comes to pass –

        Goldman Sachs Group Inc. may lose its investment in a proprietary trading code and millions of dollars from increased competition if software allegedly stolen by a former employee gets into the wrong hands, a prosecutor said.


        Tyler is still on it :Sergio Posts Bond As Toxic Code Percolates In Cyberspace And Allows “Market Manipulation”>

        • cometman permalink*
          July 6, 2009 9:26 pm

          That’s funny. Hadn’t caught the new post at Zerohedge but Durden makes the same comment regarding the lawyer’s statement that I and the missus made after reading it. Seems like the irony is immediately apparent to just about everyone but that useless US attorney.

  3. cometman permalink*
    July 6, 2009 8:47 am

    This might be funny if you lived in an asylum because it is the epitome of that old definition of insanity – doing the same thing over again and expecting a different result.

    Investment banks, including Goldman Sachs and Barclays Capital, are inventing schemes to reduce the capital cost of risky assets on banks’ balance sheets, in the latest sign that financial market innovation is far from dead.

    The schemes, which Goldman insiders refer to as “insurance” and BarCap calls “smart securitisation”, use different mechanisms to achieve the same goal: cutting capital costs by up to half in some cases, at the same time as regulators are threatening to force banks to increase their capital requirements.

    BarCap’s structures involve the pooling of assets from several clients into a secured financial product that can be sold on to other investors and rated by a credit rating agency, potentially reducing the capital allocated against the assets by between 10 per cent and 50 per cent.

    These new mechanisms are in some respects similar to the discredited structured products, which were widely blamed for fuelling the financial crisis. But the schemes’ backers argue there are two significant differences. First, they involve the securitisation of banks’ existing assets, rather than of new lending. Second, bankers argue that the new products do not disguise the transfer of risk.

    So now they’re going to securitize even more assets using some convoluted scheme to combine the assets of other clients (other bad assets? – that isn’t clear but it wouldn’t be surprising) which would allow the Goldies to use even more leverage and have less cash on hand. Who exactly are the suckers they expect to buy this crap? Probably pension funds or something similar where those who end up owning them (retirees) don’t know what is being bought for them and the managers who actually purchase them off Goldman get some kind of kick back to stick grandma and grandpa with a bunch of garbage.

    Maybe the banksters aren’t actually expecting a different result here. Screwing everyone over worked out quite well for them the last time around.

    So when exactly can we expect to see some regulation to just ban these types of investments outright? Judging by the actions of Timmeh and the T-Men and the SEC so far, probably a week or so after never.

    • Stemella permalink*
      July 6, 2009 9:27 am

      “smart securitisation” like “smart bombs” but even more lethal to the dumbfucks who they target for the swindle.


      Make it stop.

  4. cometman permalink*
    July 6, 2009 11:34 am

    Ha ha ha! The natives are getting restless. Texas Senator John Cornyn was booed at a 4th of July rally in Austin.

    U.S. Sen. John Cornyn drew boos from a crowd outside the Texas Capitol this afternoon as he spoke at a “tea party” rally organized by the Texas office of Americans for Prosperity.

    Cornyn was booed at the start and close of his remarks, which assailed actions in Washington; there were no boos while he awarded a Purple Heart to a Copperas Cove resident injured in Iraq in 2006.

    “You’re the problem,” a crowd member hollered.

    Another crowd member yelled that Cornyn voted for the initial federal bailout of Wall Street approved by Congress last year, the Troubled Asset Relief Program.

    Hopefully tomatoes will be the next step and if that doesn’t get rid of the bastard get out the sharp metal implements and incendiary devices.

    This was even funnier:

    “I didn’t want to come some place that I wasn’t wanted.”

    If that were really the case, I doubt Sen. Cornhole would ever leave his room.

    • Stemella permalink*
      July 6, 2009 9:10 pm

      I saw it on the tee vee. The teabaggers really did boo him, and Cornholio did not look happy about it. It was awesome. I despise that shithead Texan.

  5. cometman permalink*
    July 6, 2009 11:57 am

    Har har har! Paul Craig Roberts ramps up the rhetoric.

    As Americans celebrate July 4, they can contemplate that the union of “free and independent states,” like the former British colonial power, has evolved into its final manifestation–a complete whore house. While Members of Parliament in London charge their expense accounts with every personal expenditure, including the rental of adult xxx-rated films, an American newspaper put the reporting of public policy out to bids until blew the whistle.

    In Washington, everything is for sale, including journalistic integrity. The Washington Post, which abandoned investigative reporting eons ago, decided to boost its sagging revenues by spreading her legs. The Post’s business division put out a flier offering lobbyists access at the Post’s CEO’s gracious home to “those powerful few” in the Obama administration, Congress, and among the Post’s editors and reporters who decide the nation’s policies, such as health care.

    The Washington Post’s flyer offered a Wal-Mart low cost of a mere $25,000 for one “salon” to interact with decision makers and $250,000 for eleven interactions.

    He goes on with lots more delightful sarcasm. As we all continue to have less and less to lose, it’s refreshing that there are still some firebreathers out there who at least haven’t lost their way with words.

  6. cometman permalink*
    July 6, 2009 7:24 pm

    Heh. I know you’re not supposed to laugh at those with mental disabilities, but I think an exception can be made when they happen to be a governor and they call a press conference for themselves. Haven’t been paying much attention to the Sarah Palin resignation since I’m just assuming she got either caught doing something corrupt or something of a sexual nature with the native Alaskan fauna. But I just ran across the video at this Bradblog post and I think she even manages to make George W look not completely stupid in comparison. Somebody needs to get the old Artic Cat out of idle.

  7. cometman permalink*
    July 6, 2009 8:35 pm

    Bwaaaaa hahaha! This about sums up the state of the nation!

    • Stemella permalink*
      July 6, 2009 9:13 pm

      The guy on the drums, he’s the lead singer for Killdozer! hah! That was great. Made me smile. The muppets are the best. :)

  8. cometman permalink*
    July 6, 2009 9:07 pm

    Here’s something I hadn’t heard before which is definitely not funny. Via Rawstory, the British press reports that Dr. David Kelley, the guy who called bullshit on Iraq possessing WMDs and was found dead shortly thereafter, was planning on writing an expose of what he knew and trying to get it published. He, like Dr. Bruce Ivins who was found dead a few years later, was also an anthrax researcher. Two scientists who were involved with a story no one seems to want to talk about were both found dead of waht authorities claimed were suicides. And according to the link, other scientists have turned up dead as well and the CBC even broadcast a documentary about it a few months ago. Curiouser and curiouser. And why does the documentary only get broadcast in Canada?

    • Stemella permalink*
      July 6, 2009 9:21 pm

      That whole thing stinks, from how it happened and how it was covered up. The govt says it is cased closed, but I don’t believe them at all. I think it was a legitimate conspiracy. Curiouser indeed.

  9. Stemella permalink*
    July 7, 2009 7:47 am

    Farming for sushi. There appears to be a breakthrough, but also some controversy. Fish farming is often problematic for the wild counterparts, at least it has been for the salmon.

    Breeding Breakthrough Helps Sushi Baron Create Sustainable Tuna

    On the other hand, could this mean tuna belly will get cheaper and be less prone to being chock full of Mercury? I could live on maguro sushi if that was to be the case.

    • cometman permalink*
      July 7, 2009 10:03 am

      That’s a really good article. It touches on all the problems with the current tuna industry. Those Mediterranean ‘farms’ have often been touted as being more sustainable but they are definitely not. All they do is take tuna born in the wild and put them into pens to fatten them up. This is the first I’ve seen of real farms which raise tuna from eggs in captivity. If they can make it work, it may save the species which is on the verge of being wiped out.

      The other problem they touched on was feeding them. In those Mediterranean ‘farms’ they have to throw in more biomass in food for the tuna than the tuna produces, resulting in a net biomass loss which is not good – it depletes the tuna and the fish they feed on. It’ll be interesting to see if they can raise decent tuna from wheat pellets. I’d think they’d at least have to complement that with some actual fish so maybe feeder fish farms are also needed to make the project work.

      One thing that is definitely needed is a moratorium on fishing to give the tuna and many other species a chance to recover. Somebody somewhere just has to say “STOP”, especially to the big companies with huge factory boats. Of course this would result in the loss of some people’s livelihoods for a while, including perhaps my own, but if it isn’t done it will definitely result in the loss of many people’s livelihoods permanently as well as the loss of a hundreds and thousands of species and millions of years of evolution. In conjunction with a moratorium on fishing, governments could also provide funding for research and development of new farming techniques so not as many people would lose jobs and maybe some would even be gained. And if sustainable farming is successful, which I believe it would be given the appropriate time and effort, maybe we could then just leave the wild stocks alone.

      Not sure why people are so stubborn that for a few more years of profit they are willing to destroy the entire future of not only other species, but perhaps that of human beings as well. At some point we need to realize that those who would allow the raping of our planet to continue are sociopaths and rather than allowing them to be promoted to positions of authority they ought to be retrained somewhere until they learn how to play nice and share a little.

      • cometman permalink*
        July 7, 2009 11:39 am

        Here’s how bluefin feed in the wild:

        Keeping them happy and well fed is probably the biggest obstacle to overcome with any farming technique. They like to swim which is why they require so much food, but if they are penned they may not need so much. Of course if they are penned they may not develop properly either. The juveniles that are rounded up seem to do OK in pens though but they don’t live their entire lives there.

        • Stemella permalink*
          July 7, 2009 5:55 pm

          Wow, cool video! I love the bubble columns made by the dolphin. Thanks too for your comment above about the tuna farm industry. I agree that there should be moratoriums on certain fish, even though it does hurt the fishermen. The fishermen will kill the last of the species if given the opportunity, at least the ones I’ve known. Better to allow the fish to recover, definitely.

          • cometman permalink*
            July 7, 2009 8:55 pm

            So I did some checking around about that tuna company and it sounds like they are on the right track at least. Right now they are still catching wild tuna to use as broodstock and then they sell those. Like the article said they are still a few years away from marketing tuna from their hatcheries. They use big circular tanks so the tuna can keep swimming and they adjust the lighting to simulate both day and night and the seasons so the fish have more of a sense of being in their natural environment.

            Check out their website. There’s lots of info about how they run their business and also on the Australian tuna fishery as a whole. And this Stehr guy seems like quite the salesman. Take a look especially at the first three tabs at the top describing the fish – they’ve got nice looking ladies in vintage clothing posing with the fish!

            • Stemella permalink*
              July 8, 2009 6:58 am

              Hah! What is the implication of those women in provocative poses with dead fish! I don’t know. Seems like a mixed message to me. Too much? ;)

              I’ll read up more on it when I get back from the trenches. If it works well, I hope fisheries in the NW will look into that model to try to save what is left of the wild fish populations there.

  10. Stemella permalink*
    July 7, 2009 7:58 am

    G-8 Economic disaster, Italian style. This makes me laugh.

    Calls grow within G8 to expel Italy as summit plans descend into chaos

    Preparations for Wednesday’s G8 summit in the Italian mountain town of L’Aquila have been so chaotic there is growing pressure from other member states to have Italy expelled from the group, according to senior western officials.

    In the last few weeks before the summit, and in the absence of any substantive initiatives on the agenda, the US has taken control. Washington has organised “sherpa calls” (conference calls among senior officials) in a last-ditch bid to inject purpose into the meeting.

    “For another country to organise the sherpa calls is just unprecedented. It’s a nuclear option,” said one senior G8 member state official. “The Italians have been just awful. There have been no processes and no planning.”

    “The G8 is a club, and clubs have membership dues. Italy has not been paying them,” said a European official involved in the summit preparations.

    The world is drowning in debt, war, pestilence and greed and these fuckers are all playing Nero’s fiddle.

    The entire G8 should be abolished

    • cometman permalink*
      July 7, 2009 10:16 am

      Abolished and tarred and feathered. They don’t even amount to a pisshole in the snow anyway. Just a chance for the oligarchs to get together at some posh resort and give the appearance that they are concerned about the consequences of their actions, which they aren’t.

  11. cometman permalink*
    July 7, 2009 12:09 pm

    Joseph Galloway who was a reporter during the Vietnam war says good riddance to Robert McNamara. He starts off with this nice quote –

    “I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure.” —Clarence Darrow

    – and finishes with an amusing anecdote about someone who tried to send McNamara off a few years early.

    Be nice if the same happened to Rumsfeld, Cheney, Perle, Feith, Wolfowitz and the rest of the neocons but with a better success rate.

    • Stemella permalink*
      July 7, 2009 5:57 pm

      The world will be a better place without those assholes taking up any more oxygen. I will cheer when all of them expire. I’m a bad person, I guess for feeling that way, but they are evil.

  12. cometman permalink*
    July 7, 2009 12:34 pm

    Couple good article from CommonDreams today about the insufficient ACES legislation that may make the climate problems worse and the pending health care legislation and Obama having problems even mentioning the words “public option” anymore, despite the fact that even a public option would fall far short of what is needed.

    Let’s assume for a minute that there is a significant difference between the two major political parties. Of course there really isn’t but just play along. Now when the Republicans want something they demand everything they can think of and if any compromise is made they often end up with more than what they were shooting for to begin with. The Democrats don’t demand anything and usually wind up with some watered down bullshit that doesn’t really do a damn thing, and if it does it generally favors the wishes of the Republicans and the corporations.

    The environmental and health care catastrophes are not issues that we can afford to pussy-foot around with. So for environmental issues, why not demand that all plants simply stop polluting altogether and if they don’t then the corporate executives will be tossed into their own incinerators right before their company receives the corporate death penalty and their plants are demolished. For health care, demand that we begin a single payer system immediately which provides care for everyone except the insurance company execs who have been screwing people over for decades. Instead, the execs would be put to good use as human guinea pigs for research and development into cures for deadly diseases. Start from there and after compromises are made we might at least end up with a cleaner environment and national health care, even if we can’t get everything we might want.

    • Stemella permalink*
      July 7, 2009 6:04 pm


      the corporate executives will be tossed into their own incinerators right before their company receives the corporate death penalty and their plants are demolished.

      C-man. Wow.

      I cannot argue with that sentiment. Nope, Toss em in Toddy! :)

      • cometman permalink*
        July 7, 2009 8:43 pm

        Ha! I hear all the expensive spa treatments the execs get makes them burn real clean. They’d be very environmentally friendly.

  13. cometman permalink*
    July 7, 2009 9:32 pm

    Just checked zerohedge and noticed this post which mentions that the P/E ratios are not really that low right now despite the dip in the market and things are not as much of a bargain as you might think. I’ve heard a few professionals say in just the last few weeks that now is the time to get in while things are low but this data doesn’t reflect that:

    But this notion that we had moved to Armageddon lows in equities does not seem to hold water. After all, the forward P/E multiple on the S&P 500 at the lows was 11.7x. That was not a multi-decade low or some massive standard-deviation figure — we were actually lower than that at the October 1990 lows when the multiple was 10.5x and frankly, coming off the 1987 collapse, the forward P/E had compressed to 9.8x. As it now stands, the multiple is back very close to where it was at the October 2007 market high, when the multiple had expanded to 15.0x. The range on the forward P/E over the last quarter-century is between 9.8x and 21.8x (excluding the tech bubble), so at 14.5x currently, it is hardly the case that this market can be viewed as a bargain.

    On a somewhat related note, I just noticed that zerohedge seems to have an alternative format. Here’s that same post in black. Is this new? Hadn’t noticed it before. The post times are different and so are all the comments. Any idea what the deal is? Didn’t see any mention of it on either of the sites.

    • cometman permalink*
      July 7, 2009 10:05 pm

      Ok, I just noticed that on the white site he has a link up to the new non-blogspot site. I do like the new decor. Much more menacing :)

    • Stemella permalink*
      July 8, 2009 6:38 am

      One is a blogspot site (the one I’ve always used and seen linked on other econ blogs) the other is a stand alone site, which I’ve never seen before now. It is more menacing.

      Check out his latest post about Cryptogon. The results are pretty amazing. Now that is an interesting and productive use for blogging, turning the cybersleuthing skills on some serious bad actors! Calling on Jack Smirking Revenge, Pinche and other computer geeks out there!

    • Stemella permalink*
      July 8, 2009 6:50 am

      And czech this out: How To [Read/Tip Off] Zero Hedge Without Attracting The Interest Of [Human Resources/The Treasury/Black Helicopters]

      As he says, he and his team at ZH must be doing something right

  14. cometman permalink*
    July 8, 2009 11:58 am

    Michael Parenti weighs in on the situation in Honduras and I suspect that his assumptions about the original intentions of Obama and the US are correct. Obama is denouncing Zelaya’s ouster now, but he didn’t at first and when he finally did it was only after pretty much the entire rest of the world expressed their displeasure. Seems to me that the US knew the coup was coming since it has been reported that the plotters had met with US authorities beforehand. They didn’t say a thing about it and were probably hoping it wouldn’t cause much of an uproar and they could peel off one of Chavez’ allies and not get blamed for it. The fact that the coup leaders were trained at the (Torture) School of the Americas speaks volumes as to what the US’ intentions really were in Honduras.

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