Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Financial piracy

Moral: Wherein we opine about the current state of financial affairs now that Big Ben has graced (?) the Tetons with his presence, again.


There used to the a thing called "debtors' prison" where one who got into dire straits, whether by fate or by own's one idiocy, spent time. In some of these, people were not fed; essentially, the place was a warehouse to stack those whose fortunes diminished to negative terms.

Somehow, we got to where being in debt was the "thing" to do. In fact, some exalted at how much credit they had and could use.

Sorry state of affairs. Both the physical prison and this virtual new prison. We are going to argue that this latter prison is more insidious by a long shot.

What did we do? We have the USofA now indebted to the likes of former enemies.


Now, why "financial piracy" in the title? Some claim that morality left business. Was it ever there? One might say that the last drop of 'morality' ran out. So, we have this monster of a thing, with flashing lights and boisterous hawkers and, of course, the priestly types. And, it is daily proffered through our technical prowess, yes, television and the web and more.

Allah                                              Moolah
The so-called "markets" of such importance to some. In the case of the financial pirates, there is little of 'value' that is bought and sold.

To what end is this crap-shooting ca-pital-sino? To suck monies from the pockets of the hapless into that of the fat-catted ones who are in position to take advantage of the situation. Unfortunately, the politicos (those who salivate at the thought of a buck) have turned their backs on those in need in order to make things better for this upper crust.


It may be that the larger part of the basis for a sustainable economy is the consumer. Yet, several things are implied there, the first of which would be that 'piracy' under the guise of financial imperatives would be strictly limited (sandbox'd, in other words).

Yes, those who are in control of the money (and whatever basis that we put it upon) would be of 'simple living' (the military metaphor holds - but, not the officers who become Generals and pains in the asses -- no, talking the enlisted here [E1, in fact] -- ah, but general-hood implies ability and talent to use such, does it not? --- hah! for any officer, there are scads of enlisted who are as smart and talented).


This theme will be explored more. If Big Ben were such as to think about Main Street rather than the Wall'd warts (and all of their ilk), he would not have polluted the rare air of the Tetons area with all of those hot-air'd types who gathered last week to honor 'moolah' and its chimera. No, there are countless slums in the world (and in the US) where these types could have seen the effects of their decisions up close and personal.

Oh? Of course, they do not want to do this, as is not their dwelling in the 'heights' too much fun and causes them to disdain the 99.9999% who suffer from their coddling of the big guys?

Ah, think of those who were bailed out, cooling their heels in a debtors' prison? Nice thought!


07/25/2015 -- We're about six weeks after the June look back at 800 years ago (Magna Carta). Too, though, poster boys have popped out of the woodwork, including Zweig.

08/27/2013 -- Golden Sacks made some error the other day (the perennial computer glitch - traced back to the best and brightest, okay?) that accumulated to $100M or so. Guess what? They got off with even a hand-slap. What? Put them all in the stocks for a week (or debtor's prison).

05/09/2013 -- Ben needs to take off the training wheels and let the markets go where they may (falling mode, most likely) and let the seniors have a little stability (Slapped silly, again, yesterday).

12/22/2012 -- Fair and open actually used in a WSJ article.

07/21/2012 -- Another thing uncovered, gaming of LIBOR.

05/30/2012 -- As covered by flightblogger.

09/29/2011 -- The question remains. Even with 'financial engineering' what is the science behind finance? Gaming, only? Who has the basic ontology (other than wealth for the few)?

09/27/2011 -- Recover missing image (Allah and moulah).

09/21/2011 -- On Wealth and the CEO MVP.

09/09/2011 -- Big Ben and the consumer.

08/30/2011 -- A tale from the trenches, not exaggerated. There was a techie company that has a piece of it that has been around since the 60s. The company is no longer around, except in memory. However, the group has been picked up multiple times by other companies over the years. A devoted type of employee (by the way, war vet) has endured with the group during this time. Following the history is a good read on changes over the related decades. The message? On one of the movements between overlords (financial types, of course), these employees' retirement accounts were given to a large, well-known insurance company for management. What was the first thing that they (the cruds) did? Took a large percentage (way beyond what one would think was reasonable) off the top, as their fee? What? There are tales, such as this, all over the economy. Do we pay attention? Do the regulators (ah, remember how they could not even see Made-off when he was right in front of them?) even know how? Sorry state of affairs, folks. Not only are there these tales, but they are legion (putrid to the core - what the hell has happened over the past 30-40 years, folks?). Oh, is it the lack of any sense of responsibility, or ethics, on the part of the boomers? Much to discuss.

08/30/2011 -- The status of Officer versus Enlisted is one of the last bastions of legal 'classism' in the United States. Is it necessary? Not really. All the arguments about 'leadership' run toward what we see with 'politicos' who cannot keep their salivating selves in check when they see, or think of, a buck. Sad state of affairs. Of course, the idiocy started with the onset of the new country. Yes, we're talking over 200 years of divisive methods. It is a wonder that the country has survived the shenanigans. Another bastion? Those new royalty who are the corporate elite riding herd on what the Supreme Court's members say is a 'person' and whose use of their money is equivalent (same type of ruling) to free speech (ah, twisted, indeed). Too, these royals can trample the mere citizen with impunity (no wonder, those who are the masses still yearn -- yes, the chimera has stolen the American dream).

Modified: 07/25/2015

Friday, August 12, 2011

Largess, by another name

Moral: Wherein we realize that Big Ben and Little Timmy cannot be forgotten, even, for a moment, as they seem to like the ca-pital-sino nature of our modern economy with its infatuation with the big chimera.


Yes, Big Ben will continue to sack savers for another couple of years. He wants money to run after the chimera (about which, we have no accounting).


No, there are rumblings of QE3. Lord forbid!

And, he has another few years to go in his term.

It is a good thing that some have taken the vow of simple living (ask me, Big Ben, Warren, ...) and will not succumb to the sirens that have entrapped the busyness world.


09/19/2013 -- All's not lost. Some accountants see a change that is problematic. But, first, savers are more than just risk averse; they put their actions where their mouth is by being prudent. Now, that was once considered a virtue; in fact, one could argue that it was expected for fiscal responsibility. However, some claim that accounting has removed prudence in lieu of theoretical nonsense leading to annual reports that are incomprehensible. Actually, the computer can make things such, too, so the whole bit that underpins our world seems to have been given a shaky basis (on purpose, to allow rooking the people? - or, through stupidity?). Of course, the side that argues that prudence is quaint (well, it seems to be for quants) is vocal, too. But, we have China asking prudence of Ben and the Fed?

03/29/2013 -- Ben has taken a big chunk out of the Savings Bond payback.

02/28/2013 -- Ben seems to have an infinite horizon in regard to saver sacking. He does have the risky side of things boiling. Why not unwind, guy, so that we can see what happens? I understand that Elizabeth grilled him the past day or so; haven't really paid close attention as I'm just hunkered down under his reign. Someday, the sun will shine for the savers.

12/13/2012 -- Don't know how long this page will be there, Daily Ticker. But, when I looked, 69% had said 'no' (hurt rather than helped) as to whether Ben has helped.

10/24/2012 -- Ben is sticking to his guns. Lucky people like myself will continue to pay through the nose. Thanks, big guy.

04/06/2012 -- Ben talked for 4 Lectures. A series of remarks is expected to be motivated from such.

10/24/2011 -- Those who have not received Big Ben's largess congregate.

09/09/2011 -- Big Ben and the consumer.

08/16/2011 -- Big Ben treasonous?

Modified: 09/19/2013

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Enron of Kansas?

Moral: Wherein we forget Big Ben and Little Timmy for the moment and look at a good example of the ca-pital-sino nature of our modern economy with its infatuation with the big chimera.


How? By considering Westar, a little energy company in the mid-west. Actually, the company is not the focus, but a CEO who was a 'pure' capitalist but who really is as representative of what's wrong with his ilk as was Made-off an example of his genre. Too, he is an example for others who may not have access to gigantic sums but still maneuver for suspect gains.

The guy's name is David. Here is an exert from an editorial at the WEagle about him: A former Wall Street hotshot hired to prepare the company for a deregulation of electricity that never came to Kansas, Wittig oversaw a period during which Westar piled up debt, attempted misguided mergers, battled regulators and shed jobs, all the while paying for outrageous executive salaries and perks.


It has been some saga. Granted, David saw some time behind bars. Yet, did he learn anything? Did we?

Rhonda (see the editorial) is right; where was there any culpability assigned from the last downturn that was precipitated by obvious, and identifiable, idiocy (oh, being such is not illegal?)?


We have gone on about the new royalty. This is a prime example. The news source says that Westar customers are not going to pay; no, it's coming from a fund set aside for this purpose.

What? Tell that to the woman who was on the front page with an electric bill of over $500 for one month which was an amount several multiples beyond any before. Of course, mix in the rate raises that have been approved, and you'll see the problem.


We have seen several examples lately of quasi-governmental (notion that the commonweal ought not be privatized), and even non-profit, companies paying exorbitant amounts to executives. Foxes in the hen house, for sure.


07/25/2015 -- They're after their 20th (or more) increase in the last few years.

05/11/2012 -- Featuring Jamie

Modified: 07/25/015

Friday, August 5, 2011

Ben and Timmy

Moral: Wherein we let someone else talk about Big Ben's and Little Timmy's culpability in raising the ca-pital-sino nature of the big chimera.


Ben and Timmy, two of a kind.


Seeking Alpha has a real good read on this. Note the use of 'narcissistic males' in the discussion as to things that drive toward the awry (oldest profession - see Remarks 08/03 & 05/2011 -- head butting -- somehow, this has morphed into what risk is all about - as in, that risk that gets the reward - the second oldest profession - yet, which is first? ).


Please note, this post is not an endorsement of the viewpoint (Quants) expressed at the 'seeking alpha' site. However, the post being referenced does say a lot that is right.


07/06/2012 -- Today, we have the one-year remembrance of George Edward Kimball III (GEK III)

03/23/2012 -- Ben is doing a series of four lectures on his, and the FED's, role.

03/05/2012 -- In Timmy's own words.

01/27/2012 -- Ben will continue to sack the savers; he must love the ca-pital-sino.

12/05/2011 -- Now, he's giving money to Europe, on the backs of our savers.

09/27/2011 -- Yes, Ben, keep steering us toward those who pick the pockets.

08/16/2011 -- Big Ben treasonous?

08/13/2011 -- Banks still struggling. We could have taken them over.

08/10/2011 -- Weird stock market. Removes all arguments for the legitimacy/sustainability of this financial mechanism; that is, how ought this be done in a civilized, sane manner?

08/10/2011 -- Down 600+, then up 400+ (due to Big Ben's group having their meeting -- and continuing to poke it to the old folk), then down 400+. What is stupid here? People actually trying to find some rhyme and reason to this madness. Let's look at an example company that shows the results of the excesses of the past decade and that demonstrates how the consumer suffers.

08/09/2011 -- Historically stupid (sacking the savers through 2013 --- giving our money to the fat cats who 1) got us into the mess, 2) has sat on their bucks to the effect of keeping the economy dampened, 3) made easy money off of Ben's largess).

08/08/2011 -- Oh well, Little Timmy is staying. Anyone for a DOW of 8K?

Modified: 07/06/2012

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Our basis II

Moral: Wherein we consider the economic (and other) agent as we try to understand the appeal of the chimera.


Earlier, we looked a little at human cognitive issues; essentially, the illusion of the rational agent needs to be explained. How awry has economics been due to that bit of irrationality? Too, we might look a bit at neuroeconomics.


Recently, neuroscientist David Eagleman has a must-read article, The Brain on Trial (be sure to see the Comments). David uses legal settings to demonstrate the genetic/environment (nature/nurture) influences on thinking and behavior. In other words, he almost argues that the 'rational' man is a myth. Yet, we all want to be capable and rational; along with that, we look to assign blame or reward.

Who wants to be considered a freak of nature? Then again, is 'free will' anywhere a factor in the modern, materialistic world (truth engineering topic that will rise to the fore)? Too, upon what can we put legal consequences, let alone matters of conscience, if we're all just neuropeptidergic messes?


Aside: some can claim morality without teleology (this topic will be addressed more fully, at some point, in discussing truth engineering's T-issues).


Our quandary rests in the fact that we can show how we can control ourselves and can teach this to others, to an extent. In some cases, there are metaphysical underpinnings that may need more attention in order to resolve some of the issues. In others, the framework is experiential-ly based and passed on from generation to generation (to wit: the military, corporations, families, ...).

Yet, any balancing act attained is easily disturbed (fragile, as we see with the market-theoretic viewpoints). In fact, there is a lot of science put into disabling people (black arts of defense).


Aside: failures in mind-control (note use of meme) ought to suggest something in regard to that which coherently pulls everything together.


The chimera, and all of its supporting casts (legions upon legions), assumes agents, with information, rationality, and more. From whence this, we might ask? That we see bubbles (sometimes, this seems to be the status quo - Alan wavered when faced with the fact -- yet, he did have a long reign) is almost inevitable.

What to do? Well, that depends upon several things which we'll get into.


05/01/2012 -- We'll need to talk singularity in the context of Alan. The computer has as many holes as do we; however, we can cut out of the fog. 

02/27/2012 -- This post was a continuation of Our Basis, concerning just how shaky is our perceptual being (from certain views).The 01/01/2012 Remarks (below) points to work by an Eastern European. A recent Atlantic article looks at protozoan influences that may need more of our attention. It's significant that the underlying work was done by a lonely scientist in an Eastern European situation. Western culture has much thanks to offer that part of Europe who bore the brunt of waves of onslaught through the past 1000 years.

01/01/2012 -- Recently ran across the work of Kazimierz Dabrowski. We need to pay more attention to his theory on development. Yes, CEOs (and other takers) as immature (seriously, so). 

08/04/2011 -- One might add that the medical field seems to have a split personality. We have neuroscience insights galore questioning the basis, yet the M.D. holder is considered to have attained the epitome of learning (and earning). To boot, hubris seems to abound in those realms. To wit (and, we'll be documenting some cases, folks; naturally, names will be changed to protect the innocent and not so innocent): subjecting patients to intolerable side-effects in order to show their prowess with bio-chemistry, cloaking euthanasia under the guise of geriatrics, and more. Yet, some efforts at preventative medicine (and improved conceptions of how this all ought to work economically) are very encouraging (M.D.s are not responsible for the bad behavior, and choices, of their patients -- oh, given the referenced article (above), the medical establishment will provide us a made-up soup of chemicals, with which to live, in order to improve on nature's (the Creator's) work?).

08/03/2011 -- Reading the comments to The Atlantic article brought out another meme: heart driven (ah, is busyness not the antithesis of this except for the capitalist? -- yes, unless they are exploiting 10s of thousands, and more, of people, they are not happy -- how did these guys/gals get to be such icons (idiotic, people) and have so much influence (oh, yes, money) on so many?). So, I'm happy to learn about HeartMath! The correct meme? A triad: environment, genetic, and heart (T-issues required, oh when will that be allowed?).

Modified: 05/01/2012

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Evolution of business

Moral: Wherein we look at the influence of families on the evolution of business as we try to understand the appeal of the chimera.


Evolution? Yes, business reflects the times and the memes set. Time moves on, so too do things change.

At any point, some think that they may have reached an epitome. Dynasties arise. Some fall. Others amble on. Generation by generation expectations grow. 'Having it all' describes one type.

One can just see the mind storms of a well-endowed best-and-brightest on the Street (not Main) gloating in the bonuses (excessive by any definition) and fat-catting down life's highways, expecting that the getting will always be good (creating copy-cats).

Then, those who play took their balls home in order to stop the game, froze the economy, knew that their partners were as crooked as they, and more.

And, the common folk suffered.


While doing research for an entirely different reason, I ran across a family that would serve as a good example (Moore). Henry, of the mid-1800s, epitomized the mentality behind buy-outs. One grandson was a decorated marine, a priest, and liberal. There will be others, to boot.

Looking further at this type of example would extend that done so far: backbone, commoners, non-commoners.


The latest realm of busyness is heavily computational and global. Exploitation of workers, and consumers, is not new; we haven't learned the real lessons there, yet. When can we?


It's not hopeless, though how many eons will be needed? Well, hopefully, it's not a PTIME issue. Yet, one knows that the lessons can be learned quickly, given the right circumstances. Which are? ... Another topic.


12/15/2012 -- Coase, on the subject.

07/06/2012 -- Today, we have the one-year remembrance of George Edward Kimball III (GEK III)

11/30/2011 -- Need to respect the bottom up. Will the computer finally let that come about?

08/30/2011 -- Essentially, we have financial piracy.

08/10/2011 -- Weird stock market. Removes all arguments for the legitimacy/sustainability of this financial mechanism; that is, how ought this be done in a civilized, sane manner?

08/08/2011 -- Oh well, Little Timmy is staying. Anyone for a DOW of 8K?

08/05/2011 -- In case there is a need to be more obvious (the meme: the chicken or the egg -- below), which is the oldest profession: head-butt or mate. Note, if you would, that the latter is usually preceded by the former, in many cases.

08/03/2011 -- There are several ways to ponder economics within an evolutionary framework. However, starting with the two (no, not one) 'oldest' professions might be of interest: head-butting (see Remarks 07/29/2011) and, then, that which is usually cast as the oldest. Which came first (the meme: the chicken or the egg)?

Modified: 12/15/2012