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May the source be with you, but remember the KISS principle ;-)
Bigger doesn't imply better. Bigger often is a sign of obesity, of lost control, of overcomplexity, of cancerous cells
The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c CNBC Financial Advice
Political Humor Health Care Crisis
Quote of the day ...
"What we see in the United States and some other economies is a statistical recovery and a human recession."
Larry Summers, Davos, Jan 30, 2010 (via CNBC)
Could it be that Obama stimulus, bank bailouts and Fed policies are designed to pump statistics...not help humans?
So, Larry is admitting that GS employees aren't human?
So, Larry is admitting that GS employees aren't human?
They are squid automatons
"Sorry, Mom, the mob has spoken!"
double inverse recession:
If I can't live on 40 hour's pay, how can I live on 32?
Hulu - Saturday Night Live- Don't Buy Stuff
Reappointing Ben Bernanke solves none of our problems
The logic used to support reappointing Bernanke was exactly the same logic employed by your President to appoint Geithner Treasury Secretary. See. they are both uniquely qualified to lead during this time of crisis,,, Because, they were entirely responsible for creating the crisis in the first place. Do you follow ? What's not to like ?
Question of Identity
My friend "BC" asks ....If corporations are persons and there is no limit on how much these persons can spend to buy politicians to write laws favoring corporate persons, if a corporate person buys another corporate person, is that slavery?
From the perspective of logical progression, where does this end?
The logical thing to do would be to cut out the middle man, and simply vote for corporate lobbyists directly. They write almost all the legislation anyway.
Technical foul called on the Unabankers, unsportsmanlike behavior.
My wife's employer stopped paying her in mid 2008... gutted by March.
Well, gutting seems harsh but laying them off would be doing them a favor.
Work without pay? Cargo Cult? Former Soviet Union circa 1991?
U dont haf two bee to smarte two wurk at Starbucks.
I'll have a double-dip on a waffle con, please.
Juvenal Delinquent wrote:
I'll have a double-dip on a waffle con, please.
That's "CON". Please.
According to Chicago Fed, it is still early to call the official recession over.
That's good news. Because the depression begins when the recession ends.
That's "CON". Please.
Too much repetition dulls the blade and the message
You may remember the scene from “Take the Money and Run” (if you’re as old as I am).
Over and over, as he was growing up, bullies would pull Woody’s glasses from his face, throw them on the ground and smash them.
Now, as an adult, he is cornered by the police after a failed heist. In a panic, he pulls his glasses off, throws them on the ground and smashes them. “See,” he says, “I did it myself.”
Fast forward to Obama post-Massachusetts, offering to shrink the beast all on his own.
Time to switch role models.
We have a Congress that is a Parliament of Whores of who sold themselves to the highest corporate bidder. Why do I want to have any affiliation with either group? And I am not sure if a 3rd party can break the death grip on America the parties have.
The Big Picture
...as far as a third party, i believe the two we already have are doing a great job at screwing this country, no need to complicate things.
"When buying and selling are legislated, the first thing to be bought and sold are legislators."
"It is a popular delusion that the government wastes vast amounts of money through inefficiency and sloth. Enormous effort and elaborate planning are required to waste this much money."
Like Carter? No. Like Clinton? No. More like the captain of the Titanic.
Except that on Obama’s sinking ship, the banksters have already filled the lifeboats. The women and children are SOL. Not to mention the small businesses.
...make sure that the syphilitic elephant in the living room – defense spending – was rightly blood-red and not matched to anything.
It is said that the US Senate will be voting on the confirmation of Zimbabwe Ben, the Oligarch's Friend, around 3:20 PM EST today.
January 26, 2010 | EconoSpeak
r l love :
"...the Bush and Obama administrations squandered hundreds of billions of dollars in public resources..."
Is it fair to say 'Squandered', is this money not still out there somewhere in the economy? This also seems presumptuous because it is impossible to know how things might have been otherwise.
Yes, Ray, it is still out there. It is invested in hedge funds right now speculating on the collapse of Greece's economy and the dissolution of the Euro union.
After smiling silently upon reading the rumble over at Barry Ritholtz' I must admit that, for my amusement, I am all for a good conspiracy theory purporting to explain the inexplicable - one that projects blame away from where it perhaps hurts most, or onto something that makes erstwhile sense out of randomness and/or seeming injustice, particularly on a canvass where The Bad Guys seems to triumph more often than Mom, Pop, Guy Little, or even the virtuous citizen. Yes, blame the Fed, it's leader(s), Goldman Sachs, it's leader(s) - present or former, the Plunge Protection Team, CIC, the NWO, vulgar Russians, fundamentalists, George Soros, Water fluoridation, The Jews (oh yeah - don't forget the Jews), Sunspots, Cronies, Old Boys, Ivy-Leaguers, Etonians, Extra-terrestrials, Economists, Hedge Funds, HFT'ers, rich folk, poor folk, Freemasons, Unions, Vaccinations, the CIA, Jews (oops I've already said that) crack-heads, [insert favorite other pet tag, famous persona, or just Timothy Geithner here], anyone and anything other than what the wise seeker of explanations, William of Ockham and his obvious razor might suggest with appropriate contemplation.
In the world of the Sordid and Nefarious Conspiracy, cabals dominate. Nothing, I repeat NOTHING, is at seems. The truth, you see, would bring tears to the eyes of Macchiavelli and Lao Tzu, not to mention Mother Teresa and the Dalai Lama. At least if they walked away from watching Glenn Beck or reading certain financial blogs more informed and rage-a-licious than before. Yet the market for intrigue, cynicism and increasingly, financial skepticism is large and expanding seemingly at a faster rate than the market for sober-minded analysis and cogent, thoughtful non-hyperventilated explanations. To be certain, flaws are prevalent in everything and everyone. Systems and rules will gamed frequently and systematically, and competitors will inevitably collude, more or less in inverse proportion to the amount of oversight, regulation, scrutiny and enforcement of said affairs. Politicians will frequently bend the truth for self-serving reasons. Good people universally will make some bad decisions (in hindsight). And bad people will make worse decisions. Heck, just ponder the plight of an altar boy in Ireland. Corruption is almost certain to be prevalent to a greater or lesser extent while honesty will perpetually be in short supply where money, power, and/or privilege is concerned. Conflicted interest is behind every door. Institutions are only as good as the people within, and the support from the polity. Culpability is in short supply in American culture. Even Clinton found it hard (no pun intended) to own up to a few moments of illicit pleasure. Yet, for all that, conspiracy theories - like religion - need to be credibly and plausibly proved to be anything other than a phantasmagoric conjuring at best, or sad excuses NOT to confront the prevailing reality with the prevailing palette of contributory causes and explanatory factors and influences, because it is contrary to one's presently anchored view.
Conspiracy theory, like demagoguery, begins with a remote kernel of seductive and at a cursory glance seeming explanatory power. A simplistic soundbyte lodging itself within, but for practical purposes, of little use in comprehending the complexity of modernity. It is precisely this complexity and the subsequent loss of individual control that has caused the bull-market in Conspiracy and Demagoguery. Reality just has too many facets and moving parts. Dumb it down. "Six-Minute Abs" applied markets or politics. It sells ad slots on late-night talk radio, and elevates the eyeball-count on websites. But sadly, it provides little more than a placebo in place prescription required.
Jesse's Café Américain
quantitative easing is to central banking what the introduction of nitroglycerin was to conventional warfare.
Suppose it is 2011 and the so-called Volcker Act has recently become law, sharply curtailing banks’ riskier activities, like hedge funds and proprietary trading, and separating those activities from consumer businesses and retail deposits. Citigroup’s recently arrived chief executive, Bob Steel, formerly of Wachovia, is dismantling the group to comply with the law. A memo to the bank’s staff announces that Tim Geithner has been hired as head of the bank’s strategy and investor relations. Oddly, this imaginary situation is not such a stretch.
From: Bob Steel
To: All Citi staff
Date: Feb. 1, 2011
Dear Citi Employee,
By now, most of you probably know that Citi announced the appointment of Timothy F. Geithner as Global Head of Strategy and Investor Relations. Tim, who joins after a hiatus from a distinguished career in public service, will report directly to me.
In his new role, Tim will oversee Citi’s relations with shareholders, including the United States government and key investors in the Gulf Region. He will work closely with me, as well as Vice Chairman Christopher Dodd and Executive Vice President of Government Relations Harry Reid to manage the increasingly challenging regulatory environment presented by the continuing implementation of the Volcker Act.
As you are all aware, we are now focused on developing our client franchise in our core business as we proceed with the series of changes announced in recent months to the corporate organization of the group. Under Tim’s leadership, we will reinforce the confidence we have begun to rebuild with shareholders, creditors and customers as we embark on the biggest restructuring of Citi’s capital structure since its founding.
Tim is an exceptional communicator and strategic thinker. His track record shows consistent results under extremely challenging financial conditions. Our new model — a smaller, focused global bank for businesses with no consumer operations and a niche trading arm devoted to facilitating client transactions — is one Tim understands from his years in public service, both at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and as secretary of the Treasury from 2009 until 2010.
Until suitable replacements are named, I have asked Tim to oversee all of our investor relations responsibilities, including those for Citi’s pending spinoffs, starting with the planned divestiture of Banamex and our North America Consumer Banking franchise to a consortium led by Banco Itaú of Brazil and Carlos Slim Helú.
Tim will also be intimately involved in the creation of Toxia, America’s biggest nonbank financial institution, through the recently announced merger of Citi Holdings and General Electric Capital’s GE Money division, to be led by John Thain after the approval of the Reverse Morris trust structure and spinoff to both companies’ shareholders.
Tim will also play an active role in advising the board’s Living Will Committee to create a series of contingencies in the event of a significant crisis of confidence like the one in late 2008. Tim’s work with this committee, overseen by Ben Bernanke, our lead independent director, is designed to put Citi in compliance with the Volcker Act’s Too Big to Fail statutes.
As you know, the board took other big actions, including the sale last month of Citi’s remaining stake in Smith Barney to Morgan Stanley and the merger of Alternative Investments with the recently privatized Proprietary Investment Corporation (formerly known as Goldman Sachs Asset Management). As a result of these and other moves, Citi’s new executive team is well on the way to creating the world’s most focused provider of wholesale financial services.
I hope you are all as excited as I am about Tim’s arrival and the great future that lies ahead for the corporation. I am looking eagerly to taking your questions in the meetings that David Axelrod, the new head of corporate communications, will be setting up at Citi locations around the globe in coming weeks.
Give me liberty, or give me debt.
He said he was extremely impressed by Bernanke's "intellectual stamina,"
and yet he can't remember which foreign banks got $500 billion. Nice.
Math is hard.
OK, I can't resist posting this:Bernanke Breath
In the pumping madness
Of the locomotive breath,
Runs the big-time Bankster,
Headlong to his death.
... ... ...
The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c Indecision 2010 - The Re-Changening
Political Humor Health Care Crisis
Fast forward to 7 min 50. At this point what more can be said: Stewart is simply jealous because Cramer draws far more laughs every time the former Goldman Private Wealth Management expert (the kind of wealth where you become a millionaire, if you started of a trillionaire) shows up on TV.
The Big Picture
I know a disproportionate number of the people who missed this 70% market spike leaned Republican. But stupidity knows no party affiliation
... "Yes, the Democrats are corrupt and inept. But the other side is batshit insane."
... Yesterday, the Democrats lost Ted Kennedy's Senate seat to a handsome, rich, privileged, empty-headed, empty-souled trans-gender Sarah Palin.
Jan 22, 2010 | zero hedge
There once was a man named Larry,
Who gave prophecies to Barry,
Looked at price of silv'eagle
And gave the bill back, now it's scary
Just in case you needed a good analogy to the Predator recommending an acid-dripping Alien as your next house pet, here comes the one and only Maestro saying Bernanke is doing a swell Job.
To try and figure out who might be doing it, I would look for some big player who is showing extraordinary returns on their trading, with consistent profit that is not statistically ‘normal,’ too consistently good. The problem with cheaters is that they sometimes get greedy and call attention to themselves.
In Las Vegas the bigger cheats were often taken out into the desert for further inquiry and final disposition. On Wall Street they are somewhat more arrogant and persistent, defying resolution with that ultimate defiance, “We’ll just find other ways to cheat again.”
Time for a trip to the desert?
“Isn’t it funny when you walk into a investment firm, and you see all of the financial advisors watching CNBC — that gives me the same feeling of confidence I would have if I walked into the Mayo-clinic or Sloan Kettering and all the medical doctors were watching General Hospital…”
-Senior portfolio manager, UBS
Corporations elevated to status of humans [means] humans diminished to status of fictional legal entities created by whim of the state...
Jan 21, 2010 | Asia Times
Angelides asked Blankfein about one of just the more recent of the Goldman controversies - the reports circulating that the firm had been selling off suspect mortgage-backed securities to investors unprepared to handle the risk. Angelides likened this practice to a shady used-car dealer ( "What's a used car? Blankfein might have wanted to ask an aide. "It's one of those things the servants drive that leave oil stains in their parking spaces.") selling lemons with bad brakes to the little old ladies needing a ride to church, and then having the firm (through credit default swaps) take out a life insurance policy on their deaths from the subsequent car crashes.
Maybe Volcker isn't behind this. I'm thinking Michelle told Barrack that size matters.
Juvenal Delinquent :Comrade Kristina:
Didn't see Obama naming any rules after Timmah or Ben...
Heckuva job Massachusetts.
I can see Menendez, Schumer making frantic phone calls.
let's see if the patient is strong enough to withstand the withdrawal of the addiction of all things finance.
Tiger Woods/Megan Fox 2012!
Juvenal Delinquent wrote:
I heard the PPT cruiser blew a tranny
Another republican senator at work in the airport lavatory?
It's good to see Obama following through on his promise to talk even tougher.
This feels more like asking the school bully to let you shove him around a bit in front of the other kids at recess and then handing him all your lunch money later.
who's going to pump the market to make sure we finish in the green today?
Where is my recovery. Somebody stole my recovery. Have you seen my recovery? And my stapler, where is it?
...We live in a time of miraculous recovery and largesse.
While it may be true, as Lloyd and Jamie told the FCIC in sworn testimonry last week, that the banks, former investment banks, and their regulators had no idea of the risks they were creating and trading among each other in the time leading up to the “events” of 2007-08, clearly that is not the case now.
Now we have fully restored financial institutions doing God’s work: They’ve done yoeman service in restoring their balance sheets, to say nothing of a shattered global economy.
Thankfully, the apocalypse was averted, largely thru the efforts of these dedicated men and women in finance acting, as they’ll gently remind you, largely on their own to not only restore global markets, but to set the stage for renewed growth and prosperity for all. They are indeed the true servants of the public weal.
One is proud, as a taxpayer and citizen, to have done one’s small part in restoring our financial institutions. And, let’s be fair, one is frankly more than a bit awe-struck at the brilliance of the effort and alacrity of the response among the banks and former investment banks in righting the markets and global economy. Thankfully, the oh-so-dire turn of events only a year or so ago now safely behind us. The only thing that didn’t survive — the investment banking model — has been re-imagined and deployed in ways never considered. How wonderous. One hopes — nay, prays — these institutions will find ever-more creative ways to deploy capital and create new instruments and new trading markets for the distribution of new risks we’ve yet to consider.
The largess we are about to witness being distributed to the people who were able to so completely correct what could have been massively destructive behaviour and risk taking is so well deserved. One can only hope 2010 brings equal good fortune. And that our children will hold these lessons forever in their hearts. Lord knows they will be paying for them.
...Liz Lemon (Tina Fey), in Season 3, Episode 8:
“What do we elites do when we screw up? We pretend it never happened and give ourselves a giant bonus.”
Jan 12, 2010 | The Daily Show Comedy Central
1) they changed the accounting rules on mark to market, the banks w/ credit swaps, derivatives, etc, may now price them to whatever level they think they're worth, this has highly inflated false prophets (sorry for the pun) and
2) Goldman and others are recipients of free investment dollars because of a Treasury change that grants them this status. What are they doing w/ these dollars? Investing in China and elsewhere, all on our dime.
3) Ask this: Given the various tax and public infusions of dollars into your company, what would your profit be without the dollars? That, my friends is the crux of the issue on the bonuses, however, there are so may other issues w/ legalities, and allowing the criminals to go free, it would take too long to inumerate. Fire Geithner, put the CEO's behind bars and clean house in Congress, it's long past time. No more insiders and reregulate, restore Glass Steagal and usuary laws, break up the too big to fail and end the profiteering in our military. We're not going to make it if these things aren't done, we're on life support as it is, in grave condition.
January 16th, 2010 | The Big Picture
So I am updating some of the content around the site — pages like, “About,” “Contact,” etc. — and I click around to a few pages to see how some of my friends have handled these.
Some are better than others, I get a few ideas, but nothing inspirational — until I click over to my friend Paul’s About page:
“Back before there were such things as credit default swaps, collateralized debt obligations, and subprime mortgages, we vandalism-loving greed-heads on Wall Street were forced to take down capitalism the hard way — by selling over-valued technology companies to an unsuspecting public via initial public offerings. While it eventually worked out (c.f., the tech crash of 2000), the next generation of Wall Street-ers learned from our inefficiency and took down the global money grid in half the time it took us to mess up Nasdaq. Lesson learned.”
January 11th, 2010 | The Reformed Broker (via Alphaville)
Objects on the surface of the Moon experience only 16.5% of the gravity they would experience on Earth. In this way, a 200 pound man bounds up and down off the Moon's surface with the buoyancy of a 33 pound child.
Ladies and Gentlemen, we are trading on the Moon.
- Joshua M Brown 1/11/2010
And for those who are mostly long (or completely long or long and leveraged), it feels pretty damn good.
There are signposts along the road reminding us all that this market could turn down sharply at the drop of a hat. These signs come in the form of pent-up home inventories, still-savage unemployment stats and the ever-worsening condition of the commercial real estate swamp and those institutions who lend into it.
Some investors are compartmentalizing these warning signs and jumping into the stock game so as not to be left behind. They do this with one eye on the exit and a quiver on their backs filled with put contracts and sell stop limit orders.
Many more, however, are beginning to ignore these warnings altogether, like a well-traveled airline passenger ignores the safety procedure demo at the beginning of a flight.
This willful ignorance is occurring for the simple reason that we've been in an anti-gravity environment - where stocks bounce off of each piece of good news and bad news indiscriminately, each bounce propelling them higher still.
Here are some features of the recent anti-gravity stock market:
- Bad employment number - stocks go up
- Good employment number - stocks go up
- Sovereign credit default - stocks go up
- Sovereign credit downgraded to junk - stocks go up
- Hawkish Fed speech - stocks go up
- Dovish Fed speech - stocks go up
- Hawkish Fed minutes released - stocks go up
- Dovish Fed minutes - stocks go up
- Treasury auction goes well - stocks go up
- Treasury auction goes poorly - stocks go up
- Crude oil and other raw costs rally - stocks go up
- Crude oil and other raw costs sell off - stocks go up
- Banks report earnings - stocks go up
- Banks dilute their shareholders back to the bronze age - stocks go up
- CES preview captures our imaginations - stocks go up
- CES becomes a joke with 3D TV and a $2300 battery-powered bike - stocks go up
- The weather is unseasonably warm in November - stocks go up
- The weather is Antarctic across the country, Black Friday is snowed out - stocks go up
- Stimulus plan is roundly criticized as wasteful and irresponsible - stocks go up
- Talk of a yet another stimulus plan begins - stocks go up
Bounce. Bounce. Bounce. Bounce. Bounce.
Houston, we have a profit.
Vinny G. :
“I’d urge you to cover the costs of the rescue not by sticking it to your shareholders or your customers or your citizens but by rolling back bonuses.”
Was he on his knees while saying that?…lol
Politicians who promise – but do not deliver – don’t stay around long. Obama is highly likely to be a one-term president. His strongest card at this point is the total idiocy of the most likely opposing candidates. The risk to us is that one of those idiots may be our next president.
Jim in MNMay God have mercy upon our Nation.
The rising number of Doom and Gloom titles reminds me of a dinner scene several months ago. One guest remarked that she had decided to stop buying/collecting Bibles. Another guest asked, "Why are you buying so many in the first place, they all say the same thing?!" Abundant laughing from all, followed.
Sometimes we just get wrapped up in all of it.
I have to be careful reading too much of my own beliefs.
... I feel as if I'm the only person in the world who continues to sit on his hands and just watch the unrestrained enthusiasm play itself out in ever higher valuations.
What a spectacle.
"200k contracts appear to have just traded in a 1 minute interval. This is a notional equivalent of $12.5B."
...MARIE SHAPIRO AND ALL OF THE SEC - YOU ARE FUCKING USELESS DOGSHIT.
In summary, the banking industry has been on the equivalent of steroids [abuse].
Performance was enhanced by excessive loan growth, loan risk, securities yields, bank leverage, and consumer leverage, and conducted by bankers, accountants, regulators, government, and consumers.
Side effects were ignored and there was little short-term financial incentive to slow down the process despite longer-term risks."
- Mike Mayo
The Fed is pulling out all stops to defend its secrets, including publishing self-serving mathematical gibberish. Please consider the St. Louis Fed article on the Social Cost of Transparency.
Unless you are an academic wonk, you will be stymied by pages that look like this ...
There are 24 pages of such nonsense with titles like
Just for good measure here is the page describing 3.2.4 A No-News Economy
The article culminates with ...
Harley Bassman, a veteran strategist on the US rates trading desk at BoA Merrill Lynch"
A number of years ago I left a yummy freshly made sandwich on the kitchen table. As I turned my back to take a drink from the refrigerator, the dog jumped up and grabbed the sandwich. Enraged, I turned to chase down the beast (with my sandwich in her teeth) and teach her a painful lesson. My wife grabbed my arm and stopped me in my tracks by sternly telling me: “Dear, what did you expect, she is just a dog !”
So looking back at the financial Tsunami that almost collapsed Western Civilization, how can we honestly say that we were surprised by these events ?
January 13, 2010 | The Big Picture
The following is from Eliot Spitzer (former attorney general and governor of New York), Frank Partnoy (professor of law at the University of San Diego) and William Black (investigator of the S&L crisis and a professor of economics and law at the University of Missouri-Kansas City)>
- AIG: What was your firm’s relationship with AIG? How much exposure did you have to AIG? What information did you publicly disclose about that exposure? Did you think AIG’s CDS strategy was “good business”? Do you think we still would have needed to rescue AIG if its derivatives had been centrally cleared, as some in Congress have proposed?
- Disclosure: Were your financial statements during 2005-08 accurate? What did your officers disclose to your board about your bank’s exposure to the nonprime mortgage markets before 2008? What specific information did you publicly disclose about your exposure to derivatives and nonprime mortgages? When did officers or employees of your firm recognize that there was a serious risk of a housing bubble? What did they recommend, and what changes did the firm implement, in response to the identification of this risk? Why?
- Pay: What was your bank’s total compensation for officers for each year from 2001 to the present? What were the components of that compensation? Identify and explain where compensation created perverse incentives in the following contexts: your bank, other banks, executive compensation advisory firms, audit firms, appraisers, rating agencies, loan brokers, loan officers? What aspects of compensation produced these perverse incentives? When did employees of your bank become aware of the literature in economics, criminology, and compensation warning of these perverse incentives? What specific actions did the bank take in response? Which elements of your bank’s compensation system create perverse incentives?
- Ratings: Why do you think the rating agencies gave AAA ratings to toxic CDOs? Did you think CDO credit ratings accurately reflected their credit worthiness? Did employees of your bank ever express concerns internally/publicly about the judgment of the ratings agencies? If so, when was the first time?
- Moral hazard: What incentives at your institution helped lead to the financial crisis? What conversations did you have with the Fed regarding your exposure to CDS and other derivatives? What monetary value would you place on the government guarantee of your deposits?
- Mortgage fraud: Name the three nonprime specialty lenders with the worst reputations for originating fraudulent mortgages. Name the three nonprime specialty lenders with the worst reputations for originating predatory loans. Is there any legitimate business reason why a secured lender would seek to induce appraisers to inflate the value of the secured property? When did employees of your bank become aware that coercion of appraisers to inflate appraised values was becoming common? What action did they take or recommend when they became aware?
- Warnings: What were the three most significant specific steps your banks took in response to the FBI’s September 2004 warning that the developing “epidemic” of mortgage fraud would produce a crisis if it were not stemmed? Why do you think the spread on nonprime mortgages fell after this warning, and other warnings? Why did bank loss reserves also fall during this time? What were your bank’s analyses of these risks and the adequacy of loss reserves (industry-wide and at your bank) and how did they change as the markets exhibited these perverse patterns? What did your bank’s officers recommend that the bank do in response to these perverse market conditions and what actions did the bank actually take? Were the industry reactions, and your bank’s reactions, to the warnings adequate?
- Lobbying: How much has your bank spent on lobbying over the last five years? This year? How many additional personnel has your bank hired full-time or as consultants to lobby the federal government?
- Crimes: How many criminal referrals has your bank made for mortgage-related frauds in each year beginning in 2002? How many named your own officers or employees? Does the FBI have adequate resources to investigate such frauds? Explain how an epidemic of mortgage fraud must lead to widespread accounting and securities fraud if the mortgage paper is to be resold.
- 10. Regulation: Did the passage of the Commodities Futures Modernization Act of 2000 contribute to the crisis? Did the federal regulators’ efforts to preempt state regulation of predatory mortgage lenders contribute to the crisis? Should the Federal Reserve have used its authority under HOEPA to regulate nonprime lending during the financial bubble? Provide any contemporaneous analyses of the role of regulation, deregulation, and desupervision in contributing to the crisis. Did your bank lobby (directly or indirectly through trade associations) in support of deregulatory efforts that contributed to the crisis?
Eliot Spitzer is a former attorney general and governor of New York. Frank Partnoy is a professor of law at the University of San Diego and the best-selling author of The Match King: Ivar Kreuger, The Financial Genius Behind a Century of Wall Street Scandals, about the 1920s markets and Ivar Kreuger, who many consider the father of modern financial schemes. William Black is a former investigator of the S&L crisis and a professor of economics and law at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and the author of The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One.
January 13th, 2010 | The Big Picture
Its ironic this was published just before the (belated) first public meeting of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission headed by Phil Angelides.
Here’s the FT:
A larger explanation, I am afraid, is the grip Wall Street has over the American political process. The Street is where the money is and money buys campaign commercials on television. Wall Street firms and executives have been uniquely generous to both parties, emerging as one of the largest benefactors of the Democrats. Between November 2008 and November 2009, Wall Street doled out $42m to lawmakers, mostly to members of the House and Senate banking committees and House and Senate leaders. In the first three quarters of 2009, the industry spent $344m on lobbying – making the Street one of the major powerhouses in the nation’s capital...
“The public would be supportive of anything up to shooting and burning the bankers.”
Doug Elliott, a fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington
and a former managing director at JPMorgan Chase & Co
““The public would be supportive of anything up to shooting and burning the bankers.”
Indeed. If Obama had announced that a B2 bomber squadron dropped a few bunker-busters on Wall Street and bank headquarters, and the survivors were being carted off to Gitmo, people would have cheered.
Fees? So the individuals that did committed the fraud will get off scott-free? Wonderful!
Of course they will. Coming soon to a theater near you: Criminals Like Us. A Government and Bankers production
Uncle Billy Cunctator
This is their theater; we are just moderately engaged spectators. If we want a different show we’ll either have to buy our own theater or burn this one down and rebuild.
The person who has the best chance of saving the Republican Party is Barak Obama. The president campaigned on change. He clearly stated that he was not going to allow big business to own and run Washington. If the health care proposal that is moving through congress is his version of change, the citizens of this great country are going to realize what he meant was “chump change”.
It reminded me of Thain and his expensive office trash can. You know if you get in a situation where your trash can has to be “Gucci” you got mental problems, I’m sorry.
The only positive I take from the extraordinary pay levels of executives is that there must be a tight supply of unethical actors in the executive labor market.
Let George Carlin tell it like it really is
"The game is rigged and nobody seems to notice. Nobody seems to care. Good honest hard-working people . . . white collar, blue collar it doesn’t matter what color shirt you have on. Good honest hard-working people continue, these are people of modest means . . . continue to elect these rich ***** who don’t give a ***** about you. They don’t give a ***** about you . . . they don’t give a ***** about you. They don’t care about you at all . . . at all . . . at all, and nobody seems to notice. Nobody seems to care. That’s what the owners count on. The fact that Americans will probably remain willfully ignorant of the big red, white and blue dick that’s being jammed up their ass everyday, because the owners of this country know the truth. It’s called the American Dream, 'cause you have to be asleep to believe it . . .”
We live in frightening times when you hear officials in China suggesting that they have to create bubbles in order to pacify their citizens.
"The Return of Depression Economics and the Crisis of 2008"
We're simply returning to the same kind of bubblenomics that created the crisis to begin with.
This is what happens when you have a society that lives in and ideological and moral vacuum: They essentially become a giant mercenary force that has to be constantly bribed so they don't turn on each other and rip themselves to pieces.
Welcome to the new America.
Some flies in the ointment are as dumb as a box of rocks.
Movies that succeed create a vision of a world that resonates with what the viewers perceive, on a conscious level or not, is their world or world they wish to live in. Symbols as standins. The popularity of vampires is not happenstance.
One of the deeper insights here.
ResistanceIsFeudal (profile) wrote (in reply to...) on Mon, 1/11/2010 - 10:54 am\
or else the gig is up and the public actually becomes restless and may take action Pitchforks and Torches
I spent almost two hours in rapt fascination at peopleofwalmart.com yesterday morning... admittedly it's not a good cross-section of the populace, but if 80% of the people represented on that site became restless and took action, they'd be tired very quickly, or fall over from a massive coronary. They aren't making Joe-Sixpack and Jane-SUV like they used to.
Yes this crowd would be a component but not entire sample
Here let George Carlin tell it like it really is YouTube - George Carlin ~ The American Dream
The game is rigged and nobody seems to notice. Nobody seems to care. Good honest hard-working people . . . white collar, blue collar it doesn’t matter what color shirt you have on. Good honest hard-working people continue, these are people of modest means . . . continue to elect these rich ***** who don’t give a ***** about you. They don’t give a ***** about you . . . they don’t give a ***** about you. They don’t care about you at all . . . at all . . . at all, and nobody seems to notice. Nobody seems to care. That’s what the owners count on. The fact that Americans will probably remain willfully ignorant of the big red, white and blue dick that’s being jammed up their ass everyday, because the owners of this country know the truth. It’s called the American Dream, 'cause you have to be asleep to believe it . . .”
Comrade Kristina wrote:
Former Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska has signed on as a contributor to the Fox News Channel
Fanciful projection: The situation in 2012 is so negative that only the rankest opportunist is interested in high office.
I will take a stab at writing the President’s statement on this:
“I have today accepted the resignation of my Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner. One year ago the global economy was facing the biggest challenge in history. Tim and a small handful of dedicated individuals took the steps that were considered necessary at the time to first stabilize a collapsing system and second put the economy of the US and the globe on a path that would lead to recovery.”
“For this, the American people owe Tim our thanks. He worked tirelessly during one of the darkest periods of our history. And he succeeded. Today the economic crisis of one year ago has receded. Our economy has stabilized and growth has resumed. Our financial institutions have also returned to health. The financial support provided them through the TARP program has worked. We see the evidence of this as those banks who took assistance a year ago are now paying it back with interest.”
“Our country continues to face serious economic challenges. Unemployment remains stubbornly high; we face a protracted period of large fiscal imbalances. A critical weakness continues to be with homeowners who are unable to meet their financial obligations.”
“I have appointed Sheila Bear to replace Tim Geithner. Sheila will bring to the Treasury Department her proven leadership and administrative skills. She has both the knowledge of the core issues and the compassion that is required to address the problems that are at hand.”
“Sheila has set the standards and seen to the implementation of the Nations efforts in restructuring home mortgages. The guidelines for refinancing troubled homeowners that she established have been accepted by virtually every public and private sector lender. Much more work needs to be done in this area. Many homeowners are still facing default. This reality causes human suffering and is adding to our economic problems. I am looking forward to working with Ms. Bair in this critical area as well as all of the other challenges we face.”
Okay, so that was BS. But if it does go this way, the Boss will say words to this effect. He will just do it better.
So determined was Labeouf to win the role of Jacob Moore in Oliver Stone's "Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps," four days before he was due to meet Stone, the young actor walked into a brokerage house and invested $20,000. Small price to pay for the role, you say? Think again -- we guess when you're hot, you're hot. "My mother laughs about it all the time. I come from poverty and she was on welfare, and now I'm trading upwards of $300,000."
Labeouf's secret? "You can never go wrong with soybeans," he joked, we think. The actor also revealed he "took and passed the Series 7 test which enables [him] to become a licensed trader." [Film Ink Magazine]
Economist's View: Interview with Raghuram Rajan
"It is possible these developments may create … a greater (albeit still small) probability of a catastrophic meltdown,” he told the assembled central bankers and academics. “If we want to avoid large adverse consequences, even when they are small probability, we might want to take precautions.”
It was a discordant note at a forum celebrating Alan Greenspan’s tenure as Fed chairman; many deemed his conclusions “misguided.” But history, of course, proved that Rajan’s analysis was dead on. ...
RR now advises the Indian govt.; do not know if the O administration pursued his services.
we might want to take precautions
"Precautions" meant he wasn't a team player (distrust of other players morals) and wasn't optimistic or patriotic (REAL Mericans are glorious risk takers). He probably didn't love Merica.
...Hey, maybe squid has some creative interest rate swap deals they could market.
They are such helpful chaps.
How much longer before the first Unabanker gets raptured away on a Gulfstream V, to the non-extradition country of their choosing, to spend more time with their money?
Comrade Kristina :
I found an old reference to the story by mp from January of last year.
The Turd and The Apple
Many years ago, in the upper reaches of Minnesota, a cow turd flopped off a creek bank and landed in the stream. It floated down the Mighty Mississippi where it came upon an apple, which had just ripened and dropped off the tree into the river.
"Mind if I tag along," asked the turd.
"No, not at all," replied the apple.
The turd and the apple floated slowly down the Mighty Mississippi until they reached New Orleans.
The apple said, "Goodbye, turd, this is where I get off."
"But," said the turd, "I thought we were in this together?"
"What," asked the apple, "is all of this we sh^t?"
The Baseline Scenario
“So yes, bankers are like athletes. Their individual contributions are overrated relative to their supporting environments; they are overpaid; they are paid based on where they randomly fall in the probability distribution in a given year; and paying a lot for bankers is no guarantee that your bank will be successful in the future.”
Outside The (Cardboard) Box
... ... ...
President Barack H. Obama – “I’ve spent many hours in somber deliberation. I’ve prayed. And I’ve consulted with the love of my life and mother of our two wonderful children, Michelle, as to what my resolution for 2010 should be.
A New Year’s resolution is ideally a contract with yourself that, if properly executed, will result in a positive, immediate outcome with additional long-term benefits. As such, this is a serious decision that warrants careful consideration.
Therefore, I have directed the formation of the Obama 2010 Resolution Trust Commission with Paul Volcker as Chairman and Sheila Bair as Secretary to analyze this complex issue and to make recommendations DIRECTLY to me, without intermediaries fogging-up the message, as oftentimes happens in this town.
I would like to also thank Austin Goolsbee for serving on this important committee.”
... ... ...
Senator Chris Dodd – “Merely doing my part for the economy, I’m going to get a home owner’s equity line on my place in Ireland. Rates are incredibly low and it’s clearly in the interest of the American people that I get a 500% LTV non-recourse loan for my foreign property backed by the full faith & credit of Fannie!”
... ... ...
Senator Mitch McConnell – “This year I will work tirelessly to allow those Americans concerned for the welfare & direction of our Country to be able to once again provide their financial support to the McConnell Center for Political Leadership at the University of Kentucky in complete and total anonymity. Frankly the disclosure requirement has been detrimental to the shaping of our future leadership and needs to be abolished. So effective immediately, anyone who wants to support putting our country back on the right path should send CASH to my office on Capitol Hill. That’s McConnell, M-C-C-O-N-N-E-L-L. And remember, CASH….don’t send checks. Money orders are ok though.”
... ... ...
Former Governor and Vice Presidential Candidate Sarah Palin – “I resolve to make hay while the sun shines. I’m gonna strike while the iron is hot. I’m gonna get while the gettin’ is good. Never in my memory has someone with so little to offer had so much appeal to so many with so much. I’ve got to go. A bird in the hand, you know?
(read the below in an exaggerated Australian accent, like that guy who took bubble baths with great white sharks and electric eels but for some strange reason died in a freak animal incident.)
Krikey! This landscape is litrelly filled with Market Bears! But wait just a tick - there appear to be many different types of bears running about...all with different attributes and markings to help us tell them apart.
Let's have a peek through the binoculars and see what we've got:
The Born-Again Bear (Ursus Scottradeum) - this creature was horribly wounded during two prior market crashes while remaining long and margined to the hilt. Has since sold entire portfolio at the bottom, subscribed to RGE Monitor and delights in telling the members of his old investment club what morons they are. Can be found roaring "bwahaha" at other investors on the Yahoo Finance message boards.
The Perma-Bear (Ursus Abelsonious) - the very definition of "creature of habit", Perma-Bears are right 2% of the time but tedious and pedantic 100% of the time. By never conceding the fact that anything could even possibly be a positive, they render themselves irrelevant, even during actual bear markets. Many, however, are brilliant and lovable, despite their unwillingness to change or concede.
The Conspiratorial Bear (Ursus Tinfoilicon) - A highly adaptive sub-species of the Perma-Bear. These animals are known for their over-perspicacity and have foreseen 11 of the last 3 market corrections due to a light social calendar and a fondness for Data-mining & Dragons. They are, however, always the most interesting bears to behold in the forest and serve the important role of keeping the other woodland creatures on their toes and alert.
The David RosenBear (Ursus Aurum Minotur) - a species that is outwardly concerned with the instability of economies and markets yet cannot resist the urge to speculate in gold stocks. He will justify his "playing" of precious metals with myriad warnings of inflation, deflation, mega-flation, Gaga-flation etc, but in reality, he is banking on the greater fool theory just like everyone else.
The Long-Short Bear (Ursus Kasseus) - can often be found running a hedge fund and being a contrarian sometimes just for the sake of being a contrarian. He is often bearish but will go long when he senses that too much public opinion may have shifted to his side. Takes great delight in fading the herd and making the most difficult trade in the case of multiple standard deviations being stretched.
The Grizzled Bear (Ursus Davidticenum) - a long-lived species of bear, one which has been negative for so long that it's forgotten which way is up. The Grizzled Bear eventually becomes more concerned with being consistently negative than with being right, and so becomes more well-known for his doomsaying than his returns. TV producers only call this bear to come out of hibernation for an appearance during times of market duress.
The Opportunistic Bear (Ursus Nimblesus) - these are bears gifted with a strong instinct for survival. They will often compartmentalize their rigorous assessment of big picture economic conditions in favor of profiting in the near-term from what they conceive of as the madness of crowds. A highly practical species, this is one of the few bear types that did not become endangered over the last 6 months.
Right then. With all these types of Market Bears about, be careful about which ones you pay attention to. And remember mate, market cycles are like boomerangs - they always come back around sooner or later.
editors note: don't get it twisted, we'll be covering the bulls here soon enough.
Full Disclosure: Nothing on this site should ever be considered to be advice, research or an invitation to buy or sell any securities, please see my Terms & Conditions page for a full disclaimer.
January 4, 2010 | naked capitalism
Fortunately, society was spared their advice for several months – but now they are back, akin to the bad aftertaste of greasy pizza that one belches out after a particularly gruesome serving. I’m just waiting for the day when Bernie Madoff will be writing an article for Newsweek, expounding on how we can improve financial regulation.
This country gives con-men and sociopaths many “second” chances, so don’t be surprised.
“I’m just waiting for the day when Bernie Madoff will be writing an article for Newsweek, expounding on how we can improve financial regulation.”
...the folks who run the major banks today — the senior executives, directors, managers, etc. — are essentially the same exact folks who ran them (into the ground) 5 and 10 years ago:
“The prospects for a robust prudently guided financial sector have been substantially clouded by the fact that the both the corporate governance structure and the executive leadership of the financial sector remain largely unchanged—92% of the management and directors of the top 17 recipients of TARP funds are still in office.”
You read that correctly — 92% of the TARP recipients’ senior management remains essentially unchanged post-crisis . . .
January 4, 2010 | naked capitalism
on the ball patriot at 9:22 am
They’re so fucking hard to read,
It makes setting the policy,
So difficult indeed,
Ease it or squeeze it,
Everybody watch the fed,
Read their scam instruments,
As the world slowly drops dead,
Turn on the pumps,
Drain the reserves,
Call the fucking plumber,
Its all getting on my nerves,
Too low for too long,
Too much for too long,
Too loose for too long,
Its the voodoo magic song,
First you say you will,
And then you say you won’t,
And then you say you do,
And then you say don’t,
Strip away the voodoo,
And what do you really see,
Rich folks fucking poor folks,
Its as obvious as can be,
Too many people and not enough shit,
The wealthy elite control the money pit,
And while in your voodoo haze you dozed,
They snookered you again and the money pits been closed …
Deception is the strongest political force on the planet.
The Big Picture
To hell with Japan, we have already had our lost decade — or at least so says the Washington Post.
Bush/Cheney rock! Trickle down finally vindicated.
Kudlow’s performance requires some amount of self-delusion...:
Despite the historic expansion of the federal government’s involvement in, intervention in, and control of the economy ... despite all the things that would be expected to destroy the economy — all this socialism lite and the degrading of incentives and rewards for success — despite all this, the U.S. economy has not been destroyed.
The Reformed Broker
December 28, 2009 | Clusterfuck Nation
As I was sitting in my chair,
I knew the bottom wasn't there,
Nor legs nor back, but I just sat,
Ignoring little things like that.
My grandmother used to quote this poem fifty years ago, using it to explain her predictions of the eventual collapse of the global financial system. She was even more premature than Jim; both are right, I think.
Gresham's Law: the counterfeit drives out the good.
This principle operates on thought and belief systems as well.
It is a lot cheaper to believe in bullshit than to accept reality.
Holiday cheer for the banksters. To the tune of Smarty Jones' favorite Christmas carol. (The tune is played before the Preakness each year because it's also the tune of the Maryland state song.)
File the “Insurance Welfare Act of 2009″ bill under “Jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire”.
Can a modern functional nation which has transformed into on a parasite ridden system, and produces very little added value, exist for long?
We will find out soon… not that we want to.
Indeed we will. As I said to a few mates over beers recently, it’d be an interesting movie – if we weren’t in it.
Cassandra Does TokyoWith the holiday season rapidly approaching, I managed to get my hands on the Goldman Sachs Xmas Party Menu for this year. I'm told it's not final, but this is what they are proposing (note the pretty ballsy choice of venue...)
Goldman Sachs Holiday Fete - 2009 at the Palais VersaillesAPERITIFS & HORS D'OEUVRES
Finest Golden Chartreuse Elixir
Selection of Trappist 'Biere Belgique'
Chateauneuf du Papes - Balthazars of Domaine du Pegau 2000
(Holy Water or non-alcoholic beverages available on request)
With Canapes of 'Pigs-in-a-Blanket', 'Devilled-Eggs', Blood Sausage; Godiveau Lyonnais;
* * * * * * *
Fish & Loaves (fish is sustainably caught from the banks of Iceland)
"Salade Romanov" of Lobster & Black Truffles Sprinkled With Gold Foil
* * * * * * *
MAIN COURSES(Served Smorgasbord or "All You Can Eat-Style", to satiate the most unsatiable of appetites)
Roasted Market Goose Entier with "Couilles Brasse" With Scalped Pototoes
Chateaubriand of Milk-FED Beef avec une Sauce Banquiere
Braised Roebucks in a Creme-de-la-Creme Sauce
Banquette-Holding a 'Surf And Turf' with a bonus of sauce fine-blanc
Traditional Stuffed Turkey in a "Sangfroid" sauce
Freshly-Slaughtered Cutest Spring Lamb (Roasted on a Spit) in a Minted Sauce
"Stuffed Sucking Pig Five-Ways" (Chef's Surprise)
* * * * * * *
Sponge Cake with a Luxurious Creme Anglaise
Grand-Sized Profiterole Balls with a Rich Chocolate Sauce
Gaffes with a Blanc-Fine Syrup
* * * * *
Bittersweet Karma Cookies
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