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      A little over 1 week in, and we’ve raised approximately $2,400. The first tier is at $5.000: A longer article on the collapse of the USSR, putting everything I’m aware of together. In particular I want to discuss the steps Gorbachev took which seem like either gross stupidity or intentional destruction. The fall of the Soviet Union was studied in great detai […]
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A series of unfortunate misallocations

Jon Corzine’s Mulctuary Money Management MF Global is still in the news.  Is it possible that the only banker we are likely to see doing a perp walk is the former Democratic governor of New Jersey?  There’s some kind of weird karma here.  Anyways, Mr. Poe, er, sorry, Jon Corzine’s firm has something like $28 million bucks on hand deposited with J.P. Morgan chase.  The Baudelaire orphans, er, clients of MF Global are trying to get access to this money, which may be all they can recoup, but Chase says they don’t have to give it to anyone.  Oh, wait, three hours ago, a judge ruled that MF Global can use this money to pay its trustee and operating expenses.  So, there you go.  The answer to whether the clients are screwed definitively.

In the meantime, federal regulators haven’t decided yet whether the misallocation of funds was legal or not.  It may have been perfectly legitimate for Corzine to put client’s money up as collateral against losses on risky sovereign debt bets.

Regulators now have a full picture of money transfers in the final days of bankrupt brokerage MF Global, and are working to sort out which transactions were legitimate, a top official told Reuters on Wednesday.

“We are far enough along the trail that we know where all the money went. Now it’s just finding out which ones of those transactions are legitimate and which ones of them are illegitimate,” said Jill Sommers, who is heading the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s review of MF Global.

“We certainly don’t want to lead anyone to believe we don’t know what happened. We do know, and we see where all the transactions went,” she said.

In an interview, Sommers told Reuters that just because money was transferred out of a customer account to the broker-dealer account “doesn’t mean it was illegitimate.”

It turns out that the transfer of the money from client accounts to the broker-dealer account required a permission slip from the clients.  And once they track down all of those permission slips, the $1.2 billion dollar losses will be legal.

Good luck with that.

I’m going to make a prediction that MF Global didn’t ask anyone for permission.  I’m going to bet that the movers and shakers just decided amongst themselves that they would allocate the funds and that things would just turn out for the best.  No need to ask the clients.  After all, that’s what they were paid to do.  They were the professionals, they were the experts. Clients don’t have the experience and knowledge of how the machine works to understand how these transactions work.  It’s much better to just trust our own judgement about this.  The clients may disagree and, if given the choice, might even try to stop us, but we are wiser than they are.  Besides, there’s a great opportunity here to make a killing.  Our clients would be upset if we *didn’t* do it.  Let’s go with throttle up!

It’s not like Jon Corzine doesn’t have a history of substituting his own judgement for that of other people who put their trust in him. If you want to know why the money from MF Global is missing, it’s because he made a decision without consulting the people who actually count- his clients.  He’s done it before and he got away with it so why shouldn’t he just do it again?  In fact, this might be a real test of integrity and loyalty for Barack Obama because Jon Corzine practically delivered the nomination to him on a silver platter:

It had to be Corzine.  California wasn’t cooperating, Pennsylvania’s delegates weren’t all onboard either.  Those two states could have been problematic and upset the narrative.  Moreover, sparing them the choice of taking the dive and going against their voters or upholding state law requiring the delegate vote  on the first ballot according to the state primary results meant that the voters wouldn’t really have anything to complain about.  California is a big state.  It could have generated a lot of complaints.  But Corzine could be counted on to deliver for his buddies on Wall Street.  It was only one small little state that gets a lot of ribbing but it has a wealth of delegates.

People may be wondering when I’m going to get over it.  It just makes me a tiresome “malcontent”.  Isn’t that right?  What can I say?  My standards are very high when it comes to the electoral process.  A vote is a sacred thing.  And when someone or someones who you trust misallocates your votes, it’s just as much of a theft as when they misallocate your money.

On of the first things a malevolent party does when it wants to take hold of power indefinitely is mess with the vote.  They screw around with the ballots that get lost or destroyed or they flood the ballot boxes with a few thousand extra votes or they change votes using erasable ink pens.  So many different ways to make sure that the voters’ true intentions are thwarted.  And now we have all of those voting machines…

Stealing is stealing and Jon Corzine is a repeat offender.  I guess that makes Barack Obama the recipient of stolen goods.  He doesn’t even have the benefit of ignorance as to where the goods came from.  That makes him a conspirator.  Anyway, that’s the way I see 2008.  Fraud, theft and arrogance.  We’re all paying for it and like the unfortunate clients of MF Global, we’ll have no justice until someone is held accountable.

Wednesday: Feminism first

I’ve got some stuff to do today and will be checking in periodically.  In the meantime, here are two videoclips by Australian writer, Jane Caro.  I’ve been checking out a lot of freethinker videos lately, particularly because the speakers represent the other end of the religio-socio spectrum.  Most people fall into the middle of a gaussian distribution when it comes to religion.  At one end of the spectrum, let’s call it the “right” end, there are people who feel religion very intensely.  The fundamentalists are a subset of this group.  The other end of the spectrum is composed of people who look at everyone to the right of them and say, “Um, I don’t get it”.  These people just put a lot more emphasis on logic and reason.  Those people are starting to come out of the closet.  They now have global conferences, they write books and they’re speaking out. Dan Barker, who I mentioned the other day, says he thinks that American culture is evolving to become more like European culture.  Europe burned itself out on religious wars and now most Europeans do not profess a faith.  What we’re seeing in American is the last shrieks of a group that is losing its fight with modernity.

By the way, after I watched some of these clips and the way people all around the world make fun of super religious Americans, I find it enormously embarrassing.  There is a perception out there that Americans are all religious freaks who joyfully embrace ignorance and aren’t afraid to stuff it down your throat.  That’s the way the world sees us.  Next time you go to Europe on vacation (I’m assuming that’s something everyone has on their bucket lists whether they’ve gotten there yet or not), just remember that everytime you open your mouth, the rest of the continent is going to immediately think you’re the equivalent of Tammy Faye Baker without the dripping eyeliner who doesn’t understand something as simple and elegant as evolution.  We have a lot of work to do to reclaim our reputations as an enlightened, modern people.

Anyway, Jane Caro says feminism is more important than atheism and she makes a couple of very compelling arguments. She skewers everyone, even Buddhists. Enjoy the humor and insight of these two videos and ask yourself how female Obama voters got it so wrong.  *Real* feminists do not vote for guys like Obama.  That would be like being a female suicide bomber for Al Qaeda.  No matter how much you do for the cause, your paradise is not going to involve deflowering 72 virgins.

Real feminists look after their own sex first.

Jane Caro- Intelligence Squared Debate clip

Jane Caro- Global Atheist Convention 2010, Melbourne, Australia