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Day after………. 26 December 2008

Posted by marisacat in Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, India, WAR!.

Christmas in India:   Children dressed as Santa Claus participate in a peace march on Christmas Eve in Amritsar, India. (AP Photo / December 24, 2008)

Just because it is so basic… It’s Sirota, but as I said, basic:

[P]aterson defended his proposals by telling PBS’s Bill Moyers “that when you tax the wealthy in the downturn of an economy, you have an automatic link of a loss of job opportunities and then a loss of population.” The rationale sounds intelligently pragmatic—until you peruse the relevant data.

When New Jersey recently raised taxes on the wealthy, Princeton University researchers found that most of those who later left the state moved to places with higher taxes, meaning there is no causative link between levies on the rich and residential flight. Likewise, when New York temporarily raised high-income taxes after 9/11, the state added 127,000 jobs, meaning no link exists between higher taxes on the rich and job loss.

During times of surpluses, governors could get away with the unsubstantiated nonsense Paterson is peddling. But now, 43 states confront shortfalls, and because states cannot run deficits, the dollars and sense of these arguments matter. Lawmakers must choose what policy will create the best chances for economic recovery: spending cuts or tax increases, and if the latter, on whom?

The answer isn’t rocket science. As Nobel prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz says, “Reductions in government spending on goods and services (are) likely to be more damaging to the economy in the short run than tax increases focused on higher-income families.”  ….snipped and clipped….



1. BooHooHooMan - 26 December 2008

Sorry I missed the thread change.
Not the only “Change” missed tho

per 32 mattes / ATimes last thread
:.. likely go down as the greatest single financial fraud of all time …required a whole worldwide industry of crooked bankers, realtors, securitizers, rating agencies and appraisers to pull it off.

And, In the context of wu ming’s::::
China to allow freer yuan trades,

Central bank governor Zhou Xiaochuan was quoted by the South China Morning Post as saying: “The US dollar is unlikely to be stable next year and later.

“And the likelihood of the United States issuing more money in the near future adds to the depreciation risk in US-dollar-denominated assets and trade settlements.”

..It’s Wholly understandable as

Doubts grow on whether Madoff acted alone in fraud
:{ AFP via TPM…Good on ya, Josh}

As a probe intensifies into Bernard Madoff, doubts are growing on whether the now-infamous Wall Street investment manager could have committed a record fraud of 50 billion dollars on his own.
…But many members of the financial community are skeptical that Madoff could have single-handedly maintained accounts for the fictitious investment scheme involving tens of billions of dollars and a multitude of clients.
…”It’s a rather extensive scheme, an extensive fraud. It’s impossible for it to be a one- to five-person event.”

What utter Pillaging of the Coalition of the Unwilling.
Again, this goes to the exponential effect these operators have had on Global markets. The only thing that is clear is smoke has been laid down on huge financial troop movements, if you will, in the U.S..

What IS discernible is the linkage between this effective seizure of global markets and Official bipartisan cover here over the course of MANY Administrations, over MANY decades now.

It is an effective subsidy of US/Israeli led War Footing.

Let’s reflect at Year’s End here:: ..on that hyped vaporware , the ‘Peace” Dividend we were to expect in Iraq, allowing a “focus” on Afghanistan…Enough? Hardly.

So here’s a few ledes to consider as
Global Financial markets collapse under US and Israeli Pillage.

In addition to the 30K more US troops to GO to Afghanistan, The Army wants to RECRUIT 30,000 more…

Nice shell game. ..{entrendre enclosed}.

The Army needs to add at least 30,000 active-duty soldiers to its ranks to fulfill its responsibilities around the world without becoming stretched dangerously thin, senior Army officials warn.

Never a question that goes to the Premise:

…fulfill its responsibilities around the world without becoming stretched dangerously thin…

“Fulfill Responsibilities around the world”???
Says WHO? …
Let alone , specifically, WHERE these responsibilities LIE..
Let Alone WHY$$$????.. WHY we even consider them “OURS”??

So Ho-Hum, as reports say
Israel Moving Closer To Invading Gaza Again?
That Time of year is it? Morale Need a boost?
Zionist Coffers a little Low? Or simply a vacā from
the Mādoff Holidays that came, but haven’t quite went?

The Chinese are not stupid. Nor Putin. Or Chavez.
And rightly so, They couldn’t give a whit abut the tender Judeo/Christian “sensibilities” used to by our US/Israeli Gangsterism. Not EVREYBODY is Obby and Harrier jet.

They do however care about our ever encroaching War Machine, our focus now to keep “OUR” colonial India afloat, “our” play in South America and Africa too.. Does anyone really believe that other nations like Russia and China will Wait till , – ironically yet predictably- we further granulate those regions simultaneously destroying the interests of Beiiing and Moscow – competetive as they may be– and now, even a good chunk of various EU interests there too?

As a result of our actions, I think we are going to see a realignment of global interests the likes of which will make the murky Cold and Hot shooting Wars of the last 50 years look absolutely transparent. Plan to travel abroad? Ya better not confuse that welcome mat with a postage stamp.

No they see it clearly. That the further we get away from World War ll, the political capital to justify our poise of Israel in the ME fades. That the further we get away from Viet Nam and the early Oil Crisis of the latter 60’s and and the Embargo in the early 70’s, the subsequent Revolution in Iran that deposed Pahlavi, our Butcher, the Shah — that we would become more desperate in our reach.

Yes, they do see it clearly. They do now at least-
after wisely protecting their near term interests,
they took the venture capital flowers from our cheap date
but never really bought our line.
China particularly , HAS control- real physical control over Western manufacturing Investments made in their country over the last decades…Good for them I say.

So Cheney met with Mossad Girl Livni recently.
And Mossad Girl has an Election coming…

Forget Bernie in New York – Gaza for New Years.anyone?

And The Jive on Mumbai is well under way as
The White house has a new busboy working the tables quite well doin the Christmas Dinner with the Troops thing in Hawhy….
Foreign creditors just came looking
for their dough a little early, that’s all.
…….. Pretty clear what’s up………….

Mattes and wu ming make similar points between the War Of Terror and the Financial Terror in the markets against what I call the Coalition of the Unwilling.

Wu Ming sums the elusive Hoped for Change the best:

we will certainly see change, albeit probably not of the sort many people were expecting.

2. BooHooHooMan - 26 December 2008

Say it aint so, BarackO

Obama, team lawyered up for inquiries

It seemed like a typical day: a trip to the gym, back home for a shower and then a press conference followed by a day in the Chicago transition office. But last Thursday, President-elect Barack Obama was interviewed for two hours by two FBI agents and two federal prosecutors investigating charges that Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich had tried to sell off the Senate seat Obama vacated after winning the presidency.

Obama’s interview — and those with two of his top incoming White House lieutenants, Rahm Emanuel and Valerie Jarrett — only became public Tuesday, the day before Christmas Eve,

Some Schweddy Balls and Ba~LAGGGO
good times. yes.

Okay, I’m done.

3. BooHooHooMan - 26 December 2008

Oh fuck.

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) — Pakistan began moving thousands of troops away from the Afghan border toward India on Friday amid tensions following the Mumbai attacks, intelligence officials said.

The move represents a sharp escalation in the stand off between the nuclear-armed neighbors and stands to weaken Pakistan’s U.S.-backed campaign against al-Qaida and Taliban close to Afghanistan.

Two intelligence officials said the army’s 14th Division was being redeployed to Kasur and Sialkot, close to the Indian border. They said some 20,000 troops were on the move. Earlier Friday, a security official said that all troop leave had been canceled.

4. Madman in the Marketplace - 26 December 2008

Merry Christmas! If you have insurance your life is worth 62 cents on the dollar.

Fun fact: Duke University Hospital has 900 beds and 900 billing clerks.

The Senate Finance Committee has heard about the problem of overhead. On Nov. 19, Professor Uwe Reinhardt, who is also on the board of trustees of the 900-bed Duke University Hospital, used Duke to illustrate the problem: “We have 900 billing clerks at Duke. I’m not sure we have a nurse per (each) bed, but we have a billing clerk per bed…

If you didn’t stay up late for the Corrente Festivus Daschle House Party, you might have missed it, but it’s been estimated that possibly as little as 62% of your health insurance premium goes to actual health CARE.

5. marisacat - 26 December 2008

Sorry BHHM.. 4 of yours in Moderation… all of them out now!


6. marisacat - 26 December 2008


So Ho-Hum, as reports say
Israel Moving Closer To Invading Gaza Again?
That Time of year is it? Morale Need a boost?

Both Olmert and Tzipi Livni shook their fists yesterday. They say “we are stronger and we won’t take this!”…

and so on…

7. Madman in the Marketplace - 26 December 2008
8. marisacat - 26 December 2008


LOL If we could we’d buy the imported version of health care. Ooops we can’t …. no we are stuck with the US version… not as easy as moving to Toyota or Honda. Or a VW… or a little Fiat..

No we are stuck being lectured to about being a drag on the system if we gained weight eating all the karo syrup [corn subsidies!] sold as a food component or the salt and grease sold as franchise fast food [where was the health warning label there? hmmm?]. Or the masses of children with no actual recess anymore at school or funneled to cheap convenience food in the vending machines?. Or heavens, we are one of the schlobby fat white pasty women with chipped fingernail polish photographed in perpetuity to signal that smoking is bad for you.

You do any of that, you are a drag on the heatlth care system. And you should be shot. Just for expediency.

No one mentions decades of insurance companies lying and making massively bad investments … with the millions of premiums they misued… which we are required to shore up… Breach of Fiduciary Trust, for one.


9. marisacat - 26 December 2008


From the Mike Allen/Politico email:

DATA — Peter Baker says the President-elect’s interview with federal prosecutors in the Blago case lasted TWO HOURS. Patrick Fitzgerald was not present.

10. Madman in the Marketplace - 26 December 2008

8- from NPR, Xmas eve: Single-Payer Health Care: If Not Now, When?

Instead, the new administration’s plan is focused on building onto the existing system, in which most people get insurance through their job.

And on Capitol Hill, the lawmakers who will be charged with overseeing health care overhaul legislation are singing a similar song.

“I don’t think a single-payer system makes sense in this country,” said Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT). “We are America. We will come up with a uniquely American solution, which will be a combination of public and private coverage.”

Even House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee Chairman Pete Stark (D-CA), who has in previous sessions of Congress introduced his own single-payer proposal, says the public is not ready for the huge change that eliminating the health insurance industry would mean.

“I don’t think with something as personal and important as medical care, people are ready to give up what they have,” Stark said.

That frustrates people like Himmelstein, who says he’s seen poll after poll that shows significant public support for a single-payer system. “A majority of American people say they favor a plan like Medicare paid for out of taxes covering all Americans,” he says. Medicare is one type of single-payer system.

Robert Blendon, who studies public opinion and health care at the Harvard School of Public Health, says it’s true that single-payer enjoys significant public support. But most of the time, the support is highest when it’s compared to the status quo.

For example, backers of a single-payer plan frequently cite a December 2007 poll by the Associated Press and Yahoo.

In that poll, 65 percent of respondents said the U.S. “should adopt a universal health insurance program in which everyone is covered under a program like Medicare that is run by the government and financed by taxpayers.”

But their only other choice in that poll, chosen by 34 percent, was to “continue the current health insurance system in which most people get their health insurance from private employers, but some people have no insurance.”

When given more options about ways to expand coverage, single-payer “is the least popular,” Blendon says.

We are American, and NOBODY knows how to shoot themselves in the foot as good as we do.

11. marisacat - 26 December 2008

😆 MORE from the Politico email……………………………………..

GALLUP.com: ‘Barack Obama is Americans’ Most Admired Man in 2008, a rare distinction for presidents-elect. Hillary Clinton repeats her performance as Most Admired Woman for the seventh straight year, while Sarah Palin makes a strong second place showing.’

Obama is first at 32 percent. George W. Bush is second at 5 percent.

On the ladies’ list, Michelle Obama is fifth, after HRC, Palin, Oprah and Secretary Rice.

Thomas S. Monson, President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Mormons, is 13th.

USA Today front-pages it, below the fold: ‘Obama is man Americans admire the most, by wide margin in poll.’

As I type this I am hearing a report that ejaculation is a physical reaction like a sneeze… hmm they said it not me!

So is admiration for the names in the press, I guess… more sneezing.

12. marisacat - 26 December 2008


from NPR, Xmas eve: Single-Payer Health Care: If Not Now, When?

Never. So that, in Shrum words for Kennedy in 1980… “the dream shall nevah nevah die…”

And as I relentlessly beat a dead horse, to accommodate Nixon, in 1973 Kennedy shepherded HMO legislation thru congress. Sold to activists and the American people as the first building block to “universal care”.

Just remember:

“Keep Hope Alive!” (JJsr) and “The dream shall nevah nevah die!”.

It all works, if you never get what you need. They could nto even exempt bankruptcy due to medical bills from the Bankruptcy bill in 2005 or whatever year it was.

13. marisacat - 26 December 2008

Speaking of the mia health care… Lead (oops no now it is second!) story at the Wapo:

‘Medicaid, a central piece of the Great Society safety net created in the 1960s, is the nation’s largest source of government health insurance. It covered 50 million Americans last year.

The program is a shared responsibility of the federal government and the states, with federal money paying an average of 57 percent of the bills and states providing the rest. … With the program the largest or second-largest expense in every state’s budget, governors and state legislators have been pleading with Congress and the incoming Obama administration for help. …

President-elect Barack Obama … is open to extra help for Medicaid as part of a broad strategy to spur the economy.

‘We are considering a number of proposals . . . including helping states meet Medicaid needs; reducing health-care costs; rebuilding our crumbling roads, bridges and schools; and ensuring that more families can stay in their homes,’ said Nick Shapiro, an Obama transition spokesman.’…snip…

Oh it all sounds so hopeful! So change filled!

So vague, so barely there… so “Check! it’s on the list”

14. Madman in the Marketplace - 26 December 2008

I’m not holding my breath for that “change”, either.

15. marisacat - 26 December 2008

From the Wapo article…

Florida’s Medicaid officials have just handed the governor and legislature a blueprint for a 10 percent reduction; it would eliminate coverage for 7,800 18- and 19-year-olds and 6,800 pregnant women.

16. marisacat - 26 December 2008

oh Golden Man is wearing a USMC t shirt now. He’s very busy. They will get around to us. They will chat us up again in 2011 for the 2012 election.

Merry go round, til people get off the game.

17. marisacat - 26 December 2008

hmm underneath the health coverage report… is one about how the CIA is doling out Viagra to the war lords in Afghanistan. Much appreciated I am sure. One report i heard on it said it was appreciated due to all the wives those men have.

Democracy and Freedom.

18. mattes - 26 December 2008

’states were near defaults on their obligations’

But people like the Schwarzman get tax breaks:

More sugar for Schwarzman
Blackstone’s IPO was even sweeter for its founders than you thought, says Fortune’s Allan Sloan.

August 20 2007: 1:25 PM EDT

Here’s how the whales did it. By shuffling lots of paper, Blackstone Group LP – remember, that’s the public company – set up a wholly owned corporation that created a very large asset (called goodwill, if you really want to know) that’s tax deductible over 15 years at the 35% corporate rate. The public Blackstone agreed to give Schwarzman, Peterson, and the other sellers 85% of what it realizes from this deduction.

Kicking back 85% of the tax savings to the sellers dates to at least 2005, when Lazard and DreamWorks both did it, as did Fortress earlier this year. But outside of tax techies, almost no one noticed. Now this 85%-to-the-sellers deal, which is perfectly legal but in my opinion shorts the public shareholders, has become standard for “alternative investment” firms seeking to go public while they can. Offerings I’ve read that do this include KKR, Och-Ziff, and Pzena, with more doubtless to come.

Back to Blackstone, whose tax goodie for the selling partners is worth $750 million to $800 million after taxes over 15 years. Take the midpoint and translate it into current dollars, and you get about $400 million.

The bottom line: The public company is giving Blackstone’s selling partners more than half their $700 million capital-gains tab, reducing their tax outlay to 7%. That, fans, is an example of why Steve Schwarzman is worth around $10 billion. And why most of the rest of us aren’t.


19. mattes - 26 December 2008

the <>
was the quote that ‘states were near defaults on their obligations’.

20. mattes - 26 December 2008

In case anyone missed it:

YouTube Partnership With ADL

And while looking for some yahoo I saved, got me this:


This link is not authorized by Yahoo!

If you would like to continue to this link’s intended destination at your own risk, click here.

The deleting has started.

Oh, and FBI is now going to search blogs for incitement, just read that.

We are warned.

21. mattes - 26 December 2008

Blackstone Group, one of the vultures still around to pick up the pieces:

Blackstone Group L.P. was founded in 1985 by Peter G. Peterson and Stephen A. Schwarzman with $400,000 in seed capital. Blackstone is a cryptogram on the founders’ names, Stephen A. Schwarzman and Peter G. Peterson. Schwarz is German for black. Peter, or Petra in Greek, means stone or rock.


Marketable alternative asset management

Blackstone offers private equity, real estate, and hedge funds, first used only for internal investments, but now open to clients.[citation needed]

* Funds of hedge funds
* Mezzanine funds
* Senior debt vehicles
* Proprietary hedge funds
* Closed-end mutual funds


There was one other big house going to start betting on depressed assets, but I missed the name. I believe it begins with an A, and I had never hear of it. Bet they get financing…

22. mattes - 26 December 2008

Following the money trail:

Why are so many american pension funds investing in private companies that only invest in Israel?

Is this the new ponzi scheme in process?

May 4, 2006
Unmasking Israel’s Mystery Benefactor

The mystery man of the Israeli economy, as he was dubbed by the country’s media, is alive and well and living in Los Angeles.

His name is Elliott Broidy, and in the last two years he has raised $800 million to boost private enterprise in the Jewish state.

Broidy earned the “mystery man” label through his reticence to go public, in contrast to his more flamboyant peers.

With the right connections and introductions, Broidy met with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and such top-level political figures as Ehud Olmert, Benjamin Netanyahu, and Amir Peretz, now head of the Labor Party.

A longtime supporter of the Jewish state, Broidy said that “a strong and vital Israel is important to the United States, to American Jewry, and to me and my family.”

Broidy’s proposal to establish a large private equity fund for investments in Israel’s “old” economy — agriculture, manufacturing, capital management — found a warm welcome among government officials at a time when most investors were shunning the strife-racked Jewish state.

With the pension funds as a solid base, corporate and private investors, foundations, banks and insurance companies in the United States and Israel swelled the pot, and Markstone raised its goal to $800 million, with a minimum investment of $1 million plus.

Broidy’s first prospect was New York State Comptroller Alan Hevesi, and after several months of vetting Broidy’s proposal and meetings with Israeli business and political leaders, the New York State Common Retirement Fund signed on for $200 million.

On the other coast, the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPers) put in $50 million, and additional amounts came from similar funds in Oregon, New Mexico, North Carolina and New York City.
“When you try to raise money for Israel investment from private people, particularly Jewish ones, you can appeal to both their heart and their head,” said Gunther. “But when you try to do business with public pension funds, these are hard-nosed people, who deal strictly from the head. Their investment decisions in this case represent a notable vote of confidence in Elliott and in the future of the Israeli economy.”

The $800 million figure, raised between 2003 and 2005, makes Markstone the largest private equity fund in Israel, with 90 percent coming from American investors and 10 percent from Israelis.

He is a major donor to the United Jewish Fund and Friends of the Israel Defense Forces, a trustee of USC and USC Hillel, serves on the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion board of governors, and is an executive board member and former trustee of Wilshire Boulevard Temple.

Much more here:


The Markstone Capital Group investment fund recently finished raising another $200 million, with one of the major new pledges, $50 million, coming from the Oregon state employee pension fund.

Prior to this, the American-Israeli fund had raised more than $500 million. The current round increases its capital to more than $700 million. Over the past year, Markstone has invested some $200 million in four Israeli companies, including placing $50 million in the drip irrigation firm Netafim, which included an option to invest an additional $15 million. In exchange, Markstone will receive 20-25% of Netafim’s share capital.

oh…the fund is now closed…so does anyone know how it’s doing??

…and it seems recently is selling assists:

Markstone in talks to break up Prisma Investment House: Every scenario includes mass layoffs at Prisma.

Sunday December 21, 2008 15:38:21 EST

Markstone Capital Partners Group LLC) is breaking up Prisma Investment House Ltd. and is in talks to sell its units to various parties. Markstone, run by managing directors Ron Lubash and Amir Kess, is in advanced negotiations to sell Prisma’s provident funds to Psagot Investment House Ltd., and is also in talks with several investment houses to establish a new investment house that will consolidate and manage investment portfolios and short-term assets, including mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). This new company will also take over Prisma’s Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) membership.

The most serious talks about the new company are with Meitav Group and Gaon Capital Markets Ltd. Other names are also include Altshuler Shaham Ltd., Epsilon Investment House Ltd., Tamir Fishman & Co., and Yelin Lapidot Ltd.

A capital market source said, “There was no company in the market that Markstone did not contact in the past month about cooperation.”


23. mattes - 26 December 2008

Tons of stuff out there but most behind firewalls:

Selling the pieces, will pensioners get a dime in the end?

Markstone Capital Partners Makes First Full Exit With Sale of Zeraim Gedera to Syngenta »

Markstone Capital Partners, a leading private equity fund Chaired by Elliott Broidy, confirmed reports that Syngenta AG (NYSE: SYT) has agreed to acquire Markstone portfolio company Zeraim Gedera Ltd., a high quality Israeli vegetable seed company.


Not too long ago, May 23, 2006:

Markstone launches Israel’s largest investment firm

Venture capital fund Markstone Capital Partners on Monday launched Israel’s largest investment firm “Prisma,” with assets of over NIS 50 billion under its management, resulting from key purchases it made from Bank Hapoalim and Bank Leumi last year.


And now:

Markstone dismantling Prisma

Three years after founding the Prisma investment house, its owner, the Markstone Capital Group, has decided to dismantle Prisma. Markstone managing directors Ron Lubash and Amir Kess are in negotiations with Psagot over the sale of the provident funds, while also negotiating with a number of other investment houses, such as Meitav, over a merger of mutual funds.

Markstone, or Prisma, will most likely receive shares in Psagot for the provident funds, while it is possible the mutual funds merger will remain part of a joint firm under the Prisma name. The main reason Prisma wants to sell the provident funds and merge the mutual funds is an attempt to avoid the huge expenses involved in running an entire investment firm, including advertising and marketing, personnel and operating expenses – especially as Prisma has very heavy bank debts it took out to buy the funds in the first place.

Prisma’s mutual fund assets under management have dropped from NIS 21.4 billion in June 2007 to only NIS 10.2 billion in November of this year. The decline is actually even larger, since Prisma agreed to buy the PKN and Lahak funds originally when they had about NIS 40 billion in assets in them.


24. Intermittent Bystander - 26 December 2008

New Yorkers don’t like fat tax, want millionaire’s, booze and cig tax instead

New Yorkers – Republican, Democrat, and Independent – don’t like the fat tax on non-diet soft drinks, would rather see tax hikes on booze and cigarettes as well as a millionaire’s tax, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.{Dec. 24}

::pop, fizz, glug glug glug::

But voters support 84 – 13 percent raising the state income tax on people who make more than $1 million per year. Even Republicans back this millionaires tax 72 – 27 percent.

25. Intermittent Bystander - 26 December 2008

Sarah Palin’s 2009 calendar is the #1 Amazon office supply

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is still No. 1 in some people’s hearts and minds.

And now her 2009 calendar is currently the No. 1 seller on Amazon.com’s list of office products and supplies, beating out a nifty pair of scissors.

The calendar-maker is Judy Patrick, a former Wasilla deputy mayor and F.O.S., as well as an Anchorage-based photog who used her own stash of pix of the governor and her family to create the calendar.

Thank heavens this turned out to be a gag gift for Christmas 2008 and not a portent of the new U.S. vice president taking office in 2009.

Round-up of Palin-related comedy links follows.

26. marisacat - 26 December 2008

oops! sorry mattes… Moderation snagged two of yours, they are out now…


27. Intermittent Bystander - 26 December 2008

Paterson: Senate speculation ‘more like the prelude to a high school prom’

Gov. David Paterson and Reps. Anthony Weiner and Steve Israel landed back into NY from their Iraq/ Afghanistan trip, talked about the final leg of their trip and answered questions from the press.

As usual, the questioning focused on the expected U.S. senate vacancy and who Paterson will choose to replace Sen. Hillary Clinton.

The three looked fatigued from their journey. Paterson said. “We took 12 flights in 5 days. We flew in every imaginable flying apparatus. And we often had three or four hours of sleep…maybe saw one too many powerpoint presentations.” But overall, he said visiting the troops was very rewarding.

Steve Israel said it was a “profound honor to travel with the governor of the state of New York.” And that the New York troops “were absolutely elated to see their governor.”

::snip quip quippety::

Paterson said emphatically (I couldn’t hear the question he to which he was responding): “I think Steve Israel is highly qualified.”

Weiner was then asked for his opinion, and he demurred, saying that it was the governor’s decision and he wanted to be the only congressional delegation member to keep his mouth shut.

Paterson then said, “This is a decision for Congressman Weiner to make…I am not your state bailout package, Congressman.”

Paterson then went on to rail about the media a bit. “There has been a great amount of attention, which the media has created the attention. And then asks me to bail the media out as well, because my colleagues have had a lot to say about it. You can’t kill your parents and then ask the governor to do something about the fact that you’re an orphan.”

BTW, Caroline’s working the AP today: Kennedy tells AP she’ll have to work twice as hard.

Kennedy sat down to talk with the AP at the Gee Whiz diner in lower Manhattan after weeks of avoiding the media. She seemed relaxed, eating a grilled cheese and bacon sandwich with coffee during the half-hour interview.

28. mattes - 26 December 2008

#26…looks like Dave was onto somethin’

29. marisacat - 26 December 2008


LOL Did you see the article where – although the promotional word NOW is how much money her name will raise for the down ticket, over the years its been turnip/blood from CKS for Democratic candidates.

I am always interested how little deference the big names pay the party (not that I am a Democrat anymore… )

30. mattes - 26 December 2008


Tried to put the Broidy stuff in some kind of order:

1000’s of Americans now have their pension funds in Israeli private investment firms:


Disclosure….not a writer….don’t claim to be one!!

31. Intermittent Bystander - 26 December 2008

Not just AP, but NY1, too. Video via Capital News 9.

I have relationships in Washington that I want to put to work for the people of the State of New York . . . .

Also, she confides that Jackie loved campaigning, but would be rolling her eyes at the whole thing, of course . . . and her brother would be laughing his head off.

32. marisacat - 26 December 2008

In 2005, Kennedy did not publicly back Mayor Bloomberg’s Democratic challenger, Fernando Ferrer. An aide contended she voted for Ferrer, though she had worked for Bloomberg.

In 2001, she attended an event for Democratic nominee Mark Green, but she did not speak on Green’s behalf or provide financial support.


33. Intermittent Bystander - 26 December 2008

Dave is very pro-Caroline, isn’t he?

Seems to me that any random stroll in the NYS/NYC (substitute state/city of your choice here) political swamp will put one’s galoshes “on to” some slimetrail or other, with or without purpose, agenda, vendetta, etcetera.

I see Dave is on to something new now . . . claiming BarbinMD is not who her DK profile claims to be? Based on an e-mail address spelling?

34. mattes - 26 December 2008


Crisis widens appeal of Islamic finance

PARIS (AP) — France is becoming the latest country to woo Islamic banks, which avoided much of the damage from the subprime mortgage crisis by following strict principles laid out in the Quran — as the global financial crisis broadens the appeal of Islamic finance.

French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde has promised to make adjustments to the regulatory and legal arsenal to enable Paris to become a major marketplace in Islamic finance.

At a recent forum in Paris, she said Western financiers could learn a thing or two from the Islamic world as global leaders try to establish “new principles for the international financial system, based on transparency, responsibility and, I would like to add, moderation.”

“In this sense, Islamic finance is calling out to us,” she said.

Finance that complies with Shariah, or Islamic law, accounts for around $700 billion of assets and is growing at 10 to 30 percent a year, according to Moody’s Investors Service.


yes Dave is pro-caroline, will give him the link.

Any thoughts on Markstone Capital Group? Looks like they might be at the tipping point.

35. Madman in the Marketplace - 26 December 2008

well, not to defend Caroline, but that lizard Ferrar didn’t deserve ANYBODY’S support …

36. Intermittent Bystander - 26 December 2008

BTW – Caroline video includes brief but hilarious contrast-and-compare-qualifications segment on J-Lo, of all people!

God forbid she be forced to address her ordinary, grubby politician rivals for the throne!

She’d rather be a sparrow than a snail. Who wouldn’t?!

Best Santa photo yet, up there! The snowflake-style star, the waving hands, the beards, and the Hindi (?) letters really tie the whole image together.

37. marisacat - 26 December 2008

French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde has promised to make adjustments to the regulatory and legal arsenal to enable Paris to become a major marketplace in Islamic finance.

I am very surprised at this. In general, I would suspect Sarko government of laying a trap.

38. marisacat - 26 December 2008


Just wandering around looking at photos of “Christmas Around the World” was interesting, to say the least. And I found out that NOW, as of this year, Christmas Day is a national holiday n the whole of Iraq.

39. marisacat - 26 December 2008


Oh I agree on Ferrer, Hack of Hacks…. but the whole mayoralty run, going back and forward, has become an issue as she clearly is some tangential bit of, at least snagged by a stray claw of, the Bloomberg Regime.

The whole thing is a scream.. as is the NYDN article.

40. Madman in the Marketplace - 26 December 2008

thank goodness Sci-fi is showing a Highlander marathon all day … so I wouldn’t be tempted to sit w/ CNN on going on and on about Killer Santas and “clean” coal sludge.

41. Intermittent Bystander - 26 December 2008

It’s unclear to me whether Paterson is trying to force the state at large, and even the GOP legislators to come out for Richie Rich taxes, before he’ll go anywhere near the stovetop souffle . . . .

He keeps repeating this sort of thing:

When asked about the Assembly Republicans’ objections to his budget proposals, Paterson replied as he has previously – I understand, show me a solution. “If the Assembly Republicans had the energy to say thety don’t think its appropriate, I’m wondering if they had the energy to suggest how to address the budget deficit.”

42. Intermittent Bystander - 26 December 2008

From the Daily News, this was funny, too:

Kennedy gave to Clinton’s Senate and presidential campaigns. The former First Lady returned $2,300 of Kennedy’s cash after she endorsed Barack Obama.

Haven’t digested the Blackstone, Markstone, and other links, myself, mattes. My general ignorance of (and spasmodic aversion to) the fine-grained details of high finance can’t really be overstated. I’m more familiar with the subsistence layers of the economic heap.

43. mattes - 26 December 2008

IB, believe me, this whole derivatives and hedging things has been a steep curve for me too, I do have my father who was a CPA and a brother who was an auditor, and it still confuses me.

Bottom line is that Markstone Group has been buying up american pensions, and now the group has been devalued by 50% and is beginning to sell it’s assists, but it is a private firm so not many are talking about it on MSM.

44. marisacat - 26 December 2008

It’s a muddle to me, but if Markstone is related to Blackstone (Investments), they (B’stone) have involvment in financial matters related to 9/11 issues…If you google around stuff should come up. I think in relation to Silverman, the owner of the buildings..

45. mattes - 26 December 2008

Not sure if Blackstone is related to Markstone. The stories are not related. I should have pointed that out. But if it comes out that they are…another big hmmmm.

What Blackstone is involved in is:

* Funds of hedge funds
* Mezzanine funds
* Senior debt vehicles
* Proprietary hedge funds
* Closed-end mutual funds

Financial vehicles for making money from air. Bets. Bundling. The financial system we are trying to save.

46. marisacat - 26 December 2008

Think Blackstone was the financial vehicle behind Silverman buying Bldg 7

47. mattes - 26 December 2008


48. marisacat - 26 December 2008

The Righties are enjoying pulling up less than great stuff about Joe K… esp now that there is a trickle of push for CKS to be sent to England. The schnauzers at The Corner are on to the JK wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Kennedy

Democracy is finished in England. It may be here,” stated Ambassador Kennedy in the Boston Sunday Globe of November 10, 1940. In that one simple statement, Joe Kennedy ruined any future chances of becoming US president, effectively committing political suicide. While bombs fell daily on the UK, Nazi troops occupied Poland, Belgium, the Netherlands, and France, Ambassador Kennedy unambiguously and repeatedly stated his belief that the war was not about saving democracy from National Socialism (Nazism) or Fascism. In the now-infamous, long, rambling interview with two newspaper journalists, Louis M. Lyons of the Boston Globe and Ralph Coghlan of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
“It’s all a question of what we do with the next six months. The whole reason for aiding England is to give us time.” … “As long as she is in there, we have time to prepare. It isn’t that [Britain is] fighting for democracy. That’s the bunk. She’s fighting for self-preservation, just as we will if it comes to us… I know more about the European situation than anybody else, and it’s up to me to see that the country gets it,”

49. Intermittent Bystander - 26 December 2008

48 – I noticed the Joseph resurrection! From a William Langley (Telegraph Group Limited) column titled Can JFK’s daughter cope with the family business?

Caroline, the only surviving child of President John F. Kennedy, was resolute. Uncomfortable in the public eye and doubtful of her appetite for the rough and tumble, she preferred the arty, affluent world she could see from the windows of her grand apartment on New York’s Park Avenue. But last week she cracked.

The news that she wants to take over Hillary Clinton’s old seat in the Senate brought a degree of reassurance in America and some relief in London.

Before the announcement, she had been hotly tipped to become the US ambassador to Britain, a position once held by her grandfather Joseph.

He spent much of his time (1937-40) arguing that Hitler was not really so bad, that the US would be wasting its money trying to help the obviously doomed Brits, and earning himself the nickname “Jittery Joe” for his propensity to run for his private air raid shelter at the first sound of a siren. It would have been a tough act to follow.

Dems defending the Caroline bid better prepare for some of this sort of thing, too:

When Sarah Palin, the governor of Alaska, a woman of modest background, with a blue-collar husband and a liking for shooting grizzly bears from helicopters, was nominated as the Republican vice-presidential candidate, she was mocked for her lack of experience.

Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus echoed the views of many other mainstream commentators in calling her “a terrifying prospect”.

Of Caroline’s venture, Marcus gushed last week: “Caroline is our tragic national princess… what a fitting coda to this fairytale to have the little princess grow up to be a senator.”

50. marisacat - 26 December 2008

FT via TO:

[I]sraeli media reported on Friday that the army was preparing for a “limited” operation in the Gaza Strip, combining air strikes and small-scale incursions.

The conflict with Hamas has also increasingly come to dominate the early phase of the election campaign, which will last until polling day on February 10.

As the official in charge of any military operation in Gaza, Ehud Barak, the defence minister and leader of the centre-left Labour party, is perhaps under the greatest pressure. His party is trailing badly in the polls, and the government’s hesitation has left him exposed to accusations of weakness and dithering. Yet, he has also most to lose politically from a poorly executed or indecisive military strike.

Most polls predict an election victory for the right-wing Likud party.

51. marisacat - 26 December 2008

Ruth Marcus is an embarrassment. She all but drooled on TNH that week, talking about CKS

52. Madman in the Marketplace - 26 December 2008

they’re going to go into Gaza again? Starving them and depriving them of water and medicine isn’t enuff for the Israelis?

53. Intermittent Bystander - 26 December 2008

mattes – thanks for the clarification. I thought you were pointing to Markstone and Blackstone as having players in common.

Highlander marathon

I thought there could be only one!

(Speaking of things I have difficulty following . . .must be my mostly lowlander roots, mon!)

Joseph, Palin, and Princess in the mod pod?

54. marisacat - 26 December 2008


Just got it out..

AND a couple hours ago found the comment on Palin hmmm calendar? lanquishing… and got it out… sitting up thread at # 25


55. Intermittent Bystander - 26 December 2008


Smileys with furlined parka, air-raid helmet, and tiara here!

56. Madman in the Marketplace - 26 December 2008

I thought there could be only one!

What fun would that be? Besides, it’s one story told over and over again with different sword fights.

57. Madman in the Marketplace - 26 December 2008
58. mattes - 26 December 2008

More oh no:

An Iranian aid ship due to dock in Gaza in 12 days

December 26, 2008,

Iran’s Red Crescent will send an aid shipment to the Gaza strip “in the face of the Israeli blockade,” according to a state broadcast Friday. The cargo of 2,000 tonnes of food and medicines accompanied by 12 Iranian doctors will sail from Bandar Abbas, HQ of the Revolutionary Guards Navy, and arrive Tuesday, Jan. 6.

DEBKAfile’s sources report that normally an Iranian shipment for Gaza would transit Egypt, but this week, Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak denounced the deepening ties between Tehran and Damascus, further souring relations. Tehran will therefore stage-manage the delivery to show the Muslim-Arab world it can break the Israeli blockade and bring aid to Gaza’s Palestinians without help.

Meanwhile Peres is asking Obama not to speak with Iran before elections.


…someone needs to back down soon.

59. Intermittent Bystander - 26 December 2008

Sword fights! Two of my nephews (both well into their twenties) were whacking each other silly with dollar-store foam swords all day yesterday! As the afternoon wore on, the weapons were reinforced with ducktape again and again, rendering them ever more likely to inflict gasp-producing wallops or eventually take out an eye. Amazingly, both lived and laughed their heads off to whack each other silly yet another day.

Some things never change!

I’m kinda fond of the sword-dancing portion of the Highland festivities, I must admit. And that scene in Rob Roy when Liam Neeson just goes medieval on prancing dandy Tim Roth had a certain barbarian perfection. As revenge fantasies go, I mean.

60. marisacat - 26 December 2008

Meanwhile Peres is asking Obama not to speak with Iran before elections.

and if I recall, Israeli elections are mid to late Feb.

First walking orders, do as told for over a month.

61. mattes - 26 December 2008

I got confused at first too, he meant Iran’s elections.

to put off dialogue with Iran until after the Islamic Republic holds presidential elections slated for June 2009.

“I hope that it won’t be done before the elections (in Iran) because it may affect the results of the elections,” Peres told the Kyodo news agency.

62. Madman in the Marketplace - 26 December 2008

more likely to inflict gasp-producing wallops or eventually take out an eye. Amazingly, both lived and laughed their heads off to whack each other silly yet another day.

Ahhhh, the joys of being born male!

63. Madman in the Marketplace - 26 December 2008

A science fiction blog I swing thru linked to this interesting exercise by an author I hadn’t heard of yet, Jeff VanderMeer. He’s doing a project called “60 in 60”, where he reads one book each day in Penguin Great Ideas series. Here’s his entry on Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Women, from which I’ve only read very short excerpts:

Throughout A Vindication, then, Wollstonecraft is clearing the weeds, hacking a path through a jungle–a jungle often indirectly of Rousseau’s making. Time and again she quotes or alludes to Rousseau and his views on liberty, until it seems clear that because of Rousseau’s general sensibilities, Wollstonecraft feels betrayed by him–betrayed by his inability to apply the same freedoms to her gender that he so easily bestows upon his own. Whereas, with an opponent such as Dr Gregory, there is nothing but contempt in her tone, and rightly so. It is one thing to confront someone who is ignorant, another to confront someone you respect who should know better and yet still marginalizes you.

This betrayal is not an easy thing to talk about, and something that I haven’t discussed in my other readings except by quick reference or footnote. It’s simply this: that in many of these classics, the reader must edit out prejudicial comments or attitudes toward Jews, gays and lesbians, and women. In Marcus Aurelius this might be an off-hand comment. In another writer, it might be more embedded in the narrative.

Thus the care Wollstonecraft must take in refuting claims about women by philosophers and thinkers who may, in many of their other ideas, project real wisdom, if only we can dis-entangle it the thoughtlessness also found there. It’s two steps forward, one step back throughout her arguments, and if her prose is at times convoluted, it is because the subject is convoluted and at times insanely complex.

I can only imagine what it must have felt like to Wollstonecraft as she wrote this book. To be both in a box, hemmed in, and to be fighting one’s way out of it…only to win through by dint of one’s own logical arguments, and then have to suffer through the weight of public opinion, which could not, in some quarters, have been favorable.

I tried again to imagine just how much it might have meant to a woman of those times to read this book and I failed. I tried then to think of what the book should mean now, in these modern times, and felt much of the same weight.

64. marisacat - 26 December 2008

gah… from the UK’s Minister of Culture. But you know how small that damned pond is.

[I]n an interview with The Daily Telegraph, Andy Burnham says he believes that new standards of decency need to be applied to the web. He is planning to negotiate with Barack Obama’s incoming American administration to draw up new international rules for English language websites.

The Cabinet minister describes the internet as “quite a dangerous place” and says he wants internet-service providers (ISPs) to offer parents “child-safe” web services.

Giving film-style ratings to individual websites is one of the options being considered, he confirms. When asked directly whether age ratings could be introduced, Mr Burnham replies: “Yes, that would be an option. This is an area that is really now coming into full focus.”

ISPs, such as BT, Tiscali, AOL or Sky could also be forced to offer internet services where the only websites accessible are those deemed suitable for children. ,,,snip…

You know, as long as children are educated so miserably and so many face poverty and food shortages.. I am not at all concerned about internet usage, unattended. NOT MY PROBLEM.

[“I]t worries me – like anybody with children,” he says. “Leaving your child for two hours completely unregulated on the internet is not something you can do. This isn’t about turning the clock back. The internet has been empowering and democratising in many ways but we haven’t yet got the stakes in the ground to help people navigate their way safely around…what can be a very, very complex and quite dangerous world.”

Mr Burnham also wants new industry-wide “take down times”. This means that if websites such as YouTube or Facebook are alerted to offensive or harmful content they will have to remove it within a specified time once it is brought to their attention. ,,,snip…

Mamacita and Papi are dead, but the government wants me not to feel an orphan. I need to be safe.

65. marisacat - 26 December 2008


to put off dialogue with Iran until after the Islamic Republic holds presidential elections slated for June 2009. — mattes

WORSE! 6 months of walking orders.

66. Madman in the Marketplace - 26 December 2008

64 – wow, that is all kinds of stupid.

67. Intermittent Bystander - 26 December 2008

62 – Evidence of stick-wielding fervor does seem to support certain demographic hypotheses, over time. . . .


68. marisacat - 26 December 2008


And that scene in Rob Roy when Liam Neeson just goes medieval on prancing dandy Tim Roth had a certain barbarian perfection.

I did like that scene, partly as I love Roth as an actor. yeah talk about revenge.

69. Madman in the Marketplace - 26 December 2008

Snowman Gone Wild

Like some of man’s oldest forms of folk art, the snowman is, and always has been, a byproduct of man’s primal instinct to depict himself in art, be it a cave painting or a sculpture made out of snow. A frozen Forrest Gump, he’s a reflection of our own development. The snowman’s history spans the Renaissance, the early years of the American colonies, even the Franco-Prussian War. But one of his most intriguing eras was the “Dean Martin Years,” a period of excessive drinking and questionable activity.

What caused the snowman to go on the binge? This lost weekend for the snowman comes after a period of being treated poorly at the turn of the 20th century. The snowman was the tormented target of boys and girls and persons of all walks of life. Evidence of his suffering comes from many sources. The 1890s book Young Folk’s Cyclopædia of Games and Sports describes a variation of the nineteenth century game “Aunt Sally,” in which children score points by throwing snowballs at a snowman (instead of throwing sticks at a scarecrow named Aunt Sally). Polls taken by Journal of American Folk-Lore a few years later show that “making the snow-man a target” was among young boys’ favorite activities along with squat tag and “stealing hot biscuits.”

There is also visible evidence in trade cards, beautifully illustrated pieces of paper that were the business cards of their day. Shop owners would leave them on their counters for customers and collecting them became a popular hobby. Like so many other advancements in the world — including the first photographs and early silent movies — the snowman was right there, showing up front and center. And more often than not — taking a beating. With the popularity of postcards by the turn of the century, it was no different; images of snowmen pelted with snowballs by gangs of scamps and wayward youths plowing their sled or pig-driven toboggans into snowmen (that’s right, there used to be pig-driven toboggans).

Some of these early postcards show snowmen being bludgeoned by two-by-fours and stomped on by tots. There are examples of snowmen being held up by gunpoint by little girls and stabbed with brooms. At one point, a snowman is dragged into a studio and forced to pose with kittens—while not violent, it was certainly humiliating. But the ultimate indignity would have to be a holiday card showing Santa Claus in a convertible racing car running over a horrified snowman, who is screaming for dear life.

To add insult to injury, the snowman somehow became a spokesperson for any product of an embarrassing sort, appearing in ads for every personal hygiene problem imaginable: dandruff, gas, hangovers, constipation, and bad breath Add this all up and you have a Frosty with a pretty shaken psyche. We literally built him up only so we could, apparently, knock him down and use him as a piñata. It’s no wonder the snowman turned to booze.

70. marisacat - 26 December 2008

Speaking of The Snowman, Snowmen… I read that the image is turning up a lot as some clever ad guy discovered it was outside copyright. Full access…………………….. it’s probably in that article as well, I jsut di not pull it up yet…………………


71. Madman in the Marketplace - 26 December 2008

70 – It’s been used to sell all kinds of stuff, going way back. This on for Phillip’s Milk of Magnesia is pretty funny.

72. marisacat - 26 December 2008

… slowly we congeal.. more from Mr Burnham… Minister of Culture:

Mr Burnham admits that his plans may be interpreted by some as “heavy-handed” but says the new standards drive is “utterly crucial”. Mr Burnham also believes that the inauguration of Barack Obama, the President-Elect, presents an opportunity to implement the major changes necessary for the web.

“The change of administration is a big moment. We have got a real opportunity to make common cause,” he says. “The more we seek international solutions to this stuff – the UK and the US working together – the more that an international norm will set an industry norm.”

73. Madman in the Marketplace - 26 December 2008

Seems that all of that “the day after xmas is the new black friday” PR didn’t work:

Deep discounts fail to rouse local shoppers from recession malaise

Kimberly Richardson usually spends the day after Christmas returning gifts given to her.

This year, she was ready to bargain on purchases she had made for others.

Showing the aggressiveness and price consciousness exhibited by many worried shoppers, the 29-year-old furniture saleswoman from Round Lake brought the receipts from gifts she had bought at Macy’s and persuaded the sales clerk to give her Friday’s newly discounted sale prices.

She walked from Hawthorn Mall in Vernon Hills $20 richer.

The day after Christmas–traditionally one of the five biggest shopping days of the year– is still the time to head to the malls to look for discounts and exchange ill-fitting gifts. But with steep markdowns plentiful in the weeks leading up to Christmas, consumers appear to be spent and in less of a mood to shop any more.

Though many retailers opened before dawn and advertised bargains aggressively, malls appeared relatively quiet Friday. The number of people visiting shopping centers declined an estimated 19 percent from the day after Christmas last year, according to NPD Group Inc., a Port Washington, N.Y.-based market research firm, based on visits to 26 malls nationwide.

74. Intermittent Bystander - 26 December 2008

Parallels with scarecrows – literally, straw men – make sense, too.

Interesting article about all the architects heading overseas to build McMansions, now that the domestic market is, shall we say, indisposed.

Curiously, some of the developments overseas look and sound a lot like California suburbs marketed to affluent customers who have spent time living in the U.S. or attracted to an American suburban lifestyle.

Feola’s firm, which does 90 percent of its projects outside the U.S. and is best known for designing a shopping mall in Dubai with an indoor ski slope, was responsible for a development outside of Beijing called Napa Valley that has little resemblance to the winemaking region.

Grassy front lawns and driveways lead to pastel-colored homes that mimic French, Italian or Spanish architectural styles. Customized kitchens, screening rooms and basement wine cellars are very different from Chairman Mao’s vision of communal living.

BTW, mattes – Found a rather rah-rah cached page (circa 2004) from something called Business Trends Online, which mentions Blackstone, Markstone, Cerberus, and KKR as go-getter private equity firms of the day. The author (identified only as “Web Master”) noted Markstone’s focus on investments in Israeli technology, agriculture, and media, but in the blurb on Blackstone, pointed to this:

What makes it remarkable is how China has invested over $3 billion into this fund. This does wonders for the global economy and asserts the presence of a capitalistic environment.

Caveat lector, on the source, of course.

75. Madman in the Marketplace - 26 December 2008

the cabinet minister doesn’t seem to realize that ratings haven’t worked on anything … movies or comics or video games … and that any problems the precious children have is almost entirely likely to come from someone known to them, not some scary stranger on the internet.

Of course, this is really about control, not protecting anybody, like the CCTV that infests both the UK and USA.

76. Intermittent Bystander - 26 December 2008

Sacrificial strawmen and Beijing McMansions in moderation, I think.

More on the Chinese investment in Blackstonem, from International Herald Tribune, 2007:
China faces backlash at home over Blackstone investment

HONG KONG: The first purchase by the Chinese government’s new overseas investment fund, a $3 billion stake in the Blackstone Group, has backfired badly and produced an unusual public backlash within China.

Blackstone shares have fallen steeply since the company went public June 22, pushing down the value of the government’s investment by more than $500 million in just six weeks. Bloggers and even some Chinese financial media have frequently mentioned the dwindling value of the government’s stake, and some have been highly critical.

“O senior officials of the Chinese government, please do not be fooled by sweet-talking wolves dressed in human skin,” said one of several Internet postings compiled by an anonymous blogger on Sina.com, a Chinese Web site. “The foreign reserves are the product of the sweat and blood of the people of China, please invest them with more care!”

In a sign that the Chinese government may be censoring criticism on the sensitive issue of government investment losses, the blogger’s entry was visible on the Web site on Thursday afternoon but had disappeared by Thursday night. Other entries by the same blogger were blocked, but milder criticisms of the Blackstone investment could still be found.

77. Intermittent Bystander - 26 December 2008

From Reuters UK, Dec. 23, 2008:

Investors in the Blackstone Distressed Securities fund can transfer their capital on preferred terms to the fund managed by GSO and the existing fund will be liquidated.

The hedge fund industry has been hit hard by the worst global financial crisis in decades. The average hedge fund lost 17.7 percent in the first 11 months of 2008, the worst-ever performance, according to figures from Hedge Fund Research.

Blackstone’s shares closed at $5.98, up 9 cents Tuesday on the New York Stock Exchange. The stock has fallen 73 percent this year as sliding investment values have hurt the company’s results.

78. Intermittent Bystander - 26 December 2008

Thoroughly Modded Millie, I am.

79. marisacat - 26 December 2008

I am so sorry IB! It has completely gone after “I”… usually its all time favorite to snag to moderation is “M”

Got them all out!


80. Intermittent Bystander - 26 December 2008

Frosty’s got his hand in his pants there! And is that a big old Milk of Magnesia laxative cake that Mom is flaunting at the upper left? Helluva monster pill, otherwise!

81. marisacat - 26 December 2008


sounds like Blackstone became, at some point, a ”vulture” hedge fund, think that is what they are called. They traffik in distressed securities.. (not that I know much, god help me)

82. Intermittent Bystander - 26 December 2008

That blushing smiley cracks me up.

Maybe the Chinese or British censors are infilterating WordPress and trying to shut me up about Rob Roy and Mao.


83. Madman in the Marketplace - 26 December 2008

Moyers has some sappy thing on tonight about how religion is the source of all that is good in humanity, and we should all love each other’s religions.

Sure, that has worked so many times in human history.

84. Madman in the Marketplace - 26 December 2008

This image is called the Hubble Ultra Deep Field, and it is by far my favorite Hubble image. Starting in late 2003, astronomers pointed Hubble at a tiny, relatively empty part of our sky (only a few stars from the Milky Way visible), and created an exposure nearly 12 days long over a four-month period. The result is this amazing image, looking back through time at thousands of galaxies that range from 1 to 13 billion light-years away from Earth. Some 10,000 galaxies were observed in this tiny patch of sky (a tenth the size of the full moon) – each galaxy a home to billions of stars. Go outside tonight, take a ball-point pen with you, and hold it up in front of the night sky at arm’s length. The tip of your pen is about 1 millimeter wide, and at arm’s length, it would cover the 10,000 galaxies seen in the Ultra Deep Field image. That’s how unbelievably massive the visible universe is. By way of comparison, to really put us Earthlings in our place in the Grand Scheme, please have a look at another famous image, the Pale Blue Dot – a photograph taken of the Earth (the tiny pale speck, top center) by Voyager 1 in 1990 from 4 billion miles away (about 6 light-hours). I will finish with the words of astronomer Carl Sagan about this Pale Blue Dot: “That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar”, every “supreme leader”, every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there – on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.”

85. Madman in the Marketplace - 26 December 2008

The current crisis and Obama’s Clintonomics team

Bill, like Barack, was elected on a platform of populist economics, then adopted Wall St ideology

With Barack Obama surrounding himself with Clinton-era economic advisers, many have questioned his commitment to changing the system that led to the current economic crisis. Robert Pollin is one of many who have raised this point. An expert on Clintonomics, Pollin points out the similarities between Obama today and Bill Clinton in 1992, including the voices that they are listening to.

86. mattes - 26 December 2008


She walked from Hawthorn Mall in Vernon Hills

You bring back memories, my old stomping grounds when I was a good little corporate soldier.

IB and MarCat, interesting on Black/Mark/Ceberus etc etc connections. I’d like to know what is happening behind closed doors.

AIG is selling off too. How can they stay in business much longer, muchless pay a dime back to taxpayers.

87. Madman in the Marketplace - 26 December 2008

Ash Flood Is Found to Be Larger Than Initial Estimates

A coal ash spill in eastern Tennessee that experts were already calling the largest environmental disaster of its kind in the United States is more than three times larger than initially estimated, according to an updated survey by the Tennessee Valley Authority.

Officials at the authority initially said that about 1.7 million cubic yards of wet coal ash had spilled when the earthen retaining wall of an ash pond at the Kingston Fossil Plant, about 40 miles west of Knoxville, gave way on Monday. But on Thursday they released the results of an aerial survey that showed the actual amount was 5.4 million cubic yards, or enough to flood more than 3,000 acres one foot deep.

The amount now said to have been spilled is larger than the amount the authority initially said was in the pond, 2.6 million cubic yards.

A test of river water near the spill showed elevated levels of lead and thallium, which can cause birth defects and nervous and reproductive system disorders, said John Moulton, a spokesman for the T.V.A., which owns the electrical generating plant, one of the authority’s largest.

88. Madman in the Marketplace - 26 December 2008
89. mattes - 26 December 2008

#IB…had to look up GSO:

GSO Capital Overview

GSO Capital Partners LP is a leading credit-oriented alternative asset manager with $26.6 billion of assets under management as of September 30, 2008. GSO manages senior debt funds, hedge funds and mezzanine funds focused on the leveraged finance marketplace.

GSO was founded in 2005 by Bennett Goodman, Tripp Smith and Doug Ostrover. Prior to forming GSO, the founders built and ran the Leveraged Finance businesses at Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette and Credit Suisse. Under their direction, DLJ and Credit Suisse held the leading market share in underwriting high yield securities for more than ten consecutive years. The founders were also responsible for managing the activities of Credit Suisse’s Alternative Capital Division with over $30 billion in private equity, mezzanine, real estate and hedge fund assets. Today, GSO has over 210 employees with offices in New York, London, Los Angeles, Houston, and Hong Kong.

GSO was acquired by The Blackstone Group L.P. in March 2008, following which Blackstone’s debt investment businesses were combined with GSO’s operations. GSO’s business will be enhanced by the many benefits of being part of Blackstone’s global investment management and financial advisory operations.

…..enhanced? hmmm.

90. Madman in the Marketplace - 26 December 2008

Clusterstock: The Ultimate Bailout: Why Nationalized Health Care Is Coming

I’ll believe it when I see it.

91. mattes - 26 December 2008

Madman, from your clucterstock link, why would anyone want their pension fund in a hedge fund in this day and age:

Hedge Funds Still Popular For Institutions Desperate For Returns

Despite the knocks on alternative asset management in the last year, hedge funds still outperformed stocks in 2008 and large pension funds aren’t giving up on them, notes the Wall Street Journal.


92. BooHooHooMan - 26 December 2008

..the Veritable Great Flood
…..of Coal Sludge at Christmas.

the moral of the story is obvious…
Why, it’s Teh GAYZ FAULT™ ~ of course!

93. Madman in the Marketplace - 26 December 2008

90, mattes — people are very, very irrational about investing. During the time I was working in a call center in the mutual fund industry, it used to stun me when people would call up to complain about a distribution being “too big”. “I’m going to have to pay TAXES on this!!!!”, they rant, especially if the distribution was a dividend or short-term capital gain. There seemed to be no understanding that the return numbers on the fact sheets they would scan over when they invested INCLUDED previous distributions, NOT just the increase in share price. They’d get so obsessed with that 15% or 30% tax they’d forget about the fact that their money MADE money for them.

I tend to be kind of conservative in my thinking about investing, mainly because money scares me and because I had enough math to know that most investment “strategies” amount to little different from an elaborate betting scheme, so to my thinking getting a dividend or capital gain was part of the reason one invests. I guess I’m just stupid …

People like Hedge Funds because they’re unregulated and promise high returns without the periodic distributions. If you own a mutual fund, you have to share your taxable distributions with the gov’t through the fund’s Transfer Agent’s filing of your 1099R. Funds have to pay out those distributions every year so that the fund can fall under the regulatory definition of a fund, which include the requirement that all the tax burden be supported by the shareholders. Now, I don’t know Hedge Funds as well, because I’ve had little exposure to them, but I don’t believe they fall under this requirement.

People think that their money is being taken away from them when they’re taxed (which it is, in a sense, but they sadly don’t make the connection to the clean water and police service and huge military that is “protecting” them) when they’re looking at a 1099R or their property tax bills.

As for the performance numbers being put out by the hedge funds, why would anybody believe them after Madoff and the other scandals? There is little or no oversight over those numbers. They are private companies, usually partnerships or trusts, and much of what they do can remain opaque. They’re like perpetual motion machines, only for money … and we all know that there is no such thing as a perpetual motion machine.

94. Madman in the Marketplace - 26 December 2008

ooops, meant to close the bolding at the end of the customer’s rant!

95. BooHooHooMan - 26 December 2008

…yep that sludge dyke was Gayer than a New Orleans Levee,
Gayer than a Zionist Ponzi scheme…

96. mattes - 26 December 2008

I bet the people managing the large pension funds don’t necessarily consult each contributor, especially the government plans.

How many baby boomers are going to get shocks in the coming years.

Do you think all this need for hedging is do to lack of real oversight and auditing of corporations? Remember Anderson role in the Enron scandal, they were worthless.

97. marisacat - 26 December 2008

Then it promptly snagged mattes and Madman – as tho it read what I wrote…

One of mattes’ and two of Madman’s out.. (will fix the close on the bold HTML)…

Sorry for the delay!

98. marisacat - 26 December 2008


what worries me is that all the economy people for the new administration appear devoid of energy.

How that flatness rolls out, I have no idea.

99. marisacat - 26 December 2008

gnu post…


…………….. 😯 ………………

100. BooHooHooMan - 26 December 2008

marginal tax rates, the debate on regulation of funds.. frankly are of little concern to Elites, the Spinners of the Wheel at the Carnival…

The “solution” from these barkers? Tax Free Bonds to fund ‘Infrastructure” , New Shelters pushed through as ‘Stimulus”. Stimulus to the temporarily sagging fortunes of Principals and Solicitors alike.

Yes, employment will rise in the hopes* that rents and debt service will be paid.

But it really is a Counterfeit Hope now, no?
The Hope that enough commoners will survive THEIR
Armed Santa with a Flamethrower tactics for one more generation in order to dutifully service debts…

Hope? After having pushed so much of the similarly
Counterfeit-That- It-Might-As-Well-Have -Been-
Printed-Privately-In-The-Basement Currency?
Yet this is the Best Hope both we and the Elites have left.
A Hope that yes, The Big “We” will survive, and will,
yet again as ALWAYS “secure” their heavily armed treasure…
and further treasure seeking….

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