I like to start a new week in the right spirit. http://wallstreetonparade.com/2017/11/a-private-citizen-would-be-in-prison-if-he-had-citigroups-rap-sheet/

Somehow missed this: http://wallstreetonparade.com/2017/11/financial-experts-release-video-on-how-wall-street-loots-the-u-s-economy/

No comment needed: https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2017/11/saudis-going-fight-tehran-last-dead-american.html

From Politico’s NY Real Estate Report:  “Trump Tower among buildings that continue to bar the public from public spaces on site,” by PIX’s James Ford: “Nearly every inspected building that’s supposed to give full access to public space on its premises has failed to do so. That’s what a new audit by New York City’s top investigator concludes. Among the buildings on the list of non-compliance is Trump Tower. New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer made that declaration on Tuesday, half a year after his office first found that a large percentage of private developers had fallen short of agreements they’d made with the city which allowed them to build higher and more dense buildings than applicable zone regulations allow. In exchange for that privilege, developers were required to include privately owned public space, or POPS, on the developed property. …

“Stringer did not blame the buildings or their developers — including President Trump — for their non-compliance. Instead, he said that the agency tasked with enforcing POPS standards was responsible. ‘The Buildings Department is totally asleep at the switch,’ the comptroller told PIX11 News. ‘They’re not enforcing the agreement. They’re not enforcing the law. Shame on them.’ For its part, the Department of Buildings issued a statement on Tuesday: ‘We agree with many of the audit’s recommendations and will be conducting regular inspections of all POPS in the city.'” Read the story here . Read the report here.” “Asleep at the switch”? Perhaps – but wide awake by the little tin box? I suspect so.

Earlier today, I sent the following to a friend whose grasp of postmodern finance I trust:  “Perhaps when we meet in January, you can explain Bitcoin – which will then be changing hands at either $200,000 or zero – to us. What sets it apart other than its attraction as a vehicle for speculation? I’ve traveled up one side of Google and down the other and can find no easily comprehended explanation for the surge other than the perception that Bitcoin is perhaps a purer speculation – that is, less tied to externalities like central banks – than whatever else is on offer right now. Still, at the end of the day, for Bitcoin to have any economic utility, it has to be cashed in, presumably into some recognized medium of exchange (currency, gold or other commodity, whatever) that can be used to pay for stuff. There’s something about this that vaguely reminds me of the Eurodollar boom of the ’70s; deals and transactions could be denominated in Eurodollars, without the Fed’s by-your-leave, to the extent that by 1980, no one had any clear idea how many Eurodollars were in circulation. It was then that my friend Martin Mayer observed that a country that can’t control the amount of its money in circulation will soon not be able to control much else about itself.  Blockchain I can grasp, barely, because it seems to have a certain operational utility. Indeed I believe that is how it was originally promoted by Blythe Masters and others. ”  Then I subsequently read this: http://kunstler.com/clusterfuck-nation/exit-sign/


As early as 1993, in an unpublished but paid for book The Overclass (thanks, Random House, Jason Epstein and Harry Evans), I predicted that this was the direction in which the country was now headed. No graphs or Big Data, just common sense and the powers of observation: http://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2017/11/28/runaway-greed-enabled-tax-bill-will-lead-crisis/jNBma9mfGAUOJ5J7gk2OxH/story.html?et_rid=1758184608&s_campaign=todaysheadlines:newsletterIn Response to the above, here’s what I submitted on Dr. Sachs’s web page: In 1993, at the modest height of my reclame as a columnist for The New York Observer (1987-2009), I was commissioned by Random House to write a book about what I thought was going on in the country. The book I wrote, paid for by RH but unexplainedly never published, The Overclass, grew out of a (also paid for but also unpublished) short book, The Invisible Infrastructure, that contended that even as we were neglecting our visible infrastructure – highways, bridges, power grid, mass transit etc – we had better pay attention to the constellation of ideals, statements of purpose, jurisprudential outcomes etc. that constituted a kind of “invisible” infrastructure as essential to the country as its bridges etc. The RH book picked up this theme, focusing most closely on the cadres working to take over the country and suggested a number of remedies. I knew whereof I was speaking because I had been born into and educated by the elite, and by 1980, at the age of 44, when I began to write, I had been a corporate finance partner of two substantial Wall Street firms, had sat on the boards of important corporations and public and private institutions, owned a (small ) piece of a major professional sports franchise and otherwise enjoyed (if you will) life at the top. Your thinkpiece in the Boston Globe struck a responsive chord, although I fear it is too late really to do anything substantive short of a violent upheaval. The only answer lies at the polls. The moral indolence of the majority has submitted the nation to a not-so-virtual tyranny of the minority, while gerrymandering and other forms of voter exclusion, not to mention court decisions, have consolidated these distortions. The problem is worsened, at least in my perception, by the fact that those most physically and emotionally capable of wielding pitchforks and torches and operating guillotines (and AK-15s) voted for Mr. Trump. Best regards – Michael M. Thomas

This really says all you need to know about the moral gravity of the corporate types slavering for a tax cut. Alaweed must saying to himself “With friends like these…” https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-11-28/saudi-prince-who-wooed-west-finds-few-friends-in-tough-times

Pretty good audio-visual and verbal representation of a pig with small trotters: http://time.com/5039109/donald-trump-undocumented-polish-trump-tower-bonwit-teller/


It now seems clear that the person in the Oval Office is like a psychotic frog jumping from one Twitter lily pad to another, the distance between pads growing longer with each leap. Twitter was always going to be his undoing. Retweeting the loony anti-Muslim stuff was  bad; pointing a finger at Andrew Lack crosses the line!

This makes sense to me: https://prestonbyrne.com/2017/11/26/the-bear-case-for-crypto-part-ii-fractional-reserve-marmot/?utm_campaign=Dealbreaker%20Opening%20Bell&utm_source=hs_email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=58893838&_hsenc=p2ANqtz–nXh6o4EtTfS5IB4JGVM2cRFJ1irhWCbOUTgQN0UpZt1uxINHVFUmZcW1bvhidPbTtBau4HtlTxIeSodyJH6BdsgRpDw&_hsmi=58893838


All right, I yield. The guy in the White House really is as bad as – worse than – the most ardent Trump-haters prophesied. A tax on tuition grants! Tweeting “terrorist” videos originally posted by a UK nutjob. You watch: he’ll now disclaim any responsibility for the most odious parts of the tax bill. He is his base: brimming with grudges fueled by an inferiority complex – and I don’t know how it can be reversed, since red-statism in its many aspects has been made secure by gerrymandering and a Congress of bought men and women. Just read this stuff (I don’t use or read Twitter or FB, but link to a useful site called “Trump Twitter Archive): 

  1. Nov 30, 2017 08:05:21 AM – Stock Market hits new Record High. Confidence and enthusiasm abound. More great numbers coming out!
  2. Nov 30, 2017 07:25:00 AM – The Chinese Envoy, who just returned from North Korea, seems to have had no impact on Little Rocket Man. Hard to believe his people, and the military, put up with living in such horrible conditions. Russia and China condemned the launch.
  3. Nov 30, 2017 07:15:08 AM – The Failing @nytimes has totally gone against the Social Media Guidelines that they installed to preserve some credibility after many of their biased reporters went Rogue! @foxandfriends
  4. Nov 30, 2017 07:01:25 AM – The Failing @nytimes, the pipe organ for the Democrat Party, has become a virtual lobbyist for them with regard to our massive Tax Cut Bill. They are wrong so often that now I know we have a winner!
  5. Nov 29, 2017 09:23:14 PM – Funny to hear the Democrats talking about the National Debt when President Obama doubled it in only 8 years!
  6. Nov 29, 2017 09:00:23 PM – “Had the information (Crooked Hillary’s emails) been released there would have been harm to National Security….” Charles McCullough Fmr Intel Comm Inspector General https://t.co/b0tLW5TVhX
  7. Nov 29, 2017 08:09:42 PM – The only people who don’t like the Tax Cut Bill are the people that don’t understand it or the Obstructionist Democrats that know how really good it is and do not want the credit and success to go to the Republicans!
  8. Nov 29, 2017 08:03:30 PM – The House of Representatives seeks contempt citations(?) against the JusticeDepartment and the FBI for withholding key documents and an FBI witness which could shed light on surveillance of associates of Donald Trump. Big stuff. Deep State. Give this information NOW! @FoxNews
  9. Nov 29, 2017 08:02:06 PM – [email protected]_May, don’t focus on me, focus on the destructive Radical Islamic Terrorism that is taking place within the United Kingdom. We are doing just fine!

The dumbest attitude we of decent faith can assume is what I see all around me. To be Trump-phobic while turning a blind eye and deaf ear to what he actually spews.   

Today’s NYT carries the sad news that Jane Stebbins Greenleaf has died, age 81. She was perhaps the best friend of my prep-school and early college days (1952-55), that brief but oh-so-halcyon time. In writing her brother Ted, the distinguished historian of American painting and sculpture, I observed “…so many memories came flooding back: of an era, a milieu and a time in our lives that for ever so many reasons truly does seem golden. Jane really was the dearest friend of my boyhood. We had such good times together – and so many laughs! Somewhere among my albums is a photo of Jane being escorted by yours truly at the Debutante Cotillion in 1954, both of us in full fig. My God, how young we were, how full of joy and optimism.”  It was a time when, as Thomas Bergin, who taught me Dante at Yale, wrote in an obituary note on the death of Charles Garside, friend, mentor and the greatest teacher I ever had, “,,in the middle-1950s, time seemed to stand still…” Why that was bears some thinking about, but on reflection I recall young people thinking that the grown-ups were in charge, and rightly so. We are no longer vouchsafed that luxurious way of thinking in this country – and that is a tragedy. xxxxxx

News that Teenydick intends to give Tillerson the boot is glad tidings for Trump-haters. Tillerson is a highly-respected CEO with a worldwide acquaintance. The administration will doubtless try to negotiate a zipped-lip deal, but my guess is that Tillerson’s beyond their grasp. Besides, why keep your word to a c**ksu**er who’s never kept his! 

The vulgarity of this passeth all understanding: http://www.sothebys.com/content/sothebys/en/news-video/videos/2017/breathing-new-life-into-wright-of-derbys-nymph.html

You have to admire Teenydick’s strategy with this tax bill. When it passes, and the 1% and their C-Suite cronies gobble up the incremental cash flow, Td will assert that he got a tax bill passed; not his fault if greedy CEOs and swamp-fillers took away the fruits. Take it out on your Senator or Congressperson, but don’t blame me!


This is by/about a friend, Susan MulcahySays it all: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/dec/01/trump-gossip-columnist-media-coverage-susan-mulcahy?utm_source=esp&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=GU+Today+USA+-+Collections+2017&utm_term=254820&subid=23770632&CMP=GT_US_collection

Amen! https://aeon.co/essays/a-cult-of-fakery-has-taken-over-what-s-left-of-high-culture   A sample: “So powerful is the impetus towards the collective fake that it is now an effective requirement of finalists for the Turner Prize in Britain to produce something that nobody would think was art unless they were told it was.” 

Listening to economist-propagandist Stephen Moore on Brian Lehrer’s WNYC show, I found myself reflecting on lying. Always a constituent of the art of politics, lying was elevated to an ironclad principle by the Clintons’ philosophy of prevarication: If everyone’s lying, no one is. Of course, lying is a two-faced business: lying about intention, which is an intensified type of hypocrisy, and lying about facts, which is…well…lying!   In both cases, you’re looking at fraud, at motivated untruth. Trump, of course, is the greatest all-rounder in the history of lying. 


RIP Vincent Scully. An amazing, inspiring teacher, and in his prime, an ass-man of the very first water!

Read and weep! https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2017/12/gop-tax-bill-even-worse-think.html


I think of taxation as a form of dredging, cutting channels in harbor bottoms. For instance, take this theory that corporations will somehow use the cash flow cut free by the tax “reform” to invest, pay better wages and otherwise do stuff that will benefit the general good – but that anyone with practical, first-hand experience of the corporate mind will recognize as anathema absolute to C-suite thinking. So how about a tax on retained earnings net of new investment? And a surtax on stock grants to executives?  

I tend to agree. I haven’t bought into the “overvalued” view. With so much liquidity loose in the world, with the spectrum of acceptable-risk investment possibilities narrowing, and with many companies seeing expanding margins thanks to globalization and technology,  we could be looking at an upward revision of multiples with real longer-term staying power. https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/rattional-exuberance-stock-market-boom-by-anatole-kaletsky-2017-11?utm_source=Project+Syndicate+Newsletter&utm_campaign=4106bd1e1d-sunday_newsletter_3_12_2017&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_73bad5b7d8-4106bd1e1d-93490385


Totally agree: http://kunstler.com/clusterfuck-nation/what-now-3/


One or two important Christmas parties that were bright lights on the holiday social calendars of many people (disclosure point: I wasn’t an invitee) have been canceled. I think this reflects that apprehension present at the end of 2016, following the election, have been realized with interest. The tax-bill seals the deal, aimed as it clearly is at New York, California, New Jersey and other states perceived to be native habitats for despised “elites” and their colluders in the media. The country is clearly in the hands of the angry mob, with a mindless, manipulative thug at its head.  I wish I saw a way out of this, short of an assassin’s bullet, but I’m not sure that even this might get things turned around. xxxx   


I think the current situation of the Democrat party offers a singular opportunity for Michael Bloomberg to step in, not as a Democrat but as an Independent, and pull together the various anti-Trump or otherwise disaffected elements of the electorate, like the strands of a cable, into a single force capable of reshaping the 2018 election picture. Bloomberg is a great manager, and that’s what’s needed now. He can orchestrate and conduct a policy program that has everyone playing from the sheet music that sounds best in their section of the country. He won’t have to campaign. I think the current disorder perfectly suits Bloomberg’s temperament, intelligence and political and governance instincts. He could create what I think of as “The Unity Coalition”.  (Feel free to forward this to him; I’ve lost his email address).

Once again, Dorothy Parker in a timeless subject: “If you want to see what God thinks of money, look at who He gives it to.” Salvador Mundi: an odd choice for a Wahhabist.   

I’m not a big fan of Friedman, but this makes sense: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/06/opinion/trump-foreign-policy-giveaway.html?action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=opinion-c-col-right-region&region=opinion-c-col-right-region&WT.nav=opinion-c-col-right-region

Amen: http://wallstreetonparade.com/2017/12/dodd-frank-rollback-bill-its-christmas-for-the-c-suite-and-crumbs-for-the-cratchits/

Nowadays, really good news is hard to come by. Too bad Sean Hannity wasn’t sacked out in the guest room. https://www.thedailybeast.com/nbc-rupert-murdochs-bel-air-property-on-fire

A  MUST:https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/11/the-nationalists-delusion/546356/?utm_source=masthead-newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=member-newsletter-20171206-81&silverid=MzEwMTU3NDcxNjczS0

And here’s why the media stink (quoting from the above): “There’s very little evidence of Trump being openly racist or sexist,” Colvin insisted. “It wasn’t until he started running for president that all these stories started coming out. I don’t believe it. I’ve done the research.”  “Research,” my ass! At this point, the reporter/story should ask: “What research?” I had a great English teacher at Exeter, the immortal H. Darcy Curwen, who – when I or anyone would venture a bold generalization – would demand “Name two.” We seldom could. 

The Paris Review has dismissed Lorin Stein as Editor for “Inappropriate Behavior.” This is so stupid it defies belief! No one is going to cancel their PR subscription or refuse an interview because of anything Lorin – a brilliant editor – may have said to an intern. Speaking of which, I’ve Googled through the complainants in one situation after another, and to put it politely, 90% are women you wouldn’t f**k with someone else’s d**k. Of course, when I saw that the PR board is chaired by Terry Mcdonnell, I knew to expect the worse.