Decline and fall (maybe) … Nov 27, 2010

A purely subjective look at our chances to survive those who rule us

Michael Collins

It will be months if ever before trials to start for the targets of the FBI raids. In the meantime, Congress failed to extend unemployment benefits for four million workers set to go off the rolls in January.

Will we survive those who rule us and those who aspire to rule in their place, that bipartisan coalition known as The Money Party?

The parade of indictments on Wall Street is just beginning. On Tuesday the FBI raided three major hedge funds (very large private, highly exclusive, unregulated investment funds that generate huge returns for the lucky few). There are more raids on the way, twelve according to one source. Business Insider's excellent article made clear what has the Feds upset: "What's happened, it seems, is that the government has discovered a huge ring of friends or acquaintances who all know each other." Its called insider trading, taking advantage of information to make those huge profits the hedge funds offer. Ten years after the Wall Street Casino opened, they're finally regulating. It may be time for a scapegoat. The hedge funds will do, it appears. The defendants may wish to put in an early bid for a conveniently located federal penitentiary.

It will be months if ever before trials to start for the targets of the FBI raids. In the meantime, Congress failed to extend unemployment benefits for four million workers set to go off the rolls in January. "The peoples' House" voted 258 to154 in favor of extending the benefits in the midst of real unemployment around 20%. But in our nation's capitol, a majority is sometimes not a majority sometimes. The vote fell Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and her crew required a super majority for passage. There's no success like failure.

In one of the strangest episodes in the war on a word, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) rolled out new measures to inhibit travel. Passengers in 68 airports (up to 1000 by the end of 2011) must submit to a full body scan or, if they choose, a pat down by TSA agents. There are concerns from major scientists that the radiation from the body scans may be dangerous. According to the TSA, the pat downs will include examination of the "genital area" (for adults, TSA hesitated about this for children). If you decide that you don't want to fly and just go home, that's not allowed. They'll do it anyway or charge you with a crime with a $10,000 fine. So travelers have a choice - irradiation, being groped, or a federal charge with a big fine.

Reports from Haiti indicate that there's a cholera outbreak. An estimated 4,000 Haitians will die with the top end 10,000 deaths. The Chronicle of Philanthropy released a survey in July showing only 27% of all the funds raised for Haiti have been disbursed. The ">Toronto Star noted just today that only 10% of the 160 million plus for cholera has arrived as aid in Haiti. Not much to be thankful for in Haiti.

In California, Hope of the Valley, a North Hollywood based charity, plans to feed 1500 people in need on Thanksgiving Day. The charity has regular meal programs for the poor in Southern California. It has only a few paid staff, 40 plus volunteers, and spends 87% of all donations on direct services to those in need.

Meta: 

Comments

Methinks you are much too hopeful

The 3 hedge funds in questions manage somewhat less than $15B in assets.

For a $1.7T industry, this amounts to less than 1%.

More importantly, these hedge funds are pikers.

The top 23 hedge funds comprise $438B in assets - the 3 in question could safely be characterized as weak hands being thrown to the wolves.

Besides which the 800 lb gorilla of fraud in the room is still the entire mortgage/securitization black hole from which no indictments have even come through.

You must have Javascript enabled to use this form.

I have to agree

It seems these insider trading arrests are token arrests, on the fringe, more your classic insider trading game, targeting tech and no big fish.

It's astounding we had a near economic collapse and not a single criminal charge seems to be forthcoming from it. Not even a civil charge that I'm aware of.

You must have Javascript enabled to use this form.