Mark McHugh

Archive for June, 2009|Monthly archive page

Who’s the Fuckin’ Conspiracy Theorist Now?

In Open Thread on Wednesday, June 24, 2009 at 11:54 pm


You could actually smell the urine eminating from the CNBC set today when California representative Darrell Issa accussed the Federal Reserve of a “coverup” regarding it’s roll in last fall’s Merrill/BoA merger.

Jack-hole Steve Liesman asked, “Do you mean an illegal cover-up?”issaCaptureDetective Erin noticed that this was an attack on Bernanke’s credibility.

The Federal Reserve has a pretty simple mission statement, the two primary objectives are price stability and maximum employment (there’s nothing about saving us from the boogeyman).   So pull up a chart of ANYTHING from 2002 (when Ben became a fed govenor) until now and tell me with a straight face that we have price stability.  ANYTHING AT ALL!!!!!!   Keep in mind, Bernanke has combined these monumentally unstable prices with a pace of job losses not seen since the 1930’s.  By any reasonable measure, Bernanke is the kind of walking, talking  joke that only happens once every hundred years or so.  By the way, I’m hereby offering a $100 reward for the clip of him telling school children that today’s situation “is nothing like the great depression”  (seems to have disappeared….).

I’m sorry, you were saying about credibility, Erin?

lots more……. Read the rest of this entry »

Was THAT supposed to make us Feel Better?

In Open Thread on Saturday, June 20, 2009 at 11:45 am

In a disturbing display of bipartisan head-up-your-assery, Tim Giethner laid out his “plan” for regulatory reform before the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee on Thursday. Before explaining what is so terrifying about all this, some history:

“I’ve never been a regulator, for better or worse. And I think you’re right to say that we have to be very skeptical that regulation can solve all of these problems.

~Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner (March 26, 2009)

Interesting. Apparently Geithner never bothered to read his job description. From

As part of our core mission, we supervise and regulate financial institutions in the Second District. Our primary objective is to maintain a safe and competitive U.S. and global banking system.

Fun fact: Timothy Giethner was President of Federal Reserve Bank of New York (November 17, 2003 – January 26, 2009).

So it’s unfair to say that Geithner was “asleep at the switch” during the events leading up to, and including the greatest regulatory failures in history. It is more accurate to say that Geithner didn’t even know he was supposed to be at the switch.

And while we’re clarifying details, let’s review Mr. Geithner’s tax problems. Not only did he fail to pay self-employment taxes while working for the IMF, he was re-imbursed for the taxes he didn’t pay. This wasn’t automatic, he had to apply for re-imbursement.

At the end of the tax allowance form were the words, “I hereby certify that all the information contained herein is true to the best of my knowledge and belief and that I will pay the taxes for which I have received tax allowance payments from the Fund.” Geithner signed the form. He accepted the allowance payment. He didn’t pay the tax. For several years in a row.


With that track record in mind, it should surprise no one that pretty much everything in Geithner’s “reform plan” is already clearly stated policy. Policies that failed the American financial system because their execution was entrusted to the likes of Tim Geithner.

Naming Geithner Treasury Secretary is a joke, much like Met’s fans naming Bill Buckner 1986 World Series MVP, except this is a joke we can’t afford.

Book Report – Bailout Nation

In Open Thread on Monday, June 15, 2009 at 8:48 am



This weekend I finally got the chance to settle down with Barry Ritholtz’s new book Bailout Nation. It’s no secret that I am a huge fan of his blog, The Big Picture.  No voice resonates with both Wall St. and Main St. more powerfully.  Before I tell you what the book is, I’ll tell you what it is not (and why I lead with Dammit!). It is not a 300-page rant, which makes me sad because the man has a gift:

As to the crappy derivatives that Phony and Fraudy bought when they thought of themselves as giant hedge funds — the first person in government that suggests taxpayer money be used to cover those losses, I will personally feed  into a wood chipper . . . Feet first . . . Slowly.

~Barry Ritholtz

Still gives me goosebumps.  And while I would gladly read a book of imaginative threats, the demographics might be limited.

Bailout Nation walks the reader down the ever-widening path of moral hazard that America is on, succinctly and objectively.  And while blame is placed on those responsible, the surprising thrust of the book is hope, not condemnation.  Ritholtz reminds us that capitalism is a wonderful system, and interfering with the brutal aspects of creative destruction is creating a “worst of both worlds” hybrid.  Changes in regulation and ideologies impact on the past and present are chronicled in a way that reads effortlessly (I’d have used more f-bombs).

The last chapter, “Advice to a New President” is particularly thought-provoking.  It is a collection of truly fresh ideas from a variety of sources (Doug Kass and Dylan Ratigan to name but two) on ways to secure a better future for America.

This stands in stark contrast to my concept of what the last chapter should have been:  “Home Addresses of these Pricks”.  I’d also have used the book to merchandise “Ritholtz” brand torches, pitchforks, bats and anything else I could think of.

So Bailout Nation, while not the manifesto I was hoping for, stands tall as both a look back at lessons we should have learned from and map to get back on track.  More info

To those of you looking for good  rant however, I highly recommend this guy:

Saint Hankenstein?

In stocks finance on Thursday, June 11, 2009 at 10:40 pm

saint hankensteinI know that TV appearances by uber-boob Steve Moore have proven to most of us  that the only thing the Wall Street Journal represents is the senseless slaughter of trees.  But from time to time, the shit gets so deep, real journalists take exception (no, not me stupid).

Comedy ensued when Matt Taibbi, author of the brilliant, must-read, Rolling Stone article, The Big Takeover took offense to a key-slappin’ douche-bag by the name of  Evan Newmark, who actually entitled a column, It’s Time to Enshrine Hank Paulson as National Hero. Rumor has is that Evan’s body of work also includes pieces entitled, Why don’t we name Streets after Hitler ? and Missing Michael Vick. But I digress.

Turns out Mr. Taibbi is also gifted with the hatchet (please note: I have corrupted the definition of “hatchet job” in my warped little mind.  I does not necessarily involve misrepresenting facts, but rather highlights absurdity and foolishness through the use of colorful explicatives), case in point:

Dear WSJ,

Just out of curiosity — did Evan Newmark ever work for Goldman, Sachs? And if the answer to the question is yes, don’t you think that might have been a good fact to disclose before he fellated Hank Paulson in his “Mean Street” column?

Matt Taibbi

Turns out Matt’s suspicions were right, so he wrote (among other things):

Can you imagine what a craven, bumlicking ass-goblin you’d have to be to get a job working for the Wall Street Journal, not mention up front that you used to be a Goldman Sachs managing director, and then write a lengthy article calling your former boss a “national hero”.

It’s mean, but it’s art.  Matt’s entire takedown can be found here:

But wait, there’s more to this story……..

Read the rest of this entry »

What’s Wrong with This Picture?

In SEC, stocks finance on Wednesday, June 10, 2009 at 3:30 pm

My four year old got this one:610SPYCaptureSadly, our regulators won’t.

From the final minutes of trading today.  Now keep in mind, this is the SPY, not some penny stock.  If the SPY is having liquidity issues, we’re in for some very interesting days.

And I was trying to be nice….

I’ve got 14 million reasons to be kind to the SEC.  In March of 2007, I applied for a bounty on Angelo Mozilo’s insider trading. So when the SEC finally charged Mozilo with $140M in fraudulent insider trading, my heart skipped a few beats  (a bounty award is up to 10% of the amount recovered).   And while that kind of money is beyond my wildest dreams, it’s not enough to make me turn a blind eye to the incestuous horror show that passes for regulation in our markets.  I only hope that they have to cough up that reward money to someone who despises them as much as I do.

If I were a rich man….

For kicks, I decided what I would do if my archenemies had to cut that check to me.  I would run an open source development project on biochar.  It is my opinion that this is the most promising “green” technolgy, and would provide more jobs for more people than anything currently being discussed.  If I could ask one thing of you, it would be that you read the wikipedia article on biochar.

From Wikipedia:

biochar is a tool used to simultaneously slow down deforestation, increase the food security of rural communities, provide renewable energy to them and sequester carbon.

I’m using Biochar to describe a variety of technologies (including wood gasification) that can be enacted locally and customized to community or individual needs, addressing energy, environmental, and agricultural needs simultaneously.  These technologies require intelligent humans to build, operate, maintain and sustain them on a very local level.

Or we could go space-mining…..