From Pine View Farm

Masters of the Universe category archive

Consequences 0

All Up in Your Genes 0

It’s Just the Cost of Doing Giving Americans the Business 2

Conglomeration 0

White House dwarfed by sign saying

Via Job’s Anger.

The Art of the Con 0

Shorter E. J. Dionne: Let the sell-out begin.

All That Was Old Is New Again 0

Thom and Richard Eskow discusses similarities between Donald Trump’s cabinet of deplorables and Republican cabinets of the 1920s.

Jen Sorenson has more. Here’s a snippet (emphasis added):

Of course, he’s (Trump–ed.) never been a man known for doing small and humble. So his cabinet, as yet incomplete, is already the richest one ever. Estimates of how loaded it will be are almost meaningless at this point, given that we don’t even know Trump’s true wealth (and will likely never see his tax returns). Still, with more billionaires at the doorstep, estimates of the wealth of his new cabinet members and of the president-elect range from my own guesstimate of about $12 billion up to $35 billion. Though the process is as yet incomplete, this already reflects at least a quadrupling of the wealth represented by Barack Obama’s cabinet.

Trump’s version of a political and financial establishment, just forming, will be bound together by certain behavioral patterns born of relationships among those of similar status, background, social position, legacy connections, and an assumed allegiance to a dogma of self-aggrandizement that overshadows everything else. In the realm of politico-financial power and in Trump’s experience and ideology, the one with the most toys always wins. So it’s hardly a surprise that his money- and power-centric cabinet won’t be focused on public service or patriotism or civic duty, but on the consolidation of corporate and private gain at the expense of the citizenry.

Welcome to the kelptocracy.

Dr. Consigliere’s Cabinet 0


Click to see the image at its original location.

The Medicine Show 0

Have you had enough of commercials showing some old guy with a woman young enough to be his daughter white-water rafting the Colorado River in a bathtub on his way to zip-line across Bryce Canyon while hiking the Appalachian Trail in a kayak on water skis because he’s taking some dodgy prescription drug with a name created by shuffling Scrabble tiles and with more side effects than can be fitted in an intelligible disclaimer that takes up 45% of the ad?

Get ready for more.

The Galt and the Lamers 1

Return of the robber barons.

What’s next? Child labor?

How Stuff Works, Banking Today Dept. 0

Rat:  We can't make this stuff up.  The Stuff:  Banker says, Well, sir, no load for you.  We have to be very careful under all these banking regulations.  Man:  But aren't you the same bank whose employees opened two million fake accounts to charge customers fake fees?  Banker:  Yes, but we fired those bad apples.  Man:  But was there someone above those bad apples?  Banker:  Yes, sir.  She's retiring.  Man  Retiring.  Banker:  With a $124, 000,000 payout.  Man:  So you collect fake fees from customers, fire the employees you pressured, and keep all the millions for yourself?  Bankeer:  Yes, but if you feel strongly about it, you should talk to your congressman.  Man:  Where is he?  Banker:  With our CEO.  (Image:  CEO and Congressman in hot tub together throwing money about.)  Goat:  Where does it all end?  Rat:  I'm hoping for mobs and pitchforks.  Pig (dressed for battle and carrying a pitchfork):  Just tell me who to poke.

Click to see the original image.

By the by, I used to deal with the bank alluded to in the comic. As of last week, I no longer do.

Swiss Dark Chocolate Money 0

I’m not sure that I agree with his blanket condemnation of the U. S. Department of Justice, but it is certainly true that too often it is the whistleblower, not the whistleblowee, who suffers.

Teflon Titans 0

At The Roanoke Times, T. Michael Maher wonders how a three-piece suit became teflon armor. A snippet:

Get out of Jail free cardHow did bank CEO’s become seemingly untouchable for the fraudulent behavior committed under their watch anyway? Where does that free pass come from? Maybe it’s the people who actually write or influence our laws. Congressional office staff and staff attorneys usually draft the statutes with input gladly provided by lobbyists and their attorneys. Campaign contributions get some political attention, but just in case I’ll work on that bill while you continue campaigning.

Am I daft to think persons with obvious financial conflicts of interest should not be influencing and/or writing the laws designed to regulate that very activity? It seems to have an appearance of impropriety, especially with how often we see this type of behavior. You don’t want the wolf writing rules for the sheep’s pen.

The Stages of Grift 0

Image Title:  That Wells-Faro Magic.  Image Caption:  Wells Fargo.  Image:  Huge carriage turned back into pumpkin with windows.  Horses turned back into mice in harness.  One mouse is saying,

Click to see the image at its original location.

It’s a Fargone Conclusion 0

There is no limit to how far they will Fargo.

As Wells Fargo deals with fallout over sales tactics in its branches, complaints are surfacing about practices within a different part of the company: its national retail brokerage business.

Customers and former employees of that unit, Wells Fargo Advisors, have contacted the Observer following last month’s $185 million in government fines against the bank over employees’ opening of fake deposit and credit card accounts. The sources said questionable practices arising from the bank’s aggressive approach to sales also extend into its brokerage operation, which sells everything from mutual funds to annuities to IRAs.

Fargo to the link for the details.

Chasing Votes 0

Jamie Dimon is upset that Hillary Clinton doesn’t care enough about bankers’ fee-fees.

Hell, if I hadn’t been supporting her already, this would have turned the trick.

The Great Migration 0

I have been banking at Wells-Fargo.

It wasn’t a choice. It just happened.

I was banking at a regional bank that got gobbled up by Wachovia. Then, two minutes before the bubble burst, Wachovia bought Fly-by-Night Mortgage Company, Inc., and was taken down by the bursting bubble, so I ended up with Wells.

Though I have not had a bad experience with any local Wells-Fargo branches or any Wells-Fargo employees, it is difficult not to conclude from recent news reports that Wells-Fargo has a deeply corrupt corporate culture at the highest levels.

As my first wife would have said, they have plucked my last nerve.

Accordingly, I have spent most of the last two days moving my banking business to another bank. (This was made easier by my choosing to use minimal online billpay. I’m not agin’ it; I just feared that I wouldn’t be able to keep track of it, so I still write “checks”–they are made from paper and they take the place of currency; you may have heard of them. Consequently, I had only about four online thingees to change.)Get out of Jail free card

Yesterday I called up my pension fund (I’m old) to change my direct deposit from Wells to my new bank. After we had completed our business, the obliging fellow on the phone told me that they had gotten “lots of phone calls moving from Wells-Fargo” in the last week (and good for the callers, say I!).

I reminded him of the news stories. He said, “Oh, yeah. I remember reading something about that.” What followed was a cordial discussion about how a three-piece suit seems to be a Get-Out-of-Jail-Free card and about how he and I were on the same wave-length about bankers and banking, but I digress. . . .

Now, I shall wait a month or so to be sure that everything is copacetic and then I shall finally forego Fargo for all time.

Just Compensation 0

Wells-Fargo CEO standing beside two huge carts of mail to mailroom worker:  One holds pink slips for our conniving customer service workers.  The other carries fat performance bonus for our high-achieving senior management team.  Don't mix them up.

Click to see the image at its original location.

The Rich Are Different from You and Me 0

Get out of Jail free card
They carry the very special invitation-only orange card.

Thom Spikes the Hype about TPP 0

Overlords 0

Uncle Sam with hat out before huge desk.  Plutocrat labeled