Narcotics, Divas, and Soap Operas
Well, well dear readers, thank the Good Lord we've all survived another 30 days -- it's another first Friday of the month. As I begin penning this quip for Realty Reality, it is roughly one half hour prior to the release of our monthly narcotic fix [installment of U.S. employment figures or the economic soap equivalent of As the World Burns [ehhh Turns] - take your pick). As I attentively sit at my desk in front of my T.V., awaiting the omnipotent proclamation from the Sultans of Hedonic Sheep Shearing, my concentration is 'broken' by ALERT - ALERT - ALERT. Martha is in - by that, I mean the BIG HOUSE. She's surrendered. The nerve! Can this Domestic Diva not do anything quietly? She's actually upstaged the pending employment numbers [Me wonders if she's wearing designer two-tone gold & silver shackles and one of those tres chic orange jump suits?] - now that's a crime! Geepers, that alone should earn her a week in the 'hole' [better known in America as the slammer] as a goodwill welcome to the neighborhood gesture. [Note to Martha: Behavior like this on the 'inside' will likely result in revocation of T.V. privileges.]
His Name Was Mudd, That Cigar Trick, and Other National Embarrassments
This whole thing about Martha Stewart being caged for telling a lie makes me want to be s*i*c*k. The powers That Be [PTB] would have us believe that it's all about principles. Which ones or exactly whose principles I ask? I mean, where should we really be setting the bar? Are we talking Hillary & Slick Willie Clinton type principles about not having sex with "that woman" or George Bush (41 or 43, take your pick) type principles of "read my lips" or the more notorious "WMD" hybrid principle? Perhaps we should ask Mr. Raines, his friend Muddly and the rest of the sheeple shearing shysters at Fannie Mae a question or three, eh? Along that line, I heard a rumor the other day - could be important - apparently, some bright young engineer at GM designed a new fender - the Fannie fender. The way it was explained to me, even if you plant either end of your car into a telephone pole at 90 miles per hour, it straightens and smoothes itself out all by itself! - just like Fannie Mae's earnings. The GM engineer didn't know much about what happens to the dummies [aka Jane and Joe Six-Pack] inside the vehicle.
Measure for Measure, Much Ado About Nothing, or A Mid-Summer's Night Dream
How about the Maestro, Alan Greenspan, with his 'measured' proclamations that high [or did he really mean low?] energy prices are transitory or inflationary pressures don't exist? Ever wonder how 'any of the above' in our cast of characters would look in prison orange? I do - all the time! If there was real justice in this world, methinks these esteemed hedonic hucksters would be joining Ms. Stewart for Thanksgiving turkey dinner - with all the fixin's. Maybe it has more to do with whether or not you get caught lying? Nope - they all look pretty guilty on that front, too! Where or when prison is concerned, I wonder if size really does count? Now get your minds out of the gutters - I mean really big lies versus little teensy weensy tiny ones, of course! Perhaps it's not so much the lie itself, but more to do with whom you tell it to? All's well that ends well?
Cross the I's and Dotting the T's or All's Fair in the Big Con? Not Free, Not Fair?
This brings me to another point - namely about the SEC and the securities regulators. You see, I have a memory - even if it is a little bit short at times. Are these not the very same regulators that allowed, heck encouraged, the rampant orgy of countless equity issuances of dot coms [dot bombs] prior to THE CRASH in 2000? These rascals being the same regulators who investigated allegations of price fixing/manipulation in the gold market and determined that all was fair? Were the watch dogs busy peeing on fire hydrants [and other somewhat carnal things dogs do] or burying their bones under Rover's Clover when Wall Street and its high flying analysts [Abby Joseph Cohen?] were setting fires - hyping billions of market cap in enterprises that arguably had no socially redeeming raison d'être [most did not even have business plans]? These regulators could not have been reading off the same page as the Central Bank of Russia, whose Vice Chairman confirmed their support of the position long held by GATA, that the price of gold has indeed been rigged. It seems rather obvious that if regulators were sleeping on the job [asleep at the switch or sniffing without scratching] - that technically, this is a breech of fiduciary duty, isn't it? Might we even say gross negligence - punishable by law [read orange jump suits] perhaps? Nahhhhh! - not in this Orwellian world of financial chaos and Double$peak.
No Justice Tangoing When You Trout Fish? The fly in the tree? - no fish on the line...
I'm sure there are lots of you good folks out there that are going to say, "Wait a minute! All of those injustices you are speaking of happened before Martha got caught telling a lie." [Author's ShakesKirbean Aside: Hey Pal, like I have all the freaking time in the world!] Well, my coy baiting answer to those Folks is SO WHAT? Actually, my real answer [grin] to those folks is to 'let out a little line' so to speak, just enough so they can get tangled up when they go tango wading in midstream -- OK, HANG THEMSELVES -- before I dazzle them with some numbers.
The Currency of Currency and What Money Can Buy...
Let's get current shall we? So far this year in the United States of America, no fewer than 14 companies have made cash settlements with regulators [SEC, Spitzer's office, NY AG] in amounts exceeding $30,000,000 each. No less than an additional 5 companies paid fines exceeding $100,000,000 each. In not one of these aforementioned cases did the payee admit one ounce of guilt!!!??? [all figures U.S. currency as of June 04 - don't forget inflation!] Close to a billion dollars in fines buys a whole lotta lot of love where I come from. But, I ask again, where's the guilt? Perhaps we should chalk this plethora of fines up to an outburst of generous corporate charity and goodwill - like the good corporate citizen Enron before them? [ShakesKirbean Aside: Need we mention America's new National Soap Opera, Fannie Mae, their favorite fudge candy?
Monty Python's Flying Circus Meets Commander Cody and the Lost Planet Airmen
Martha [hardened diva criminal], on the other hand, was convicted [pending appeal] of lying and benefiting to the tune of say $50,000 [not that I'd sneeze if anyone wanted to plant 50G's on me by the way]. She subsequently [ah-choooo!] had $300,000,000 eviscerated from her net worth. Upon being found guilty, she was sentenced to 5 months in the slammer along with another 5 months of house arrest and [ah-choooo again!] a 'token' fine. The only thing missing from this picture is the Monty Python Flying Circus boot dropping out of the sky and squashing her. What ever you do, don't tell the guys at Monty Python you read this or they will steal [oops] the idea from me before I get to pitch it to them, ehhh? Word has it that Commander Cody and his Space Boys will send over CDs, spiced cinnamon punch, and homemade crumpets as well as their Billie Holiday collection on Bluebird RCA records [the real 78s] to enjoy during her incarceration. Isn't that smashing and really cricket!!!
Fools Rush In Where [Wayne's World] Angels Fear to Tread and the Helicopter Hat Trick
The part that gets me? - Why the house arrest part of course, Fool! Where home ownership is concerned, it seems it's the best of times and at the same time the worst of times. Isn't it funny how everything meaningful in life begins and ends with the family home?! I've heard that Martha secretly figures her home could appreciate as much as 30% alone during the period that she is confined Home Alone! And they call this punishment?! Soon, methinks everyone in America [thanks to Ben Bernanke] will be chained to their homes with no prospects [despite Ben Bernanke's best efforts with his newly purchased fleet of jet helicopters with printing presses on board] to ever sell them at a profit! They'll all be lucky if they [Jane and Joe Six-Pack, who else?] get to keep their jobs!
Designer Pumpkins Left in the Patch or All I Want for Christmas is a Good Muffin
So they've really put the boots to Martha haven't they? I mean with jail time and house arrest, I cannot help but think what a sad sad situation it truly is - and it's getting more and more absurd. There will be no hot cider with cinnamon swizzle sticks around the T.V. on crisp evenings this September. No more shows about designer pumpkins for the kids at Halloween either. OK, so forget about Halloween. But it's Christmas, with Martha and her Christmas muffins that's going to hurt the most. All I want for Christmas is for Elliott Spitzer and the SEC to bring back Martha and her muffins. If not for me, do it for the kids.
Did I mention to you that the employment figures came out this morning? Well, "Surprizzze, Surprizzze, Surprizzze!" - according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics [now there's some good hedonic home cookin'], they were [for a change] much worse than expected! Sha-Zam!