You wonder why the once mighty financial institutions of Wall Street are crumbling. Here’s a hint: The guy who just admitted to running a fifty billion dollar Ponzi scam and calling it a hedge fund has been described as “a longstanding leader in the financial services industry” and “an investment genius.” Small wonder the economy’s in the toilet.

Another huge hint about the massive culture of fraud that passed as business as usual is the strange case of a lawyer named Dreier that nobody ever heard and some giant real estate company called Solow Realty that nobody ever heard of. It seems this Dreier guy was the attorney for the Solow firm and such a familiar figure within the offices of the real estate giant that investors didn’t bat an eye when he sold them $380 million worth of phony promissory notes in the name of his client’s company. The real laugh is when Dreier’s marks are called “savvy investors” when they bought bogus documents from a man who was not in any way a recognized or licensed trader of securities. What the hell, they figured, the guy’s got a good suit on. Savvy and sophisticated are words that need to be banned when discussing modern financial leadership. The vigilant reader will substitute “boneheaded” and “predatory” until further notice.

You get the sense that the Russian people are not as eager as their intrepid leader Vladimir Putin to return to the days of the Soviet Union, a mixed bag of nationalities approaching the ethnic and cultural diversity of the United States. Attacks on migrant workers are commonplace and there is an organization called the Militant Organization of Russian Nationalists who just took credit for the decapitation of a migrant worker from Tajikistan and threatened public officials with the same treatment if they do not stop the flow of immigration. They are protesting something called “non-Russian occupation” of their country. That didn’t take very long, did it? The multi-ethnic Soviet Union was only dissolved less than 20 years ago and now the ethnic cleansers are back with a vengeance. So much for 70 years of so-called social equality. Just a hint all is not well with Mother Russia. 

Yesterday provided a small hint about the feelings of the Iraqi people about their “liberator,” Bush The Younger. On a surprise farewell tour of Baghdad, a reporter hurled one of his shoes at Dumbya, shouting: “This is a goodbye kiss from the Iraqi people, dog!” Then he threw his other shoe, adding: “This is for the widows and orphans and all those killed in Iraq!” What an ingrate, eh? It was patiently explained in various news reports that in Iraqi culture, throwing one’s shoes at someone is a sign of contempt. You know, just in case someone might interpret it as a sign of respect, some real bonehead maybe, the kind of person who thought it might be a good idea to attack a nation for no reason at all, a nation that never attacked us, and to disband their army, wreck the place, hang their leader and steal their oil and then maybe figure that nation ought to be real happy about it. That kind of person.

Warfare is changing to reflect the modern high tech world. One hint is in our war against Al Quada and the Taliban in Afghanistan. Our troops and jet bombers in Afghanistan can’t cross the border into Pakistan to chase our enemies holed up there since Pakistan is our ally, at least on paper. So, what do we do? Send in the drones! These small, unmanned aircraft fire rockets with amazing accuracy into Pakistan while being operated all the way on the opposite side of the world in Nevada. Drones have been killing militants left and right, and also many members of what has to be the most dangerous profession there is: #2 man to Osama bin Laden. We must have slain a couple of hundred of those guys by now. Which makes you think that it’s sort of a mixed blessing to be asked to be bin Laden’s right hand man. While it must be quite the honor as far as climbing the jihadist ladder, it’s not a job with much of a future. Your mom will be very proud of you, but she’ll be sending her good funeral clothes to the dry cleaners as soon as you get the big promotion. The word is that the Nevada guy never draws a bead on bin Laden himself because he figures if he blows him up the project will be over and he’ll be out of a real fun job.

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