The Widdershins


Posted on: May 17, 2012

Here we go again

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose

Ah yes, that’s the one.  Was it only yesterday (yes, it was) that I was posting about how some pols were lamenting the inability of our august leaders to c-o-m-p-r-o-m-i-s-e ?  Well it seems they gripe one day about their inability to accomplish anything and then go back to the same ole games the next.  And here some examples:

The House acted today to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act of 1994.  However, they did not pass the same version that the Senate passed.  Instead, the House version did not include language that would cover LGBT folks who are in a domestic relationship where some type of violent behavior has occurred.  The Senate version also would have given tribal authorities on Indian lands the ability to pursue a non-Native American who inflicted violence against a Native American that happened on tribal lands.  Specifically:

Under a 1978 Supreme Court decision, non-Indians cannot be prosecuted by tribal courts for crimes committed on tribal land. Last July, the Justice Department recommended that Congress give tribes local authority to prosecute non-Indians in misdemeanor domestic and dating violence cases.

The Republicans did offer another way to handle such cases, “the Republican version allows a battered Native American woman or a tribe on her behalf to file in U.S. District Court for a protection order against an alleged abuser, whether Indian or not, who committed the abuse on Indian land. But the White House and other Democrats want tribal courts to be able to prosecute the offenders.”.   I know to file a protective order is not the same as allowing prosecution.  And I also know how little “protection orders” have done on the state level in many cases.  But is it possible that having a Federal protection order might be just as good or better than allowing tribal prosecution?  Honestly, I don’t know.

Also, the House took out a portion that had been in the House version that “would have compromised the confidentiality of battered illegal immigrants who break from their partners, cooperate with law enforcement and apply for their own citizenship. ”  I did a post on this, here so you can read the particulars on it and decide for yourself whether this was a killer on the entire bill.  My personal opinion is this:  Pass the damned bill!  I have to give credit to the Repubs here.  In the House they did offer some changes but not enough for some Dems.  Okay, we know it’s an election year but don’t use this bill for one of your pissing contests.  Just pass the bill now and later you can add amendments to it and attach those to one of the  “have to pass” bills that no one is going to vote against just because of it.  Show some statesmanship here folks, hmmm?  Moving along…

It’s Debt Ceiling Time Again

Oh Gawd, that thing we love as much as a root canal.  What will it be this time?  Government shutdown?  Another downgrade of our credit rating by S&P?  Way too soon to tell, but the “battle lines” are being drawn.  Obama says the Repubs must include some revenue raising and Boehner says nope gotta have more cuts to the budget.  What he actually said was :

“This is the only avenue I see right now to force the elected leadership of this country to solve our structural fiscal imbalance,” Boehner says, according to highlights of the speech provided to the Post. “If that means we have to do a series of stop-gap measures, so be it. But that’s not the ideal. Let’s start solving the problem.”

One of his aides also told WaPo that “Higher taxes, however, are still off the table.
Alrighty then.  Seems like an impasse will be forthcoming.  The only way this *might* change is if the 2nd half of the deal worked out last year comes to pass this year.  That’s the part where, if they can’t get their collective shit together, then $1.2 trillion in cuts will come into play and those will be across the board, including Defense. No winners here, neither Repub nor Dem.  Instead, golden showers for everyone because that’s exactly what they are doing with this little bit of election year politicking.

A little tidbit I ran across

In regard to the $2 billion dollar loss that J.P. Morgan-Chase sustained (it was their own fault by the way), Obama had this to say:

“JPMorgan is one of the best managed banks there is. Jamie Dimon, the head of it, is one of the smartest bankers we got and they still lost $2 billion and counting,” Obama said yesterday in an interview with the ABC program “The View” scheduled for broadcast today.

I should hope you feel that way Mr. President because what you didn’t say was that

U.S. President Barack Obama has $500,001 to $1 million in a JPMorgan Chase private client asset management checking account, according to financial disclosures released by the White House on Tuesday.

Gee Mr. President, I hope none of your one half to one mill was invested in those J.P. Morgan derivatives things that just cost them a bundle.  🙄

On a lighter note

This little guy is a Humboldt penguin who was in a Toyko aquarium but he make a break for it.  He/she scaled a rock wall four meters (13 ft) high and squeezed through a barbed wire fence to escape its harborside aquarium in March.  Well they spied him/her (it’s called Penguin 377) swimming around in Toyko Bay.  The deputy director of the park said:

“It didn’t look like it has gotten thinner over the past two months, or been without food. It doesn’t seem to be any weaker. So it looks as if it’s been living quite happily in the middle of Tokyo Bay.”

Rocky on Pengy, rock on!  😆

It’s an open thread, have at it folks.



That shrill noise you hear is coming from me screaming accompanied by a even louder thump as I bang my head against the table.

How much more of this crap are we supposed to endure?

Agent Orange needs to start cutting spending by cutting Congressional salaries and benefits (which include full, tax payer subsidized, health insurance for his entire family.) Everyone must sacrifice, no? Oh wait…Agent Orange and his cronies aren’t everyone. They’re special.

I think JP Morgan folks have revised their loss to say $2-4 billion. Which means it’s closer to 4. Of course Obama likes that entitled prissy prima donna Jamie Dimon.

Fredster, love the penguin going on the lam.

DYB, you gave me a loud guffaw on “Agent Orange.” The whole debt ceiling cluster fornication is akin to letting a baby play in a storage room of dry cleaning bags. When it’s time for attention, pull out another dry cleaning bag and go all Michael Kors with it.

A little fun fact to know and tell about J.P. Morgan-Chase and its ilk — in 2008 when the banks were floating “goldfish belly up” the top 6 banks had about $6.1 trillion in assets when they were “too big to fail.” Today, courtesy of the bailout and arbitraging the Fed’s “a hair above zero interest” largess, these same six banks control over $8.0 trillion in assets, Too big to fail has become the equivalent of teaching sewing at Weight Watchers’ meetings in order to let out the waistband a couple of more feet.

The best thinking now about what went wrong at J.P. Morgan was a math error in the trading calculations — what they aren’t saying publicly is that there is no math to fathom the derivative business since you can’t quantify unforeseen risk. (Mr. Dimon, can you give us a description of that big green-eyed monster living under your bed — how much did it weigh in pounds and kilos, how tall in inches and centimeters?)

It’s just madness, pure unadulterated madness, because these “derivative trades” are predicated on hypotheses based upon current knowledge and facts — and we all know that each day brings new variants. It’s like inviting muddy hog farmers into a pristine Level 5 clean lab everyday. Bring back Glass Steagall or at least the leverage caps that Dubya abolished. And you know what really frosts my mug — these wild-eyed derivative trades only account for a few percentage points in the overall profits of these banks. Madness, absolute madness — I’ve got to quit because my blood pressure is about to set off the sprinkler system.

Prolix, I have not written or discussed the Wall Street mess, even back to 2008 because I barely understand what exactly went on except it all started with lousy mortgages and then betting they’d fail after packaging them to investors. But, after all I *have* read, it’s obvious these banks can’t behave by themselves. They do need to be tightly regulated.

Pat@1: It’s election time/year. Just look for more and more of it.

Prolix and all: I kept this youtube since the last financial mess because I thought Bird and Fortune summed it up well enough for even me to understand!

Fredster, I’ve read a bunch of books about this mess trying to figure it out and I’m not sure anyone has a good bead on exactly what happened. By far, the best book is by Bethany McLean (Enron explainer) and Joe Nicera called, “All the Devils Are Here.”

My personal default position is always as little regulation as possible, but here, the banks did more than misbehave. This was a calculated, deliberate, mens rea laden scheme for the accumulation of wealth that would have made Croesus hang his head in shame.

Prolx@6: Excellent comment. I understand your positon on regulation but these folks have shown that they are either incapable or unwilling to draw a line someplace (ethical behavior perhaps) and thus are in need of “adults” to draw the line for them. Same thing goes for the commodities market. We don’t know for sure how much “speculation” caused the jump in oil prices but it did have an effect and Obama gave iti some lip service when gas prices were rising almost hourly. Not a peep about it since. And don’t know about your area, but gas prices are beginningn to fall a bit here in AL.

Fredster, we are in complete agreement. I liken it to my grandpa’s mule Barney. Grandpa would always warn me about feeding Barney too much — Barney and I were good buds. Mules like all equine will “founder” (eat until it puts them down). Wall Street banks are just like Barney — they won’t stop feeding at the trough of obscene profits, but unlike Barney they had Paulson, Dubya, and the Fed to administer a soothing, palliative, life-saving enema with taxpayers dollars. The way I look at it, “too big to fail” just means that their target zone for life-saving enema injection just grows as they do.

Prolix@6: and arbitraging the Fed’s “a hair above zero interest” largess

Taibbi has written about that largess and the fact that we’re giving them that almost free money, and then they’re selling it back to the Feds at 3% or abouts by purchasing Treasury notes. Could we open the doors to the Treasury any more?

and @8: ROTFLMAO!!! Perfect!

FWIW: Has anybody else had problems connecting to the site? I will try to refresh the page or post a comment and then can’t connect. I wait a minute or two and then I can connect again.

R.I.P. Donna Summer

Donna Summer, whom millions of fans revered as “the Queen of Disco,” has died at the age of 63 in Florida after a battle with cancer, the Associated Press confirmed with the singer’s family Thursday morning.

My Lord, how many times did I *dance* to her songs at the clubs.

Interesting read over at Black Agenda Report.

Great post, Fredster. Richard Mourdock is the new face of compromise.

sophie@13: Can’t wait till he’s in the Senate and finds out what it’s like to be at the bottom of the seniority ladder. However, maybe, just maybe the good folks of Indiana will select whoever the Dem nominee will be.
(wish there was a little icon of praying hands!)

I’ll probably start a firestorm here, but…couldn’t have happened to a more deserving “fan base”.

@14: Democrat Joe Donnelly is running against Tea Party Republican Richard Mourdock. Donnelly is a Blue Dog but he is the best we are going to get in Indiana this election cycle. I hope this link works:

While I am waiting for WordPress to notify me that they are in my pants again, I want to say that I am very worried about what is going to happen in my state if Pence and Mourdock win their races for Governor and Senator in November. We are seriously considering moving to Vermont.

@5: I love this video, Fredster! Now I feel like an expert on all things about Wall Street. And the British accents are so classy. 😆

Beata@17: Can’t blame you in the least for wanting to consider a new location. I am really hoping that Mourdock loses to Donnelly.

Beata@18: If you go to youtube and type in Bird and Fortune, they have a handful of videos there and they are all hysterical! 😆

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