Poor Richard

yes i am actually paid to write this shitFrom his fainting couch, Richard Cohen clutches his pearls and complains that Jon Stewart was mean to CNBC and Jim Cramer:

What Jon Stewart needs is Jon Stewart. He could use a droll comedian to temper his ferocity and correct him when he’s wrong, as he was about the financial media, particularly CNBC and its excitable analyst Jim Cramer. They didn’t cover up the story of financial shenanigans. They didn’t even know it existed. 

Setting aside the fact that lots of people knew – shouldn’t CNBC have known about the problem? They’re the experts.

Cohen then makes a bunch of noise about how Hank Greenberg didn’t get out of AIG and he’s so smart so “NYAH”!  Then he emits this steaming turd:

Now we get back to Stewart. The gravamen of his charge is that the financial media, particularly CNBC and Cramer, knew all the time what was happening and was, in effect, shilling for the industry. “Listen, you knew what the bankers were doing, yet were touting it for months and months,” he told Cramer in probably the most celebrated showdown since the Earps and Doc Holliday met the Clantons and others at the O.K. Corral.


The acclaim visited on Stewart for spanking Cramer tells you something. In the first place — and by way of a minor concession — he’s got a small point. CNBC has often been a cheerleader for the zeitgeist — up when the market’s up, down when it’s down. This is true of the business media in general.

But the role that Cramer and other financial journalists played was incidental. There was not much they could do, anyway. They do not have subpoena power. They cannot barge into AIG and demand to see the books, and even if they could, they would not have known what they were looking at. The financial instruments that Wall Street firms were both peddling and buying are the functional equivalent of particle physics. To this day, no one knows their true worth.

Particle physics?  Are you fucking kidding me? There are formulas that will tell you the value of a swap to the penny. No one knows the true worth of the swaps because nobody wants to know. They’re scared shitless.

Oh, and AIG is a public company.  Shareholders can, in fact, see the books.

One more thing.  Let’s forget Krugman, let’s forget Roubini, two guys who predicted this mess.  Let’s instead take a look at the public behavior of one Warren Buffett:

When Warren Buffett bought Gen Re, the large re-insurer, five years ago, he presciently made the decision to reduce their exposure to credit default swaps. It took them four years to reduce the number of contracts from 23,218 to just 197 at the end of 2006.

“We lost over $400 million on contracts that were supposedly ‘safe and properly priced’ and we did it in a leisurely way in a benign market,” says Mr. Buffett. “If we had to unwind it today [Jan. 2008] in one month, who knows what would have happened?” (The Wall Street Journal)

If you are a bank or regulated entity, and you have mortgage-backed securities that have been written by a AAA monocline company, you can carry that debt on your books as AAA. But as the companies get downgraded, you have to write down the potential loss.

This unwinding was common knowledge on the street.  If Warren Buffett was doing it, do you suppose it would have been reasonable for CNBC to ask AIG and others why they weren’t unwinding their swaps?

Don’t Blame Jim Cramer [WaPo]

Did not poor Dickey Cohen learn from the beating he took from trying to say that Stephen Colbert’s epic 2006 WHCD was not “Funny, nor fun”?

I have to chuckle at the Feeble Minded Princess Patoonya of the Village trying to defend the honor of Jim “Buy Bear!” Cramer, CNBC and the rest of the clowns at GE against the bad boys of Comedy Central.

The lesson for the umpteenth time: Don’t enter a battle of wits unarmed, Princess.

I just don’t understand how people can claim Stewart was attacking Cramer. Did they watch the interview? It was such a larger, more important point than that.

Did anyone see Cramer last night? I caught the first couple of minutes (never seen the show before) and he was trying to give the response to Stewart he was incapable of giving while sitting in front of the guy. Quel merde de poulet!

Crap, I forgot that Congress explicitly gave subpoena powers only to select Washington Post and New Yorker reporters (Bob Woodward, Carl Bernstein, Seymour Hersh). Everyone else has to rely on business press releases for their “investigative” stories.

And thanks Bloggie! Based on several of these links, I am going to start stockpiling rice and canned goods.

@Serolf Divad: My thoughts exactly.
Also, there should be a special place in hell for a writer who uses the word “zeitgeist” three times in four paragraphs, and for the copy editors who let it pass.

Is there no good news left anywhere in the world? I just took a peek at some gossip sites (laughing at overprivileged celebrities is fun!) and all anyone is talking about is Natasha Richardson. I actually like her so now I haz a bigger sad.

@Kiss Jamie Sommers, She’s Irish: There seem to be conflicting reports about how badly injured she is.

@Benedick: Yeah. Never thought I’d say this but I’m choosing to believe fucking TMZ since they’re saying she’s not brain dead.

Holy cow, life is weird.

@Serolf Divad: Cuomo does have subpoena power. From his statement today:
• The top recipient received more than $6.4 million;
• The top seven bonus recipients received more than $4 million each;
• The top ten bonus recipients received a combined $42 million;
• 22 individuals received bonuses of $2 million or more, and combined they received more than $72 million;
• 73 individuals received bonuses of $1 million or more; and
• Eleven of the individuals who received “retention” bonuses of $1 million or more are no longer working at AIG, including one who received $4.6 million;
Again, these payments were all made to individuals in the subsidiary whose performance led to crushing losses and the near failure of AIG. Thus, last week, AIG made more than 73 millionaires in the unit which lost so much money that it brought the firm to its knees, forcing taxpayer bailout. Something is deeply wrong with this outcome. I hope the Committee will address it head on.

We have also now obtained the contracts under which AIG decided to make these payments. The contracts shockingly contain a provision that required most individuals’ bonuses to be 100% of their 2007 bonuses. Thus, in the Spring of last year, AIG chose to lock in bonuses for 2008 at 2007 levels despite obvious signs that 2008 performance would be disastrous in comparison to the year before. My Office has thus begun to closely examine the circumstances under which the plan was created.

@Kiss Jamie Sommers, She’s Irish: Gawker got some egg on their face for breathlessly running a story that she was dead.

@SanFranLefty: From what I read, she was on the bunny slope and fell, and only later in her room complained of feeling sick.

So, lest we all start feeling upbeat, I give you this.


I just cleaned up my office, and now I have ‘sploded head all over the place. Thanks for the post.

@Nabisco: Wonderful piece. Horrifying account of what has been done in our name. Mark Danner’s reporting has been just about the best through this whole mess. Let us all light a candle and give thanks for the New York Review of Books.

@SanFranLefty: So did Jezebel. They’ve still got the 1965-2009 headline up (albeit with strikethrough) and the commenters are ready to lynch kick Dodai for it.

Here, read this and be happy! 2009 Names of the Year My favorites are Velvet Milkman and Muffin Lord.

@Tommmcatt the Wet Sprocket: If you liked that, you should read the AIG white paper bullshit explanation why they went ahead with the bonuses. It’s over at TPM.


Which is met with a collective yawn from Congress and the public, and calls to move on from Obama and the media.

Even if it were revealed that Dick Cheney’s personal death squad assassinated Paul Wellstone–which we all know is what really happened–who’d care? (Other than those of us on the “leftist fringe,” of course).

@Nabisco: That one kept me up past bedtime one night last week.

Lets face it, Cheney was living a spy-thriller. He really did simply tell the military to go around assasinating, kidnapping, torturing, and killing. Total James Bond.

But ya know, its been going on for decades, occasionally, not all the time, in the spy world, and the geneva conventions don’t apply to the clandestine operatives, in other words, spys are fair game, and I guess they just expanded on what they would normally do with a spy, and expanded it to anyone al queada, after all, they were all living under-cover.

The torture seems crude and dumb and counterproductive, to be sure.

But to be honest, its bad, but to me, not as bad as invading Iraq. To be honest, I am disappointed we could not, have not, assasinated Bin Laden, and followed his money supply up into the Saudi wahhabi clerics who did his fundraising, and to those who knowingly contributed, and did some killing of them. I mean, that would be fighting back at those who attacked us.

Iraq, that was about lying to the public so we could steal a country for its oil.

There’s always one problem with spy thrillers. They don’t work in real life.

Guess Cheney was really Dr Evil except as funny as Guru Pitka.

What a piece of shit. Of course not. One thing was obvious to people who looked in the assumptions behind the math is that the CDS were based on infinite growth. Any slippage in the real estate market, as it does like clockwork and the cascade of obligations trainwrecks. Again, Stewart was yelling at the wrong guys. Only in Shakespeare are the clowns supposed to tell the truth.

>To this day, no one knows their true worth.

Semi TJ: “… he seems to be steering the Republican Party like it’s his personal power boat and Mitch McConnell is the girl in the bikini on water skis.” Garrison Keillor column describes Rush Limbaugh and creates an image that will take days to rinse out of my brain.

One of the good guys, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs on Dick Cheney’s weekend TV appearance, “I guess Rush Limbaugh was busy, so they trotted out the next most popular member of the Republican cabal.” Gibbs later followed with, “Not taking economic advice from Dick Cheney might be the best possible outcome of yesterday’s interview.”

Do not miss the horrified reactions from CBS and ABC reporters Chip Reid and Rick Klein after Mr. Gibbs failed to show the required deference to the wildly unpopular ex-VP. Apparently the LNS crowd is alive and well in network news.

@Dave H: But indeed, what a faux-pas, to be so disrespectful to a mass-murdering, torturing, drunk-hunting lawyer shooting, tame-pheasant slaughtering (RML, surely you read of his little outing where he and his buddies killed 200, 300 tame pheasants, he’s not a hunter, he has a bloodlust, how disgusting is that to a real hunter?), Constitution-shredding, corrupt, incompetent, gluttonous nazi war criminal.

In informal situations, the proper way to address him is the way he addesses others: “Fuck you,” or if he is not present, “Fuck Him.”

On formal occasions, duct tape and a Louisville slugger. Keep the label up (props to Chainsaw).

@Promnight: Ethical hunting = fair chase. Which is why I come home empty handed more often than not.

@redmanlaw: I am not against hunting, I fish, I am hunter, if I had grown up in a hunting culture and someone had someone had brought me into it I am sure I would be a game hunter.

And I truly appreciate the real hunter’s ethic.

And thats why I nearly puke, fucking puke, when I read about Cheney’s canned mass slaughters. The man is not a hunter, its a slander against hunters for him to claim to be one. He is a murderer, he revels in blood and death. Nothing, nothing else can explain his slaughter of over 200 released birds on a canned hunt. That is an example of bloodlust gluttony that would stand out for a Roman Emporer.

Its a better, a truer, indication of how depraved and evil he is deep in his heart of hearts, than anything he did in office.

Truly, he is a piece of shit, stinking, steaming shit.

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