Skip to content

Lord of the Rat fucking Vampire Squid

August 10, 2009

Paulson’s Calls to Goldman Tested Ethics

Bottom line, hanky panky has been caught with his tentacle in the nation’s cookie jar. It’s proven now.

Nothing will happen, all the same. At least we still have the Freedom of Information Act … for now.

I saw this earlier about Paulson’s background, which I’d never bothered to check before. It is telling. Quite telling.

Paulson was Staff Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of Defense at The Pentagon from 1970 to 1972.[7] He then worked for the administration of U.S. President Richard Nixon, serving as assistant to John Ehrlichman from 1972 to 1973, during the events of the Watergate scandal for which Ehrlichman was convicted, and sentenced to prison.

He joined Goldman Sachs in 1974, working in the firm’s Chicago office under James P. Gorter. He became a partner in 1982. From 1983 until 1988, Paulson led the Investment Banking group for the Midwest Region, and became managing partner of the Chicago office in 1988. From 1990 to November 1994, he was co-head of Investment Banking, then, Chief Operating Officer from December 1994 to June 1998;[8] eventually succeeding Jon Corzine (now Governor of New Jersey) as its chief executive. His compensation package, according to reports, was US $37 million in 2005, and US $16.4 million projected for 2006.[9] His net worth has been estimated at over US $700 million.[9]

Paulson has personally built close relations with China during his career. In July 2008 it was reported by The Daily Telegraph that: “Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson has intimate relations with the Chinese elite, dating from his days at Goldman Sachs when he visited the country more than 70 times.”[10]
link

He’s one of the original rat fuckers. Once a rat fucker, always a rat fucker. Except he is a rat fucker with a vampire squid’s cape.

Advertisements
55 Comments leave one →
  1. Stemella permalink*
    August 10, 2009 11:05 am

    Here’s some analysis of the NYTimes article over at TPM

    Co-Treasury Secretary Lloyd Blankfein? Paulson And Goldman Exec Talked 24 Times In Week Of AIG Bailout

    Perhaps the most remarkable thing about the Times’ account of the contacts between the two men, for which Paulson belatedly sought and received an ethics waiver, is that the phone calls were often coming from the Treasury Secretary.

    ~snip~

    The Times story contains two more important developments: First, according to a “former senior government official,” that Treasury lawyers had warned Paulson not to contact Goldman executives directly. The official says Paulson didn’t take the advice “because the ‘crisis’ required action.”

    Paulson’s spokesman responds that, “Hank doesn’t recall saying that.”

    Second, according to two senior officials and several other sources cited by the Times, that Paulson was deeply involved in the discussions that lead to the AIG bailout — which directly benefited his former firm, Goldman.

    That seems to contradict Paulson’s statement to the House Oversight Committee in July that “I had no role whatsoever in any of the Fed’s decision regarding payments to any of A.I.G.’s creditors or counterparties.”

  2. cometman permalink*
    August 10, 2009 11:17 am

    Wow, great pic!!! Was that one of your photoshops? If so, you should post a link to it at zerohedge or something.

    And nice catch on finding that link back to the Nixon years. I hadn’t heard that before and I’m wondering why – you’d think that would be something that came up over the last year or so. Followed the citation in the wiki article and found this from the Nature Conservancy who posted the bio because they were saluting his visionary leadership. WTF?!?!?!?!?!

    Ben Dover (hahahaha!) had a drippingly sarcastic piece at zerohedge about that NYT article on Paulson in case you missed it.

    • Stemella permalink*
      August 10, 2009 12:25 pm

      Yep, that’s one of my psycho shops. ;) Thanks! I’m too scared to post at ZH. But if someone else wants to link here that’d be groovy.

      That is really fucking depressing to me that he was Chairman of the Board at Nature Conservancy. Gawd, is there not one untainted thing left in this world?!?!?

      This part popped out at me

      Hank is a member of the Board of Directors of The Nature Conservancy and Co-Chairman of its Asia Pacific Council. In that role he is supporting the establishment of a large national park and conservation project in the Yunnan province of China, in cooperation with the Chinese government.

      So Timmy the Elvin and Hank the Lord Vampiresquid are both China specialists. What do you want to bet they orchestrated this entire vortex of doom we are experiencing. They are handing this country over to the Chinese, while making China the next bubble. I’ll also go ever further on a limb and bet that nice park land in Yunnan is sitting on some exploitable resource to be raped and pillaged at some point in the future. I do not find it possible that Paulson has an altruistic bone in his squidcape.

      • cometman permalink*
        August 10, 2009 1:09 pm

        You aren’t the only one who thinks that this didn’t happen completely by accident. There’s me :P And Mike Whitney says much the same thing as you did in his article today.

        Does anyone believe the housing market is recovering? In the first 6 months of 2009, there have already been 1.9 million foreclosures.
        The Fed is abandoning the printing presses (presumably) because China told Geithner to stop printing money or they’d sell their US Treasuries. It’s a wake-up call to Bernanke that the power is shifting from Washington to Beijing.

        ~snip~

        The United States will not be the emerge as the center of global demand following the recession. Those days are over. The world is changing and the US role is getting smaller. As US markets become less attractive to foreign exporters, the dollar will lose its position as the world’s reserve currency. As goes the dollar, so goes the empire. Want some advice: Learn Mandarin.

        ~snicker snack~

        Working people are not being crushed by accident, but according to plan. It is the way the system is designed to work. Bernanke knows that sustained demand requires higher wages and a vital middle class. But Bernanke works for the banks, which is why the Fed’s monetary policies reflect the goals of the investor class. Bubblenomics is not the way to a strong/sustainable economy, but it is an effective tool for shifting wealth from one class to another. The Fed’s job is to facilitate that objective, which is why the economy is headed for the rocks.

        The financial meltdown is the logical outcome of the Fed’s monetary policies. That’s why it’s a mistake to call the current slump a “recession”. It’s not. It’s a planned demolition.

        • Stemella permalink*
          August 10, 2009 1:58 pm

          Planned demolition – shock and awe – same thing, and I can’t disagree.

          The US is becoming diminished in stature. I don’t think that is a bad thing, except I don’t think we will manage to do it gracefully, at all. I saw somewhere this morning that China now leads the US in investment in Africa. When I went searching I found something else that relates to Hilary Clinton’s recent trip to Africa. It’s all about the black gold, Texas tea, Oily oily oily.

          Clinton Meets Angolans as Minister Calls $70 Oil ‘Not Bad’

          Later in the day, Clinton met with Angolan Oil Minister Jose Maria Botelho de Vasconcelos, who called oil at $70 a barrel “not bad,” when asked if the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries would agree to adjust production levels at their next meeting. The minister, who currently holds OPEC’s rotating presidency, said the cartel would wait until its Sept. 9 meeting in Vienna before deciding what to do.

          “We are trying to analyze the market,” Botelho de Vasconcelos told reporters last night after meeting Clinton. “The price,” at $70 a barrel, “is not bad,” he said.

          Crude oil for September delivery settled at $70.93 a barrel Aug. 7 on the New York Mercantile Exchange after touching $72.84, the highest intraday price since June 30. The oil ministers of Kuwait and Iran have forecast oil prices will reach $80 by year-end amid an economic recovery.

          and on China

          China has extended more than $5 billion in credit to Angola, far outpacing any type of U.S. assistance. Last year, the U.S. Agency for International Development gave Angola $40 million in assistance. USAID and Chevron Corp., the second- biggest U.S. oil company, yesterday signed a memorandum of understanding with Angola that could lead to future aid.

          Clinton said she wasn’t worried about China’s growing interests in Angola. “I’m not looking at what anyone else can do, I’m looking at what the United States can do,” she said.

          Sure, Hilary. You ignore China’s activities at our peril, though I suspect she is being dishonest.

          More on Angola’s oil: Chevron announces significant discovery offshore Angola

          And there is this tidbid about the US loaning Brazil $10 Billion to develop hydrocarbon reserves offshore. It looks like China already got there first with a loan of the equal amount.

          • cometman permalink*
            August 11, 2009 10:11 am

            As our extensive readership is no doubt aware, I am not a big fan of Hillary Clinton ;) I don’t like her politics and I also find her personality very grating. So i had a nice little chuckle when I saw this about her throwing a little hissy fit on her recent trip to Africa:

            The secretary of state bristled Monday when — as she heard it — a Congolese university student asked what her husband thought about an international financial matter.

            She hadn’t traveled to Africa to talk about her husband the ex-president. But even there, she couldn’t escape his outsized shadow.

            She abruptly reclaimed the stage for herself.

            “My husband is not secretary of state, I am,” she snapped. “I am not going to be channeling my husband.”

            And when asked if the US owed an apology to Congo for its colonialism and interference in their affairs she tried to brush all that under the rug too:

            “I cannot excuse the past and I will not try,” she said. “We can either think about the past and be imprisoned by it or we can decide we’re going to have a better future and work to make it.”

            Did I mention I can’t stand her bulbous-snouted husband either?

  3. cometman permalink*
    August 10, 2009 11:27 am

    Here another thing I had missed earlier – Timmeh the Elf has his own connection to the rats from the Nixon years. He worked for Henry fucking Kissinger according to his own bio at the Treasury’s website.

    Both Geithner and Paulson were also Dartmouth grads. Quite the chummy little club they’ve got going.

    • Stemella permalink*
      August 10, 2009 12:27 pm

      Aeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeiiii!

      that is all I can say about that

  4. cometman permalink*
    August 10, 2009 12:12 pm

    Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. This really chaps my ass as I’ve seen this bullshit happen first hand and it’s been pissing me off for years – Banks make $38bn from overdraft fees.

    US banks stand to collect a record $38.5bn in fees for customer overdrafts this year, with the bulk of the revenue coming from the most financially stretched consumers amid the deepest recession since the 1930s, according to research. The fees are nearly double those reported in 2000.

    The finding is likely to increase public hostility towards the financial sector, which has been under political pressure to ease the burden on consumers by increasing credit availability and lending more fairly after being bailed out by taxpayers.

    The Federal Reserve is working on rules on overdraft fees, and rules on customer charges could be a priority of the Obama administration’s proposed Consumer Protection Agency if approved by Congress.

    Ooooooooh. The Federal Reserve is on the case so surely this will be rectified posthaste!

    This is infuriating:

    Banks say that the fees compensate for the risk they incur when they pay on behalf of customers who do not have enough money in their accounts. “Overdraft fees are there for a reason, we take on a lot of risk,” a senior banker said. “It’s a service to our customers, they want us to pay their overdrafts.”

    Right, it’s such a risk when someone overdraws by $5 that they have to turn around and charge them $30. The word for that used to be usury and it used to be extremely illegal, but not any more. And of course the banks won’t ever tell you that you can simply have an overdraft line of credit where instead of being assessed a $30 fee per item, you can simply pay the interest on the total amount overdrawn, which usually amounts to pennies. So if banks offer this service and can still turn a profit with it, why don’t they give this option to everyone? They don’t because they make a lot more money jacking the unaware with huge fees. And when you do overdraw your account there is not that much risk of the money not being repaid because at that point the bank has you by the short hairs. You will not be able to open another account anywhere if you have one that is overdrawn because these fuckers communicate with each other all the time. Years ago I was moving and withdrew all the money from my account but I neglected to close the account. I also neglected to notice that they charged a monthly fee if your balance got too low so when I went to open an account at another bank in a new city a few weeks later I was told I couldn’t because I owed the old bank $3.50. Three fucking fifty. I had to pay it back before I was allowed another account.

    And of course we’ve all seen how much risk these banks take on as the taxpayers continue to bail them out for their own illegal practices to the tune of trillion of dollars.

    I’d love to feed all these rats a fucking d-Con breakfast.

    • Stemella permalink*
      August 10, 2009 12:39 pm

      That same thing happened to me years ago. Same situation, moving and didn’t close the acct totally. I owed the old bank less than $5. Couldn’t open the new acct until I paid off the old one. Iceholes.

      Yes. Let’s feed them dog food and toothpaste from China. That oughta get ’em where it counts.

      When is America going to stop being Ben Dover and start being Stan D. Tall? ;)

  5. Stemella permalink*
    August 11, 2009 7:32 am

    Simon Johnson has a good discussion about China relative to the US China Rising, Rent-Seeking Version

    Here is the crux

    Finance in its modern American form is not productive. It is not conducive to further sustained economic growth. The GDP accruing from these activities is illusory – most of finance is simply a tax on what is done by more productive members of society and a diversion of talent away from genuinely productivity-enhancing activities.

    The rise of China does not necessarily imply slowdown or demise for the United States. But if they specialize in making things and we specialize in finance, they will eat our lunch.

    On an urgent basis, we need real consumer protection against predatory financial practices and an end to all forms of Too Big To Fail behavior – which is actually just the biggest, nastiest form of predation.

    This is our most pressing national and international strategic priority.

    • cometman permalink*
      August 11, 2009 10:23 am

      That point cannot be made enough and thankfully it’s being mentioned a lot more often. Much of modern finance does nothing productive whatsoever. Rather than matching buyers and sellers or whatever the hell these clowns’ special purpose was supposed to be, these days the activities of those in high finance is much more akin to placing behind the line bets on a craps table or trying to hit the over under on a football game. It’s all convoluted side bets and the person who thinks they are investing for the long term has become a sheep to be sheared by all the high stakes, high speed gamblers who dominate the markets. I got nasty looks in return a decade or so ago when I tried to make the point to some brokers that the markets weren’t all that different from going to the race track. I was told that professionals ran the markets, they were much more stable, there was no fix like there was at the track, blah blah blah blah. Wonder what they think now?

  6. triv33 permalink
    August 11, 2009 10:53 am

    Okay, I’m a little obsessed after fighting with wingers for the past two weeks over HCR, but did you guys catch The Daily Show last night? Once again, I was pissin’ mah pants…The Death Panel Debate. Enjoy!

    • cometman permalink*
      August 11, 2009 11:55 am

      I did catch that last night and it was hilarious! Hopefully enough mockery will get these clowns to shut up eventually. There are plenty of legitimate reasons to criticize the health care plan, like the fact that it isn’t single payer, but other people can’t get a word in edgewise against the wingnuts.

    • cometman permalink*
      August 11, 2009 1:04 pm

      Wow, the Hofstra guy says it much better than I did in my comment above.

      The events of recent decades have been ominous.

      The events of recent weeks more so.

      It’s not so much, I guess, the visage of obese, over-fifty, white men angrily wrecking even the tattered remnants of the democratic process in this country that is most disturbing. We’ve seen that before.

      I think it’s the willful ignorance translated into incoherent, and in fact ironically self-defeating, rage that I find most discouraging. Can we really live in a country populated by so many fools, people who can so readily, proudly and belligerently be made into tools of their own destruction? Can the greatest political, economic, cultural and military power on the world’s stage possibly be so incredibly backward at its core?

      ~snicker snack~

      Everybody talks about fascism nowadays, not least those on the right who remarkably manage to call Barack Obama a fascist in the same breath as they label him a socialist. The term has been beaten into near meaninglessness from ubiquitousness of application. (Could this be another extremely clever semantics ploy of the right-wing marketing machine, taking the term out of use now that it is legitimately applicable, by over- and ab-using it? Damn, these guys are good.)

      • Stemella permalink*
        August 11, 2009 1:37 pm

        “Can the greatest political, economic, cultural and military power on the world’s stage possibly be so incredibly backward at its core?”

        Hell, yes. This is what 45 years of brainwashing by television, cults of celebrity, excessive religiosity and illiteracy for the lower classes and cults of materialism, finance and crony capitalism for the ruling elite will beget.

        America is a great big ol bubble set to burst, y’all.

  7. cometman permalink*
    August 11, 2009 11:56 am

    For some natural late summer fireworks, check out the annual Perseid meteor shower tonight if you’re burning the midnight oil.

    • triv33 permalink
      August 11, 2009 12:23 pm

      Fingers crossed for clear skies! My boys have been looking forward to seeing some shooting stars. They’re pretty young (five & six), but they are little night owls, like their mom.

      • Stemella permalink*
        August 11, 2009 1:29 pm

        Whoooooooo? :)

        • triv33 permalink
          August 12, 2009 8:43 am

          Clouds! Oh, the heartbreak on my sweet baboo’s face. I warned him it could happen. I told him that it’s just the biggest meteor shower, you can catch shooting stars on other nights, but he was really unhappy. The little man cared not at all.

  8. cometman permalink*
    August 11, 2009 12:39 pm

    And away we go. The nutters are getting more brazen and today at an Obama town hall one was sighted packing heat. I’m all for throwing the bums out and waving incendiary devices and farm implements if necessary. But ferchrissakes can we at least have some intelligent people who know what the hell they are talking about leading the charge? These teabaggers are going to be in for a big surprise if they actually succeed and usher in fascism to this country. Something tells me that a fascist government wouldn’t stand for a couple hundred million firearms being toted around freely in this country like we’ve got now.

    • Stemella permalink*
      August 11, 2009 1:29 pm

      I watched parts of two televised meetings, one in PA with Spector, the other in MO with McCaskill. The natives are seriously restless. These were not the usual teabaggers, but pissed off locals conservatives and libertarians. Both Senators were taken aback at the hostility thrown their direction. This isn’t just kabuki in my opinion, at least these two meetings weren’t. We are witnessing something that goes deeper than astroturfing. This is part of the unraveling, the total lack of trust in the representatives from the government.

      I also watched part of Obama’s meeting in New Hampshah, where the gun toter was. There were some Mainahs there too who asked questions. Great accents!

    • triv33 permalink
      August 11, 2009 3:22 pm

      I’m wondering if they’d be happy knowing that their mob antics make them eligible to be charged with domestic terrorism under the Patriot Act? For people who love to shout about reading a bill, they sure as shit didn’t read that fucker. Now, I think it’s wrong and a terrible way to stifle dissent, but if you look at what happened in Minnesota both before and during the Republican Convention, you have to know it’s entirely possible.

  9. cometman permalink*
    August 11, 2009 12:51 pm

    Does Pakistan have a better functioning democracy than the US? Pakistani officials have registered a criminal case aginst ex-dictator Musharraf for his role in screwing with that nation’s judiciary.

    Meanwhile the US House Judiciary Committee has released documents implicating Karl Rove for screwing with this county’s judiciary system. At this point you’d think there would be plenty of evidence to bring a case against him, but judging by past performance he will likely skate, as he’s done for decades now.

    It’ll be interesting to see how these two cases play out.

    • Stemella permalink*
      August 11, 2009 2:59 pm

      Regarding Rove, emptywheel is going through Rove’s and Meyer’s interviews and associated case documents here. If there are revelations to be found, she will find them first.

  10. Stemella permalink*
    August 11, 2009 1:51 pm

    Awww poor too bloated to sink Bank of America is having a rough time of it due to blushing over their bonuses

    Bank of America faces more bonus embarrassment

    Bank of America Corp will likely face more embarrassing disclosures about bonuses paid at Merrill Lynch & Co after a federal judge refused to rubber-stamp a settlement over the $3.6 billion of payouts.

    Judge Jed Rakoff’s criticism of the $33 million settlement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission prolongs the drama over bonuses that have prompted outrage in Congress and a probe by New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo.

    It also means Kenneth Lewis, Bank of America’s embattled chief executive, may face more scrutiny over perhaps the most controversial aspect of the shotgun merger.

    “What the judge is trying to get at is, was there actual fraud here?” said Cornelius Hurley, director of the Morin Center for Banking and Financial Law at Boston University. “The risks are they go back to their corners, and the SEC really does attempt to prove wrongdoing.”

    Yes, SEC, would you please get right on that little possible fraud issue? Oh wait, they wanted to make a dope deal and push it out of sight out of mind.

    Obama, would you please get rid of that scumsucker Schapiro and put Spitzer in her place?

  11. cometman permalink*
    August 11, 2009 4:58 pm

    Somebody got caught with their hands in the cookie jar.

    The bank where Tony Blair is an adviser is the target of an unprecedented probe involving billions of pounds of customers’ funds, the Daily Mail can disclose.

    JP Morgan Chase, whose chief executive Jamie Dimon last year recruited the former prime minister as an adviser, is being investigated by the City’s watchdog, the Financial Services Authority for allegedly failing to keep track of £8.5billion of clients’ money.

    The FSA has called in a top firm of accountants to examine the bank’s London activities after evidence emerged that JP Morgan had mixed customers’ funds with its own.

    Banks are meant to maintain a strict segregation of their own money from that which is held on behalf of clients.

    But JP Morgan managers in London discovered last month that client and bank money used for trading futures and options – a way of speculating on movements in currencies, share prices and commodities – had apparently been put into a single pool.

    ~snip~

    It is thought that the JP Morgan Chase problem dates back to late 2002. This followed the takeover of JP Morgan by Chase Manhattan two years earlier.

    Let’s see how long it takes before the gutless SEC decides to take a look on this side of the pond.

    • Stemella permalink*
      August 11, 2009 5:47 pm

      So did someone else

      Chinese president’s son linked to multi-million pound African corruption probe

      Hu Haifeng, a Chinese businessman and the eldest son of Chinese President Hu Jintao, has been linked to a multi-million pound African corruption probe and faces questioning in connection with the investigation.

      Haifeng was the president of the state-owned Chinese company Nuctech until last year, from where three people have been arrested on charges of fraud, corruption and bribery for involving in a government contract, The Telegraph reports.

      Haifeng has since been promoted as the party secretary of Tsinghua Holdings, the group that controls Nuctech and 30 other companies.

      Turns out that Tsinghua is a commercial offshoot of Tsinghua University, where Lord Vampsquid himself is on the Board and his predecessor at Goldman, John Thornton, is a professor and Director of the Global Leadership program there. The tentacles are long from Goldie Sux and tenuous.

  12. Stemella permalink*
    August 11, 2009 6:27 pm

    A conversation between Paul Krugman and scifi writer Charlie Stross, here There is a transcript as well as a mp3 of their talk.

    I remember you said you liked Stross’s fiction c-man.

    • cometman permalink*
      August 12, 2009 11:19 am

      Thanks for posting that! I just got done listening to the interview and it was really interesting. I liked the part where they talked about laboratory grown meat designed for human consumption and the fact that it isn’t that far off. Stephen Colbert had a segment on his show about that a few months ago which was hilarious. The meat, which they called schmeat (short for shit-meat), looked like a completely unappetizing gray hunk of protoplasm and was not recognizable as meat at all. Which is what they already serve at Taco Bell if I’m not mistaken :P

      The part about finding a remedy for aging was good too. Michio Kaku did a show about that and there is nothing in the human genome that says we ought to age. It’s just that damage to the DNA occurs as time goes on for various reasons and if scientists can figure out how to remedy that, people could start living for a very long time. It remains to be seen what the ramifications of that may be. Maybe we’ll end up with a society of enlightened older people full of wisdom with a controlled population or maybe we’ll end up in an overcrowded dystopia full of people like the ones described in Aldous Huxley’s book about the search for perpetual youth, After Many a Summer Dies the Swan.

      • Stemella permalink*
        August 12, 2009 11:49 am

        Taco bell doesn’ t serve schmeat. It serves ground rattuses with Velveeta! :~)

        I don’t like that part about preventing DNA damage. Knowing what we know about stoopid humanz, they will come up with the great idea of altering the DNA of all the foodstuffs we eat too, to make them last longer in the store, and then organic material will not deteriorate, which will completely fuck up the life cycle of most ecosystems. Plus, more importantly, Dick Cheney must be allowed to die, sooner than much later. Please, let him die.

        Can you imagine what the Right to Lifers would do with this shit? No, bad bad idea.

        • cometman permalink*
          August 12, 2009 12:08 pm

          If science does figure out how to stop aging, we’ll definitely need at least a few other planets to live on in the long term. And in the shorter term it would create a very divided society as only the wealthy would likely be able to afford the treatments. As their population grew and never died, something would have to be done with all the poor people and like you said, the Right to Lifers among others would go apeshit.

          Personally I like the idea of uploading your consciousness into a big datasphere as several sci fi authors have suggested as a possibility :) That way when your body wears out your mind lives on and you don’t sit around taking up space.

          All very far-fetched I know, but maybe not as much as people think. Lots of scientists are working on the aging issue right now. People like Ray Kurzweil expect some of these technologies to be available within their own lifetimes.

  13. cometman permalink*
    August 12, 2009 6:14 am

    Thomas Pynchon has a new novel out, and it hasn’t even been a decade or two since his last one yet. He’s getting awfully chatty these days. Just ran across the video promo for it and it looks pretty good. It’s Pynchon doing the narration himself, but it sounds a lot like Tommy Chong :)

    • Stemella permalink*
      August 12, 2009 6:55 am

      That was great. I loved the end where he questioned the price of his own book!

      He does sound remarkably like Tommy Chong. I investigated. Pynchon grew up in Long Island and is basically a New Yawkah. Chong grew up in Alberta, Canada then in BC before moving to the States. Hmmmm. It must be the weed. ;)

      I think I need to go on a Pynchon binge.

      • cometman permalink*
        August 12, 2009 8:06 am

        Have you read him much? What did you think of his work? I read Gravity’s Rainbow a while ago and found it funny but often incomprehensible, which is probably about par for the course. Also read V. and Vineland which were a lot easier to digest. I picked up Against the Day a couple years ago and I’ve read the first 75 pages (out of about 1000) three times now and the beginning at least is great. It’s kind of a period piece set in the early 20th century with anarchists and balloon enthusiasts running all over the place. I should probably finish the other 900+ pages of that before picking up the new one.

        For some reason I really like Pynchon and Don DeLillo and Wiliam Gaddis. I guess I’m a sucker for 1000 page convoluted historically-based novels which you probably need to read 2 or 3 times to really understand.

        • Stemella permalink*
          August 12, 2009 10:47 am

          I have not. I’ve read about him here and there for years, but never sat down with one of his books. Maybe I’ll start out with the new one and work my way backward. I also like convoluted twisted tales set in history. My problem these days is turning off the computer. I still haven’t gotten to the Algebraist even though it is sitting on top of the pile next to the bed. I know, I know …

          • cometman permalink*
            August 12, 2009 11:21 am

            You better get started reading that!! I’ve got a few more sci fi novels with squidly characters for you once you’re done which I’m sure you can’t wait to read :P

            • Stemella permalink*
              August 12, 2009 11:50 am

              I knew I’d get a lecture for that ;)

              Ok Ok, tonight I will skip the Comedy Central boys and start reading about squids in space

              • cometman permalink*
                August 12, 2009 11:58 am

                Ha! And if you do pick up some Pynchon, you might try Against the Day. I meant to add earlier that while it is set a hundred years ago or so, he uses it as a vehicle to take quite a few funny jabs at contemporary events and politics.

  14. Stemella permalink*
    August 12, 2009 6:44 am

    Bizarro story about a Klub Kumquat banning a naked short selling NYTimes contributor with sockpuppets. haha

    Former New York Times Inc Contributor Gary Weiss Banned From Daily Kos

    • cometman permalink*
      August 12, 2009 7:57 am

      Very strange. Not sure why he’d go to the Tangerine Dream to defend shady financial practices in the first place. Seems like there are a lot of other sites where there might be more financially astute people who would actually care. Who knows, maybe the guy makes the rounds there too.

  15. Stemella permalink*
    August 12, 2009 11:56 am

    George Soros, lord and master of hedge funds and big blox bloggers, declares the economy has reached bottom

    The U.S. economy has hit bottom and the current quarter will see positive growth due to the government’s stimulus spending, billionaire financier George Soros said on Tuesday.

    “I think it (the stimulus) has made a difference, the economy has actually bottomed and I think we are facing a positive quarter, and I think that is largely due to the stimulus,” he said in an interview with Reuters Television in New York.

    Yay for the ruling class!

    (I hope you can “hear” the snide sarcasm in my voice)

    • cometman permalink*
      August 12, 2009 12:21 pm

      Oh I hear you loud and clear. he must have recently taken out some long positions in some of his hedge funds. Soros may be a little bit nicer than the rest of the rats but he’s no stranger to manipulating the markets for his own benefit.

  16. cometman permalink*
    August 12, 2009 12:13 pm

    Couple of interesting bits from ScienceDaily today. Archaeologists found some cuneiform tablets in Turkey from the Dark Age period which could shed some light on missing history.

    Also, astronomers think that our moon was created when some big rock ran into the early earth and broke off a piece which later coalesced into our current satellite. Now they have found evidence of the same thing happening in another star system, and only a few thousand years ago which isn’t long at all in astronomical terms.

  17. cometman permalink*
    August 12, 2009 12:38 pm

    Another new study by a team of computer scientists has again found that electronic voting machines are easily hackable even if you know nothing about how the machines were originally developed.

    The computer scientists had no access to the machine’s source code—or any other proprietary information—when designing the demonstration attack. By using just the information that would be available to anyone who bought or stole a voting machine, the researchers addressed a common criticism made against voting security researchers: that they enjoy unrealistic access to the systems they study.

    “Based on our understanding of security and computer technology, it looks like paper-based elections are the way to go. Probably the best approach would involve fast optical scanners reading paper ballots. These kinds of paper-based systems are amenable to statistical audits, which is something the election security research community is shifting to,” said Shacham.

    “You can actually run a modern and efficient election on paper that does not look like the Florida 2000 Presidential election,” said Shacham. “If you are using electronic voting machines, you need to have a separate paper record at the very least.”

    A-fucking-men. Wouldn’t it be a lot cheaper to begin with to pay people to count the votes by hand than to spend hundreds of millions or more on these stupid machines? I’m sure you could find a lot of people who’d be willing to spend a day counting ballots for $100 or so. I will never believe the results of any election again until we get rid of these pieces of crap which seem designed to allow elections to be tampered with.

  18. cometman permalink*
    August 12, 2009 12:48 pm

    Your rat meme is spreading! Now Robert Scheer has taken it up. Keep up the good work ;)

    • Stemella permalink*
      August 12, 2009 1:33 pm

      Good article. It ties in nicely with Taleb’s spiel. The govt rats are rewarding the bankster rats for failure, which means the government incompetent at the very least. Taleb says they are treating the patient (the fiscal system) with aspirin when it has leukemia. The little guys who have done the right thing are penalized. We’ve all seen this and know it from our own experience.

      Bottom line – the risk is still there, the toxic assets are still there, these banksters are still too big to fail, we are indeed going the wrong direction. If Canetoad takes over for Bernanke will go the wrong direction that much faster.

  19. Stemella permalink*
    August 12, 2009 1:17 pm

    Taleb goes on a righteous tear in an interview with Roubini and a gaggle of the dipshits at CNBC. He reams Benny and his Jets at the Fed.

    The video is embedded in this article: We Aren’t Heading in the Right Direction

    Here’s part of the printed summary

    We’re all in denial
    *We’re replacing private debt with public debt.
    *We’re not dealing with the cancer in our banking system.
    *We’re not making the structural changes we need to make.
    *We’re not being aggressive enough about restructuring debt (debt for equity swaps).
    *Bernanke is a wimpy Greenspan sycophant
    *Obama’s rewarding the fools who got us here (Summers, Bernanke, Geithner)
    *The banksters are taking over again

    Blodget says that he’s pretty much right and I would tend to agree with a couple of caveats.

    Taleb’s prescription calls for a revolution in the way the financial system is organized as well as an equally paradigm shifting reorganization of business practices as well. This is not going to happen overnight, that’s just not the manner in which large, complex societies change. He’s right about denial but denial only works so long as the system can continue in a functional manner. Change comes through evolution as the facts of the new order trump the ability to deny its need.

    • cometman permalink*
      August 12, 2009 3:52 pm

      Taleb really stuck to his guns in that video. And maybe it was just an isolated incident but the dipshits largely let him and Roubini have an intelligent conversation without butting in. Good stuff.

    • cometman permalink*
      August 12, 2009 4:09 pm

      Another good vid from Elizabeth Warren via Zerohedge.

      • Stemella permalink*
        August 12, 2009 5:01 pm

        I sure wish she had Geithner’s job. She speaks directly, openly, clearly. She cares about repairing the problems at hand.

        She is the first person I can think of who came out and said that Paulson’s scare tactics were too extreme, that the too big banks would have failed, but that main street would have kept chugging along. It really has been exactly what Naomi Klein described, a complete Milton Friedman style fuckover. And the Neo-Lib pigs are still steering the ship of state with their pirate hats, just so. Oh to be a many tentacled kracken of the people to whack those fuckers right off the deck and into the mouths of the teaming, flashing, hungry humboldts below.

        We should be wary of any more shocks to the system. They may need more than another stimulus bill to stay afloat given what both Warren and Taleb had to say, not to mention the ZH crew. I feel like the Republicans never left office. In spite of watching Obama celebrate and recognize the lives and careers of 16 pretty great people today with Medals of Freedom, which was a lovely diversion, I still feel like the crooks are taking us all down.

        Where is our zapato wielding kracken?

      • triv33 permalink
        August 12, 2009 5:08 pm

        Oh, you beat me to the punch! I just watched it over at HuffPo fixin to get ready to post…oh, well, I do love the jab she took at the Elvin One.

        She also took a passing shot at Tim Geithner – at one point, comparing Geithner’s handling of the bailout money to a certain style of casino gambling. Geithner, she said, was throwing smaller portions of bailout money at several economic pressure points.

        “He’s doing the sort of $2 bets all over the table in Vegas,” Warren joked.

  20. Stemella permalink*
    August 12, 2009 1:48 pm

    Rick Santorum dips toes into Iowa waters for 2012

    Someone send a fucking fleet of snapping turtles to Iowa, ASAP!

    Triv!! Stop the Santorum from spreading!

    • triv33 permalink
      August 12, 2009 2:15 pm

      Oh…erm uh, I was eating when I read that! Nice way to put me off my cheesesteak. Who is he kidding? What’s his slogan? Yeah, I’m a fundie, bigoted white guy, but I’m not from the south? I’m not quite as dim as Sarah Palin? Sure, you can’t hear the name Santorum without throwing up a little in your mouth, but I have a narrow stance. Oh for fuck’s sake! I could go on, but you get the idea.

    • cometman permalink*
      August 12, 2009 3:01 pm

      Unreal. Stuff like that is what really makes me think many elections are rigged. Because how in the hell does a whackjob like Santorum realistically think he’s going to win the majority of the votes nationwide. I doubt he has any credibility among anyone who’s actually heard of him before except the teabagger crowd and the few remaining respectable elements in the rapidly shrinking republican party are distancing themselves from the nutters. And those who haven’t heard of him yet are sure to be reminded of the kind of lunacy he represents.

      But hey, if he does run maybe someone as well versed in human sexual behavior as Man on Dog Santorum can tell the nutters what teabagging really means.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: