December 10, 2011

OMFG! Criminals Commit ... Crimes!!

James B. Stewart is, like, a smart dude. His bio says that he "shared the Pulitzer Prize for explanatory reporting in 1988, when he was a reporter at The Wall Street Journal." That was, um, twenty-, uh, thirty-, no, well, like a lot of years ago. When they had VHS tapes and mastodons and shit. And no iPhones!! Primitivo, man.

But what a sweet, big-hearted guy. He shared the Pulitzer ("Hey, dudes, I could never have done it on my own!"), for "explanatory reporting." He explains stuff. To the rest of us, who are The Stupids. Here's the rest of his bio. He's a way privileged white dude. I'm, like, totally amazed. Privileged white dudes are the best. They keep telling us that, so I figure it must be true. I mean, they have the most stuff, man. And they make movies. Making movies is da bomb. Ask Jimmy Cameron, an awesomely smart, rich, white dude. Who, like, saves whole worlds. Privileged white dudes make lots of movies, including about funny shit like rape. Really privileged white dudes have a totally unique slant on things. I figure that's because they can do whatever the fuck they want. Like rape women and children. Or destroy whole countries.

Or even, like, create whole countries. That is so awesome, man! Those privileged white motherfuckers set up an entire country just for themselves. They killed all the people who were already there, enslaved a gigantissimo bunch of other people, and made sure only privileged white motherfuckers, who were men (which was, like, totally a coincidence), could run things. And this is true even when the privileged white motherfuckers look like they aren't white. Only supercool, way smart white dudes can think up shit like this. You try it. See? You can't. We're dumb fucks, man. C'mon, it's the truth. The truth will set us free. Free to be poor, dumb fucks.

And Stewart -- I like to call him JamB, which is like a totally cool nickname (doncha love the capital B at the end, cuz it's his middle initial, man -- that is so cool, it is, shut up, man) -- he teaches business journalism. At Columbia! I'm groveling, JamB! You are amazing! And he writes a column for The. Fucking. New. York. Times. His column is called "Common Sense." Isn't that sweet? I think it's sweet. It's like he's saying, "Yeah, I'm like so much better than you that we're not in the same universe. I'm like a kind visitor from another world, like in The Day the Earth Stood Still. Klaatu barada nikto! Do what I say or I'll, like, kill you, man! Hahahaha! Just kidding, dude. I call my column 'Common Sense' so you'll think I'm not really all that special -- it's just common sense, see? You can do it, too. Except you can't. Nope, no sirree, no way, not gonna happen. You need a smart, rich guy like me to explain shit. But we're really all the same. Except we aren't. But if I come across like just another not-special dude, you won't mind so much when I totally fuck you over! Hahahaha! Hey, man, kidding. Like I would ever do that! C'mon, dude, relax."

It's like those people who call themselves "Dr." whatever. Dr. Phil. Dr. Laura. The "Phil" and "Laura" is so you think they're like your best bud, just a pal you hang with. The "Dr." is to remind you that they're "experts." So they're smart and shit, they're authorities, and you should listen to them and do what they say. Then, when they fuck you over, you won't mind so much. See how that works? You don't get to be rich and privileged by being a dumb shit.

So okay, here's JamB's latest "Common Sense" piece, all about Corzine and MF Global. This is how JamB starts:
Are customer accounts at brokerage firms safe?

Until the collapse of MF Global, that’s a question I thought I’d never have to ask.
JamB is, like, stunned. He's totally amazed. The protection of customer assets is "considered a sacred obligation." That's what some privileged dude at the SEC told JamB, and it's what JamB had believed. These are way smart dudes, and they are as innocent as fucking lambs. These innocent lambs are being taught life lessons, man. Life lessons are harsh. The privileged smart dudes are sad.

JamB spells out the life lesson he learned when more than a billion dollars of customer assets at MF Global "had vanished." It's like magic, man! It's here, it's gone. It vanished! JamB says:
How could such a thing happen? I had always assumed it was impossible and that strict internal controls existed at all brokerage firms so that firm officials couldn’t tap segregated customer funds even if they were willing to break the law. Thanks to MF Global, it’s now apparent that isn’t necessarily true. “If people are determined to misuse customer funds, they will misuse them,” said Ananda Radhakrishnan, the director of the division of clearing and risk at the Commodities Futures Trading Commission.
This is how JamB announces -- in the holy pages of The. Fucking. New. York. Times. -- the discovery of A Great Truth: Criminals commit crimes, like, ah, er, um, stealing.

If we didn't have totally smart privileged white dudes explaining this shit to us, we'd never understand anything, man. Give thanks to JamB! But, but, but there are rulz against bad shit like stealing, man!, sez JamB, crying like a little baby. Besides the fact that those dinosaur-times white motherfuckers stole, like, the whole country in the first place, who does JamB think wrote the rulz? And who enforces them? Or, you know, doesn't? Those are real stumpers, huh? Gee, I wonder who does all that ... oh, yeah, I explained all that just recently. I have to keep explaining it, because I can't remember it, cuz I'm a dumb fuck.

My man JamB does mention a few cool things that I hadn't known about. Like this:
This week, the [Commodities Futures Trading Commission] issued new rules restricting how client assets can be invested, which had grown under C.F.T.C. interpretations to include sovereign debt and transactions known as “in-house repos,” or repurchase agreements, in which a firm contracts with itself to use customer assets as, in effect, interest-free loans to finance its inventory of Treasury bonds. MF Global was apparently a heavy user of in-house repos, and before his firm collapsed, Mr. Corzine had argued strenuously against the C.F.T.C.’s proposal to ban them.
Now that is cool. You make deals with yourself using other people's money. It's, like, total genius. Only supersmart white dudes (or not-white dudes who actually are white dudes, heh-heh, chortle, snicker) can do stuff like that. You can't do it. I can't either. Boo-hoo us.

It's almost like, well, there's no such thing as "law" at all. OMFG!!! Or, maybe, it's like the law depends on who has power. It's legal if we say it is! Oh, yeah, I've been through this before, and before that.

And about Corzine ... well, fuck me. Actually, Corzine sorta fucked everybody, didn't he? Awesome rich white dude move. And like he's ever going to jail. Hahahaha, yeah, right after George W. But Jonny went to D.C. to explain what happened and, like, he's completely stumped! Seriously, he has no idea at all:
How did the customer assets ever leave the segregated accounts to begin with? In testimony on Capitol Hill on Thursday, Mr. Corzine only added to the mystery. He said that transferring customer funds was “a complex process” and, asked who could execute such a transfer, said “I wouldn’t know probably who that person is.”

While Mr. Corzine said he had “no intention” of authorizing any transfer of segregated funds and “didn’t intend to break any rules,” he left open the possibility that someone might have thought he did.
"Hey, Jonny, how come there are like twelve bloody, mutilated, dead bodies in the bed you slept in last night?"

"Gee, well, I dunno. Murdering people is, like, a complex process. I guess, like, somebody murdered them, but I wouldn't know probably who that person is. I didn't want to murder anybody, but I guess, maybe, it's possible someone might have thought I did."

This shit is completely awesum! I can't pull crap like this when I steal a goddamned chocolate chip cookie. And the best part? Corzine will totally get away with it! You think that a bunch of superprivileged fucks are gonna put another superprivileged fuck in jail? And Corzine still has a gabillion fucking dollars. Ain't nobody messing with that.

This is such a fucking great country. Well, not for you or me or most of us, but for these shitheads it's the greatest racket ever invented. It's like the whole country is a legal scheme to make the rich and powerful even more rich and powerful.

Oooooohhhhhh ... man, I am, like, humbled. I never would have thought of that. A whole country ... fuck me. Fuck us.

JamB proves he's a fully deserving member of the Shithead Club in his article. He says the problem is that "the commodities and securities industry is mostly self-regulating, and self-regulation ultimately depends on the integrity of the regulated." So if we stop all this "self-regulating" and come up with some new rules, there won't ever ever be any more stealing or anything unseemly, everyone will be happy and fat, and there will be puppy dogs and kitty cats and rainbows everywhere. I don't know how to break this to you gently, but this is more of the Stuff that Privileged White Fucks Dudes Like.

So, yeah, these lying weasels won't "self-regulate." Instead, we'll turn over all the regulatin' stuff to completely disinterested, selfless agencies of the gummint. Like, you know, robots or something. (Klaatu barada nikto!) Of course, those agencies are run by other members of the Shithead Club, and the rules are devised and implemented by powerful, privileged fu--, uh, people. Must. Appear. Serious. And. Respectable.

Here's a respectable discussion. And an earlier one -- hey, you'll like this one, "It's not the sex. It's never the sex." (See, you go right to that one, cuz it mentions sex. I would, too. Woohoo! And I admit I really like that article. Sex!) And here's a passage I wrote on the eve of the elections in -- 2006. (I was twelve years old when I wrote it. I was. Just be quiet, or I'm telling Jonny C. about you.) That's when, as I'm sure you'll remember, all the liberals and progressives were overcome with joy because soon-to-be-elected Democrats would investigate all the crimes of the Bush mafia, come up with brand new regulations for, like, everything, and ... rainbows!

Or, you know, not:
Ah, but the Democrats will investigate the Bush administration's endless crimes. The investigations will restore honesty, decency and "true" American values to government. All the universes will be saved! Do people actually believe this nonsense? All such investigations will be exactly like all other government investigations of itself. People seem congenitally incapable of grasping that all politicians are now part of the same corrupt system, which aims only to protect itself and its existing prerogatives, as it simultaneously seeks to expand them. (The exceptions in the political class are so few that they don't matter.) In the end, all such investigations and committee hearings will conclude just as the 9/11 investigation concluded (and any other investigation you care to name): some criticisms will be made, general fault will be found but no one in particular will be condemned in terms that might cause distress, and some new guidelines and regulations will be proposed and enacted. Neither party wants to judge the other too harshly or cause irreparable harm: they don't want to, because they count on the same consideration in return. Both parties are happy to accede to this deal, for it is precisely how their system continues on its merry course, guaranteeing their lives of immense comfort and privilege, together with their hold on power. Many of the rest of us, both here and abroad, will be screwed, maimed or dead -- and just when exactly did that concern the governing class?

And then, in a year or two or five, and as on every other similar occasion, inventive ways will be found to circumvent the brand spanking new guidelines and regulations -- and the corruption and dishonesty will continue pretty much as before, via new routes and avenues. It's all a charade, by means of which politicians, the major media, and "serious" commentators (and bloggers) can convince themselves of their own virtue, that this time they really mean it, and that everything will be different now. An interesting question is how many times people can fall for such complete bullshit, and still be regarded as serious, credible or intelligent to any degree at all.

It helps to perpetuate the charade -- one that encompasses every aspect of domestic and foreign policy -- that most people know nothing of history, either our own or that of other countries. It's as if none of it ever happened before. For most of these people, it's as if nothing ever happened before. No wonder they so easily believe that this time will be different. For them, there are no other times at all. Everything is new to them, even and especially their own iniquity.
That is, like, fucking timeless, man.

But, as we all know, governing and shit is a complex process. I guess I could have gotten this whole thing wrong. Maybe this time will be different. It's gonna be beautiful. After all, I'm sure they have the best of intentions. Just so long as they're still the richest and most powerful. Hahahaha. But ...


I was gonna do this in a separate post, but then I realized this is, like, the perfect time. So like I said, I'm a poor dumb fuck. I'm not smart like my buds JamB and Jonny C., who are way more awesome than I could ever be. Thanks to readers' kindnesses, I was able to pay the December rent and a few of my monthly bills. I thank everyone who has donated -- you are truly awesome, in ways JamB, Jonny C. and their friends can't even dream of -- and I especially want to thank the small group of regular donors, who leave me close to speechless with their immense thoughtfulness and generosity (people like K.R., M.B., H.G., W.B. and a few others, who know who they are -- my apologies for not including all of you in this list).

But I still have to pay an electric bill, my internet provider, and ... well, food and stuff. After I've paid for that, I'll be close to totally broke. I mean, except for about a hundred dollars, I'll be totally broke. (Cyrano just looked up. "Does this mean we'll be getting 'food' like Friskies? Do I have to start emailing the ASPCA again???" And Sasha looks crestfallen and deeply troubled. This isn't just about me, you know. And Cyrano needs to go to the vet. "WHAT??" Sweetheart, I'm sure it's nothing serious -- I am pretty sure about that -- but there are a few things that need checking out. "I repeat: WHAT???" Can we talk about it in a few minutes, Cyrano? "Yeah, sure, whatevs.")

And just in time for Christmas. Christmas. I bet Corzine will have a wonderful Christmas. And the fab First Family will be in Hawaii.

Being a poor dumb fuck sucks. Hey, I'm working on several new big essays. One of them is about what I call the problem of "The Omniscient Commentator." Lots of that going around. Some others deal with extensions of my tribalism essays. I'm talking big stuff. Totally new!

Doncha wanna help a poor dumb fuck? At the most beautiful time of year? Have a listen to Leontyne Price singing "O Holy Night." That comes from one of the most beautiful Christmas albums I've ever heard: treat yourself to it. And Cyrano imploringly says: "Keep the Friskies away!" (C'mon, don't sue us. It's just his opinion. Besides, we're judgment-proof.)

My great thanks as always for your wonderful kindness. And let us all say, as Corzine surely does, "Happy Fucking Holidays TO ME!!!"