Tuesday, May 20, 2014


No, not on the road.  We made it home just fine.  But I got the papers this morning and front page was the tale that Credit Suisse had pleaded guilty to the crime of conspiracy in enabling American citizens to beat the taxman and would pay a near-$3 billion fine.  Trumpets and applause.  We nailed em! and everybody from Eric Holder to the odious holders of public office in New York took a bow as well as the Fed, Treasury and anyone else who was passing by as the kluge lights went on.

Now back in the day, I made a pretty good buck and I paid every dime in taxes that I owed.  My late friend Joe used to tell me not to bemoan the amount of taxes I was paying but to be thankful for the amount I was making which is damn good advice when you think about it.  So I have no remorse for either the tax absconders or their enablers--although there is some question as to whether the bank is going to roll over on their clients and release name in contravention of Swiss law--which bothers me quite a bit because they were the true crooks in this deal while the Swiss were…well, they were being Swiss.  But that's not what got me lost.  As I was reading about it all and watching the bows being taken on the early morning show something occurred to me.   "Hang on" said I.  "The bank is being fined $3 billion for admitting to a criminal offense…a criminal offense!  Just a few months ago, J. P. Morgan got fined $12 billion for being stupid!  WHATUPWITDAT?   So the Yodel Boys stroll around town and knowingly help out citizens break our laws and wind up with a sixth of the damage our home-grown bank gets smacked with a real shareholder's event and an urgent rethink as to the kind of business it wants to do in the future lest it gets whacked again.  Somehow, it seems we're on the wrong page of Map Quest but I guess that's just me being difficult again.

Meanwhile, off in Fed-land the talk started that tightening would begin sooner rather than later and the equity markets tanked admidst poooh-poohing that what the Fed would do really had no bearing on anything at all, Yada, yada.  It didn't help that the Brits reported month-on-month inflation of 1.8%  which Over There is a hell of a lot more real number that the one Over Here or haven't you noticed the price of hamburger the last three times Madame hauled you off to the local grocery.  Things are getting a touch dicey for the trading boys these days but then again I called Mad Max and according to his partner he had taken a Loooong weekend and was happy as could be.  That seemed to be taking Sell in May and Go Away to extremes but, hey, that's Max.  But one thing that still seems to be hot, hot hot is high yield according to the blats,  and even ETFs of bank loans.  We've seen this show before as well; everybody chasing yield at the bottom of what turns out to be a bubble and the ending is for mature audiences only.  Anyway, we're here for a while, the weather is great, the tomatoes and Basil are in the ground and now we just wait for the bounty of the earth.  Keep on truckin.'

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