Remarks From Remarksman

March 12, 2009

Jim Cramer – Liar

Filed under: Uncategorized — BrianB @ 5:51 pm
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Jon Stewart on The Daily Show had an interview scheduled with CNBC’s Rick Santelli last week. Santelli cancelled, so The Daily Show spent several minutes destroying CNBC’s claimed reputation as ‘Your Source for Business News.’ The segment expertly skewers CNBC, you can watch it here. Several of the many CNBC clips showing inaccurate predictions included Jim Cramer, host of CNBC’s “Mad Money” show. Jim Cramer seems to have made the foolish decision to attack Jon Stewart in retaliation. How smart is it to attack someone who’s specialty is making fun of people?

Cramer wrote a long article at MainStreet.com to “defend himself” from numerous ‘misguided attacks.’ He also toured several shows on NBC networks to ‘clear things up.’ The Daily Show had a great response in which more of Cramer’s lies are exposed. You can watch it here.

But that’s not the worst of Cramer’s lying. The Huffington Post points out an interview of Cramer on TheStreet.com available on YouTube. In the interview, Cramer describes things he did to manipulate the market when he ran his hedge fund. Here are some quotes pulled from the interview and featured in the HuffPo article:

He calls [manipulating stock prices] “a fun game, and it’s a lucrative game.” He suggests all hedge fund managers do the same. “No one else in the world would ever admit that, but I could care. I am not going to say it on TV,” he quips in the video.

He also calls Wall Street Journal reporters “bozos” and says behaving illegally is okay because the SEC doesn’t understand it anyway.

Here are some gems:

  • On manipulating the market: “A lot of times when I was short at my hedge fund, and I was positioned short, meaning I needed it down, I would create a level of activity before hand that could drive the futures,”
  • On falsely creating the impression a stock is down (what he calls “fomenting”): “You can’t foment. That’s a violation… But you do it anyway because the SEC doesn’t understand it.” He adds, “When you have six days and your company may be in doubt because you are down, I think it is really important to foment.”
  • On the truth: “What’s important when you are in that hedge fund mode is to not be doing anything that is remotely truthful, because the truth is so against your view – it is important to create a new truth to develop a fiction,” Cramer advises. “You can’t take any chances.”

This is the culture of the “Wall Street” people and businesses we are bailing out.

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October 27, 2008

Iron Knee on How Screwed We Are

Iron Knee has posted a couple articles, today and yesterday on PoliticalIrony.com, discussing the awful actions the Bush Administration is taking during its last few months. Here is a list of recent events (most of it enumerated in the Political Irony posts):

  • Banks are using the bailout money to buy up other banks.
  • Banks are using the bailout money to give bonuses to investment bankers.
  • The Office of Surface Mining (OSM) has failed to enforce the Stream Buffer Zone Rule in regards to mountain-top-removal coal mining in Appalachia, so now they’re planning to just do away with the rule.
  • Bush (along with a willing and apparently stupid Congress) agreed to sell nuclear technology to India, which never signed the NPT. (I wrote about this when the bill passed.)
  • AIG (one of the largest recipients of federal bailout money) may have used bailout money to lobby Congress to pass that India nuclear tech bill.
  • And now we are apparently killing people in Syria via cross-border raids from Iraq.

It seems that Bush and his corporate welfare administration cronies are concentrating on extracting every dollar and benefit, and executing every idiotic plan they can during these next few months because it looks like Obama will win the election. It’s difficult not to feel like we’re looking for deck chairs on the Titanic on a grand scale. Like Iron Knee says, we are screwed.

The Wrong Bailout

The administration is trying to loosen the credit market by pumping money into banks by buying supposedly preferred shares (which have no voting rights). Their idea seems to be that if banks have plenty of money, they will hand out loans. As we’re seeing, that is not what banks will do with the money. Instead, the government should be creating new business. It could increase spending on critical infrastructure: fix up a bunch of our decaying highway bridges, build new electric transmission lines, build big solar thermal plants in the southwest, build big wind power fields in the northeast, build geothermal power plants in the northwest. Build or subsidize these kinds of projects and in addition to creating jobs, loans will be requested by contractors — loans which have a great chance of being repaid. Loans that the banks will be happy to make.

The Works Project Administration (WPA) from the Great Depression didn’t hand money out to banks, it built valuable infrastructure for the country and put unemployed people to work. But just last week, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke told Congress they should start thinking about another stimulus package. Congress already seems to be thinking along the same lines as the “economic stimulus package” from earlier this year. Note to Congress: Handing out cash to taxpayers so they can buy new plasma screen televisions is not the same as the WPA.

I’d be surprised that Congress and the Bush Administration can get it all so wrong, but it’s not surprising if you consider how much the financial industry spends on lobbying and campaign donations. And don’t forget “Clean Coal.”

October 14, 2008

Where Are The Handcuffs?

Filed under: Uncategorized — BrianB @ 6:08 pm
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Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson has finally taken a cue from the Europeans and figured out that it might be smarter to buy stock in the ailing banks than to just buy up the toxic paper. It only took him, what, two or three weeks to figure that out?

I am still waiting for the FBI to march tens or hundreds of the bankers and brokers who engaged in deceptive practices down Wall Street in handcuffs, but, not surprisingly, that does not seem to be a priority for Secretary Paulson (ex-CEO of Goldman Sachs) or the Bush Administration. Instead, we have the previous heads of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac leaving with a combined $9M in severance packages.

A post at The Big Picture, based on Kate Wellings’ work, provides a time-line of quotes from Secretary Paulson clearly showing that he is either totally incompetent, or a compulsive liar. I’m not sure which is worse, but as Kate Wellings says,

In short, any jot of credibility that the Secretary may have had surely cannot withstand this inarguable evidence of aberrant thinking; the inconsistency alone is staggering. These quips run the full gamut from puerile denial to deliberate understatement to bald-faced demagoguery, right on down to yesterday’s call for patience. Suffocated by his unabashed, unprincipled and incessant manure-spreading, I honestly wonder how the heck it is that we are not on the WH lawn – right this instant – pitchforks in hand.

One of NPR’s news pieces this morning was about a coupon-clipping queen. Why wasn’t it about Senate investigations? FBI findings? We’re supposed to stay calm, clip coupons, and wait for Paulson and Bush to sort out a fix?

October 4, 2008

CIA Shenanigans

Filed under: Uncategorized — BrianB @ 9:23 pm
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Mostly ignored with all the crazy bailout and credit crunch headlines this week, CIA official Kyle “Dusty” Foggo pled guilty to wire fraud this week in exchange for dropping 27 other charges against him. This news article from Mother Jones has all the gruesome details of typical Bush-administration cronyism and scary thoughts about why Foggo was working to award one of his cronies a contract to provide secret air support to the CIA, but the “money quote” below comes from the last paragraph:

The plea deal hasn’t stopped Foggo’s former CIA colleagues from continuing to fume in outrage at Foggo’s behavior, or from pointing the finger at former CIA director Porter Goss for appointing Foggo to the Executive Director position in the first place. […] Goss abruptly resigned in May 2006 just as federal investigators were raiding Foggo’s office. Foggo is scheduled to be sentenced January 8. His co-conspirator Brent Wilkes is currently serving a 12 year jail sentence in California. Cunningham, a onetime ace fighter pilot who reportedly served as the inspiration for Tom Cruise’s character in Top Gun, is serving out an eight year sentence, the longest prison sentence ever meted out to any member of Congress. Meanwhile Foggo, based on his plea agreement, is likely to leave prison well before a McCain or Obama administration finishes its first term.

February 20, 2008

Mr. Lessig Goes to Washington DC?

Filed under: Uncategorized — BrianB @ 2:32 am
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After watching Lawrence Lessig’s Obama versus Clinton video, I have been watching his blog, and today I found out that the movement he is trying to start to “fix the corruption” in Congress has inspired people to push him to run for the recently vacated California district 12 seat. He still hasn’t decided whether to run or not, but he has another interesting video at his new lessig08.org web site if you have 10 minutes to watch.

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