Monday, June 16, 2008

The News: What's up with it?

I wonder what has happened to the time when there used to be “good news” on the News. These days it’s all doom and gloom: Oil prices rising, dollar falling, stock markets bleeding, companies going belly up, ManU winning the Champions League… Where has all the good news gone? Pretty much any person, entity, corporation, clique or any other collection of people in the news these days evokes savage anger in me. But try as I might, I don’t turn into a mean, green, fighting machine with the ability to transform assorted military hardware into confetti. –sigh- . Some people have no luck at all!! Anyways, here’s a list of some of the top irritants in the news these days. I don’t know if you agree with me, but then, this is my blog, and “I have the power”… Man, I didn’t even turn into He-Man. This sucks!!!

“Dr.” Robert Mugabe: The ultimate proof of the old adage that “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Once a hero in Zimbabwe and Africa for overthrowing the white-minority government in the erstwhile Rhodesia, the man today is no more than a tinpot dictator desperately hanging on to power that he has no legitimate claim to. An embarrassment to the whole continent and a prime example of what happens when leaders hang on after their “use by” date…

George “Dubya” Bush: It is said that people deserve their leader, but I really doubt the Americans deserved Bush… for two terms, no less. No country deserves that. And to think that there was a time when I supported Bush’s “war on terror”. Of course that was well before the claims of “weapons of mass destruction” turned out to be untrue and unfounded at best, and outright lies at worst. Add that to his climate policy, big-oil bias, muddled middle-east diplomacy and a tendency to put his foot firmly in his mouth, repeatedly, and you have the most incompetent American president since… ever. The one good thing about Bush, though, is that he isn’t Robert Mugabe. Thank God for small mercies…

Wall Street Bankers: If there is one club of nefarious charlatans I would absolutely love to join, it is that of the high street bankers. These financial fiends are an excellent example of the “perfect hedge”. During the post-2001 housing boom, the US financial services industry made an absolute killing, extending loans to all and sundry, packaging them into products that nobody really understood, got them stamped with AAA ratings and passed this junk to investors who wanted in on the action at a handsome profit. This scam continued for a few years during which the financial services firms raked in the dough in spades and executives earned unheard of bonuses for essentially extending record loans to people who everybody knew were not going to repay them. Then, the law of gravity - “That which goes up very fast comes down equally fast, fool!!“ - caught up with them. The housing bubble exploded spectacularly, and banks which had until then, greedily accosted and lent to any Joe Schmo that they came across, were suddenly left with Gazillions of dollars worth of loans that they had not yet passed on to greedy (and stupid) investors. Accounting regulations required banks to recognize this “toxic” goop on their books, and by extension recognize massive losses, freaking out investors, share holders, customers, the Fed & ECB, the man on the street… pretty much the whole world. So, what did they do? They followed the standard, well-defined three-step “when in crisis do this” process:
(a) Fire the Chief Executives who presided over this madness paying them millions in severance packages.
(b) Fire thousands of employees to satisfy the angry mob of pitchfork wielding share holders.
(c) Run to the markets and the Fed for emergency cash injection, invoking the specter of “systemic failure” and apocalypse if the bank were allowed to fail.

A classic "heads I win, tails you lose" scenario. During the boom you get paid millions for engaging in acts of unimaginable stupidity, and when the bubble bursts, you get fired for many more millions for your earlier stupidity with the Fed stepping in to clean your mess. I so want to part of this stupidity!!!

Well, that’s about as much anger as I can legally spill into one blog post. Until later.. cheers.. 8-)


At 4:04 AM , Blogger Kaushik said...

So I'm wandering around my old haunts aimlessly, hoping for redemption in the fact that I'm not the only inactive blogger around...and this is what I see!! :((

Dont claim to know much about politics, or economics, or finance...which means this is like Mandira Bedi commenting on the cricket team. So I'll sign off for now.

But I did like the humour :)

At 5:50 PM , Blogger Pushuka said...

Good to see you here, Kaushik!! And frankly, my blogging has been increasingly sparse and sporadic over the past year. So, I'm not really an active blogger, if that's any consolation.. :)But seriously man, do start posting again. Your posts are always good reading...

At 10:05 PM , Anonymous Poornima said...

pls post more frequently......i have read all u'r old posts till date....have u read Bill Bryson's book 'Notes from a Big Country'.......there is a chapter on American prez till date,i think u will find it very entertaining......about politicians lasting after their use by date,i think half of India's politicians will qualify!!!doddering old grandpas who r held up by their supporters,they do not know whether they r coming or going.......there is only 1 goal......fill up their coffers...tis disgusting and tragic to say the least
By the way,u'r blogs r b coming very serious..........wazzup?

At 7:18 AM , Blogger Pushuka said...

Thanks for the words of appreciation, Poornima. I haven't visited this blog in a bit. As regards my blog getting more serious, I guess the world is getting to me... :) And ya, I need to post more often, despite myself..


At 3:35 AM , Blogger Chitty Cat said...

for being a homer simpson fan u sure write serious posts!


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