As ace investigative reporter Gretchen Morgenson of the New York Times noted in a piece back on April 7th, Phillips headed a division that sold billions of dollars of mortgage-backed investments to Fannie and Freddie. Many of those investments were as bad as the ones his unit sold to the Chinese. In fact, as Morgenson noted, Phillips became a named defendant in a lawsuit filed by the Federal Housing Finance Authority (FHFA), which essentially charged, as the Chinese did, that Morgan Stanley knowingly sold Fannie and Freddie a pile of crap.

Donald Trump, then, has essentially picked one of the last people on earth who should be allowed to help reshape the mortgage markets. This is like putting a guy who sold thousand-dollar magazine subscriptions to your grandmother on the telephone in charge of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, or the A.A.R.P.

The Trump kakistocracy continues.

Great video from Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse.

tl;dw — Citizens United opened the door for unlimited petrochemical lobbying, who don’t want to lose the $700B they get in government subsidies, and no one can change this except Mitch McConnell, who of course is in office because of big oil, so we’re all fucked.

EDIT: Owing to thoughtful and constructive discussion in the comments (one of my favorite G+ features) my take on this has softened and gained nuance. Thanks to everyone who helped me hash out my feelings on this.

He is the latest celebrity multi-millionaire to cut his kids out of his will — Money documented a long list of the ultra-rich who won’t pass along fortunes to their children, including Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, George Lucas, and Sting.

Rich people tend to be shitheads, film at 11.

I made the mistake of looking at Facebook yesterday, and this popped up in my feed. The comments were, of course, filled with praise — Ramsay is “teaching his kids a lesson” and making sure they’re not “spoiled” — all from people who I’m pretty sure will be lucky if they have enough money to retire on, much less have much of anything to leave to their kids.

I’m totally mystified by this. I would kill to leave my son a fortune, allowing him to bypass the rigged, bullshit capitalist system that most of us work within. Isn’t the whole point of parenting to make sure your kids start life better off than you did? Is there really any virtue in perpetuating a never-ending cycle of financial struggle?

The idea that the only way to teach your child financial responsibility is to force them to live through some Horatio-Alger-induced gauntlet of misery is complete horseshit. The big names mentioned in this article are privileged asshats buying into the same, shitty, bootstrap-ing mythology that the fascist shitstains running their respective nations use to ensure financial disparity.

My mom basically died a pauper. The only thing of value she left behind was her house — paid for*, but often nearly lost due to her inability to pay property taxes, dilapidated, and severely devalued by the 2008 collapse. If we’ll ever be able to get even $90k out of that house, we’ll be lucky, and all of that money will be going to the medical and survival needs of some of my other family. I.e., no one is profiting here.

Would anyone have been singing my mom’s praises if she’d vaporized that asset and left behind nothing? If she’d denied her descendants even that meager gift, just because hey, she started with nothing back when she first immigrated to the US, so why shouldn’t others face the same, character-building adversity? Give me a break.

This is bald-faced privilege, and it makes me sick. It’s a philosophical luxury available only to those who’ve forgotten (or never knew) what day-to-day life is like for most people. Ramsay proudly talks about his life asa poor kid living on a council estate with an alcoholic father — seriously, does he drink heavily and beat his kids, too? You know, to “build character”? Would we admire him if he did?

It’s likewise nauseating when I see struggling middle-class people consider this laudable behavior. It’s the same bullshit American Billionaire mythology that got Drumpf elected.

(And let’s not even get into the anecdotes about Ramsay making his kids fly coach while he flies first class, teaching nothing more than the idea that there are haves and have-nots, and enjoying a pleasant travel experience is something on certain people “deserve”.)

Fuck you, Gordon Ramsay. I hope your kids eventually have you declared incompetent and then re-write your will.

* Paid too much for, as she got conned; did I mention that? Maybe if she had grown up with money and knew how to manage it…

“It’s one thing to take a product that is already cheap and just fine and replace it with a vastly more expensive version that locks people into exploitative proprietary systems for years in exchange for giving them a 15-second hit of dopamine derived from Going Digital. I mean, Quip and Juicero and whatever Silicon Valley dildo company is selling dongs with DRM-equipped replaceable heads are actually fundamentally selling you a product. It’s a horribly, uselessly expensive product that could only be embraced by chumps, but it’s a tangible thing. The real next level is just inserting yourself into someone else’s transaction and collecting a % while offering nothing. (When this is a job, we call it ‘consulting.’) Why charge a lot for the blades when you can charge a lot for literally nothing?

“RentBerry ( ) is useful here because the word ‘rent’ is literally in the name. Here’s the value proposition that RentBerry offers. For landlords who are already raking in record profits, RentBerry provides a chance at making even more, as potential tenants must set upon each other in a dystopian nightmare auction system that compels them to ask, how much am I willing to pay to avoid sleeping in the park, really? For tenants, RentBerry offers — well, the opportunity to pay more in a pre-existing housing crisis, the chance to make the process of finding an apartment an even more horrific exercise in stress and disappointment, a reason to hate faceless strangers with even more intensity, and more reason to view city life as a ceaseless Nietzschean struggle from which they will never escape. What RentBerry gets in return is, eventually, a % of your already hideously overpriced rent, for the duration of the lease. I bet you can’t wait to know a portion of your rent check is going not just to the landlord you hate but also to a company that did nothing beyond giving him the ability to take more of your money! Of course, if you live in New York, your ‘landlord’ might very well be a hedge fund that also funded RentBerry! Sweet, right?

“RentBerry will tell you that tenants might get a deal thanks to the auction system. Of course, it’s landlords who chose to use RentBerry, not tenants, and if landlords thought they were losing money on the deal they’d never use it, meaning the service’s very reason for being necessarily entails grabbing more and more tenant money. Details!

“Why is everything so expensive? Because Silicon Valley and Wall Street are taking huge percentages out of transactions they once didn’t. That’s why. The Juiceros make inexpensive and functional products far more expensive and often less functional; the RentBerrys cut out the middleman by just becoming middlemen. Dare to dream.” (Fredrik deBoer):

View at

Wow, really? I must be living in a huge bubble. I sure wish I knew [an informed] consumer who actually wants this.