The economic principles justifying free market…

The economic principles justifying free market
globalization have the complexity and accuracy
of an armillary sphere.

Translation: “We expect the second half of 2008 will be more challenging than the first half as economic and credit conditions weaken,” said Ford marketing executive Jim Farley. The term ‘more challenging’ means ‘we’ll probably double our losses.’ Goldman Sachs agrees.

A Name You Can Trust: In 8 months in 2007, while subprime mortgages were heading for foreclosure and subprime lenders were heading for bankruptcy, Merrill Lynch happily bundled up and sold $30 billion in CDOs that, like rotten offspring, are likely to come home.

Headline Only: China Manufacturing Shrinks for First Time on Record.

Qualifications: Some are saying that Obama cannot be elected because he’s too slim, while the electorate is mostly overweight. He’s also too intelligent and too handsome. We like Bush, he’s like us. So much for the concept of the informed electorate and the virtue of popular democracy.

Orwell Meets The Red Queen: The Bush administration has redefined abortion to include everything up to and including condoms, then says it wants to make sure that religious nuts have the right to impose their beliefs on everyone else. About 200 more days, if you’re counting.

First We’ll Feed the Lawyers: Citigroup faces a formal SEC probe into misrepresentations in the sale of auction-rate securities. So far Massachusetts, New York and Texas have piled on.

Messing-Up Accomplished: The Taliban is regaining control of large areas of Afganistan. Bin Laden remains at large. Sadly, “there has been a surge in the number of civilian casualties caused by all sides.”

A Little Sleaze, Pleaze: Ken Wilson, the Goldman Sachs banker who is joining the US Treasury to help the country through the financial crisis, is expected to take a temporary post that will subject him to less stringent ethics rules than many other high-level officials.

Some Assembly Required reflects my somewhat cynical view of the world. Think of it as having coffee with a curmudgeon. Come visit.

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  1. etc

    Cass is a serious value investor. Her blog has had serious critiques of various investments by funds, in particular manipulation of P&L through end of quarter transactions in relatively illiquid small caps.

    And for all you libertarians who think Cass' posts are too political, check out Aussie value investor Chris Leithner's letters, a big time libertarian. Compared to Leithner's letters, Cass' posts are apolitical. He has been far tougher on Bush than any post by Cass that I can recall.


    In earlier days, I’ve read, French newspapers did not proofread, trusting that their readers were intelligent enough to know a misspelling when they encountered one. Ah, the good old days…

  3. Anonymous

    RE: “First We’ll Feed the Lawyers”. The order in which the investigations were opened is as follows: Texas and Massachusetts (who are members of a cooperative task force – that means one settlement on behalf of all states), followed by New York. The SEC opened their investigation a full two months after the states. So, who’s piling on here? More to the point, who’s trying to save face after having been shown what prompt and effective regulatory action means. In 2006, the SEC’s head of enforcement entered into a settlement agreement with, among others, Citi on this very issue with the same facts. The sole remedy was a requirement as a condition of settlement to make more fulsome disclosures – guess they forgot about that part. The SEC crowed about the wonderful settlement they’d reached and the fact that no investors had been, or were likely to be affected in the future. I guess it took too much time to actually investigate the entirety of the case – or they weren’t interested. “The Investor’s Advocate”? Look to the states, pal – the SEC’s in the business of covering for the firms.

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