Cramer vs. Cramer

So if we understand this correctly, Jim Cramer’s only sin was to make some optimistic calls in a “bull” market — one that was recognizably overvalued, recognizably a bubble, and recognizably a Ponzi scheme.

And Jon Stewart no longer speaks truth to power, because GE is no more powerful than the corner store.

[ Comedy Central Flash video not available. ]

Got it.

Stop Whining, Part II [TPM]

Awww poow widdle Jimmy. Suddenly, the world isn’t his oyster anymore and everyone is pointing and laughing at him.

Well Jimmy, you did the worst thing you can do by engaging Jon in a battle of wits especially when you’re unarmed. Did you not learn from the saga of Tucker Carlson? He fell all the way down to Dancing with the FUCKING Stars before someone at the shithead CATO institute took pity on him. Well, “good” “luck” with that, asshole.

BTW GE can suck it, too. Same with Jack Belch and his minions of flying monkeys acting as CEOs.

“Optimistic” on Wall Street usually means “delusional” in the real world.

Bwa. Fucking. Ha.

And Scarborough? He’s a bitter little man. His precious GOP shit the bed, and he can’t believe it.

No, no, no — I think Cramer’s fundamentals are really strong, and I am issuing a

[hits comedy-gold button]

BUY BUY BUY! He’s is just too cheap to pass up!


I’m waiting for someone to charge Jon Stewart with conflict of interest because he works for Viacom.

@nojo: Viacom is separate from NBC (I think). NBC=GE
I even checked teh googles.

@shortsshortsshorts: Viacom = CBS, MTV, Comedy Central, and so on.

Structurally, they split it into two pieces a few years back — thus, CBS Inc. — but it’s still controlled by Sumner Redstone.

So, the argument for a CNBC apologist to make is that Jon Stewart is just a lackey for a corporate rival.

The NBC types will squawk that Jon is working for a rival company that is trying to destroy their pwecious product of CNBC.

On the other hand, I do remember Jon shitting on MTV from time to time.

@ManchuCandidate: I’m curious to see the reaction of everyone’s girlfriend Rachel Maddow and Keiff Oh, over at MSNBC.

So am I, not that I get MSNBC up here. (On the super premium cable package, which I don’t get.)

@ManchuCandidate: Not with any great frequency, but he does occasionally mention the little matter of them shitcanning him back in the day.

Meanwhile, in other CNBC/Late Night nexus news, CNBC reports that Jay Leno’s doing one show in Detroit on April 7. Leno footing bill for food/drink/parking for unemployed show-goers. Which is nice.

And yet….

Journalistish for CNBC says: “The people of Detroit could enjoy a good laugh right now.” Then what is Leno doing there?


@mellbell: Jon Stewart is a classic self-deprecating comedian, so good luck to anyone trying to take him down a peg. Usually he got there first.

One interesting insight from last night: He denied that the original CNBC hit piece was a reaction to Santelli not showing up. Instead, it was designed to run before the Santelli interview.

Which means: Every other time a guest is preceded by a related segment, it’s not by chance. We may wish sometimes that Jon Stewart was less deferring to the folks he interviews, but he’s already setting the trap.

POPCORN ALERT: Cramer’s the guest on Thursday night’s Daily Show.

I’d like to get excited, but all the TDS feuds have been somewhat anti climatic.

Should be interesting though.

@ManchuCandidate: Well, Jon does make a point about being polite, and you know how he feels about Crossfire shouting matches.

Tonight’s show should be the interesting one. Cramer and Scarborough make two big fish in a small barrel.

This video reminds me of the scene in “The Ladies Man” where all the guys whose wives have cheated on them with Leon Phelps (Tim Meadows) are in group therapy together.

And of yeah, my message to that little whiny bitch Scarborough: if you’ve got video of Stewart saying things on his show that would look embarrassing in retrospect then show it. Don’t be a pussy. Claiming its so then refusing to show the footage is a real “I would totally have kicked his ass if Mr. Winkler hadn’t broken up the fight” lame-ass move.

It will be if I get home in time.

@Serolf Divad:
Jon is the master of Comedic Akkido. Makes it hard for the rest because he does his best to live up to his ideals.

TJ/ The Ayn Rand Institute proclaims that Ayn Rand books are selling briskly. IO9 uses it as a SF tale. Turns into fun intertubes fight with libertarians and free market apologists.

So apparently the founder and CEO of is a leader in a tinfoil-hat movement attacking corruption on Wall Street, and he has posted a doozey of an essay on Jim Cramer, completely fascinating stuff:

It begins with this:

would rather try describing what an oyster tastes like than try to analyze Jim Cramer. For the sake of the integrity of my story, however, analyze him I must. I will confine myself to two prefatory comments:

1) Jim is a complicated man. I say this neither to excuse nor condemn him. Instead, I am acknowledging that to my eye Jim Cramer’s moral code is written in hieroglyphics, and I would no more try to judge that code than would an anthropologist pass judgment on the rite-of-passage ceremonies of some obscure tribe. In the face of something so foreign, one may only say, it is what it is. The precise reason why Cramer exists beyond good and evil, however, must wait until the end of this piece.

2) The first lesson I had in securities law was given me by Gordon Macklin, a revered figure within modern Wall Street history: he built NASDAQ, and was the Co-CEO of Hambrecht & Quist. I was fortunate enough to have Mr Macklin as a kind of Dutch Uncle to me from the time that I was a teenager until his passing in early 2007. When I was a lad I once asked Mr. Macklin, “Do companies ever do this-or-that in order to make their stocks go up?” Macklin replied, “There is one thing you need to know about securities law: anytime someone purposefully does something in order to make a stock go up or go down, he is doing something illegal. You can go to law school and study it for years, but that’s what it boils down to. You make bets on stocks, but you never purposefully make the price of a stock move in either direction. It’s manipulation. It’s illegal. That is the first thing you need to know about the stock market.”

Years later I went to work for one of the great Graham-Dodd value investors of Wall Street. From the behavior of him and those in his firm the same lesson was reinforced, and I internalized it to the point that it would have seemed strange even to mention it. In fact, I would put it on par with knowledge among health care workers that one is supposed to wash one’s hands between seeing patients, and when I left Wall Street I would have supposed it as rare to find someone there who did not know that one does not purposefully move the prices of stocks as it would be to find a nurse who did not know about germs.

Jim Cramer has spent his investing career manipulating stock prices up and down, and his career as a journalist explaining how he does it. Thus to this untutored eye, Cramer’s public statements appear to be confessions of wildly illegal acts. So my second prefatory remark is that Jim Cramer’s continued freedom bewilders me.

I felt that, in fairness to Cramer, I should be clear about those two points. I also believe that, deep down, Jim will be grateful for what I write here.

And ends with this:


During the recent collapse of Bear Stearns Jim outdid himself in a way that combined the things that make him so unique: cock-surety coupled with deceit and historical revisionism enabled by the media which depends upon him, all outdone by Web 2.0, followed by more fake concern for the welfare of the general public over the elimination of a rule which he flouted when he himself ran a hedge fund.

First, days before its collapse, Jim told the public that Bear Stearns was just fine. Then when it collapsed he claimed he had meant the opposite of what he had said. However, his own people at had recorded his opinion on the stock, and their record was precisely as the rest of the world heard it. Jim’s answer? Change the records of the However, the maker of this video kept screenshots of the original, and his reconstruction of Jim’s perfidy is a classic.

Next, Jim went on TV and blamed the collapse of Bear on the elimination of “the up-tick rule” (in brief, since 1934 “the up-tick rule” has provided constraint on the ability of hedge funds to manipulate stocks downwards, but the rule was eliminated in the summer of 2007). In his best statesmanlike manner Jim explained the significance of the up-tick rule, urged viewers to contact Congress, and castigated the SEC for having betrayed those honest, hardworking Americans whose savings were damaged by the SEC’s callous foolishness in eliminating the up-tick rule.

Here is the funny part about that: remember I asked you to “put a pin in” that section from Nick Maier’s book, where Jim chewed someone out for asking if he had to follow a certain rule? That was the up-tick rule:

“Jim turns toward his head trader. ‘Mark, sell ten thousand Bristol Myers.’

“‘We never bought any Bristol Myers,’ Mark replies.

“‘We own the calls,’ Jim corrects Mark impatiently, aggravated by the delay.

“So sell it short?’ Mark asks for clarification. Mark knows that according to the SEC rule book, selling stock you don’t already own (even if you do own the call options) must be marked and executed as a short sale.

“‘You are confusing me with someone who gives a shit. Just sell it! I said hit the fucking bid!’ adds Jim, not interested in wasting time over petty semantics. Skirting the ‘plus tick’ rule in this case won’t necessarily make us a lot of extra money, but in Jim’s eyes, the rule is still an unenforceable annoyance. ‘And don’t ever ask me that again!’” (Trading With the Enemy, pages 70-71).

That “plus tick” rule is precisely the “up-tick” rule whose loss Cramer now goes on TV to bemoan, explaining, quite correctly, how its elimination has turned into a wealth-transfer mechanism from hard-working Americans to hedge funds. He just never cared when he ran one. One wonders if he does now, or if he even knows.


The reader has been served enough Cramer Bad Craziness, I expect. To do the story justice I would conclude by explaining what is really happening in Jim Cramer’s head. Such explanation would properly invoke E. R. Dodd’s shame-culture/guilt-culture distinction, and Martha Nussbaum’s The Fragility of Goodness as well.

But I will be more succinct. The way to understand Jim is to see him (as is evident from his TV behavior) as a deeply conflicted man, and so, one engaged in continuous prophylactic spinning. He spews endlessly self-contradictory babble because he has, in fact, lost his mind, and one must filter everything Jim says and does through the knowledge that Jim Cramer is insane. I don’t mean it in a cutesy way: he has suffered a decade-long breakdown but got paid for doing it on air.

That’s why, as I said at the outset, Cramer exists beyond good and evil: he cannot remember if he is a good guy playing a tough, or a good guy playing a tough but one who wants to help the public, or is a good guy playing a tough who wants to help the public but is still on the inside with the really smart-money. Somewhere in his double-triple-quadruple agent shtick he lost his mind, and he has no idea what truth is anymore. He reminds me of some lines from Talking Heads’ “Life during Wartime”:

“Transmit the message, to the receiver
hope for an answer some day
I got three passports, couple of visas
don’t even know my real name”

Jim is a condemned man distractedly waiting for the key to turn in the cell door, incoherently muttering sayings he picked up along the way, stripped of any real need to make sense of them to his listeners or himself.

Insane though he be, Jim has been the lowest common denominator of many who are integral to the Deep Capture story. In fact, it was because of this that I decided it was impossible to tell that story without telling his own: most of the players, as well as most of the pawns, can be described by their relation to Jim Cramer.

The next two pieces are going to discuss two of those people, one to whom Cramer has done all he can to associate himself, and one from whom Cramer has tried to disassociate himself.

@ManchuCandidate: The angry and fucked over always seem to embrace Rand and Ron Paul and various of the mean and angry versions of libertarianism. The failures, I think, love to engage in a “fuck you all, I don’t need nobody anyway” fantasy.

@ManchuCandidate: Atlas Shrugged turned up in the Amazon Top 50 a couple weeks ago, and I noticed a John Galt reference in TPM today. Clearly something’s afoot that’s only now coming to light.

No arguments from me. My profession is filled with fucked over Randians and Hard Core RWers so I know all too well.

A coworker of mine told me about an awesome book he was reading called Atlas Shrugged. As a “veteran” of the Paultard Wars, I had to bite my tongue from laughing or making harsh commentary. I just nodded politely.

As I said before, if it were not for a major metaphysical shot to the head (similar to the one experienced by Hit Man Martin Blank in the movie Grosse Point Blank) I would have been one of those “Fuck you all” types. What great profound insight did I get? I was my own worst enemy. No self loathing. Just a realization that I was not truthful about myself to myself and that if I wanted to grow up that I had to accept and like who I was.

Much like the Fundies, the Randians feel their time has come.


So the problem wasn’t lack or enforcement and regulation that led to the nuking of the world economy–it was over-regulation and over-enforcement that were the problems, right?

@SanFranLefty: I’m officially done with Keith. It’s bad enough that he’s constantly going on about how his ratings are higher than O’Reilly’s but that response to Mann Coulter where he pulled out his Cornell diploma was pathetic and sad. I can no longer be associated with him.

International economics has never been my forté, but I read something yesterday that was oddly soothing. We’re 100% dependent upon the Chinese to buy our Treasury debt to fund our nation’s astronomical budget deficits–and right now they’re kinda pissed at us–so what would happen if they got sick of earning near zero interest on their doe-ray-mee and cashed out?

Turns out they can’t—even though some Chinese are furious about the amount of money their gummit is sending to the US—because repatriating their funds would cause their currency to rise in value, thus choking off their export industry when it’s needed now more than ever. They also can’t risk more damage to the US economy ‘cause they need us to buy their shiz.

The worst case scenario is that they may begin further diversifying their future reserves more into euros and precious metals, while publicly humiliating us and twisting our balls over things like human rights (not that our commitment to human rights is anything other than a sick joke these days, anyways).

We’re in this together, one way or another.


It’s not that we don’t love the Gawd-given, Crapitalist, Republitard Free Markets, it’s that we love them too much!

It’s not you, Free Markets, it’s us!

@Original Andrew:
I can’t help but think about the story of the Scorpion and the Frog.

Yes. A thousand times yes. I hope he takes his skillz away.


Exactly. Instead of the Scorpion (Chinese) stinging the Frog (US) and we both sink, we need them to put a finger up our bums (the Federal Reserve), so that we start shooting out that sweet sticky cash that makes everyone sing and dance.

Am I right, or am I right?

Wait, did I mix up the parables?

@Original Andrew: That’s been my equally uninformed take for a couple of years: We need the Chinese, and they need us.

At least until, let’s say, 2025, when their own economy catches up with their manufacturing capacity.

Wherever you turn — politics, energy, environment — the past thirty years have been about living on borrowed time.

@Jamie Sommers aka the Waco Kid: Mr. SFL won’t let me watch Keiff or Rachel now that Unicorn is in office.

@ManchuCandidate: I love Grosse Pointe Blank and my boyfriend Jon Cusack. Such a hilariously dark and twisted movie. And the soundtrack is awesome.

Jamie Sommers aka the Waco Kid / SanFranLefty: Keith certainly isn’t Must See TV like he was in, say, 2007. The Bill-O thing has really worn itself out, for instance. Also the lack of inquisition about Barry, or anything besides the misdeeds of Dubya. He did perform a service for a while, but his time might be gone.

@Jamie Sommers aka the Waco Kid: @chicago bureau: @SanFranLefty: I’m shocked – shocked! – to find people here that agree with me. I find myself watching Keef for the “entertainment”, but certainly not the news. Actually, I soured on Rachel sooner; she’s a great reporter when she wants to be, but is doing far too much chuckling over the festering corpse of the Bush legacy for my taste. Her interview with Pawlenty was pretty good.

Oh, and that “Little Bit of Pop Culture” with her “friend”? When I have to turn to that giggling simpleton she has on for pop culture you may stick a fork in me cauze I’ll be done.

I still enjoy Keef, but I’m a very recent viewer, and he makes for fine 5 p.m. suppertime entertainment. The Left Coast has its advantages; no way could I put up with it at 8 p.m.

And Rachel, well…

Loved her during the campaign, but more often than not I’m napping ten minutes into her show. The smirk is just short of annoying, and let’s not discuss Kent in polite company.

@nojo: De facts of the matter is, and you know I am no “America Uber Alles” triumphalist, is that no matter how bad our credit is getting, its still the best there is in the international markets, and there is nowhere else to park money but in US Government bonds, and in this downturn, people are parking their money.

There simply is nothing better, nowhere else to put your money, noone else borrows as much, and thus issues enough bonds, and there is nothing else, even Gold, the God of the Paultards, is far more dangerous and volatile an investment.

We are going to be okay, I have decided. From now on, no more gloom and doom from me.

This is a financial industry crisis, which has caused a massive contraction in consumer spending, but the money is still out there in our economy, people just aren’t blowing it on consumer spending. But this is not a structural, inevitable result of the financial crisis, this is a psychological factor. Saving rates in the US have soared. People still have money, but for once they are saving it, once they feel more secure with their cushion, they will spend again, and then we will still have a financial industry crisis, but less of an economic crisis.

@Nabisco: Oh, I hate that red headed freak who does the pop culture segment. (Was he the kid who played Buddy’s friend on Family in the 70s?)
He is not. funny. at. all. Which just makes her giggling that much worse. STOP ENCOURAGING HIM RACHEL!


It’s true. Seems that I read there’s currently $7.2 trillion parked in cash money market accounts cause people are too flipped out to invest it.

At today’s absurdly low rates, eventually they’ll get tired of effectively paying someone to keep their money and want to put it to work elsewhere.

Money in society is like a river: it widens and narrows, and sometimes changes direction, but it doesn’t cease to exist.

@Original Andrew: Yes, the money does not cease to exist, but somehow it has all been lost to the kind of investments that working and middle class people invest in, them and their pensions and their insurance companies, and their 401-Ks, and its all gone somewhere, but its been taken away from the retirement savings of america’s workers.

Where is the money? If it was just being reshuffled around the various investment outlets, it would be adding to the value of your pension fund on one end just as it was disappearing from the other end.

But no, the money has disappeared from the “retail” end of the financial industry, and gone where? The Oligarchy? Its almost like this was a designed scheme to raid everyone in the US’s retirement savings.

For the most part, every dollar someone loses in the market is a dollar someone else gained.

Where did it go? Am I just economically naive?

@SanFranLefty: Ginger girls always completely, absolutely entranced me. Pale skin, freckles, red hair. Wonkette herself is painful for me to look at, so greatly am I aroused.

@Promnight: Ginger girls are often beautiful. Many ginger boys, unfortunately, look like borderline albinos.

I just noticed that “You know, morons” on the Twitter thing up there.

You know, I truly wished, that during the inauguration, Obama would walk up on the podium, face the chief justice, and say “Excuse me, while I whip this out.” Or “Where the white women at.” I really was. What an opportunity for the greatest line in history.

@SanFranLefty: or Chester the Molester. *shudders*

Did y’all see this? The folllowing passage warmed the cockles of my cold, cold heart:

On the one side, the president of the United States: soft-spoken and conciliatory, never angry, always invoking the recession and its victims. This president invokes the language of “responsibility,” and in his own life seems to epitomize that ideal: He is physically honed and disciplined, his worst vice an occasional cigarette. He is at the same time an apparently devoted husband and father. Unsurprisingly, women voters trust and admire him.

And for the leader of the Republicans? A man who is aggressive and bombastic, cutting and sarcastic, who dismisses the concerned citizens in network news focus groups as “losers.” With his private plane and his cigars, his history of drug dependency and his personal bulk, not to mention his tangled marital history, Rush is a walking stereotype of self-indulgence—exactly the image that Barack Obama most wants to affix to our philosophy and our party. And we’re cooperating! Those images of crowds of CPACers cheering Rush’s every rancorous word—we’ll be seeing them rebroadcast for a long time.

@Jamie Sommers aka the Waco Kid: Rush looked horrifying at CPAC. Who told him to wear a black guyabera shirt for his speech? I thought he would stroke out on stage. That would have been teh awesome.

@Promnight: That’s why Jamie is the Waco Kid today.

@Jamie Sommers aka the Waco Kid: Just the resentment of a neocon against the barbarian hordes who have taken back control of the Republican Party from his little club of global-domination obsessed warmongers. Frum is still an evil shitbag.

@SanFranLefty: I clearly remember, and honor, Jamie’s perfect use of a Blazing Saddles quote earlier. He he. I am laughing again.

As my grandmother was wont to say: they’re all cunts.


Where did it go?

In a word: Deleveraging. A very real, historically massive debt bubble just popped, and for once corporations and consumers are in the same boat. Both are scared about where their income is gonna come from, and both are selling assets to pay their loans back and generate cash flow. The more they sell, the more the prices of those assets go down as there are fewer and fewer buyers.

It’s all part of the clusterfuck of today’s economy. Corporations layoff workers due to slow sales, which means fewer consumers to buy things, which means more layoffs and on down the spiral.

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