Wednesday, August 27, 2008

SAR #8240


If a nation's laws are situational, that nation
has no laws
. Wm. Gibson, Spook Country

Theme Song: McCain's got the lyric, just needs a tune. "I spent 5 1/2 years in a prison cell..." In the background, Rudy Giuliani will chant "9-11 9-11 9-11..."

Perception: For quite some time Citigroup was sweeping minor overages in customers credit accounts into their own general funds - specifically those accounts belong to "the poor and the recently deceased." Citi says it was safeguarding the funds, California's AG says it was theft.

Now You See It... With Cantarell's output declining 36% in the last year and no new oilfields in sight, Once the sixth largest oil producer in the world and a primary US source of imports, Mexico will "exhaust its current reserves in less than seven years." And cease exporting to You Know Who before that.

Been There.. Ever work for a company that suddenly started issuing paper clips by the each, rationed copier use to a select few, skipped upgrades to equipment? Were any of them able to manage their way to a profit? Any of them still around?

Mass Arrests: Again, this time in Alabama, hundreds of probable terrorists guilty of working for a living have been rounded up by blue-shirted ICE-men. No charges have been brought, but dozens have been "identified, fingerprinted, interviewed, photographed and processed for removal." Their families will be dealt with later.

You Say SIV, I Say Enron: Lehman Brothers is reportedly setting up an off-the-books enterprise to 'buy' its failing mortgage assets, thus getting them off the old balance sheet and make investors forget that it still faces huge losses.

Gaming the Nations: Huber starts a discussion of Georgia vs. The Bear by assuming Georgia was "a rational actor." The first lesson in understanding Foreign Relations is the recognition that actors on the world stage often do silly things internationally so they can retain power at home. Keeping Cheney happy would qualify in this instance. After all, you can't play the game if you're not at the table.

Risk Taking: A bank in the UAE is suing Morgan Stanley for fraud, alleging Morgan Stanly misrepresentd a fund that subsequently collapsed. What gave them the idea that this was illegal?

Simpleton Math: JPMorgan is writing down its holdings of Fannie and Freddie's preferred stock by half. That's a good deal, in that they both have a negative net worth and should be valued at zero. Well, Paulson is bound to pay them something, but certainly not half.

Going For The Gold: House prices fell a record annual 15.9% in June. Not a single regional market has had a positive return over the past year. The contestants will now scoop up the data and see who can toss it into the headlines with the best spin. Larry Kudlow currently holds the world indoor record.

Safety First?: Washington Mutual is offering a 12 month CD paying 5%. Getting 4% from a bank for a one year CD is pretty rare. Wonder what the odds are you'll get your money back?

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