Intravenous Caffeine

Totally Unfair and Completely Unbalanced

The Real Reason All Those Oil Companies Screwed Up

We'd have been better off if the Three Stooges had been in charge of drilling in the Gulf.

Moe Inc., Larry Inc., and Curly Inc. Woowoowoowoowoooooo!

Well, let’s see, you still need papers in Arizona–finish the danged fence, eh, John McCain? And Elena Kagan is now the darling of Laura Bush–who has started opening her mouth more and more since she doesn’t have to just nod her head and smile–although she does that quite a lot in her new book–the one with the mummy mask on the cover? So it looks like we’re back with the LaGulfa Tar Pit–formerly known as the Gulf of Mexico. Just think, boys and girls, in 50,000 years, people, or whatever intelligent species will be inhabiting this planet, will be able to excavate the Gulf of Mexico and find all sorts of creatures that used to live in the ocean!

We were treated to the spectacle of BP, Transocean and Halliburton all pointing fingers at each other, saying that it was some other guy’s fault that for nearly a month now, crude oil has been gushing into the sea, endangering wildlife, fishing, creating a dead zone far greater than the previous one, and in general, becoming OILMAGEDDON. Really, it looked like a Three Stooges movie. In fact, it probably would have been much more fun for all of us victims to see these three guys slapping each other and poking fingers into eyes!

True, this is probably unfair to Moe, Larry and Curly. They only created disasters on a purely local level. Like leveling a house. It takes an oil executive to create one on a global scale! See what a college education can do for YOU!

The “Drill, Baby, Drill” ideologues have in the meantime weighed in with their peculiar brand of irrationality. Sarah Palin says this is why we shouldn’t trust furriners like BRITISH Petroleum (never mind that TransOcean and Halliburton are American companies). Rush Limbaugh ideates that environmentalists did this to scotch any further offshore drilling–this is the cutting off your nose to spite your face strategy–or maybe Koreans. He’s not sure–he’ll know in another dose of oxycodone. And of course, the pro-drill crowd says this just PROVES we need to do more offshore drilling–look at all the oil we’re losing, we’ve got to make that up SOMEHOW and after all, practice makes perfect!

In the meantime, BP has tried to cap the well with the TOP HAT and the HOT TAP–amazing that the ONLY thing they’ve gotten to work so far is something that allows them to recover some of the spill into a tanker, but in the meantime, we still have the 10 mile long plumes of crude shooting out to sea. And it’s getting near the current that will take it to the Florida Keys. Ernest Hemingway couldn’t do it, hurricanes couldn’t do it, but it looks like good old capitalism will finally shut Sloppy Joe’s down!

And as we watch the death of one of the most important bodies of water in the world, let’s have a drink on that old fisherman and his soon-to-be-vanished marlin. One more for my baby and one more for the road–because it was the road that got us here.

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Goldman Sachs–shorting America

Lloyd Blankfein as Matt Taibbi's great vampire squid and his version of MAD--mutually assured derivatives--just as bad as mutually assured destruction.

The Great Vampire Squid testifies in front of Congress. Mutually Assured Destruc ... Derivatives?

Oh, how I wish I’d come up with Matt Taibbi’s description of Goldman Sachs as a “great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity.” A prescient lad, he said that even before the revelations this past week about “The Big Short”. Seems these very shrewd operators basically: 1) made a bunch of loans to people they knew had a very good chance of defaulting; 2) bundled them into a security that they noodged Moody’s and Standard and Poors to rate AAA; 3) sold them to unsuspecting investors as a solid investment; and 4) shorted them so that when the price fell, they’d clean up. In fact, the only way they could have lost money would have been for the loans to be repaid. Thus they not only screwed the poor schmucks who couldn’t repay loans (remember the sliding rates that went up after a few years? Let’s stack the deck while we’re at it.) But they screwed their clients.

And when the bottom fell out, they screwed everybody. Lloyd Blankfein–who has an eerie resemblance to Erich von Stroheim, the “Man You Love To Hate”–claims he was doing God’s work, but for the life of me, Blankfein’s God has little to do with any modern God I know–more like Cthulhu (and we’re back to great vampire squids). Senator Dodd from Arkham has heard the call of Cthulhu and has busily crafted a financial reform bill that keeps the monsters and their derivatives intact–it seems mostly concerned with restoring the power of the regulators to wank instead of work and watch internet porn. Not break up the banks that bet AGAINST AMERICANS.

Most recently, Blankfein has had the gall to tell us that if we break up the banks, we will weaken America. Like the worst economic crisis since Black Friday didn’t do that already. Maybe he meant it in relative terms. After all, they broke the economy of the entire world–maybe America would have come out ahead on the deal.

If we’d shorted it.

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Happy Hallowe’en from the Cthulhu Group–your trusted name in finance

Mrs. Dymme mistakes the chthonic spawn of Cthulhu for children trick-or-treating as financial executives.

Ia? Shub-Niggurath? Is that Trick-or-Treat in a foreign language?

October is my favorite month because it has my two favorite holidays–my birthday, sometimes also known as Columbus Day (a day off AND presents, now that’s MY kind of holiday) and Hallowe’en. The end of October is fast approaching, the leaves have turned orange and started to fall, and the kids have started working on their costumes–unless they go to anime cons, and then they have costumes ready all year. But for some of us, Hallowe’en started last year and has continued on through the last 12 months–the bankers who destroyed the economy, told us that it would get worse if we didn’t give them nearly a trillion dollars to bail them out, and then proceeded to give themselves bonuses for doing such a great job. TRICK OR TREAT! Now, It wasn’t completely their fault, after all, we gave them the money And then said, “Oh, don’t bother to tell us how you’re going to spend it–we trust you to make the right decisions.” After all, look where your decisions have gotten us so far! With 20-20 hindsight, this lack of oversight was beyond doubt a true oversight that we should have had the foresight to forestall. But the Bush administration was still in charge and one thing you have to say about the Bush administration–when they were wrong–they made sure they were ABSOLUTELY WRONG. Not that things have changed that much with the Obama forces–our national treasury is still in the hands of Goldman-Sachs and the prospect of tougher regulation looks like it will go the way of single-payer health coverage–off the table before we even start. Instead, we’ve decided to ask these pirates if they pretty please with sugar on top, consider not acting like the total greedy bastards that they are.
But, isn’t it amazing how the real solutions get taken off the table so quickly–like impeaching Bush, which never even got to a vote because it had been taken off the table, and once the Democrats take something off the table, it’s like last month’s minutes at the cell phone company. Look at credit card reform–capping interest rates? That might make the credit card companies upset. Instead we forced them to “give notice” when they were going to gouge their customers–and then gave them enough of a grace period to institute loan shark rates before they had to even think of giving notice. Will we even be able to slap the wrists of the credit rating companies who issued fantasy ratings for the worthless securities that drove the economy into the dirt? No no no! those ratings are “opinions” and thus guarded by the First Amendment. The rating companies have no obligation to give an honest and truthful rating, according to their lawyers. If that’s true, why do we even have these ratings companies–why not just let everybody rate themselves and cut out the middleman! And on the health care front, the big question is whether the “public option” is going to be watered down as much as a strip’n'clip bourbon and water–or water and bourbon.
To add insult to injury, our old friend Joe Liebermann has announced that once again he will not vote with the Democrats but with the Republicans against the public option, demonstrating once again that his votes are not about what’s good for the country but what’s good for Joe Liebermann. I think he was jealous of all the attention Olympia Snowe was getting. Hey, they should all be getting upset about ME! Seriously, Democrats, I think it’s time you re-evaluated your relationship with this man. He promised to caucus with you, but cheats on you every chance he gets. If this was a marriage, you’d be consulting a divorce lawyer…a year ago when he supported the Republican Presidential nominee. I wanted to draw him today as an asshole (really–two cheeks with a hole in the crack) but since I don’t want to have to mark it “mature” I decided to do him as a slug amidst the chthonic spawn of Cthulhu instead :) I think it’s an apt analogy considering what he votes for.
In any case, Happy Hallowe’en: kids, trick-or-treat safely and treaters, always buy extra of your favorite candy. Now I’ve got to go carve some pumpkins :)

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