Financial Wizards – Under the Hat

It’s fashionable to think of our Financial Wizards as people of such superior intellect that we can’t do without them.

Nonsense.

I think they’re more like very smart Children. They really believe, I think (at least many of them), that they fully understand the market and financial forces they pretend to manage. Essentially, they think they are skipping rocks, carefully chosen, over water they see and understand. In other words, they think it is their own skill that is in control.

I agree that what they’re doing is like skipping rocks – but down a loose, rocky hillside.

So when the inevitable happens, and we refuse to hold anyone accountable, why are we surprised??

Too Funny

Governor Romney calling Obama’s “… campaign tactics “disgusting” and “demeaning,” adding: “It’s something which I think the president should take responsibility for and stop.”  This regarding questioning the practices of Bain Capital, Romney’s main claim to business expertise.

This from a party and campaign saying that the current President is “taking away our Freedoms” and “Attacking the Constitution”, and the usual “Taking away our Guns”.

Funny and sad…

Look – I am convinced that Mr. Romney had no operational role at Bain after he left for the Olympics in SLC.   But that’s not the point.   Romney wants to distance himself from what Bain did after 1999, because that’s when most of the deals were done that had “politically unpalatable content and consequences” (read as increased use of outsourcing/offshoring and other such US job losing tactics).   Understandable – but does he want us to belive that Bain ‘suddenly’ changed tactics after he left?   Did they begin operating in a way that was objectionable – to Romney?   If so, he should say so.   If not, he should explain why their tactics were ok.  After all, he helped found the company.

Is Romney proud of the company he started, or not?

Venting and more venting…

Paul Ryan – “Rights do not come from Government, they come from Our Creator”. Really? What an ignoramus. In a cloak of Catholicism, this twit forgets that all so-called “rights” are abstract, and only have reality when there is a way of enforcing them. Right to Life? Tell that to the kid that just died as ‘collateral damage’ to a military bombing.

We live in a federal democracy. We agree on what our rights are, and we agree on how to help enforce them (i.e., make sure they are uniformly proected and applied).

Don’t confuse ‘rights’ with morality.

CPAC Run; Run CPAC, Run

It doesn’t help the so-called “CPAC” when their most fervent reception is given to a Quitter.

Attack on Religion? I think Not

Clumsiness & stupidity, yes.

What is the Obama administrations greatest error in the continuing flap over so-called “reproductive health care”…?   Simple – they foolishly based their statutory language on laws currently on the books in many states.   Technically, not an entirely bad approach.

Why was that foolish?    Easy answer – most folks are completely ignorant about what their State’s laws are.   There is no news outlet – cable or local – that focuses on such detail ( at least not with any regularity).   All the news does is work to get us upset over ‘National Issues”.  Better ratings that way.

And then how does the News bear its responsibility to inform the Public?   “Not well at all” is the kindest way to put it.

Example from February 10: Wolf Blitzer, the deer-in-the-headlights Star of His Own Show on CNN, listened politely to Rick Santorum say that not only was President Obama attacking Religious Freedom, but that the President was “attacking Freedom Itself!!!”   What was the Wolf’s answer?   Did he ask the former Senator to back up such inflammatory rhetoric with any Facts?

Nope.   He said “Thank you for talking with us.”

Useless.   With Reagan, Clinton, W, and now President Obama, the pathetic press has sat on the sidelines and allowed an escalating war of words and images to be propagated without challenge.   Investigative Journalism?   Give me a break.   They are so afraid of losing access, of offending either party, that they allow virtually anything  to be said on the air, under their nose, on their byline.   They have become nothing more than large outlets.

Which leads me to this – what do you call an outlet that only spews crap?

Exactly.

More On Money

“Citizens United” – what’s the stupidest thing about that decision?   For me, it’s the twin concepts of ‘Corporate Personhood’ and ‘Money = Speech’.

Wow.   I have to think that our Founders and Framers would be a little bit disappointed in us.   For me, it’s pretty self-evident, but let’s see if we can walk thru this slowly.

Corporations are legal relationships amongst people gathered for a profitable enterprise – the people running the enterprise and the people they’ve asked to give them money for a reasonable rate of return (their shareholders).   Want it even more simple?   PEOPLE ARE PEOPLE.  CORPORATIONS ARE AGREEMENTS BETWEEN PEOPLE.   Corporations are what’s called abstract – drawn up, basically (bear with me etymologically).   It’s a form of financial partnership (hear the money words? that’s why these are twin concepts!).

Now let’s take money (yeah, lots of it ha ha ha).   Money is a method of exchange for value given (or taken).   More simply – money is what we use to buy stuff.

Speech – that’s people talking, writing.  Talking and writing to each other, about each other, with each other.   Sometimes you can use money to get someone to talk.   These are usually called speeches.  You can use money to get someone to write.   These are called (among other things) ‘books’.

With me so far?   No?   Let’s try this:   MONEY IS FOR PURCHASING.   SPEECH IS TALKING and WRITING.  THEY ARE NOT THE SAME THING.   Political money is spent to buy things.   When one gives money to someone, some form of performance or value is expected in return.   Now many (including a majority on the Supreme Court, unfortunately) seem to think that money is simply part of our public discourse.   But what does your conscience tell you?  What does the evidence of what is happening to our public discourse tell you?  Is money speech, or is it (still and always) for buying stuff?

Business & Corporate Purpose

It’s fashionable these days (especially since the 1990s) to say that the only purpose of Business, most especially the Corporation, is to Make Money.   This sounds technically honest, and married to the mantra “maximize shareholder value” has in fact been driving our businesses more and more, year after year.

Only one problem – it’s Bullshit.

Any enterprise meant to provide more than today’s food or shelter must provide a value over and above today’s food and shelter - whether it be farming, water, cars, art… anything useful – or it cannot survive without artificial measures (more on that below).   This is anthropologically & historically how such enterprises arose and flourished.

Forgetting this fundamental leads to one source of our difficulty today – we actually believe money itself has intrinsic value.   Money is a wonderful and convenient (portable) symbol of exchange, consideration given for value received, which is then exchanged elsewhere for other value.  This method of exchange in the US (and for most of the world) is based on the Good Faith and Credit of the US Government (about which I’ve blogged before).

We have become so consumed with permanent cash flow and cash growth (whatever that is!) that we have condoned (all of us) the concentration of monetary wealth in the entities with the least real stake in providing value – those whose purpose is to facilitate the exchange.   Put differently: the producers are no longer the holders of the most wealth (as they have been historically), the moneychangers are.

Worse yet, we’ve actually put the financial folks in charge, and given them the complete backing of our Treasury (artificial measures – remember TARP and other “interventions”?).

Does anyone really think that is a good idea…?    I think it’s an abomination:   Our Government propping up the emptiest of our enterprises.

Way to go, Charlie

Reading one of my sources today – National Review – found this quote from Charles Krauthammer regarding CERN’s recent experiment that showed some neutrinos may travel faster than light:

“The implications of such a discovery are so mind boggling, however, that these same scientists immediately requested that other labs around the world try to replicate the experiment. Something must have been wrong to account for a result that, if we know anything about the universe, is impossible.”

Now, the overall tone was a little bit tongue in cheek – read it here - but does Mr K really know that little about science?  After all, he used to be a Psychiatrist….

Re: Budget – GET TO WORK

Here’s a relatively simple idea…    There are a lot of documented plans and ideas ‘out there’ to solve Washington’s budget problems.   Using this site as an example, the morons our elected officials could:

  • Parse each idea as to category
  • Remove all attribution from each idea
  • Meet and discuss the merits of each idea
  • Vote on each idea
  • Write a plan and budget(s) using the selected ideas

Silly, I know.   It would remove the “it’s our idea” factor – and after all, THAT’s what’s most important, isn’t it?

Cheney Smoking – try a mirror

If Dick C was really the plain-speaking hero he pretends to be – and who the press seems to fawn over – then wouldn’t he just say “Torture” instead of “Enhanced Interrogation Techniques”…?   Then he could say, “Hell, yes, we used torture – and I’d do it again, because it was the right thing to do!”.

I could respect that.   Not agree with it – but I’d respect it.

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