Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Archive for March 12th, 2009

Cramer on market manipulation

Posted by Charles II on March 12, 2009

This is like a videotaped confession. Get out the cuffs (via commenter FarmerA1 at TBP and Julie Satow at The Puffington Host, whose associated article you should read)

By the way, I stopped posting at The Big Picture because Barry Ritholtz was extremely, almost violently rude to me when I said that I believed that short selling could damage small companies. Cramer’s comments strongly confirm that, as he confesses that hedge funds drive prices up and down by spreading false rumors. It doesn’t take much imagination to figure out that small companies do not have the PR power to fight back and that the price damage could be much larger and more lasting.

Kind of makes you wonder why certain people get loud and angry when you say that short selling can damage companies.
Update: Jon Stewart committed some genuine journalism (Atrios has links), and he got it pitch perfect. He played segments of the tape above, enough so that anyone who knows recognizes what serious trouble Cramer is potentially in, but not so much that it sounded as if he were pursuing Cramer.

But he also made it clear that Cramer is not CNBC. He’s a commentator, not really a journalist. He’s become the face of the crisis, while he should be just the horse’s ass of it. Where were the journalists, the Maria Bartiromos, the Dylan Ratigans, the Erin Burnetts, and perhaps most especially the Charlie Gasparinos and John Harwoods to ask the difficult questions and chase down the truth?

I stand in awe of Jon Stewart, who asked the right questions in just the right way to make the the world of financial journalism start doing their jobs and stop carrying water for the extreme right wing of the Republican party.

Posted in corruption, stock market | 1 Comment »

Neoliberalism is so strange

Posted by Charles II on March 12, 2009

Peter Garnham, FT:

The Swiss National Bank sparked talk of a global currency war on Thursday as it surprised investors by intervening to bring down the Swiss franc.

The Swiss franc’s safe-haven status has been heightened by recent market turmoil, pushing it close to its record high around SFr1.43 against the euro in the past few weeks.

But the franc fell to its lowest level this year after the Swiss National Bank said the currency’s strength represented an “inappropriate tightening of monetary conditions” as it battled against a slowdown in the Swiss economy.

“In view of this development, the SNB has decided to purchase foreign currency on the foreign exchange market to prevent any further appreciation of the Swiss franc against the euro,” the central bank said.

Buying/selling foreign currencies is one way to bring down your currency. It almost always fails to keep your currency down/up. It screws up the other fellow’s currency. And Switzerland, despite its high standard of living, has problems– including high taxes, some pollution and a decline in manufacturing competiveness– that could use some spending of real francs. One of the reasons that they find it so hard to break their reliance on secretive banking (and its inevitable entanglement with crime and fraud) is that bank secrecy is one of Switzerland’s only real comparative advantages. There’s a fear that if they clean up the banking system, they’ll start to hemorrhage on balance of payments.

But solve Switzerland’s currency problem? Give everyone a 10% tax holiday. Or buy everyone in Africa a month’s worth of food. Anything other than currency intervention.

Posted in corruption | Comments Off on Neoliberalism is so strange

Biblically correct

Posted by Charles II on March 12, 2009


Via Avedon Carol‘s (incomparable) Sideshow, we learn of a protest at The University of Chicago against Westboro Baptist Church, the vehicle of Fred Phelps & kin for their campaign of vengeance against, well, almost everyone:

The Westboro Baptist Church brought their show to campus, leading the student body to a myriad of counter-protests and celebrations of pride and diversity. Whatever the WBC’s goals are, we’ll never know, but the students’ voice was heard loud and clear: “Many identities, one community.”

Posted in fearmongering, Fred Phelps, Fundies, Good Things | 4 Comments »

Why Democratic economics beats Republican economics

Posted by Charles II on March 12, 2009

Bonddad has a post worth reading here. In this post, and posts that are promised, he looks at the calculations that go into whether stimulus is net a A Good Thing or A Bad Thing. Most of us just want to keep our jobs, and our accustomed caloric intake, so it’s a good thing that the CBO is looking at how our selfish individual calculations affect the nation as a whole. In Bondad’s first segment, he says that CBO looks at what stimulus does to GDP.

It raises GDP, as do tax cuts, by increasing economic growth. If it’s spent on productive things, like repairing bridges in danger of collapse or building solar electrical generation capacity, or educating students, it adds to future GDP. On the other hand, it subtracts from future GDP by funneling investment into government bonds (for which interest has to be paid by taxes) rather than into, say, nanotechnology. But of course the same could be said about the effect of tax cuts.

Bottom line: infrastructure investment is exactly like tax cuts, except you get to keep the roads and bridges.

And that’s why Democratic approaches to the economy are almost inevitably superior to Republican ones.

Posted in Democrats, economy, infrastructure, Republicans | 1 Comment »


Posted by Phoenix Woman on March 12, 2009

The MnIndy reports that Norm Coleman’s donor list was found on an unsecured portion of his website. The discovery was made as a result of people trying to determine if Coleman had crashed his own website back in January.

— Presidential wannabee and current Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty had better worry about his own house first: His approval ratings have dropped ten points in three months.

Posted in 2012, Minnesota, Norm Coleman, Republicans, Tim Pawlenty, unintended consequences | Comments Off on Oooopsie!

Cheney’s Assassination Squads

Posted by Phoenix Woman on March 12, 2009

Wow. Just — wow.

Sy Hersh let something big slip, and we have Eric Black to thank for catching it.

Posted in Constitution, Constitutional crisis, crimes, cronies, Dick Cheney, evil, terrorism, totalitarianism, WTF? | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

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