Poobah Classic: The Case of the Hirsute Thief

Note: The Poobah is out of town for the next few days attending a senior dinner for Claire Koeneman at Cal Poly Pomona. To keep you entertained. Here’s a Poobah Classic from the archives.
There are 8,000 stories in the Naked City – this is one of them

I drove through the pre-dawn streets. The traffic lights cycled through their silent and regular routine, directing dozens of ghost cars to dozens of ghost locations. The street glared with rain and my windshield turned runny from the fat drops. It was weather best described as cheap film noir.

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Banker Bonuses: Not Such a Wonderful Life?

Naked Greed

PFT...FAT CHANCE - Banking greedheads are unclear on such a simple concept.

Astonishingly, bankers may have surpassed lawyers, journalists, and child pornographers as the country’s most reviled people. They did this through a combination of tanking the world economy; extorting money and property from customers and the government; and downright, naked and stupid greed.

Oh, and complaining they weren’t paid enough to do it.

A recent informal Vanity Fair poll indicated 56% of banking greedheads felt their bonuses weren’t large enough. Clearly, this is indicates an IQ so low or hubris so large they shouldn’t be trusted with piggy banks, much less handle your life savings and the wealth of the world.

What’s the Big Deal?
Many have made a big deal about the unfairness of this arrangement. Many have claimed the inequities of the US corporate compensation system is making us into a country of overwhelming class division. In short, many have been right. But the emphasis on class warfare and inequality is only half – maybe less than half – of the picture.

The It’s a Wonderful Life banks of yore were paragons of charity and virtue compared to the ginormous money-maws of today. Despite bankers being beholden to no one other than their hand-selected boards and compensation committees, they make business decisions based on a monthly horizon to enhance their ‘pitiful’ quarterly bonuses. A banker looking beyond a quarter would be locked up in the Insane Banker’s Asylum for the Criminally Greedy. One looking out into the vastness of time – next year – would be executed for their danger to society.

That short-sightedness explains their Nostrasdumbassian inability to have seen the economic crash coming. That blindness to the danger of their own practices screwed their customers, the public – and not least of all – their investors. And now that they’ve good and thoroughly fu*cked their investors, they’re back to the same asinine practices as before, except – like a anitbiotic-immune bacteria – they’ve strengthened and widened the gap between what is legal and what is common sense.

Exercising their much vaunted “skills”, they’ve used taxpayer money, much of which was skimmed off for last year’s bonuses, to ‘reinvest’ and reap near-record profits this year – thereby clinching this year’s bonuses too. The only people dumber than the bankers are their stockholders. They’ve cheered as bankers laundered the money into record profits, either blindlessly stupid or so greedy they don’t recognize this as what it is…a ponzi scheme.

Bernie Madoff must be so proud.

Because they need binoculars to see the ends of their noses, they don’t see that everything will happen again. Their penchant for driving resources offshore to avoid the taxes that comprised last quarter’s stunning economic ‘recovery’ make it harder and harder to extort money from a US government with less and less of it to give. Meanwhile, all those cozy offshore havens – many of which are as friendly to America as a pack of rabid wolverines – are perfectly positioned to nationalize our money to pay for their own bait and switch schemes.

And as the macro-economic robbery continues, the bankers will again be shocked at another “completely unexpected” event. All those jobs that moved or disappeared to make companies more “profitable” steadily depleted the pool of potential customers with money for the banks to steal use to continue the ruination of their Holy Grail – capitalism.

Oh, and that’ll be a $130 million bonus for the trouble.

Where Do I Sign Up?
Bankers – in fact, almost all business US Big Wigs – receive huge bonuses if profits go up or they go down. They receive bonuses from the very companies they ran into the ground to keep their “expertise” with the company. They get bonuses because they successfully lobby each banking reform attempt into a cozier and cozier government/business alliance that – guess what – awards them bigger bonuses. Investors look the other way as long as money is coming into the Ponzi triangle and most complain for show only when the dividends come due and the banks can’t pay them. Then, they angle for a big bonus to pay their wizards of financial acumen to figure out some other way to steal twice as much money – partly used for big bonuses – next quarter.

Many supporters of corporatism über alles claim the execs deserve the big bucks because they are risk takers. The only problem with that axiom is that they take those risks with other people’s money and get paid whether the risks pay off or not.

Unbridled greed is leading them to not only kill the goose that laid the golden egg, but eat the egg, dine on the goose, and steal  their neighbor’s fowl for another mighty fine meal. One paid for with unsustainable bonuses.

Ain’t it a wonderful life?

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It’s Time for Sharia Law for Bankers

So how’s that deregulated, free-market banking industry working out for ya’? If you’re one of the saps who can’t pay your mortgage – in many cases because of the financial crisis wrought by crappy loans from crappy banks on stupid bets – not so good.

Apparently, the nation’s largest banks can’t figure out how to properly foreclose on homes. Although, you’d think they had enough practice to do it in their sleep.

Oops, I forgot. These are the financial wizards who claim the collapse was a huge surprise to them. The ones who’ve claimed foreclosure is the “moral” thing to do. The ones who break into homes to change locks before the home is even in foreclosure.  I guess the light from their sky-high bonuses blinded them to reality and civil behavior.

Robbie the Robo-Signer
In a demonstration of the alleged efficiency of the private sector, Bank of America and others used “robo-signers” – people who sometimes sign as many as 6,000 foreclosures a week –  to OK them without even looking at the paper work. The problem has reached such epic proportions B of A has decided to stop all foreclosures until they can get their house in order. Several other banks are set to join them soon.

Harry Reid’s (D-Dipshitvada) response was to “thank Bank of America for doing the right thing” – which is like thanking a drunk driver for only maiming you because he hit the brakes and would’ve otherwise killed you.

Closer to the proper analysis is Tom Domonoske, a lawyer and consumer advocate in Virginia. Domonoske says the foreclosure experience is much like the predatory lending schemes that tanked the economy. “It’s the same process, falsifying documents to make them look acceptable to someone. They’re falsifying foreclosure documents so judges will look at them and say, ‘Here’s an affidavit. It’s signed.”

All the worse is that a bipartisan bill (finally bipartisanship!) making foreclosures much more difficult on homeowners comes across the President’s desk soon. He promises to veto it.

It’s not that there isn’t plenty of blame to go around for this mess. Many homeowners stupidly took on more debt than they could pay or believed slithery predatory lenders when they said being in debt ass over teakettle was all the rage. “Hey, it’s trendy! Everybody’s doing it!”

Wing-Tipped Wolverines
But despite the banks and government trying to foist the whole sad adventure onto the homeless and soon to be homeless, they look more like the super jackwads. Republicans never saw a regulation they liked. Bushbama never saw a regulation they’d enforce. And, Congress never saw a reason to nip these crapweasels in the bud during their “irrationally exuberant” phase. Everything had to collapse – something any mouse with a human brain saw coming long before it got here – for them to do anything.

And when they did something, it was to the banks’ benefit.

Here’s the thing. Government wouldn’t have to regulate banks (or any other industries) if the industries stopped doing stupid, disingenuous, and dishonest things. Most of the regulations we already have were put there to corner the wing-tipped bastards like wolverines in rut.

Now the answer everyone looks for is more regulation – regulation that gives the wolverines a nice feather bed to lay upon. We don’t need no more stinkin’ regulations, we need to enforce the ones we have…with extreme prejudice.

Since Sharron Angle thinks Sharia law is taking over the country, lets do Mohamed proud. Any banker caught breaking the rules should have his hand cut off for stealing and we should keep hacking body parts until they look like Monty Python’s blood-spurting knight.

That way, it’ll be a lot easier to run from them when they try to steal the shirt off your back.

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