Monday, June 25, 2012

Playing for what? Insight?

Moral: Wherein we consider this: why does the banker (read, the new type as market player - where is there a real banker?) have so much power (besides having a pot load of money to buy power -- remember Jamie's recent little chat with friends?)?


I feel like old Rip again, except this time it was more disbelief (which can be outlined, in time). The Washington Post had an article on members of Congress using information that comes their way, evidently because of their position, to play the market (characterization based upon this point of view). As we know, the chimera of the ca-pital-sino has a very strong appeal, to many.

Not to all, and that is the message to expand here. But, Congress has given itself this right to play for a long time.


The dissonance comes from having worked for the government and for ethical companies. To see certain types (albeit stars in their own minds -- and in some others) keep their options (pun intended) open without regard to how it may be ethically is disconcerting, to say the least. As the one review says, Congress has seen to it that the Executive branch employees have had their scrutiny. Why not itself?


Well, in this case, there is justification due to ca-pital-sino's appeal. As we know, capitalism has descended to gaming, essentially.

The esteemed members of the Legislative branch can then claim that they will learn (about the lives of their constituents?) from playing the market. That might be partly true, after all the gamers are part of their citizen set. But, it sure looks like the classic example of pigs (ruling set, as one comment suggested) at a trough.


Of course, it's not the whole bunch, as the numbers seem to be less than a third. Since this group, for the most part, is open to public scrutiny, it's time for questions to be asked. Thanks to the WP for looking into the matter.

According to the comments, the article struck a chord with many. OWS ought to pay attention.


06/26/2012 -- We have citizens risking life and limb for the freedom of the few to game the system? A lot of the awry (obvious everywhere) can be directly attributed abuse of knowledge (power) and misuse of our mathematical advancements (actually, pushing them beyond their basis) in order to gain rewards for the few (meanwhile, spreading the loss to the most). The concept: near zero (any accumulation to one large pocket pulls from many more smaller ones).

Modified: 06/26/2012

Sunday, June 17, 2012


Moral: Wherein we consider, just what does a banker do?

Gosh, we've been giving Ben so much grief that we've seem to have forgotten the real culprits. Jamie brings this back to focus.


So, let me tell a tale, somewhat disjointedly. We'll pull things together, in time.

There is a local bank with whom I've dealt for over 10 years, that is until a few years ago. It was a nice little bank, locally owned and all. Then, about 2004, they got new management and started on the merger and acquisition trail.

Now, remember that 'M&A' still is being pursued but recall, too, that these types of deals diminished when the 'boys' took their balls home (as in, they all knew that the games were crooked; who could they trust (they knew that if everyone was like themselves, then the answer would have been nobody (lemons, essentially) at all) to deal with?). Well, the main guy loomed large with his photo in the paper. They're grabbing more banks and approaching an entity that has over $1B in assets (yes, billion).

My reactions were severalfold. For one, this same guy was arguing that they would become a State bank in order to get out from under certain types of scrutiny. Oh yes, be part of the little guys. Too, they hired someone from OCC to be part of their staff.

Aside: I found out that this bank had their proverbial thumb on the scale in calculating returns. I was only a depositor at the bank. Didn't even have a checking account. Okay, I was making money using their bank, yet they are the ones who advertised the deal. Anyway, for a few months, I watched as divergence built in accumulative returns, compared to several other banks with whom I dealt. Note, please, that as a retiree, I was being cautious in scrutinizing returns in order to firm up projections. Lo and behold, these guys were playing unfairly. I called them on it. They threw me and my money out. Without any forewarning. I received an envelope with checks written on all accounts closing them out. Hey, debtors get better (have more rights) than that! I made the rounds of the institutions that are supposedly supportive of the consumer (before the new deal, okay). The state org, FDIC, and OCC. Now, OCC got from them some diatribe about me as a harasser. What? I banked with them for 10 years prior to their reaction to scrutiny of a customer. But, management had changed. So, the whole atmosphere was different. Then, OCC says (essentially, acknowledging the validity of my evidence), sue them. What (again)? Me, a small investor take on someone who has (at the time) multi-hundreds of millions in assets? So, I let it drop and have been quietly watching.

Oh yes, it was gleeful to see them line up to the TARP trough.

Then, I noticed this year the thing about being a State bank in order to have less scrutiny. Also, I hear that they want to merge with a bank in another state? That is, is not that interstate banking and beyond one state's purview?


Oh well, I read the boss' explanation. Oh yes, he says, merging has benefit from his level. What about his lowly depositor? You see, all sorts of 'M&A' has been going on because the best and brightest know that they can do it and can pull the wool over the eyes of the Feds (yes, Ben, you) and others. Yet, what benefit is there to the depositor?

Remember what happened to this depositor?

There are many questions of this sort. From where I sit, these guys are using banking as a playground to tweak their ego. I liked the bank better when they were almost a county bank with a few ATMs and little branches.

Now, the guy is trying to be Jamie II. What gives with this? I'm serious, folks, in my questioning.

Is not banking a mere utility mostly, to help us handle our beans and need for beans? Of course, 'our' can be at several levels, yet even commercial banking does not require the 'M&A' mania.


Enough for now.


01/14/2013 -- Will Jamie be taking a pay cut? He was the highest paid last time around. He also was the one saying that they could "police" themselves, that was no need for oversight. He got one thing right in a recent interview. He said that with the "whale" problem, people were running around like children. Their concern was not fixing some problem. No, the worry as about the problem's impact on their career. Ah, career. We'll have to go into that. Most people are not effective a most things. Unfortunately, those who are effective carry these folks along. Always has been like that. Jamie needs to consider that he is not, as he may think in him mind, of the effective set.

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.

06/25/2012 -- Washington Post on Congressional non-ethics

Modified: 01/14/2013

Friday, June 8, 2012

Money and technology

Moral: Wherein we let the IEEE Special Report on the Future of Money get us back to looking at beans and money.


After all, those subjects being covered by the IEEE collection pertain to all of ours' future (to wit, the recent stumble). Not just those with massive accumulations (ostensibly, the best and brightest). I will need to revisit some of those articles here (later).


Meanwhile, a few thoughts on the matter suffice.
  • One oversight, about which I'll approach IEEE, is how to explain 'fiat money' and not. Yes, money is an abstraction. We modern folks like our abstraction-phile-ness. We have carried it to far, way beyond attachment to being (give me time, not a simple issue).
  • Yet, engineers abstract about real things (or about models that are eventually about real things). Ah, like leveraging? Not really. Why? Any point, their work gets back to nature (or Creation, if you would - it's an either/or issue, as Hitch knows). Money? Purely flim-flam (we're get there, too; it's a fact the big people do not want the populace to awaken).  
  • IEEE, why didn't you talk about some natural analog (for one thing)? Sheesh, you guys are engineers. Just because we now have computational modeling and higher-order gaming via technology behind our 'beans and money' (and the 'markets' based upon these) does not make it anything more than a very shaky chimera.
  • Stiglitz says that the American Dream is a myth. He's right on the bifurcation that has formed. See Rick's thoughts on the matter (and some consequences). 
  • Another dichotomous relationship is between those who want it all and those who can live within their means (evidently, we've seen that most of the modern countries cannot do this). Of course, from some angles, the former may look smarter as they play with the lives of the latter (ah, one definition of royalty?). 
  • One has to appreciate Tolstoy's remark: (see Remarks, 12/02/07) how much does one man need (by the way, Lev Nikolayevich was a class act as opposed to some)? 
  • It's good to see engineers (beyond those of the financial idiocy) think of these matter; perhaps, they'll bring in some needed rationality. 
  • Might add that one grating thing was that there was nothing about additional properties of 'money' (oh, you mean like? Can't buy me love, etc.). Wait, engineers don't deal with those things. Yet, they're willing to allow computer support for what is essentially pilfering (high-speed trading)?  

One thing about the modern age is that about every aspect of life has been superposition'd with some abstract'd thing which then goes back to Turing's foundation'l view (this is Alan's year). And, do not many consequences ensue (such as, the stress on STEM and numeracy as if that were what we need, solely)? Ah, so! The following may be beyond the pale of IEEE, but not of the scientific foundations that underlie the work. Ever wonder why the recent infatuation with zombie'ism (and states thereof)? Ever consider that it is our computational prowess that has led us down this path toward perdition?

Oh wait. The topic is money. Note, one article briefly touched upon was a role for 'money' (whatever is it) that was beyond the 'economic' usefulness. Yes, very briefly. That ought to be expanded upon, to boot.


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.

07/30/2013 -- The future: economy and technology.

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.

08/04/2012 -- I can hear it: with the DOW over 13K, what are you talking about using 'chimera'? Well, look at the dire warnings, for one. Are you looking at FB as a poster boy? We'll get technical and explain the problem. Do we have a solution, at this time? Yes, essentially.

08/03/2012 -- So, the market pushers say that they need things like program trading, and whole bunch of other stuff that we'll get to. So, the idea is that we need computer-based 'gaming' in order to discover 'price' and to provide liquidity. Liquidity? Yes, like that put into the pockets of Zuck (see 7 points on FB) and his ilk after the IPO. You see, those who made money bailed when the price was high. It is estimated that if they sold now, the take would be 1/2. Notice that I didn't say return (for what? -- 'gains' obtained this way are near-zero). Whose to cheer that a few make some massive amount of bucks (well, beyond those personally involved -- even the bankers who put deals together)? This type of thing is capitalism? If so, do we really need this, folks?

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

06/25/2012 -- Washington Post on Congressional non-ethics

Modified: 07/25/2015

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Got the crash wrong?

Moral: Wherein we try to see why tranche on tranche and bubbling did not attribute to the crash.

In particular, we'll use a The Atlantic article: How we got the crash wrong. William D. Cohan, the author, acknowledges, as do many of the comments, that the leverage ratio was high. However, he sees incentives as being more of a factor, as in providing a motivation for the 'gaming' which is so problematic.


Well, in a world of fiat money, what do we know anyway? The whole thing is mostly just blips on screens with databases as support. But, then, how do we get away from 'funny' money? Ben can't say.

Yet, even that the basis is nothing but 'promise' and such; we need to limit what types of limbs are defined and how far people go out them (as in, out on a limb).


This post is mainly for completion as we covered 'leverage' in all three blogs: here, 7oops7, truthengineering. It is the "perpetual motion machine" (in other words, farcically proposed and used to dupe).

So, the article provides another view to consider.


03/05/2013 -- Ben reigns, but the savers' faces are bruised from his slapping.

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.

06/14/2012 -- The same issue had this article which we'll get back to (CSI: Housing Bust). It details some of the culprit'ry. Financiers are a whole other class. Evidently, the mania about risk forever hogtied left a lot of room for playing around (Jamie is still under its spell).

06/05/2012 -- Yes, something for nothing, essentially. Without limiting bounds (it seems), who can say this: stop, it's becoming unreal (meaning what?)? Fairy dusting. Except, we do see 'real' things being done despite all of the noise.

Modified: 03/05/2013