Thursday, October 30, 2008

Obama has said nothing about Bush's "dismantling of the Bill of Rights"

Nat Hentoff:

"The present Democratic Congressional leadership—Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi—has shown no interest at all in bringing back the Constitution. Would President Barack Obama take charge and lead the way back to what James Madison and Thomas Jefferson gave us? As the 1787 Constitutional Convention was ending, Benjamin Franklin was asked by a new citizen what it had created: "A republic," said Franklin. "If you can keep it."

Throughout this campaign, Obama has said nothing about CIA secret prisons and rendition, Bush's wiretapping and e-mail scrutiny of us (which Obama voted to support), or other dismantling of the Bill of Rights.

When Obama chose Joe Biden as his running mate, I had great hopes that the Delaware senator would indeed awaken the citizenry. Throughout his failed campaign for the presidency, Biden continually riffed on his 2007 bill—the National Security and Justice Act—that would "Prohibit CIA 'extraordinary renditions,' close 'black sites' . . . [and] prohibit torture and mistreatment of detainees in U.S. custody." Bush, Biden emphasized, "has undermined the basic civil liberties of American citizens. The terrorists win when we abandon our civil liberties."

But as of this writing, the putative vice president has become silent on all of this, fulfilling his assignment as an attack dog tracking McCain and Sarah Palin."

However obvious his writing may be at times, Hentoff has an understanding of the secular principles of the US Constitution, and an understanding of the bipartisan police state (remember it's your right: Don't F-ing Vote (DFV)).

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Dem Speechwriter abandons Team Obama

Wendy Button:

"Not only has this party [the Democrats] belittled working people in this campaign, it has also been part of tearing down two female candidates."

Important point. While we don’t love HRC, the Obamamites dissed HRC continually; blogger leftists abused HRC constantly since she declared her intention to run. The same process has occurred with Ms. Palin. The attacks on Palin, the slashing satire, the daily insults have little to do with politics, and everything to do with sexism: who needs political discussion when some network spinmeisters may outfit an actress in overalls and have her speak like Sarah the yokel, more or less (where’s the satire of say Obama chatting with some of his palestinian pals or saudi chieftains at an east african goat grab? a bit too steep for Ms Lorne Michaels and Co.)

Wendy Button did this for Ms. Palin, hopefully (Palin has less blood on her hands than McCaint does, of course). She could have done worse. No love have we for McCain and Palin, and grant they are opportunists, rightists, biblethumpers. BO-Biden, on the other hand, are east coast bureaucrats, insiders, big govt. liberals. LBJocrats. The liberal media doesn’t show the real demos--BO's people-- on prime time: urban slum dwellers, welfare recipients, union goons, with some naive eco-crats out in the ‘burbs. Button’s article, however trivial it might seem to hipster leftists, points out the problem to some extent–-that said, she would have done better going with 3rd party/Barr, or, given the choice between rightist outlaws, and big-govt. apparatchiks, simply refusing the ticket.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Alex Cockburn: "Obama, the first-rate Republican."

Cockburn, regardless of what one thinks of his politics (Alex waxes a bit bolshevik at times, unfortunately), describes Obama the Equivicator pretty effectively, though Cockburn's no-frills writing might hurt the feelings of the typical latte-swilling vichy-crat:

As a political organiser of his own advancement, Obama is a wonder. But I have yet to identify a single uplifting intention to which he has remained constant if it has presented any risk to his progress. We could say that he has not yet had occasion to adjust his relatively decent stances on immigration and labour-law reform. And what of public funding of his campaign? Another commitment made becomes a commitment betrayed. His campaign treasury is a vast hogswallow that, if it had been amassed by a Republican, would be the topic of thunderous liberal complaint.

Obama's run has been the negation of almost every decent progressive principle, with scarcely a bleat of protest from the progressives seeking to hold him to account. The Michael Moores stay silent. Obama has crooked the knee to bankers and Wall Street, to the oil companies, the coal companies, the nuclear lobby, the big agricultural combines. He is more popular with Pentagon contractors than McCain, and has been the most popular of the candidates with Washington lobbyists. He has been fearless in offending progressives, constant in appeasing the powerful.

Unlike the usual liberal narcissists, most of the Counterpunchers haven't forgotten that a Democratic Senate passed the Iraq War Resoloution, a Democratic Congress passed the PatAct and FISA bills (with Obama voting for it), and the Democratic Congress passed the Bailout package. Billy Bob Clinton signed off on the Gramm-Gingrich de-reg'ed casino plans, 10 years ago. The American dystopia has always been bipartisan, politically, and arguably, culturally.

Monday, October 27, 2008

False Choices

from The Obamanations of Barack, by NIRANJAN RAMAKRISHNAN:

"We are often told that we have no choice but to vote for Obama because McCain would be a third term of Bush. Let us concede that McCain is demonstrably unfit. But McCain and Obama are not the only two candidates on offer. Ralph Nader is a man who has already done more for average Americans by his activism then either McCain or Obama can hope to achieve. Bob Barr has been consistent in standing up against violations of our rights and liberties.

Besides, before romancing the Democrats, it is wise to remember that it was a Democratic Senate that passed the Iraq War Resoloution; it was a Democratic Congress that passed the FISA bill (with Obama voting for it), and it was the same Democratic Congress which passed the Bailout package (with all its pork). To paraphrase Shakespeare, “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our Presidents, But in ourselves...”. So long as we remain consumers, not citizens (see Silence of the Lambs), our politics are sure to play false."

To reiterate: "Bob Barr (Libertarian candidate) has been consistent in standing up against violations of our rights and liberties." Yes, Sahib: unlike most of the Dems, who have consistently supported the right-wing "security" measures. Obama now supports FISA as well. (Robert Rubin, one of the architects of NAFTA and de-reg, now one of BO's economic advisers). Like McCain, Obama continually pushed for coal as well. Go with DFV, or support a third-party freak: Barr. (Nader has integrity, and not completely wrong on energy policies, and preferable to demopublicans, but overexposed, and mostly a buffoon, or perceived as uch).

Friday, October 24, 2008

John Adams and TJ waxin' skeptical

""""We think ourselves possessed, or, at least, we boast that we are so, of liberty of conscience on all subjects, and of the right of free inquiry and private judgment in all cases, and yet how far are we from these exalted privileges in fact! There exists, I believe, throughout the whole Christian world, a law which makes it blasphemy to deny or doubt the divine inspiration of all the books of the Old and New Testaments, from Genesis to Revelations. In most countries of Europe it is punished by fire at the stake, or the rack, or the wheel. In England itself it is punished by boring through the tongue with a red-hot poker. In America it is not better; even in our own Massachusetts, which I believe, upon the whole, is as temperate and moderate in religious zeal as most of the States, a law was made in the latter end of the last century, repealing the cruel punishments of the former laws, but substituting fine and imprisonment upon all those blasphemers upon any book of the Old Testament or New. Now, what free inquiry, when a writer must surely encounter the risk of fine or imprisonment for adducing any argument for investigating into the divine authority of those books? Who would run the risk of translating Dupuis? But I cannot enlarge upon this subject, though I have it much at heart. I think such laws a great embarrassment, great obstructions to the improvement of the human mind. Books that cannot bear examination, certainly ought not to be established as divine inspiration by penal laws. It is true, few persons appear desirous to put such laws in execution, and it is also true that some few persons are hardy enough to venture to depart from them. But as long as they continue in force as laws, the human mind must make an awkward and clumsy progress in its investigations. I wish they were repealed. The substance and essence of Christianity, as I understand it, is eternal and unchangeable, and will bear examination forever, but it has been mixed with extraneous ingredients, which I think will not bear examination, and they ought to be separated. Adieu."""""

-- John Adams, one of his last letters to Thomas Jefferson, January 23, 1825.

One particularly interesting bon mot: "Books that cannot bear examination, certainly ought not to be established as divine inspiration by penal laws." Which is to say, the law should be considered secular with no foundation in theological principles. Sounds good to us (and Thomas Hobbes, author of that secular masterpiece Leviathan--well-known to the Founders--agreed as well). Thus, the baptists (and other monotheistic clowns) barking for "yes on 8" because that's what "God's law" requires, or some biblical passage (most likely misunderstood) in effect stand in opposition to Adams, Jefferson, and nearly all the Founding Fathers.

Adams was also an early opponent to masonry (to his credit): which is to say, the authentic secularist does not advocate secret societies, or some ersatz mysticism as a replacement for Christianity or catholicism, or any religion. His son John Quincy also battled protestant zealots--especially the dixie, slaveholding sort, ala Jackson. Southern aristos such as TJ or even RE Lee are one thing; the lizardy prezbyterian Andy Jackson quite another. Many Americans might think of the Adamses as yankee-conservatives, but they were at least not biblethumpers or crypto-monarchist, and in political terms, came as close as any American politicians did to upholding the ideals of, say, Condorcet (who JQA met at one time). Ezra Pound, for one, admired JQ Adams' oratory--tho' not always agreeing to the content.

Contingencies recommends DFV on 8, as does the CA Liberty Caucus, which has recently shown some libertarian spine: "According to the RLC California Board, “We believe, in the spirit of free enterprise and freedom of religion, that private institutions have the right to maintain policies with which some of us might disagree and find discriminatory, while in the spirit of equal treatment under the law, public institutions should never be allowed to discriminate against any members of society.” Not bad. NRA (got that Bam Bam?? NRA, as in like twelve gauge), legalized drugs (for the intelligent at least), tasteful bordelloes, no taxes (at least until first million), and upholding civil liberties. Yay. Libertarianism may have certain shortcomings (i.e. laissez-faire econ. models); compared to theocracy or marxist-statism, those shortcomings should be considered mostly negligible.

Thursday, October 23, 2008


"The concept of ‘truth’… has inculcated the necessary element of humility [into politics]. When this check upon pride is removed, a further step is taken on the road towards a certain kind of madness - the intoxication of power."

Bertrand Russell

There are wiseguys--or wannabe wiseguys--in politics (whether at local or national level) who, rejecting truth, veracity, honesty, etc. attempt their machiavellian gambits via quasi-democratic means: thus, they support an Obama, for instance, because they assume that will advance their cause most effectively, just as the Five Points gang or Al Capone-ay at one time funnelled cash to democratic leaders in Chicago and New York (still done to some extent via gambling, alcohol, porn lobbies).

A majority intoxicated with power may vote in an Al Capone, and mobster-politicians remain a political force--(in italian or russian politics, or chi-town for that matter). Unlikely Kid Obama will help mobsters out too much (at least in CA), unless they already have an inside connection, like a Colin Powell, or Mayor Villaigarosa. Fuggetaboutit.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

"To a teacher of languages there comes a time when the world is but a place of many words and man appears a mere talking animal not much more wonderful than a parrot."

Joseph Conrad


Ninety Days...from today

Like when the Feds inaugurate the anti-business, corporate socialist BO as Chair-homie? Small-time xtian business-pikers like you, Bubbanius, ought to be searching for some union racket that will let you do some manual labor---and work on your espanol as well. You're no DNC insider, putonius.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Melanie Phillips on the rise of Obama:

"""You have to pinch yourself – a Marxisant radical who all his life has been mentored by, sat at the feet of, worshipped with, befriended, endorsed the philosophy of, funded and been in turn funded, politically promoted and supported by a nexus comprising black power anti-white racists, Jew-haters, revolutionary Marxists, unrepentant former terrorists and Chicago mobsters, is on the verge of becoming President of the United States. And apparently it’s considered impolite to say so.""""

Not merely impolite, Mel--un-PC, and not hip. As with advertising, American political discourse tends to rely upon bandwagon sorts of appeals (are you on the bus, or not on the bus, ese? (not)). The ObamaCraze seems especially bandwagon-like and a type of "ad populus": the basic pseudo-argument something like "all the regulars at DailyLiberalBS are supporting Obama, so why aren't you"? Yes, the right does this as well: Limbaughites and Foxnews should be held as responsible as anyone for backlash of the left. The right, however, has no monopoly on "populism"; for one, that Obama has strong union support would seem to imply that he wears a Populist label as well (that's a traditional view: the Right generally with the King, regardless if "republican" in American usage has little relation to european
(ie IRA)).

(Hey Bubbanius: choosing to join the Mob does not make one Logical, you sick piece of scheisse. Since you don't know a premise or conclusion from your crack-pipe or Frege from yr finance cliffsnotes, who cares what you belch about "logic". Spock's little aphorism--"live long and prosper"--not logic either, but sort of a Roddenberry-like hypocrite imperative. Anyway, Barry Obama's pals Rezko or Blagojevich or Colin Powell don't exactly believe in "Live long and prosper", do they. ObamaCo version of Spock: " Live long and prosper, homie (unless you a republican, cracker, jew, or libertarian, etc ")).

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Fact checking the Fact-checkers

What do Illinois people (at least those not livin' in the 'jects) think of Obamanomics? Not much.

"During his career in the Illinois Senate, Barack Obama never saw a tax increase that he didn't like. CBS News Jan 17, 2007 - 'Obama occasionally supported higher taxes, joining other Democrats in pushing to raise more than 300 taxes and fees on businesses in 2004 to help solve a budget deficit. The increases passed the Senate 30-28.' Fox News Feb. 27, 2008 - 'A new report says he supported more than 300 tax hikes during his eight years in the Illinois State Senate'.

Yet, these reports do not even begin to demonstrate the fiscal irresponsibility practiced by Obama. Facing a budget deficit in 2003, the newly anointed Illinois Governor, with the full support of Senator Obama who voted for his budget, increased the annual budget by more than $2 billion, as opposed to seeking spending limits or cuts. On April 9th, 2003, Blagojevich introduced his budget by stating, "WE WILL NOT BALANCE THE BUDGET BY SACRIFICING OUR VALUES. INSTEAD, WE WILL BALANCE THE BUDGET BY ENDING BUSINESS AS USUAL." Sound Familiar?

Over the course of the next two years Senator Obama would vote after tax increase after tax increase...."

Contingencies supports a healthy increase of taxes on capital gains and windfall profits for the wealthy (like Obama's pals Soros, Buffett, Gates, the Kennedys, etc.), and regulations on high-powered finance rackets. Obama, however, has had no problem implementing many taxes aimed at destroying small and medium sized businesses (and businessmen). The profit taxes mentioned in the article should especially trouble anyone forced by the f-ed up pirate-capitalist economy necessity to depend on commissions for a livelihood. Commission taxes may result in little or no damage to millionaires: instead, they destroy the middle class (and even working class); and that's what BO, corporate-socialist and Boston boy, specializes in. Ted Kennedy, ramped up: das ist Obama.

Another factoid: "...."{the facts do} back up McCain’s statements that Obama is spending more than $40 million on negative advertising, but it also shows that he’s spending nearly $30 million on positive advertising. According to this release, McCain is spending more than $27 million on negative ads and only $5 million on positive ads."""

So, Obama still outperforms McCain on the Negativity Metric, regardless if the neg-ads are a smaller proportion of ObamaCo's total advertising budget than McCain's neg-ads--BO's treasure chest greatly exceeds McCainCo's, and that's the most relevant factor. Too bad the reason-challenged dolts who operate most liberal blogs did not perceive that the "context" indicates that their guy BO has the corporate backing, the media power, the celebrity vibe. But to the typical dyslexicrat this seems to suggest that McCain's "more negative" when in fact it proves that Obama leads in negative ads, and has a great lead in total advertising shekels.

Paraphrasing Matt Stone from a few years ago, I might hate conservatives, but I really f-ing hate liberals. Best to stick with ~vote.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Bakunin for kix


""""Between these two tendencies there exist the same conflicting conceptions and the same abyss that separate the proletariat and the bourgeoisie. Is it surprising, therefore, that these irreconcilable adversaries clashed in the International, that the struggle between them, in all forms and on all possible occasions, is still going on? The Alliance, true to the program of the International, disdainfully rejected all collaboration with bourgeois politics, in however radical and socialist a disguise. They advised the proletariat that the only real emancipation, the only policy truly beneficial for them, is the exclusively negative policy of demolishing political institutions, political power, government in general, and the State, and that to do this it is necessary to unify the scattered forces of the proletariat into an International organization, a revolutionary power directed against the entrenched ]power of the bourgeoisie."""""

Your daddy

""""The German Social Democrats advocated a completely opposite policy. They told these workers, who unfortunately heeded them, that the first and most pressing task of their organization must be to win political rights by legal agitation. They thus subordinated the movement for economic emancipation to an exclusively political movement, and by this obvious reversal of the whole program of the International they filled in at a single stroke the abyss that the International had opened between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie. They have done more. They have tied the proletariat to the bourgeois towline. For it is evident that this whole political movement so enthusiastically extolled by the German Socialists, since it must precede the economic revolution, can only be directed by the bourgeoisie, or what is still worse, by workers transformed into bourgeois by their vanity and ambition. And, in fact, this movement, like all its predecessors, will once more supersede the proletariat and condemn them to be the blind instruments, the victims. to be used and then sacrificed in the struggle between the rival bourgeois parties for the power and right to dominate and exploit the masses. To anyone who doubts this we have only to show what is happening now in Germany, where the organs of social democracy sing hymns of joy on seeing a congress of professors of bourgeois political economy entrusting the proletariat to the paternal protection of states, and it has occurred in parts of Switzerland where the Marxian program prevails – at Geneva, Zurich, Basel, where the International has declined to the point of being only an electoral ballot box for the profit of the radical bourgeois. These incontestable facts seem to me to be more eloquent than any words.

These facts are real and they are a natural effect of the triumph of Marxian propaganda. And it is for this reason that we fight the Marxian theories to the death, convinced that if they should triumph throughout the International, they would at the least kill its spirit, as they have already in great part done in the places I have referred to.""""

To reiterate: "it has occurred in parts of Switzerland where the Marxian program.... has declined to the point of being only an electoral ballot box for the profit of the radical bourgeois." MB could have been speaking about the American democrats, those delusional consumers who take Al Gore to be a "radical".

More MB: "We fight the Marxian theories to the death." Whoa. What's that entail in contemporary terms? Authentic anarchists--a rather sparse crowd, to be sure, tho' Chomsky admired MB, supposedly, as did Edward Abbey--support neither statist-welfare socialism and bureaucracy ala ObamaCo, nor the theocrats and monarchical-capitalism of the right (as Obama's support of the Bushco-Paulson-Pelosia sponsored Bailout indicates, Obama has no problem--in traditional marxist-hypocrite style--working alongside the rightists and financiers when needed).

It might also be recalled that during the spanish civil war, the republicanos drew inspiration from Bakunin, and opposed the soviet apparatchiks as well as the royalists and "phalange" nationalists; when stalinist atrocities mounted, many a republicano abandoned leftist ideology altogether (some going as far as joining the phalange...). In historical and Dialectical terms ala GWF Hegel, the battles between Being of the right (mind/human thinking), and Not-Being of left (nature, if you will), reveal themselves in Becomingness, in process, in temporality. The intelligent anarchist, aware that he's both a Dr. Jekyll AND Mr. Hyde, eros and thanatos (as are ALL humans), thrives in that Becomingness.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

A race of convicts...

[Dr. Johnson] disliked the rebel colonists for their hatred of authority, their unseemly scramble for money, and especially their dependence on slaves. "I am willing to love all mankind, except an American," he wrote. "They are a race of convicts, and ought to be thankful for anything we allow them short of hanging."

What means a consensus--a popular election--among a race of convicts (assuming for argument that Johnson's definition of Americans holds)? Hint: nada

Friday, October 10, 2008


Cockburn on Baracknomics:

""""Obama helped arm-twist recalcitrant Democrats, particularly in the Congressional Black Caucus, to vote for the Paulson bailout, in the national interest, the line urged on House members by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Barney Frank.

In fact it wasn’t in the national interest , nor in the interest of the Democrats in Congress. Until Republicans in the House rebelled and , with the help of 95 Democratic mutineers, voted the Paulson bill down on September 29, polls showed that the prospects for the Democrats wining a substantial number of new seats in the House were good. Not any more. Voters really hate the Bailout and think well of those who tried to beat it back. The Republicans are now within striking distance of recapturing the House, or so some polls show.""""

St. Barack backs Heinrich Paulson, and approves the Bushco-led bailout (corporate welfare as it was formerly known). Another reason for ~vote.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Tyranny of the majority (sic semper tyrannis)

Mencken on the absurdity of American democracy--"the domination of unreflective and timorous men, moved in vast herds by mob emotions":

"....when a candidate for public office faces the voters he does not face men of sense; he faces a mob of men whose chief distinguishing mark is the fact that they are quite incapable of weighing ideas, or even of comprehending any save the most elemental—men whose whole thinking is done in terms of emotion, and whose dominant emotion is dread of what they cannot understand. So confronted, the candidate must either bark with the pack, or count himself lost...""

""""The larger the mob, the harder the test. In small areas, before small electorates, a first-rate man occasionally fights his way through, carrying even the mob with him by the force of his personality. But when the field is nationwide, and the fight must be waged chiefly at second and third hand, and the force of personality cannot so readily make itself felt, then all the odds are on the man who is, intrinsically, the most devious and mediocre—the man who can most adeptly disperse the notion that his mind is a virtual vacuum.

The Presidency tends, year by year, to go to such men. As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.""""

What's that entail? NO on BO, the peoples' choice--that the peoples want BO does not imply he deserves to be wanted. Menckenian invective may illustrate the problem of the tyranny of the majority, but it's sort of a chestnut of political and philosophical thinking. As JS Mill-- Liberal par excellence--and other thinkers realized years ago, approval of a candidate (or policy) via majority decision does not imply that the most qualified person is selected (rather obvious, except maybe to ACORNocrats). What the Peoples decide upon has no necessary relation to the proper course of action, politically, economically or otherwise. During the early days of French Revolution, the extreme left of the Montagnards (mostly jacobins) had more voting power than did the moderate Girondists, yet were hardly doing the right thing--deposing the monarchy is one thing (agreed to by Girondists), killing them, and thousands of others (including girondists, like Condorcet), Nyet.

Majorities voted in Bush (at least popular vote in 2004). They voted in Feinstein (supposedly). Hitler and Mussolini were elected by majorities, initially (before ending voting). Even in small-scale situations a consensus often has no relationship to truth. Asking for a show of hands at Denny's to a supply curve problem will not generally produce the right answer. A consensus of baptists, millions of 'em, regarding the authenticity of the Book of Revelation does not magically make the bizarre visions of the Book true.

Similarly, if a person is a downright moron, his vote means nothing (and really might be viewed as a mistake). Obvious, except to like liberals on crack. Were society comprised of Menckens and Thomas Jeffersons and/or Jeffersonettes, yes, a popular vote would be meaningful. It's not. Society's comprised of downright morons (and moronettes), for the most part, many of whom, especially in Californication, who are HS dropouts, can't read write or solve pie graph problems (the peoples the DNCocrats bank on). Holy Pie Graph Problem at the Election Booth Batman.

The Founding Fathers concerned themselves with this issue; even the more "liberal" such as Jefferson realized the potential danger of democracy via mob rule. Madison (Publius) in the Federalist papers writes at length about the danger posed by "factions" (Hamilton, old-school Hobbesian I suspect, also favored more centralized control and less power to legislature) Fears of mob rule arguably resulted in the electoral college, and executive and judicial controls on the legislature. Problems may also arise with a Federalist model as well of course (exemplified by Il Duce scalia's theocratic control of the SCOTUS).

All rather obvious, except to the anti-rationalists and quasi-psychotic cyber-leftists spewing their bubblegum -marxism ad nauseum (Marx himself was profoundly anti-democratic, and thus opposed to the vote, for better or worse).

(BO seems too corporate to be a real communist, tho' he did pal around with some reds, as the Ayers connection shows. His record does show him to be Fed-statist, not afraid of denying civil liberties (ie pro FISA, PatAct, etc.) and pro-union at any cost, i.e. owned by Chevvy. Connect the dots. this message approved by Anarchists Not for Obama)

Saturday, October 04, 2008


""By the term "Caesarism" I mean that kind of government which, irrespective of any constitutional formulation that it may have, is in its inward self a return to thorough formlessness. It does not matter that Augustus in Rome, and Huang Ti in China, Amasis in Egypt and Alp Arslan in Baghdad disguised their position under antique forms. the spirit of these forms was dead, and so all institutions, however carefully maintained, were thenceforth destitute of all meaning and weight. Real importance centred in the wholly personal power exercised by the Caesar...
{281]With the formed state having finished its course, high history also lays itself down weary to sleep. Man becomes a plant again adhering to the soil, dumb and enduring. The timeless village and the "eternal" peasant reappear, begetting children and burying seed in Mother Earth.. Men live from hand to mouth, with petty thrifts and petty fortunes and endure...""

Friday, October 03, 2008

Morgan, as in JP Morgan

Holy credit default swaps batman:

"""They're called "Off-Site Weekends"—rituals of the high-finance world in which teams of bankers gather someplace sunny to blow off steam and celebrate their successes as Masters of the Universe. Think yacht parties, bikini models, $1,000 bottles of Cristal. One 1994 trip by a group of JPMorgan bankers to the tony Boca Raton Resort & Club in Florida has become the stuff of Wall Street legend—though not for the raucous partying (although there was plenty of that, too). Holed up for most of the weekend in a conference room at the pink, Spanish-style resort, the JPMorgan bankers were trying to get their heads around a question as old as banking itself: how do you mitigate your risk when you loan money to someone? By the mid-'90s, JPMorgan's books were loaded with tens of billions of dollars in loans to corporations and foreign governments, and by federal law it had to keep huge amounts of capital in reserve in case any of them went bad. But what if JPMorgan could create a device that would protect it if those loans defaulted, and free up that capital?

What the bankers hit on was a sort of insurance policy: a third party would assume the risk of the debt going sour, and in exchange would receive regular payments from the bank, similar to insurance premiums. JPMorgan would then get to remove the risk from its books and free up the reserves. The scheme was called a "credit default swap," and it was a twist on something bankers had been doing for a while to hedge against fluctuations in interest rates and commodity prices. While the concept had been floating around the markets for a couple of years, JPMorgan was the first bank to make a big bet on credit default swaps. It built up a "swaps" desk in the mid-'90s and hired young math and science grads from schools like MIT and Cambridge to create a market for the complex instruments. Within a few years, the credit default swap (CDS) became the hot financial instrument, the safest way to parse out risk while maintaining a steady return. "I've known people who worked on the Manhattan Project," says Mark Brickell, who at the time was a 40-year-old managing director at JPMorgan. "And for those of us on that trip, there was the same kind of feeling of being present at the creation of something incredibly important.....""""""

Verstehen zee das? Gut.
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