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Bust ‘Em Up

January 27, 2010

“Darn your big stick! Get a meat axe!!”

47 Comments leave one →
  1. cometman permalink*
    January 27, 2010 5:13 pm

    Just threw one up quickly since that last thread was getting pretty full. There’s some more info on the cartoon at Vulgar Army where I found it. Unfortunately the proprietor of that fine blog is calling it quits soon.

    • Stemella permalink*
      January 28, 2010 7:39 am

      The head of JD Rockefeller looks remarkably like Bernie Madoff! Too bad about Vulgar Army. I hope someone else takes it over or at least that it stays as an archive. There’s a lot of great research there.

      • January 30, 2010 5:34 am

        If no ones takes it over, I will leave it up as an archive. But in the future will probably more reliable than

        • cometman permalink*
          February 1, 2010 11:50 am

          Definitely leave it up as an archive. You put a lot of work into the site and there is a lot of interesting reading there. We’ll keep linking to it too! Unfortunately I can’t volunteer to take it over since I don’t have time to do much more than post stuff here. If I run across anyone who is interested I’ll be sure to direct them your way though.

  2. cometman permalink*
    January 27, 2010 6:52 pm

    Here’s some eye candy for map fans that I also saw at Vulgar Army- check out this caricature map of WW I era Europe.

    • Stemella permalink*
      January 28, 2010 7:52 am

      That is some pretty amazing illustration. Interesting that Algeria and Greece are the two cephalopodish creatures. That maggot eaten Russian bear is something else. Very cool.

      Also, check out the same artist’s work on the undead. I think you used an illustration of his here of an octopus caged in a tree. Great illustrator.

      • cometman permalink*
        January 28, 2010 9:03 am

        You’re right. Hadn’t noticed the similarity but that illustration is on his website. I was just poking around his site at some of the other illustrations – I bet he’d make a great illustrator for a version of Dante’s Inferno.

  3. cometman permalink*
    January 27, 2010 8:16 pm

    Here’s Kucinich from earlier today.

    Is there anyone who believes Paulson when he says he didn’t now a thing about the details of the AIG bailout? He claims the details were the Fed’s responsibility and not the Treasury’s and then a minute later he starts talking about how the Treasury and Fed worked closely together. Pretty close to slipping up there Hank.

    • Stemella permalink*
      January 28, 2010 8:05 am

      I’m glad you found that.

      In checking around for followup I found this from Simon Johnson

      The Next Subpoena For Goldman Sachs

      Yesterday’s release of detailed information regarding with whom AIG settled in full on credit default swaps (CDS) at the end of 2008 was helpful. We learned a great deal about the precise nature of transactions and the exact composition of counterparties involved.

      We already knew, of course, that this “close out” at full price was partly about Goldman Sachs – and that SocGen was involved. There was also, it turns out, some Merrill Lynch exposure (affecting Bank of America, which was in the process of buying Merrill). Still, it’s striking that no other major banks had apparently much of this kind of insurance from AIG against their losses – Citi, Morgan Stanley, and JPMorgan, for example, are not on the list.

      This information is useful because it will help the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee structure a follow up subpeona to be served on Goldman Sachs …

      See rest of his post for the questions he proposes. As he concludes, the oversight committee has done a good job peeling back several layers, as have I would add Sorkin, Taibbi, McClatchy and others in the blogs. Now it is time to use the power of the subpoena, not the kabuki subpoena, but the real one with consequences attached, and get to the crux of the biscuit. There are at the least three very bald, very rich, very bad, very squidlike men needing to be prosecuted and their names are Paulson, Kashkari and Blankfein.

      • cometman permalink*
        January 28, 2010 9:15 am

        #1 and #2 on Johnson’s list are key. If Goldman didn’t turn over any security to AIG when they got payed off, then where is the security?

        I think it’s becoming more and more clear that as Johnson suggests, this bailout was done primarily to benefit Goldman and screw its competitors and the chicken little “Sky is falling” bullshit the banksters and their water carriers were all clucking about was nothing but a ruse.

        As we’ve seen in the last year plus, there have been plenty of other options floated that would have kept people from defaulting on mortgages, let the bad banks fail, and kept the financial system intact.

        • Stemella permalink*
          January 28, 2010 10:06 am

          We’ve known by instinct all along that Goldie sux’d hard and probably the most. of all the banksters at the ball. It is time for some bigger guns to go in for the bust. Bust ’em up Toddy.

  4. cometman permalink*
    January 27, 2010 8:42 pm

    Wow. Matt Taibbi reduces David Brooks, who evidently believes that being pissed off at bankers is the new racism,to a pile of rubble.

    The whole point of America is that we are all supposed to be our own masters, never viewing anyone as being by birth or situation inherently better or more capable than ourselves, and so the notion of relying upon some nebulous class of investment bankers to “channel opportunity” from on high strikes me as being un-American.

    And besides, the fact that a lot of these guys have made a lot of money recently doesn’t make them “upper class.” They’re the same assholes we all were in high school and college, except that they made some very particular moral choices in adulthood, and became criminals, and have now arranged things so that they’re going to be tough as hell to catch. And when they fall, which a lot of them will… I mean a lot of these guys are ten seconds from losing it all and spending the next ten years working the laundry room at Danbury or pushing shopping carts under the FDR expressway. And they know it. These people aren’t the nobility. They’re people just like us, only stupider and less ashamed of themselves.

    Amen brother.

    Be sure to read his whole post.

    • Stemella permalink*
      January 28, 2010 8:36 am

      Definitely a bravo for Matt. Goldie Sux and this economic crisis ultimately is a crime story, the crime of the century and the criminals have been and are still very difficult to catch. Obama gave Elvin and huge hug and pat on the back last night as he made his way to the podium. Very telling.

      Here’s the part of the article that really tickled me.

      If I’m writing about a gang of car thieves, what, we’re supposed to also mention that the endive crop was weak in that part of the country that year? What the fuck? And this whole business about how criticizing Goldman absolves voters — Jesus, how primitive can you get?

      Brooks is very primitive. Smarmy too. Everytime I see him on PBS Newshour he gets a projectile or two :)

  5. cometman permalink*
    January 28, 2010 9:25 am

    Jon Stewart eviscerates the Democratic party, stomps on its carcass with iron spiked boots, covers it with lye, sets it on fire, and blows it to smithereeens. The DNC Possum!! Baaaaaahahahahaha!

    Colbert really ripped the recent SCOTUS decision too. Those guys were on fire last night. Glad I skipped the SOTU and watched them instead.

    • Stemella permalink*
      January 28, 2010 10:12 am

      The Sotus only would have pissed you off. It was given for the benefit of the quote unquote mythical middle full of Independents who strongly resemble Republicans in terms of sentiments. More nukes, off shore drilling, cap and trade, tax cuts, capital gains tax cuts, propping up community colleges instead of supporting labor, all themes directly from the administrations of Reagan and Bushes Pee $ Doodoo. (yes I just thought of that and I admit to being only 12 forever – I blame jack and his smirking revenge) :)

      • cometman permalink*
        January 28, 2010 10:38 am

        I was self-exiled from the living room while the speech was on since I knew I couldn’t keep my mouth shut and mother-in-law was visiting and wanted to be able to actually hear the speech. Cometwoman got in some heckling for me though :)

        McClatchy had an opinion on the SOTU very similar to yours (except without the peepee/doodoo stuff :P) – Obama channels Reagan.

  6. cometman permalink*
    January 28, 2010 9:43 am

    Very moving story about Howard Zinn, who passed away yesterday, from Daniel Ellsburg – A Memory of Howard.

    Got a little choked up reading that one.

    • Stemella permalink*
      January 28, 2010 10:15 am

      I’ve been in denial since I read the news yesterday. He was an old man who lived more fully and purposefully than many, but still, it is hard to lose the good ones. Thankfully he was a long time teacher and writer whose influence will carry on through all those he touched. And now I will read Ellsberg’s memorial.

    • Stemella permalink*
      January 28, 2010 11:09 am

      Another one. I just heard on the news that JD Salinger has passed away today at the age of 91.

      I don’t see any web links yet.

      Now they are coming in. Here’s one from the Globe and Mail

      Catcher in the Rye author J.D. Salinger dies

      • cometman permalink*
        January 28, 2010 11:24 am

        Very sad. I really enjoyed reading his books. He lived in the neck of the woods where I grew up and back in high school a friend of mine worked in a hardware store and appropriately enough sold Salinger some blinds one day.

        May be one of those urban legends that makes the rounds, but I remember hearing a long time ago that Salinger had some deal with a publisher to pay him a stipend to keep writing with the provision that nothing could be published until after his death. Guess we’ll find out soon whether that is true or not. It’d be nice if it was.

  7. Stemella permalink*
    January 28, 2010 2:16 pm

    Well shit. Ben Bernanke has been reconfirmed by the Senate 70-30. How very bipartisan. grrrrr

    • cometman permalink*
      January 28, 2010 9:11 pm

      What a joke. Just looked up a couple articles which said there was a lot of lobbying and arm twisting by Obama and the Dem senate “leadership”. Wonder how much more was bargained away by these jackasses just so they could make sure one of the architects of this heist could keep his job.

  8. Stemella permalink*
    January 28, 2010 4:19 pm

    Though unlikely, if ever you find yourself swooning at the righteousness of one of Obama’s speeches, remember this article

    After Obama rips lobbyists, K St. insiders get private briefings

    A day after bashing lobbyists, President Barack Obama’s administration has invited K Street insiders to join private briefings on a range of topics addressed in Wednesday’s State of the Union.

    The Treasury Department on Thursday morning invited selected individuals to “a series of conference calls with senior Obama administration officials to discuss key aspects of the State of the Union address.”

    The invitation, which went to a variety of stakeholders, was sent by Fred Baldassaro, a senior adviser at the Treasury Department’s Office of Business Affairs and Public Liaison.

    And they wonder why people feel cynical about government?

  9. cometman permalink*
    January 28, 2010 9:17 pm

    Some levity including a very nice ‘schism’ wisecrack. Ha!

    • Stemella permalink*
      January 29, 2010 7:47 am

      Oh wow. That was quite something! I will never think of schism the same way.

      In the same, ahem, vein, here’s Stephen Lynch singing about the Priest

      • cometman permalink*
        January 29, 2010 10:12 am

        That was just wrong. But hilarious!

        The hypocrisy of pretty much all denominations of churches is astounding. There is no doubt in my mind that there are a lot of clergymen with some serious issues regarding sexuality and I will continue to make fun of them for that among many other things.

        That being said, I’ve been keeping an eye for a while now on this story about a Boston priest being tried on molestation charges on the basis of “recovered memories”. Evidently Mass. is one of the few states that still even allows this nonsense as evidence. There’s a sizable Catholic population there and I can’t imagine this trial being perceived as a witch hunt really helped Coakley’s chances of getting elected Senator. Friend of mine who had some issues with her family was seeing a counselor years ago when the repressed memory stuff first started coming into vogue. The counselor started in on her with this crap and sure enough she started ‘remembering’ being molested by her dad. Her dad was certainly no saint and I heard him say some off-color stuff once in a while but she had never even considered the possibility that he might have done such a thing (because he hadn’t done such a thing) until this charlatan started in with her. Maybe I’m a little biased because of that, but I’d like to see people tried for things based on something a little more tangible than recovered memories.

        • Stemella permalink*
          January 29, 2010 10:30 am

          Wrong but hilarious, that pretty much sums up Stephen Lynch. You should watch his one on the Special Olympics. You’ll never be the same! haha Totally wrong but funny as hell.

          As to the councelors, I tend to hold them in the same esteem as I do lawyers. Some are skilled, ethical and truly useful, but most are swindlers of the worst sort.

  10. artemis54 permalink
    January 29, 2010 10:00 am

    Tiller killer jury agrees on verdict after 37 minutes of deliberation.

    • artemis54 permalink
      January 29, 2010 10:01 am

      Correction: 15 minutes! It took longer to send the message than to reach the verdict.

      • cometman permalink*
        January 29, 2010 10:21 am

        Nice to see there’s still a little Justice left.

  11. Stemella permalink*
    January 29, 2010 10:41 am

    More on the AIG, Goldie Sux and the Elvin scams. The first half is a good summary of events we all already know.

    David Reilly
    Secret Banking Cabal Emerges From AIG Shadows

    Questions about the New York Fed’s accountability grew after Geithner on Nov. 24, 2008, was named by then-President- elect Barack Obama to be Treasury Secretary. Geither said he recused himself from the bank’s day-to-day activities, even though he never actually signed a formal letter of recusal.

    That left issues related to disclosures about the deal in the hands of the bank’s lawyers and staff, rather than a top executive. Those staffers didn’t want details of the swaps purchase to become public.

    New York Fed staff and outside lawyers from Davis Polk & Wardell edited AIG communications to investors and intervened with the Securities and Exchange Commission to shield details about the buyout transactions, according to a report by Issa.

    That the New York Fed, a quasi-governmental body, was able to push around the SEC, an executive-branch agency, deserves a congressional hearing all by itself.

    Later, when it became clear information would be disclosed, New York Fed legal group staffer James Bergin e-mailed colleagues saying: “I have to think this train is probably going to leave the station soon and we need to focus our efforts on explaining the story as best we can. There were too many people involved in the deals — too many counterparties, too many lawyers and advisors, too many people from AIG — to keep a determined Congress from the information.”

    Think of the enormity of that statement. A staffer at a body with little public accountability and that exists to serve bankers is lamenting the inability to keep Congress in the dark.

    This belies the culture of secrecy obviously pervasive within the New York Fed. Committee Chairman Edolphus Towns noted during the hearing that the bank initially refused to disclose even the names of other banks that benefited from its actions, arguing this information would somehow harm AIG.

    “In fact, when the information was finally released, under pressure from Congress, nothing happened,” Towns said. “It had absolutely no effect on AIG’s business or financial condition. But it did have an effect on the credibility of the Federal Reserve, and it called into question the Fed’s penchant for secrecy.”

    • cometman permalink*
      January 29, 2010 11:20 am

      Huh. The author admits that the “conspiracy theorists” may have a point. Whaddya know? ‘Conspiracy’, like ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’, is another word that has lost its original meaning somehow. ‘Freedom’ and ‘democracy’ these days are just synonyms for unfettered crony capitalism and ‘conspiracy theorist’ is an alternate phrase for ‘a person who refuses to believe all the bullshit being spread about freedom and democracy’ .

      What I’d still like to see be explained better by the Bloomberg types is exactly what these payoffs were. The key to me is that one didn’t have to actually own the underlying CDO to be paid off in full on the CDS in the event of default. I get the fact that all the financialese is very hard to understand if you haven’t been paying extremely close attention but here’s an example that I think most people would be able to wrap their heads around. Supposedly having to pay out on all this CDS insurance was a very unlikely event for AIG which is why they kept writing them. Now, suppose a person walked into a casino and put down $10 million bet on a roulette table on double sixes. First of all, most casinos would never allow such a bet to be placed because in the unlikely event boxcars came up they’d be on the hook for $350 million, so evidently your average Vegas oddsmaker has more sense than these titans of finance. But suppose they did take the bet, sixes came up, and the casino didn’t have the $350 mil. Would the Federal government come in at that point, bail out the casino and hand the bettor a third of a billion dollars? Not a chance in hell. But that is just what they did in the case of AIG. They could have simply said that this was nothing but a side bet on Goldman and others’ parts and that AIG would return the premiums (or the bet) to the banks and all bets were canceled. Goldman Sachs wouldn’t have lost a dime – they just wouldn’t have been able to report several billion in “profits”. Of course the argument would be that contracts had to be honored or else the entire integrity of the system would be at risk. If that’s the case, why were autoworkers (but not the executives) made to take concessions on their existing contracts as a condition of bailing out the automakers?

      There has got to be somebody other than those typing away on little read blogs who has a pulpit from which to speak to the masses, is regarded as being pretty eloquent and a superior intellect, and has recently expressed their disapproval with the “fat cats” who could make what actually happened with this fiasco clear to the public. Where, oh where could we find such a person?

      • Stemella permalink*
        January 29, 2010 12:28 pm

        Yes, where would we find that person? haha, the things one can find on the internets!

        • cometman permalink*
          January 29, 2010 12:37 pm

          Ha! He’s definitely been blowing some smoke, that’s for sure.

        • cometman permalink*
          January 29, 2010 1:32 pm

          On a related note, this should be interesting- Pot legalization almost certainly headed for California ballot.

          Organizers of the Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010 filed some 700,000 petition signatures with county clerks around the state. The amount of signatures needed to get the measure on the ballot is about 433,000, reports the San Francisco Chronicle, so the measure is all but certain to be on the ballot in November.

          If I had read this last week I’d say this would be very likely to pass considering the fact that Cali doesn’t have two nickels to rub together and could use the enormous amounts of tax revenue this would generate. But now that pharmaceutical companies can spend as much as they want on a new reefer madness ad campaign, I’m not so sure. Also not sure whether the SCOTUS decision only concerns candidate races or not – maybe corporations were already allowed to spend unlimited amounts to influence ballot initiatives. Either way, I’m sure the corporate drug pushers will do everything they can to make sure this doesn’t pass.

          In the meantime, smoke ’em if you got ’em :)

  12. cometman permalink*
    January 29, 2010 11:52 am

    Another death from recent days. I’d never heard of this person until reading the tribute to him but maybe melvin has. Not sure if you’re a fan of Scottish music in general or just Robert Burns, but Scottish singer Alistair Hulett died recently – He Fades Away.

    The article got me interested so I looked up his song also called “He fades Away” about a miner dying from asbestos poisoning. Very poignant.

    • Stemella permalink*
      January 29, 2010 12:32 pm

      Lovely song. I’d never heard of him either. I generally call Scottish/Irish music “tweedle dee” and have to run if there are bagpipes, but this type with the light brogue is a pleasure to hear.

      They come in threes.

    • artemis54 permalink
      January 29, 2010 12:52 pm

      Oh my god this is a shock.

      I recommend the album Red Clydeside. The liner notes alone are kind of a Peoples History of Glasgow. Hulett was about three light years to the left of Billy Bragg. He usually sang in pretty thick Glaswegian.

    • artemis54 permalink
      January 29, 2010 1:07 pm

      Lengthy obit with several videos

      • Stemella permalink*
        January 29, 2010 2:11 pm

        Thanks for this, Melvin. Never too late to discover new artists, even if already gone. Have you heard any of his earlier punk music?

        • artemis54 permalink
          January 29, 2010 3:00 pm

          Not much. Not my cuppa tea really. I was first exposed to him at the Celtic Connection festival in January 2004 (I think? too much has happened since then) doin Red Clydeside, then listened to some of the older stuff but what interested me was the more folky. He is all tangled up with that scene as well, people like Andy Irvine perform his songs.

  13. cometman permalink*
    January 29, 2010 12:59 pm

    During the SOTU the other day Squobama said he wanted to hear from anyone who had a better approach to health care that would cover everyone, keep down costs, end insurance abuses, etc, etc. Evidently some people took him at his word and stood outside a hotel this morning where Obama was speaking to a bunch of republicans and started advocating for single payer.

    They were arrested.

    • Stemella permalink*
      January 29, 2010 2:12 pm

      Typical. sigh.

  14. cometman permalink*
    January 29, 2010 1:04 pm

    Ridiculous? Sublime? Hard to tell anymore – Bin Laden Blasts US for Climate Change.

    In the tape, broadcast in part on Al-Jazeera television, bin Laden warned of the dangers of climate change and says that the way to stop it is to bring “the wheels of the American economy” to a halt.

    If that’s his plan, so far so good it seems.

  15. artemis54 permalink
    January 29, 2010 6:54 pm

    Since we got off on these stray cultural notes, here’s another oddity for you. The other night we were watching a fairly lame western called Breakheart Pass while doing dinner etc.

    The TCM host, Robert Osborne, went off on a tangent about how it was Yakima Canutt’s last movie as stunt coordinator. I thought “what the hell?” but Osborne went on to mention that he, like Canutt, was from Colfax, WA. I have bored Miss Devore enough with stories of the mastermind behind the chariot race in Ben-Hur and all the rest of it, surely my old cattleman/rodeo dad’s only acquaintance in Hollywood, but Osborne was news to me. The population of Colfax is 2700 on a busy day.

  16. artemis54 permalink
    January 29, 2010 11:32 pm

    I can’t believe this Andrew Young freak, the one with the Edwards campaign. He’s got to be the biggest whore in recent memory but now that he’s decided to cash in he sits there and talks about how disgusting it all was.

    • triv33 permalink
      January 30, 2010 1:39 pm

      With his wife holding his hand…ew.

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