Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Jon Stewart, Jim Cramer, Icelandic Follies, the world gone mad, right wing loons and "F You"

As the few readers of this blog know, we're dedicated to a fair minded, reasoned critique of right wing loons.

We don't blame them for anything. Sure news just in from a Copenhagen conference speculates that sea rises will continue to speed up and have catastrophic impacts for generations of people to come. What would boffins know, when put up against a decent Murdoch loon, worthy of Rottweiler attack dog status. After all, the boffins only do it to loot the public purse, while the ethical Murdoch loon gratefully accepts a few crumbs of food, a pat on the head, and the occasional run in the park (not required for lap dogs). See Estimate of sea level rise doubles.

And the IMF has announced that the world is in the grip of a "great recession". We're in the Great Recession: IMF, in which the IMF predicts global growth to go below zero, with unemployment rampant, and once proud economies like the UK slipping into basket case territory - the worst performance in most of our lifetimes (you great depression folk still win the prize). Well what the heck would bankers know about anything? It's all their fault anyway.

It reminds me of that great anecdote in Michael Lewis's amusing story for Vanity Fair entitled Wall Street on the Tundra. His bemused Johnny on the spot recounting of strange stories from Iceland - used as the best example of a moon landscape on earth by NASA when training its moon guys - would be hugely funny if you didn't have a fleeting moment of worry for those strange Icelanders caught up in national bankruptcy, as a result of seeing high finance as an alternative to fishing.

It's well worth a read. Here's how to do Icelandic banking: 

You have a dog, and I have a cat. We agree that they are each worth a billion dollars. You sell me the dog for a billion, and I sell you the cat for a billion. Now we are no longer pet owners, but Icelandic banks, with a billion dollars in new assets.

Another anecdote:

Still, a society that has been ruined overnight doesn't look much different from how it did the day before, when it believed itself to be richer than ever. The Central Bank of Iceland is a case in point. Almost certainly Iceland will adopt the euro as its currency, and the krona will cease to exist. Without it there is no need for a central bank to maintain the stability of the local currency and control interest rates. Inside the place stews David Oddsson, the architect of Iceland's rise and fall. Back in the 1980s, Oddsson had fallen under the spell of Milton Friedman, the brilliant economist who was able to persuade even those who spent their lives working for the government that government was a waste of life. So Oddsson went on a quest to give Icelandic people their freedom - by which he meant freedom from government controls of any sort. As prime minister he lowered taxes, privatized industry, freed up trade, and finally, in 2002, privatized the banks. At length, weary of prime-ministering, he got himself appointed governor of the Central Bank - even though he was a poet without banking experience.

After the collapse he holed up in his office inside the bank, declining all requests for interviews. Senior government officials tell me, seriously, that they assume he spends most of his time writing poetry. (In February he would be asked by a new government to leave) ...

Result? Iceland is stuffed, and not just a little, but comprehensively. Meantime, loons like Janet Albrechtsen keep rabbiting on about greed still being good, and celebrating the virtues of rampant unregulated free market capitalism. Time to wheel out Jon Stewart (above) for a laugh, in his ongoing "F you" campaign.

This time he takes Jim Cramer to the cleaners. 

There has to be an accounting for all these right wing loons. 

Did I mention "F you"?

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