Thursday, April 2, 2009

the old boys are dead - not that they know it

When I was a child
I toyed with dirt and I fought
As a child
I killed the slugs, I bored with a bough
In their spiracle

So many childish things – but aren’t we the apocalyptic children, children of the decaying atmosphere, children of the clotted ocean, children who cover their faces and believe that they are hidden? The aging, senile and sclerotic children who sit in the Senate and in the House, those bought and paid for children, heavy with the death that has been fucking them, those in-dealing dealers of the cards that make up our misery (here’s the college loan, here’s the car loan, here’s the mortgage, here’s the health bill, here’s the years of the cancer at sitting in a chair you do not own doing work in the cancer of a cubicle you do not care for, here are the invisible pyramids of sacrifice and on them we sacrifice the bird migrations, the poetry, the novels, the spirit twitching beneath the scalpel, I killed the slugs), they have come up with another plan, this one involving waving the magic wand over the defunct “assets” in banks:

“Under intense political pressure, the board that sets accounting rules in the United States will meet on Thursday to complete changes in accounting rules that are aimed at reducing the losses banks have been forced to report as the values of their mortgage-backed securities have crumbled.

The changes, proposed two weeks ago after a Congressional hearing in which Robert H. Herz, the chairman of the Financial Accounting Standards Board, was essentially ordered to change the rules or face Congressional action, are generally supported by banks, although some want the board to go even further.”

What a sanitized world our sclerotic Congress children are urging upon us! In this world, soldiers who die, pow, in a war in the Middle East get shipped home to the most private of landings and dumpings; in this world, those who come home with head injuries or that wound to the spirit that comes from watching a two year old pop – pop! – apart, like a blood filled balloon, because you have shot the child, and that’s a real reel that you aren’t going to be able to play backwards, are tucked safely away, in the same place that they keep the statistics on how many dead Iraqis it takes to make for a great Victory in Mesopotamia. Hide and seek among the shadows, it is our Great American zona style.

And if the shadows infect the accounts held by the banks, and if the columns are full of shadows that no reality corresponds to, the only thing to do, children, is to pretend it never happened.

“It seems highly unlikely that FASB will make major changes to the proposals that it rushed out only two weeks ago, but it may be willing to consider additional steps. And it will have to face the important decision of when to make the new rule take effect.

Some banks have requested that the board issue further guidance to make it easier for them to avoid writing down the value of assets, while some investors have asked for detailed disclosures to help them assess how far the newly reported values are from current market value.”

“Use of Soviet supplied economic information in such studies can be compared to playing Three Card Trick with a cardsharp on the street. The cardsharp will allow his mark to win enough times to feel the game is fair, but will palm the winning card so that it is not even on the table when the bets reach a critical point. Similarly, economic analysts have generally found enough plausible data to convince them that the Soviets provided figures with at least enough relation to reality to enable the analysts to compensate and correct for any distortions – but ultimately they have to accept information concerning many of the critical factors on faith…” U.S. Intelligence Perceptions of Soviet Power, 1921-1946 by Leonard Leshuk.

Run for the shadows…

I had to laugh at this, from the NYT story about the smoke and mirrors rise past 8,000 on the NYSE today:

"Even a stark rise in weekly first-time unemployment claims barely dented the upward trajectory.

The Labor Department said that initial jobless claims rose to a seasonally adjusted 669,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 657,000.

Investors are bracing for a bleak report when the government announces the March unemployment rate on Friday, but Steve Sachs, director of trading at Rydex Investments, said the newly optimistic market dynamic might be able to withstand the shock.

“I think the shock value of the employment numbers is starting to wear off,” he said. “We all know employment’s a lagging indicator.”

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