Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Futures trading in civil war stocks. Poor little Henry Blodget, the frightened "Business Insider" without a clue.

"The man who laughs has simply not yet had the terrible news." -- Bertolt Brecht, "To Those Born Later", part of the Svendborg Poems (1938)
Henry Blodget in his natural element.
On 23 December, Business Insider ran an article on the post-Sandy Hook rush which included two photos taken at a gunshop, the West Coast Armory in Bellevue, Washington. Here is the store on 14 December:
Here is the same store on 20 December:
Blodget explains for his equally clueless readers:
In the days following the massacre of 27 adults and children at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, there have been many reports of skyrocketing gun sales.
This is said to be typical.
Whenever there is a highly publicized mass shooting, Americans apparently rush to gun stores.
The theory is that they do this for two reasons:
First, they want to buy guns to protect themselves from all the guns.
Second, they worry that the latest massacre might finally wake up America to the absurdity of its gun laws and lead to a clampdown in gun control.
Uh, huh. Well, Henry is out of his element here, being the co-founder, CEO/Editor-in-Chief of The Business Insider, which according to Wikipedia "is a blog about Internet business trends and research."
His official bio explains much, but not all, about Henry:
A former top-ranked Wall Street analyst, Henry is also the host of Yahoo Daily Ticker, a digital video show viewed by several million people a month. He is often a guest on CNBC, CNN, MSNBC, NPR, and other networks. He has contributed to The Atlantic, Slate, Newsweek International, The New York Times, Fortune, New York, the Financial Times, and other publications. He has written extensively about technology and investing and is the author of The Wall Street Self-Defense Manual: A Consumer's Guide to Investing.
During the dotcom boom of the late 1990s, Henry was a top-ranked Wall Street Internet analyst. He was later keelhauled by then-Attorney General Eliot Spitzer over conflicts of interest between research and banking and booted out of the industry.
Henry went to Yale. He was born and raised in New York.
"Keelhauled." Well that's one way of putting it. Wikipedia reports:
In 2002, then New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, published Merrill Lynch e-mails in which Blodget gave assessments about stocks which allegedly conflicted with what was publicly published. In 2003, he was charged with civil securities fraud by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. He agreed to a permanent ban from the securities industry and paid a $2 million fine plus a $2 million disgorgement.
In any case, the prospect of semi-automatic rifles flying off the shelves has frightened poor Henry and he has a "solution:" How About Banning Bullets? The Constitution Doesn't Say Anything About Those...
So, how about if we limit access to something that factors into every gun massacre that the Constitution doesn't address at all:
What if we keep semi-automatic weapons freely available but strictly control the manufacture, distribution, and sales of bullets?
You'd still have a civil war, Henry. Actually, attacking the ammunition supply would be guaranteed to outrage the Fudds as well, thereby negating the masterful campaign of the antis to split us apart by convincing the Fudds that they can keep their "good guns" while banning our "bad guns."
Obviously Henry hasn't heard about the Law of Unintended Consequences, Bill Clinton's rules of engagement for the Serb media elite in 1999 or Fourth Generation Warfare. He lives in his Gotham bubble now, a frightened, clueless yet frivolous idiot, selling futures contracts on the next American civil war, blithely unaware of the real world.
He expects, no doubt, that the armed guards of the government will protect his bubble. Here is another Brecht poem that speaks to that misapprehension:
General, dein Tank ist ein starker Wagen.
Er bricht einen Wald nieder und zermalmt hundert Menschen.
Aber er hat einen Fehler:
Er braucht einen Fahrer.
General, dein Bomberflugzeug ist stark.
Es fliegt schneller als ein Sturm und trägt mehr als ein Elefant.
Aber es hat einen Fehler:
Es braucht einen Monteur.
General, der Mensch ist sehr brauchbar.
Er kann fliegen und er kann töten.
Aber er hat einen Fehler:
Er kann denken.
General your tank is a powerful vehicle.
It smashes down forests and crushes a hundred men.
But it has one defect:
It needs a driver.
General, your bomber is powerful.
It flies faster than a storm and carries more than an elephant.
But it has one defect:
It needs a mechanic.
General, man is very useful.
He can fly and he can kill.
But he has one defect:
He can think.
-- "General, Your Tank Is a Powerful Vehicle", in "From a German War Primer", part of the Svendborg Poems, 1938.
An abandoned German tank in a field. -- From the archives at Yad Vashem.
Or, more to the point, Henry, what if those weapons are turned on your safe little green zone if you get the civil war you are soliciting? Just an academic, hypothetical question, of course.


SWIFT said...

Henry Blodget should be a felon. But, once again the elite show that laws are only for the unwashed masses. He pays out 4 million, but in reality, probably stole a much greater sum. I know the issue is about guns; but the inequality of dispensing justice WILL be a major factor in the coming civil war. The mood in the country is changing, as evidenced by the photo of the gun shop on December 20th. Blue color people like myself are tired of grabbing our ankles and we ain't going to take it anymore.

Anonymous said...

most excellent information...carry on