Wednesday, October 30, 2019

The most frightening woman in the world


By Maria Boroaroma
Wall Street Bureau

What's scaring you this Halloween?  Is it traditional holiday ghouls like witches, ghosts, skeletons, and the Trump Family?  Or is it bigger and realer threats, like coastal cities obliterated by rising sea levels, the collapse of our Republic, or the realization that Mark Zuckerberg knows what you did last night and he's selling that information every millisecond?

What terrifies America's plutocrats?
If you're a Wall Street finagler, none of those things scare you.  What does? 

The answer: the terrifying specter of President Elizabeth Warren.  Some of the most predatory plutocrats are now warning that if she becomes President, markets will collapse, cows will fall barren, crops will be devoured by locusts, day will become night, and they may have to pay up to 3% of their wealth each year in partial recompense of their colossal and colossally unearned good fortune.

Self-proclaimed Master of the Universe and long-time Wall Street finagler Paul Tudor Jones claims that a Warren victory could send stocks down by 25% “mostly because of concern over her proposed wealth tax.”

And what's the connection between a 2% tax on that portion of your pelf that exceeds $50,000,000 and a market decline (and 3% over $1 billion)?  Jones doesn't need to provide one.  He's rich and when you're rich you're surrounded by people who tell you're brilliant (this is known as “managing up”).   For those of us not named Andrew Ross Sorkin and thus not accustomed to lapping up whatever these self-righteous clowns spew out, we might ponder Jones's analysis for a second.

Why would a modest wealth tax cause prices to plummet 10 times more than the tax itself?  Would rich people stop investing if they could only keep say 80% (or 70%) of their winnings (assuming a normal equity market return of 10%)?  Why?  What would they do with their dough instead?  Put it up their nose?

Of course they wouldn't.  The rich, and institutional investors who wouldn't be affected by the tax, like mutual funds, ETF's and pension plans, will continue to invest.  Others will dart in and out of the stock market based on their judgment about the overall economy (likely to benefit quite handsomely from health care for all and a $2 trillion infrastructure stimulus) and the relative attractiveness of returns available in other asset classes (cash and bonds, not so hot; real estate, maybe better; commodities, wtf knows?)

By contrast, legendary Wall Street genius and man who was barred from money management for his failure to oversee compliance with securities laws at his former firm Steve Cohen thinks the drop will be only 15%.

In support of Jones's prediction though, Billionaire Leon Cooperman told CNBC earlier this month that the market would drop 25% if Warren or Bernie Sanders win.”  Leon Cooperman?  The name rang a distant golden bell.  We sent our interns into the library to find out who this guy was and this is what they came back with 23 milliseconds later (Thanks, Wikipedia!):

You're way off.
On September 21, 2016, Cooperman was charged with insider trading by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.  He denied the charges.  Cooperman faced criminal charges in a related parallel proceeding and has asserted his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination before a SEC hearing. In May 2017 Cooperman's firm agreed to a $4.9 million settlement with the SEC. As part of the agreement, Omega Advisers admitted no wrongdoing. Following the settlement, Cooperman commented: "The process in my opinion was totally abusive. It's a problem that the government should address," and "My lawyers told me that the probability of my winning would be overwhelmingly high, that if I didn’t win it had nothing to do with the merits of the case,” he said. SEC officials declined to comment.

Sounds totally legit to us.

A more plausible argument heard on Wall Street is that Sen. Warren's ideas will be bad for the stock price of certain businesses, like private health insurance companies and other health-care parasites who take 15% or more of revenues to feather their own nests, while Medicare performs the same administrative work better for about 1.7%.  Shares of coal miners, oil drillers, gun makers, heavily leveraged banks, and other sterling corporate citizens might indeed head south if their business models, premised as they are on imposing whopping costs and externalities on the rest of us, run into something that looks like rational regulation.

Not even close.
But protecting the stock prices of drug and tobacco traffickers, fossil fuel generators, grifting loansharks (excuse us, payday lenders) and other malefactors of great wealth is not all that great a reason to leave us unprotected from their ills.  Dropping anvils on the heads of small children might do wonders for the market value of Consolidated Anvil but otherwise has little to recommend it. 

What scares the private equity finaglers especially is the knowledge that Elizabeth Warren is on to their con and might shut down the whole game.  Forcing these corporate bloodsuckers to limit their asset-stripping and factory-closing activities wouldn't harm the market; it would just cut down on the undeserved loot trousered by these heartless raiders, like the current junior Senator of the great state of, let's see where is he living now, Utah, Wilfred M. “Profiles in Courage” Romney.

Warren's proposals to, for example, make private equity raiders responsible for the pensions of the companies they buy and loot could well reduce their sacred Internal Rate of Return on investment by a  few percent.  Writ large, her focus on private equity might reduce the massive inequalities arising when viable businesses are bought, stripped, looted, and dumped and their jobs shipped overseas, all to enrich a tiny gang of grifters and their investors.

What Jones, Cohen, Cooperman, and the rest of the gang are worried about is not a 25% decline in the stock market, but a 25% decline in their own ill-gotten gains.  For years they have paid hundreds of millions to buy the United States Government and operate it as a wholly-owned subsidiary.  The Internal Rate of Return on their lucrative investment in Congress and the Republican Party has been massive.  Losing that trade would hurt these plutocrats a lot more than a 3% wealth tax.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Dispatches from the war fronts: U.S. forces routed in Syria

By Douglass MacArthur
War Correspondent

SOMEWHERE IN THE MIDDLE EAST (Passed by U.S. Military Censor) – American G.I.'s in Syria today carried out the most humiliating retreat of U.S. forces since the First Battle of Bull Run, having been defeated without even firing a shot.

Our gallant lads and lasses, given up by their Commander-in-Chief at the Battle of the Bone Spurs, had no choice but to flee the battlefield in shame and disgrace, abandoning their long-time Kurdish allies to likely death and destruction at the hands of the bloodthirsty Turk.

Among the indelible images of American impotence and cowardice were the bombing of our own abandoned bases in Syria, reminiscent of the rout of the Battle of Manila in 1942, and the jeering of Kurdish civilians, soon to face overwhelming odds as they try to battle on against the merciless hordes of Turkey and Russia.

This correspondent witnessed the shameful flight of splendidly equipped and trained U.S. forces hightailing out of Syria in their magnificent armored vehicles with their American flags hanging limply with shame in the cool desert air.

Although the exact details of the operation remain subject to strict U.S. military censorship, this correspondent has learned that crack U.S. units were ordered to abandoned their fortified and well-supplied positions with unseemly haste, on the orders of their feckless Commander-in-Chief Tweeted out to U.S. battlefield commands from the Presidential Golf Cart in Sterling, Va.

The hasty collapse of U.S. resistance to Turkish atrocities came about in a ten-minute phone call between “Five Deferments” Don and wily Ottoman strongman Vlad D. Impaler [Louise, please check – Ed.].

With the order to end effective military resistance to Turkish aggression given, U.S. troops had no choice but to hightail it out of Syria, towards an Iraq that already said it did not want them there either.

The humiliation has taken a terrible toll on your sons and daughters not fighting in Syria.  Said Sgt. Alvin York: “We were just watching the football game when the order came down: damn the innocent Kurdish civilians, full speed to the rear.”  He said that the stunned G.I.'s didn't even have the opportunity to take their Cheetos and Gatorade with them, providing a vital source of food to the starving Turkish troops on their heels.

“We had to abandon not only a great set of weightlifting equipment; we couldn't even bring our cross-trainers, ” said Sgt. York. “The exercise bikes never had a chance,” he said bitterly.

U.S. forces in Syria adopted 
French Army tactics from 1940
Senior American officers were thunderstruck when the order to collapse and fall back came in over the Twitter.  “I had never been trained to order an intact, well-armed, well-trained unit to run away from the battlefield with its tail between its legs,” remarked Col. Joshua Chamberlain.  “Fortunately, I was able to download from the Internet the French Army 1940 Surrender Manual.”

However, he hailed the professionalism and dedication of the U.S. military which allowed all U.S. forces to flee the battlefield like frightened rabbits within 72 hours of what the military command called “Surrender the Kurds”  Day or “Su-K Day” for short.  Col. Chamberlain said he doubted that any medals would be awarded for what the Pentagon was calling “Operation Gallipoli.”

As our G.I.'s fled across the desert, their powerful armored vehicles enduring round after round of incoming potatoes and other vegetable shellfire hurled by Kurds who regarded the convoy of shame as essentially their death warrant, word came that their intended safe haven – Iraq – wanted nothing to do with the vanquished Army, leaving Pentagon strategists to figure out where if anywhere the beleaguered forces could find a safe haven.

At a makeshift encampment deep in the Syrian desert, G.I.'s sat around a camp fire fed by top-secret military files taken by troops before they left and thought about home.

“I wonder what the folks back home think of us.  Are they as ashamed and humiliated as we are?” mused Corporal Jimmy Doolittle of Malone, New York.

Others thought about what they hoped their country would be like when their non-war was over.  “I'd love to see a country where kids aren't torn to bits by bullets fired by lunatics,” said PFC Davida Farragut of Saline, Michigan.

But Staff Sgt. Tony McAuliffe of Ottumwa, Iowa seemed to sum up the views of the disheartened troops the best when he said, “Someday I just hope we have a President who isn't a f***kin' corrupt national embarrassment.”

[Ida Tarbell reports from Washington:] On Capitol Hill, responses to the debacle suffered by American forces in Syria split along largely partisan lines.  While Democrats condemned the President's decision to compel U.S. forces to sell out their Kurdish ally for no reason, most Republicans stayed loyal to their party's standard-bearer.

A few, like Senator Wilfred M. “Profiles in Courage” Romney termed the headlong retreat of U.S. forces from Syria “something bad that happened although of course I don't hold anyone in particular responsible.”

However, other Republicans saw a silver lining in the disastrous news coming out of the Middle East.  In a statement, Senate Majority Leader “Moscow” Mitch McConnell said that that the sacrifice of U.S. troops, credibility and honor was made worthwhile because the same forces had brought about tax cuts for the rich and the appointment of a reactionary sex criminal to the Supreme Court. “Rest assured, America's reputation for integrity and honor did not die in vain,” he concluded.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

SPONSORED CONTENT: Why waste $ on Disney+ when Trump TV offers so much entertainment for free!

The Massachusetts Spy is made possible by a generous grant from Fraud Detective/RudyG Media Partners (Cayman) LLP





Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Let's play Diner Bingo!

Editors' Note:  The news from Occupied Washington is so grim that we had to get out of town.  While the Grifter-in-Chief commits new impeachable offenses with every Tweet, to which the Democrats respond by proclaiming that the outrages are, in their measured words, outrageous, and leaves our Kurdish allies to be slaughtered, but not until they have released thousands of hard-core ISIS terrorists in to the world, plucky national political reporters are once again taking, in the absence of brain waves, the pulse of white U Bum voters who respond with more of the same lame-o rationalizations for their laziness, bigotry, and greed.  Often, these reporters are speaking to the same eight white stooges they spoke to last year.  And by the way, just because someone says they voted for Obama doesn't mean they did, especially those who parrot crypto-racist talking points.  At any rate, to divert readers who may have tired of the same nonsense every other week, we offer a fun game that we call Diner Bingo.  Whenever you read one of these tiresome expressions, just cross it off your card and if you get five in a row, yell “Both Sides” to win your free sopprasata sandwich.

Dems are trying to overturn an election
Don't know whom to believeLike his judges Still don't trust Hillary
Both parties do it
He's standing up to immi-
It's just politicsHe's not afraid to say what's on his mind
Wish he wouldn't Tweet so much

Extorting election help from foreign states no big deal
He's strongMAGADems should focus on kitchen-table issuesI don't know whom to believe

He says what I'm thinking
Impeachment too divisiveYou hear different thingsHe's just joking
Dems should work with PresidentWhy are liberals falling for it?President deserves due processThe economy's good
The Jews will not replace us [How did that get in there? – Ed.]

Hope you win!