I call out CNBC on the bailout

Fast Money (CNBC)

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The initial overheated tone of this post has been edited to better reflect my points and remove the bad words and unreasoned insults that were placed there in the heat of the moment. I’m glad that the commenter, posing as the real Macke, called me out. AW

10/05/2008 I am removing any references to Mr. Jeff Macke. I am retracting my indictment of him in any way. Instead, I refer people to the CNBC Program Fast Money – to the episode archive where Mr. Macke comments on Senator Shelby’s review of the the first ‘no’ vote on the rescue plan. I will endeavor to get that clip posted. It really set me off. There was no need, however, to put Jeff Macke in the greater mix of my emotions on the dirty deal. I will let the comments stand.

Many financial commentators on CNBC seem to be very free with your money. Some recent comments on Fast Money, tend to say that the Fed and the Treasury should give your money to the banks that screwed us. Despite the fact that professional traders have generally profited and watched while the entire market was leveraged up, that the professional equities trading and management business is taking a beating, (unless the cake is handed out), it is an insult that professional commentators are taking a pro-position on the legislation just passed. Mr. Taxpayer, they got it done. Lambasting Senator Shelby for putting the brakes on this benighted plan to take money out of your pocket and placing it at the disposal of the Fed has me very angry.

The CNBC commentators, it seems to me, dispense superficial commentary. They talk fast and say nothing, covering the same talking points and revealing no insight whatsoever. The only things we hear out of their mouth seems to be positions that bolster what is good for Wall Street.

I usually expect more reasoned argument from Karen Finerman; in the last analysis, however, Ms. Finerman is a trader, and she needs to keep her cake in the oven. Dylan Ratigan seems to be the most level headed of the group, expressing and exposing the counter position sometimes, but overall, he takes the pro position and explains the best he can that this was a necessary deal.

There are other CNBC anchors that take a reasoned approach and who seem to be opposed, if not to the deal itself, to the “hurry up” nature of the deal.

People, we have been taken  down this bad road by the people and pols that actually engineered the seeds of the disaster. These are the selfsame people who could have regulated the processes. Instead, they actually watched as it unfolded over a period of years. This is legacy of the Bush administration, their friends the wealthy, and professional traders. They berate those who dare pour cold water on this abominable deal. This was an insult…and more injurious to you the taxpayer, than doing nothing and letting the market take its toll. Let the private equity market make good what it made bad.

Numerous financial commentators have been so wrong on this subject; This should have been a market driven solution that limited the taxpayer’s participation. Many economists have advocated an open, transparent electronic exchange for the distressed assets. That would be a start. Most of the taking heads on networks like CNBC want the cake to be pumped into the selfsame corrupt investment banks that engineered the crisis, and also want interest rates to be essentially  cut to approach zero. These are all bad ideas.

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16 thoughts on “I call out CNBC on the bailout

  1. You seem a little angry in terms of the whole “fist-fight” thing.

    Leaving all of that out of it, my point is and always has been the a bipartisan solution to the problem at hand is the most honest and effective way of handling the matter. It was caused by us all. It impacts us all.

    I’ll talk. We can argue. I’m not sure of the point of “fighting” but it seems sort of less-than-bright. My goal is to help folks thinks through the causes but, more importantly, find an effective solution.

    Calling me out as a “scumbag” says more about you than it does about me. I’m here to discuss whatever you want. I wont insult you, despite your provocation. I’m honestly interested in your thoughts, assuming you aren’t just a meat-head who wants to fight me for reasons best left to your therapist.

    Elevate the conversation or stop with the posturing. You’re a tough guy. That’s outstanding. Now prove you can talk.

    – Macke

  2. Macke:

    If that is indeed the real Macke, I admit that the post was composed in an upset, confrontational tone that is uncharacteristic for me (as you can see from most of my other posts. I intent to edit the post to take out the offending verbiage. But I disagree with your on-air positions towards those who oppose this solution to the financial woes of today. You, sir, (I’m not sure that I’m really speaking to the real Macke), said some very insulting things on CNBC regarding those in opposition to the subject. If you are the real Macke, then you know the transcript. Still the post was -is not worded ina calm and reasoned way. An edit is forthcoming.

  3. Who would pretend to be me that wasn’t?

    I don’t know the transcript. I seldom watch my show and don’t write my comments in advance. I responded, and am dropping by again, for two reasons:

    1) You “called me out” and called me names. While the edit made for better reading, “the moving finger writes and, having writ, moves on: not all your piety nor wit shall cancel half a line, nor all your tears wash away a word of it.” I didn’t write that but I can tell you it applies to both writing and, even more so, to television.

    2) I don’t think you understand my position. I didn’t want the bailout. When the bailout became inevitable, I wanted it done right. When politicos came on my show and claimed they were delaying the bill because they were “against Wall St. Fat Cats, in favor of Main St. and didn’t want to financial enslave their daughters” I took offense for any number of reasons; none of which having anything to do with the actual opposition. “I’m in favor of the troops, puppy dogs, America and a world where my children will live better than I do”. But that didn’t strike me as the reason we had those folks on Fast Money

    I’m less angered by you calling me a “scumbag” than I am by an elected official who demonstrably knows nothing about financial markets wasting my airtime at a critical point in our financial history by speaking in platitudes and inciting the rage of the masses for political gain.

    Both Republicans and Democrats spouted similar nonsense into any microphone they could find last week. If you find my mocking of them for such grandstanding more troubling than what actually went on in Washington DC over the last 9 days I humbly suggest you are fighting the wrong enemy.

    I suggest you go to Minyanville.com and read what I’ve written over the course of the last few weeks regarding what, if anything, DC can and should do to “fix” this bipartisan and long-developing disaster.

    – Macke (as far as I know)

  4. Ok, let’s say that the real Macke came to this nothing blog written by this has been Silicon Valley analyst. We will just assume. Macke (the real one) contributes to Minyanville.com – this much we know. We will proceed under the assumption that we are responding to the Jeff Macke that spouted off on CNBC Fast Money in such a manner (Paraphrased):

    “The people complaining about this plan (the 700 billion whatever), should just shut up and take it, and get on with their life; it has to be done, get over it.”

    Don’t remember that episode of Fast Money, Macke? What an insult to those of us who actually create products via the application of our skills, as opposed to manipulation and arbitrage.

  5. You shouldn’t be insulted by that which you can only paraphrase, has been.

    You have no idea what I produce or how I apply my skills. You you accuse me of manipulation and arbitrage.

    You are a nothing blog because you obviously don’t apply your skills to producing anything of worth on this site.

  6. I can’t wait to watch the next episode of Fast Money, where the camera cuts from panelist to panelist, as they talk fast and over each other, and essentially say absolutely nothing.

  7. And what started all of this. Does Macke even recall the comment he made on CNBC’c air? That we should, ‘get over it, get on with our lives and stop complaining?’.

    Should we stop complaining when the Fed is handing over the biggest slice of pie, while we have no choice or say in the matter? Should a man like Jeff Macke, holding one of the biggest megaphones in the financial news media say such things, even if he sincerely believes these ideas?

    I just remember that comment that set me off that day. It was insulting. It expressed everything bad about the people who sit on these shows and said (not long ago) that the trade in oil futures had nothing to do with the inflated prices. I believe, correct me if I’m wrong, that Macke was one who opined that market fundamentals were the controlling factors. Now we know that is not the truth, as institutional money has exited the NYMEX, we see a retreat of crude prices. See Tom Kloza for more.

    Macke, you are richer, smarter and better looking than me – you win…but we all lose when irresponsible positions are thoughtlessly aired. If you really believed what you said that day, that is certainly your right as a person and financial professional that has garnered the credibility to be featured on CNBC.

    If the real Jeff Mackey is truly the person who has been commenting on this very lightly trafficked blog, I hope he takes away the message that was masked by my irresponsible hyperbole, goaded by feelings of indignation and disenfranchisement. We are all losing, Jeff. This deal is only the culmination of a decades long decline of the backbone of America’s stalwart mid-range manufacturing and research infrastructure.

    The markets that were originally designed to create liquidity and opportunity for the wider holdings of growth oriented companies that started out as private, profitable concerns, some family owned, have become over polluted with instruments and what can only be called confidence schemes that do anything but strengthen that innovation.

    Rather, what we are left with is CDS, CDO, slavery to the quarterly report, hedge funds, and now…….700B in cake to the institutions that engineered the very demise of our systems of lending and business financing.

    I could say so much more about the demise of the mid-range, specialized vertical manufacturing businesses that have been decimated due to the creative financial engineering so dear to the Fast Money regulars.

    For another day though. I apologize to the real Jeff Macke for any opinions that were emotionally motivated, and I will further edit the posts and comments (mine) to remove any accusations that are not grounded in fact.

    I’m tired.

  8. I’m tired as well.

    I’ve been in the cash and fetal positions for weeks. I’ve gotten death threats and hate mail for calling the Agricultural stocks bubbles. I’ve mocked the idea that oils tripled because of “demand in China”

    I have to take abuse from blogs, and accused of “saying nothing” when I”ve acutally said quite a lot. And I’ve been right more than I’ve been wrong.

    I don’t like the deal. I just want it to be well executed. I’m a trader. The market that “is” is the one where the market intervenes as a matter of course. As a result, I’ve sold nearly everything. I don’t want you to exalt me for that but to call me a talking head who says nothing, when I’ve been vocally telling people to sell the stocks being bought across the street, is simply ignoring the actual record.

    It’s not rational to accuse me of both saying nothing and being an Ag/ Coal/ Tech/ Finance stock “hater” for the last 8 months. One or the other has to be true but they are mutually exclusive.

    What I’m going to do is take a nap and speak from my heart and head on Monday. I expect that won’t matter at all to those who don’t actually listen but rather simply mock everything they hear on financial television.

    Being a bear on television is brutal. It inspires hatred from all ends. There is no reward for being right (which I have been). I didn’t write the government Bill; I’m simply trying to trade the reality of it.

  9. Go in peace, Mr. Macke, I do not hate you. I hate what has happened to our rapidly diminishing American landscape of homegrown, locally owned, highly skilled and specialized businesses. The end of this era of non-creative destruction of the USA manufacturing base of local, family owned businesses has culminated with 700B in cake being plucked out of the publics pocket, to be done G-d knows what with.

    If I misinterpreted your statements on that episode where you lambasted Sen. Shelby for coming out against the bill, that’s on me. You have chosen to respond to a blog that gets like, 25 hits. Good on you.

    I retract all. The final quote of the above comment ostensibly by someone who claims Macke-hood, somehow has the ring of something the real Macke would say, ” There is no reward for being right (which I have been). I didn’t write the government Bill; I’m simply trying to trade the reality of it.”

    I will be watching CNBC on Monday, despite my protestations, in for no other reason that I can’t turn my head away from a train wreck.

    The comments are hereby closed. Except for the real Jeff Macke. And BTW, what the heck is MinyanVille? Minyan, like the prayer quorum?

  10. Now, the Real Original Macke Responds – BTW: You were never cut off, Jeff. I just thought you would email me any emendations to the tail of this comment thread. Give us a shout out on Fast Money. Something simple so we know it’s you: “A GREAT BIG HELLO to Alan Wilensky, an unemployed ex-Silicon Valley Products strategy analyst that pissed off every VC in the Valley, and is now living in the back of dad’s Hi-Fi repair store that they opened 30 years ago.” That ought to do it for me. Say Hi to Finerman, Ratigan, etc.
    Now, the final world from Macke:

    Gosh, Alan, you cut me off when I tried to actually engage you regarding the column where you originally actually challenged me to a fist fight for my suggesting that the politicians were using the political crises as a chance to grandstand rather than fix the problem.

    You can have the last word there. As for why I’d respond on your sight, your lack of traffic is sort of the point. I can’t actually take on that masses. Seriously, I can’t even imagine googling myself; not for want of ego but for the futility of fighting the anger out there.

    I find the folks waiting in line at AT&T service desks actually personally offensive, from a customer service perspective. I love my iPod. I think the iPhone is simply a comically bad piece of telephonic equipment.

    As for our Tiff. I don’t even think of it as such. I made you angry but you stated your case. I got death threat for calling oil a bubble (which I did the whole way up, check your facts… the best trade I made all year was selling the USO at 105 for a 4 pt loss). If you want to fight (relatively) fair… hell, that’s what I do for a living. Let’s get it on and maybe we can both learn something in the process.

    Nothing but love, man. I’ll almost certainly offend you tomorrow on the show. The only thing I’m telling you upfront (now that I’ve found your site via a fired telling me “this guys actually wants to fight you”) are the following: a) Don’t insult my intelligence and I wont disrespect yours. I’m not the smartest guy in the world but know this: the people who claim to be are, by statistical definition, not. 2) Don’t call me a talking head; I’m literally only doing the talk job because I’m trying to save people from doing things like ride Ag plays down 50%. I tried to help them. I am literally angered that they not only didn’t listen to me about the bubble but they insulted me along the way. For you to claim I was making a “supply/ demand” case is just you not doing your homework.

    I’m simply not at all insecure about my brains or my motives. Beyond that, I’m willing to debate whether or not I’m right on any topic all day long.

    All the best,

    Macke (supposedly)

  11. My personal sign-off (at least in this thread to Mr. Macke, via email):

    Jeff (?):

    If this be the real Macke, I have added the comment to the thread, and I apologize for making my frustration with the macro economy, personal. I hope the cleaned up edits address any concerns.

    Pray for the tech sector, polluted as it is with ego maniacs, useless sheep, and zero utility applications with no mission critical use cases. Pity the fools and founders with Asbergers syndrome and autism, although they may be savants. (I’m referring to Zuckerburg).

    Peace, Amen, and a kosher chicken in every pot, and some pot in every chicken.

    Alan D. Wilensky, CDIA

  12. (For some reason I didn’t want to send my real email to a guy challenging me a fist fight… now that you’ve come around, put your email up and I’ll write you directly)

  13. Fighting, I have come to realize, is so 20th century economic depression. For this new era of our 21st century economic debacle, we will all work together, VOIP-ing and IM’ing as we all watch FAST MONEY!!!!! abmadw@gmail.com or skype: awilensky

    My resume has now been down loaded 6000 times since my ignominious exit from Silicon Valley – from the R&D lab at France Telecom, from the close calls at Yahoo, XORA, and many others. Some people say, Macke, watch the small ‘s’ product analysts; we are the bellwether of an industry. When companies are on the way down and in a panic, the first thing to go is modest spending on the product strategy advisers.

    I feeel the cold Macke, it is closing in. Somehow I can’t quite connect the creeping rot in Silicon Valley VC, the mega tech giant layoffs, with the crisis we are in…but I know there is some mystical connection.

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