The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

What Is Important About The Reddit Gamestop Short-Squeeze

So, some Redditors found that Gamestop was being massively shorted. They bought up the stock, forcing the hedge funds involved to buy those stocks at huge prices to cover their shorts. This is known as a short squeeze, and market players do it all the time. What is different here is that a bunch of unwashed hoi polloi are getting in on the action.

The main hedge fund appears to have been driven to bankruptcy, or it would be if it wasn’t going to get bailed out.

And that’s what matters: not what the Redditors have done, which is 100% legal and done all the time, but the institutional response: to bail out rich people who got caught with their pants down.

The markets exist, at this point, for one reason and one reason only: to give money to rich people. It is an insider game, and if you’re on the inside you essentially can’t lose. The exceptions are very rare, the class of insiders is protected at all costs, as it was in 2008 to the tune of 20 trillion or so in the US alone (ignore the Treasury and things like TARP, the real action happens at the Fed.) Other central banks also flooded the system with money, so the end result was probably over a 100 trillion.

Since then central banks have regularly bought up assets simply by printing money. Insiders play various games, but the key is that if they win they get to keep the money; and if they lose, government steps in to make them whole. Since the game is rigged for them to make money in the first place, it’s hard to lose money, but like a gamer who knows that death isn’t real, and they can just restart, they push everything to the max.

The entire game needs to be shut down and re-booted with Glass-Steagall era controls at the very least. Hedge Funds need to be made essentially illegal, private equity needs to go away, and these people need to eat the losses when it is shut down.

But in the meantime, as you watch this show, notice the institutional reaction: “OH MY GOD, ordinary people are making money and real people are losing money and we must do everything possible to stop this!”

It’s a big club, and you aren’t in it. (Well, one reader wrote me recently to say they in it, but I assume the rest of you aren’t.) While you struggle for rent and food and put up with an abusive boss at a shitty job so you can survive, these guys enjoy their super-yachts and if anything goes wrong, know that regulators and government will jump all over themselves to save their asses.

Hope you’re enjoying that $600 check, as Biden reduces the $2,000 check to $1,400 and says he’s OK with means testing it.

Update: and so it goes.

Update 2: Same hour that apps close purchases to retail investors, AMC (another target), issues 44 million shares: Hedge funds can buy ’em, but short squeeze retail investors cannot. Sickening.

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The Free, Diverse Internet In America Is Coming To An End


Open Thread


  1. Plague Species

    I’ll never forget Biden’s slip of tongue where he referred to blacks, and browns I suppose, as poor people versus whites because for him, the only poor people are black and brown people. If you’re white and poor? Well, in Biden’s world, you don’t even exist. You’re simply not human. You have been written off. You’re a loser. A huge loser. You had every advantage in the world, like him, and you squandered it and made nothing of it. If you’re white and poor, you or your ancestors screwed up royally and you have been left behind. Discarded. Cast off. And, if you stick around and don’t play your part as a ghost of Christmas past, you will be scapegoated into extinction entirely if you’re not extinguished in a myriad of other ways per a system that no longer has any use for you and your’s.

    Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. raised eyebrows on Thursday during a speech in Iowa when he said that “poor kids are just as bright and just as talented as white kids,” an apparent gaffe for a Democratic presidential candidate whose record on race has come under intense scrutiny during the primary.

    Mr. Biden was speaking on education and the need to challenge students at a town hall hosted by the Asian & Latino Coalition in Des Moines when he made the remark, and then quickly sought to recover from it.

    If you’re poor you truly have no representation, be you poor black or poor white or poor any color. Regardless of representation, you will be used for one purpose or another though, politically. The only way to defeat that is to treat this as a class war because it is. The entire system is devoted to preventing that — preventing the unwashed of every color and stripe from coming together and collaborating and cooperating in a solidarity movement. Even at venues like this, the notion of class war is archaic and scoffed at and laughed at and dismissed because of the stigma it presents.

  2. Chicago Clubs

    Yes, that (and many other “gaffes”) was proof positive that being able to say whatever you want and still get elected is not limited to Trump, as the libs liked to pretend. “Blue MAGA” is a pretty accurate descriptor.

  3. someofparts

    spotted in an Amazon review of Michael Lind’s book on the PMC –

    “Capitalism is disappearing, but Socialism is not replacing it. What is now arising is a new kind of planned, centralized society which will be neither capitalist nor, in any accepted sense of the word, democratic. The rulers of this new society will be the people who effectively control the means of production: that is, business executives, technicians, bureaucrats and soldiers, lumped together…under the name of “managers.” These people will eliminate the old capitalist class, crush the working class, and so organize society that all power and economic privilege remain in their own hands.”

    – Orwell 1946

  4. someofparts

    What are the odds? I just pulled out a fresh t-shirt to put on. It is a hand-me-down from an old friend. It is too big for me and really comfortable. I always thought the logos on it were a little too garish – from some computer store or something – but I like the shirt so much I didn’t care. So this morning I read the logo for the first time and guess what – GameStop! I shall wear it with great pride!

  5. bruce wilder

    One of the key political economy issues that I sometimes push is that the institutional ontology of money changes over time, because of the extreme strategic pressure placed on money as the score-keeping device for the economic games people. That is a very abstract perspective on the phenomena you draw attention to here. The changes are continuous as is the pressure, but there are moments when the accumulation of pressure and incremental change cause system failure and radical restructuring.

    It is easy to trace the periodic change in the history of the U.S. — there is a kind of cycle in place. And, the change in the nature of money coincides with political realignment and sometimes violent conflict and social upheaval.

    I am just saying, notice.

    Things that cannot go on “like this” forever, don’t.

  6. someofparts

    posted on Reddit

    if the link does not copy, just drop by Automatic Earth where it is posted

  7. Plague Species

    America’s very own Paul von Hindenburg, or is it Gerry Ford, to the rescue.

    Biden Won’t Budge on the Senate Filibuster. Why Aren’t Progressives Pushing Him?

    I share the sentiment of Ellen who commented to the NYT article.

    If the democrats let the republicans stymie efforts to actually gt things done, then in 2022 (and 2024) they will deserve to lose. And I won’t be voting for them. Why bother?

  8. Z

    This is what you get after 28 years of Robber Rubin-ism: unlimited fealty to Wall Street and utter brutalism to the working class and poor.

    Never forget that Wikileaks revealed that that lowlife Rubin, who had more responsibility for the 2008 meltdown than any other human being in the entire planet, essentially wrote down on the back of an envelope who was going to be in the Obama’s incoming administration, had it delivered to Obama, and of course The Head PR Man for the Point Zero One Percent, shepherded along by Rubin’s current Centerview Partner Rahm Emanuel, followed Rubin’s orders damn near to the letter.

    That’s part of reason our rulers want to bury Assange in jail.


  9. Ché Pasa

    This is the perfect distraction for the moment. Since “checks” are not on the way and probably won’t be ever again, having a casino operating to hand out sacks of money to “deserving” rabble while sticking it to the Wall Street fatter cats is just about the best thing that could happen — at this moment.

    The R leadership has effectively turned the legislative caucus over to the most radical of their members, and that means an end to legislation for the duration. Instead we are to slouch closer and closer to civil war.

    White House “orders” can only suffice for so long, and then they don’t. States have been reorganizing on their own throughout the pandemic, and some are close to secession. Many are simply turning their backs on DC — because they can, and there’s no institutional force to keep them in line.

    The virus death toll is mounting and we’re told nothing can be done about it. So let’s keep dancing, right? Vaccine is still difficult/impossible for most to obtain, and who knows whether it works well enough to stem the pandemic.

    We’re poor, we’re getting sicker, we’re dying.

    There’s much smoke and some flashes of fire in the air. The republic shudders.

    Repent! The End is nigh!

    Or keep on playing.

  10. Lex

    Or Biden’s slip was that he’s essentially an old fashioned liberal racist who thinks all blacks are poor and while they should be afforded the bare minimum of human dignity they shouldn’t live in his neighborhood, though they must be grateful for the bread crumbs and loyal enough to receive more.

    I’d wager that the majority of the red ditties are being scammed by elites playing either side of this for blood sport. And that a whole lot of little people up huge right now will hold on too long and end up wiped out. The elite losers get bailed out. The elite winners make a killing. And the person who put their stimulus into the market and believed end up homeless.

  11. anon

    I’m not a serious investor but I started following the subreddit wallstreetbets last year. I’m happy for the people on wallstreetbets who bought GameStop and I hope that many continue to hold.

    I just learned that platforms like Robinhood restricted trading on GameStop and Robinhood. Isn’t that market manipulation too? People should be allowed to buy and sell as they please, but I suppose that’s only okay when the wealthy brokerage firms do it. I am seeing people on Reddit say they were done buying, but because of Robinhood’s move, they are not switching brokers to buy more Gamestop. I may buy a few shares of GME and AMC just to stick it to the elite.

  12. One small nit to pick when you say that central banks “bought up assets simply by printing money, in that they didn’t bother to actually print it. They merely created it as a ledger entry, which is a form of magical thinking. That is the form of thinking on which every aspect of this country functions.

  13. Feral Finster

    Reminds me of the waning days of the Soviet Union. That was a time when everyone in the USSR knew that the current system was still dangerous but collapsing. Politics was increasingly bitter, self-serving and tribal.

    By that point nobody paid more than lip service to the ideas underlying the Soviet system. Meanwhile, grift and fraud were abounding, and those in the know were hard at work, stealing everything that not nailed down while there were still things out there that could be stolen.

    For a while there in the dying days of the Soviet Union, entrepreneurial minded grifters were stealing abandoned Aeroflot airliners and setting up their own airlines. Sounds legit.

  14. anon

    Correction: I just learned that platforms like Robinhood restricted trading on Gamestop and AMC. Besides Gamestop, Redditors were planning to buy more of AMC, Nokia, and Blackberry.

  15. GlassHammer

    Maybe the real story is how fragile these hedge funds are since a bunch of nobodies just pushed one over with the greatest of ease.

    And maybe what is sitting under that story is the fact most of these fund managers have no actual expertise or qualifications to manage vast sums of other people’s money.

    I suspect Wall Street firms are scared to death of losing their “smartest guys in the room” label because they know automation (HFT) is just a hare’s breath away from taking their jobs.

  16. Thomas Golladay

    Now its spreading. Well give it a few days and alternate payment systems and stock boards will spring up to stick it to the man. Big Tech and Wall Street are on the way out.

  17. Z

    I suspect that the greatest attribute of most hedge fund owners is not their market expertise but instead their alliances with other Wall Street entities that they collude with in order to manipulate the market’s movements.


  18. Z

    When they get overpowered from the outside they can’t handle it in-house so they call in the “authorities” and order them to correct the situation.


  19. someofparts

    This looks like the other side of the story.

    “This isn’t hedge funds versus retail. It’s hedge funds versus other hedge funds (and versus Wall Street “flow” desks, which make money every day, and excel at doing so on volatile days) with retail driving the way forward. Melville Capital may have imploded. But Citadel took part of it over. That’s hardly a resounding victory over the biggest titans of finance. “

  20. rangoon78

    “In my ANOTHER NOW I imagined a new type of resistance movement that uses the tools of finance to bring down capitalism and create a democratic market socialist economy in its stead.”

  21. bruce wilder

    Bill H: “One small nit to pick when you say that central banks “bought up assets simply by printing money, in that they didn’t bother to actually print it.”

    It is not actually a “nit” — it is a category error masquerading as a metaphor. A currency is not necessarily coincident with a money — there’s a relation, and not always the same relation from time to time. In a fiat money system, managing the currency means meeting the demand for currency — you print (or coin) as much as is needed and meeting that demand in a timely way is necessary to maintaining a stable and reliable unit of account. “Printing money” does not cause inflation or hyperinflation, though in a hyperinflation a currency may lose credibility as the unit of account ceases to be useful or reliable.

  22. Z

    The guy who owns Melvin Capital used to work at Citadel and Citadel recently even gave them a loan when Melvin’s Gamestop short went against them so who is to say that Citadel isn’t taking the other side of the trade in order to funnel that capital back into Melvin to keep it afloat and the financial system along with it.

    Also, Larry Fink’s Blackrock, which is essentially hooked up directly to the Fed’s unlimited liquidity pipeline (THANKS STANLEY FISCHER formerly 2nd at the Fed after he headed Israel’s central bank before settling cozily into Blackrock), apparently made a ton of money from the Gamestop trade. They also could be an intermediary. They have no worries about running out of gas because their Fed attendants will fill them back up in perpetuity.


  23. Stirling S Newberry

    “Hedge Funds need to be made essentially illegal, private equity needs to go away, and these people need to eat the losses when it is shut down.”

    No, just risky. That will knock them down to size.

  24. KT Chong

    I actually used my $600 stimmy money to buy GME when it was way under $100 and then sold the shares immediately after cable news started reporting it 😁 i.e., “buy when it is a rumor, sell when it becomes the news.” Last night I was regretting if I had sold too early or had not bought AMC and other related stocks. r/WallStreetBets had revealed that tomorrow (Fri, 1/29) 20 million of shorted GME shares will come due, and hedge funds will have to pay whatever price to cover their short position on GME. That is why people are hoarding and holding off selling GME.

    … and then the SEC halted app trade of GME, AMC, etc. Robinhood no longer allows anyone to buy GME, and only allow people to sell. Of course. Redditors were saying they wanted to bid GME up to $1,000 to bankrupt a bunch of billionaires and “transfer some wealth from top and bottom.” Of course the government and Wall Street would never allow that. (And thank goodness I had sold mine earlier.)

    Ultimately, a lot of motivation behind GME was to punish the Wall Street and hedge fund. It was basically “Occupy Wall Street” on Robinhood. (“Robinhood” robs from the rich to help the poor; it is an aptly named app.) If you went into r/WallStreetBets, all the top posts made that sentiment loud and clear. AOC, Elizabeth Warren and TYT Ana Kasparian were on the front page of r/WallStreetBets yesterday afternoon; two AOC tweets were on the front page at a time. And the number-one top post was, “hey, SEC, are you seeing this? F- YOU!”

  25. Hugh

    Heads, they win; tails the rest of us lose. Privatize gains and socialize losses. What we are seeing is unnatural because small day-trading, retail investors are, with pension funds, are defined to be stupid money. These are the slow movers whose purpose in markets is to be left holding the bag after the smart money, like hedge funds, is already out the door.

    The purpose of hedge funds is primarily to generate fees so that the people who run them can become billionaires. They incidentally make some money for their investors by running scams like the Gamestop short. As I said, that they lost money and did so in such a public fashion is a crime against the nature of markets and won’t be tolerated.

    I would note that Gamestop is a nothing company. But that’s the point. Nothing about any of this is about real value or productivity or social good. It’s about a degenerate financial and political system and the parasites who inhabit and feed off it –at our expense.

  26. KT Chong

    GameStop is the most shorted company on the Wall Street. There are other hedge funds than Melvin Capital and Citron that were shorting GME.

  27. rangoon78

    Means TV out of Detroit is a new socialist alternative media platform. Search for it on Google and you won’t find it. I found this on Yahoo. First was alerted to the story by their Twitter feed.
    The Fake Market (1.28.21) | MMN | Means TV

  28. Stirling S Newberry

    Insiders missed the lecture: “Do not touch the crack cocaine.”

  29. rangoon78

    “Technology has the power to democratize access to American financial institutions, ultimately giving far more people a say in our economic structures. But the cards are stacked against the little guy in favor of billionaire Wall Street Traders. While retail trading in some cases, like on Robinhood, blocked the purchasing of GameStop, hedge funds were still allowed to trade the stock.”- Rep. Ro Khanna

  30. Stirling S Newberry

    If the money spent on sports betting were spent on the stock market, we would have a different environment.

  31. Z

    It looks like our rulers turned up the heat a bit too high on the pot of water and stuffed too many of us frogs in it all at once and now we’ve jumped out of it and are hopping all over their kitchen creating all kinds of chaos for them.


  32. Stirling S Newberry

    They will get it together.

  33. Z

    Once the frogs jump the pot though they can see the flame underneath of it.


  34. Dan H

    Another brick falls out of the wall… This may end up causing a real Capitol riot. Millennial here, and lemme tell ya my generation knows that working is a farce, the only way to survive is with enough money doing your work for you. Tech has opened avenues for normies to attempt to scam the same system the elites have been for decades. All a farce.

    I hope everyone here has been investing is self capability while reading Ian. Be ready and don’t hesitate to save yourself

  35. Hugh

    Frog legs for everyone! While supplies last!

  36. someofparts

    There is interesting talk about this everywhere.

    Mark Blyth Twitter thread has several great links –

    Rising – K&S both do radars on it

  37. different clue


    What shall we call this new society which the Overclass is working to engineer into monopoly existence?

    Capitalommunist? Communapitalist?

  38. different clue

    I agree with K.T. Chong and some others here. While these GameStop stockbuyers no doubt hope to make some money along the way, I think their primary motive and goal has been real and painful revenge against a short seller hedge fund.

    I hope these hordes of Reddit piranhas can kill and destroy some other hedge funds before the Overclass’s government makes Reddit piranha mass-attacks illegal.

  39. Z


    I’d rather eat the rich.

    Well, I don’t actually want to eat them, but I’d like to see Larry Summers on a spittle with an apple in his mouth.


  40. S Brennan

    From MOA:

    “Unlike Joe Biden it united legislators across the aisle.

    Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez @AOC – 16:36 UTC · Jan 28, 2021

    This is unacceptable.
    We now need to know more about @RobinhoodApp’s decision to block retail investors from purchasing stock while hedge funds are freely able to trade the stock as they see fit.
    As a member of the Financial Services Cmte, I’d support a hearing if necessary.

    Ted Cruz @tedcruz – 16:47 UTC · Jan 28, 2021

    Retweeting @AOC
    Fully agree.

    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will take care that nothing will comes from it. The system has proven again and again that it is rigged. No change to it will be condoned.

    As Glenn Greenwald noted yesterday:

    Glenn Greenwald @ggreenwald – 13:49 UTC · Jan 27, 2021

    To review:

    – Politics is to be manipulated only by K Street.
    – The stock market is to be manipulated only by Wall St.
    – Dissemination of information is to be manipulated only by corporate media outlets.

    Those are the rules.

    Besides, neoDs want the focus of the nation to be on the impeachment circus of a former president. And it should be quite a proceeding…having no precedent because a President has never been impeached AFTER serving his full term in in office.

    NEW RULES, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court will not preside as prescribed by the US, in this unprecedented “proceeding”..the presiding “judge” will be a political enemy who has already determined that his political opponent is guilty and has publicly said so.

    No men on horseback need apply…although a stalking horse ridden by a straw-man might be worked into the plot…take your seats and please…look away from your fellow proles be ground into the dust by an Administration that supported every piece of legislation designed to impoverish working Americans since the mid 70’s.

    BTW, the fix is in, Pelosi’s impeachment was used by McConnell to insure Assange’s continued imprisonment..something like..”pardon Assange and we will vote for Pelosi’s impeachment”. Take a bow “liberals”, “pregressives” and “lefties” your media-manufactured hatred is being harnessed to destroy everything you claim to care about..while you clap politely.

    This message brought to you by your friendly [in election years] neoD’d Ministry of Public Enlightenment.

  41. someofparts

    “What shall we call this new society which the Overclass is working to engineer into monopoly existence?”

    Nothing polite I hope

  42. Willy

    Antisocial corporatism

  43. different clue

    Maybe market stalinism?

  44. Beef Chili

    glenn greenwald is a moron

  45. Charlie


    Neo-authoritarianism, which is what neoliberals and neoconservatives have in common. Social authoritarianism coinciding with economic classical liberalism.

  46. different clue

    How about liberalthoritarianism? Or liberauthoritarianism?

    Or Stalinist Market Tyranocracy?

  47. Trinity

    “Disestablishmentarianism Do Over” – has a nice ring to it?

    Like I said, the seeds of the destruction of these games (the choice of GameStop can’t be a coincidence) already exist, and the pushback is just starting. Make sure you have a tribe, however small. There’s time.

    These are people who believe they are gods, and blessed by the gods. In reality they suffer from extreme mental illness. I’m not excusing them, I’m saying to watch out for the fall out as reality continues to deconstruct their carefully constructed fantasy world.

  48. someofparts

    “I’m saying to watch out for the fall out”

    too late
    already got fallen on
    but this website is helping me crawl out from under the debris

  49. anon

    I’ll probably buy a few of each stock that Robinhood blocked yesterday. It’s not just about money.

  50. Plague Species

    About Gamestop and the hedge funds and Robinhood, I’m not in the stock market and never will be and never was. I render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and hope one day Caesar is no more. In fact, I fully support Caesar being no more. Trading with Caesar won’t accomplish that. Never dance with the devil. Deny him instead and then lop off his head.

    Yves has a different take on this spectacle. She claims they’re all dirty players and there are no good guys in this story. I tend to believe that.

    Meanwhile, the Dems wag fingers at any and all and yet do nothing more than wag their fingers like a school principle or librarian. The Dems are going to get trounced in 2022 and 2024. The next wave of the fascist putsch is assured and it will be a clincher. No going back after it. A tough lesson for my wife and children to learn, for sure. They were bamboozled. They’re not alone. Many blacks have been bamboozled and many poor folks. The wealthy elite have said and are saying, the only way it changes is with real, actual physical violence, and no, what happened at the Capitol is not that. What happened at the Capitol is pathetic. A tragic joke. A circus. A carnival. The wealthy elite are saying that their violence is greater than your violence, and they’re right, it is.

  51. Ché Pasa

    Chaos addicts are loving this, of course. The wonder is that it didn’t happen earlier. Or did it?

  52. Z

    IMO, chaos is less alarming than docility at this point. At least people are fighting back in some ways.


  53. This is really off topic, but as it describes an emergency situation, I think that’s OK:

    Some time ago, basically for yucks, I subscribed to the youtube channel “Caitlin Doughty – Ask A Mortician”. Caitlin’s funeral home is in LA. Well, Caitlin just posted “Our Funeral Home is Overwhelmed With Bodies”, and she’s not in a joking or dry, educational mode. The graph at :49 shows (eyeballing it..) that in the last 2 months, the amount of covid deaths is the same as the previous 6 months. Furthermore, the graph doesn’t appear to be peaking. ICU capacity is at 0% in “southern california”, according to a headline she has posted.

    Here’s a conspiracy theory scenario, that I won’t spend any time investigating. (Well, beyond looking as the and headlines). Main stream media will downplay or even censor this, as a) the Democrats are in control and b) there’s a lot of unvaccinated people out there, and you only want to scare people into taking it when the supply catches up with the demand. (In the meantime, basically the traditional smearing of so-called “anti-vaxxers” will suffice.)

  54. Plague Species

    Whole Foods spokesman and insurrection hobbyist Jake Chansley to return to the Capitol, the scene of his crime. I think they should let him testify in his insane get up, don’t you. Like I said, a circus. A carnival. America is a joke — a joke where people suffer and die at its hands.

  55. KT Chong

    The Q’Anon Shaman Song:

    All That She Wants (is A Pardon):

  56. Ché Pasa

    “Attention must be paid!”

  57. Z

    Mind you what the big players probably did when they shut down Gamestop stock for the Redditers was position themselves in the frozen market with shorts so that they can ride this down and profit off of it.

    You always win when you can make and break the rules to your advantage …


  58. Thomas Golladay

    Jake Chansley showed up well after the capitol was breached and let in by cops. Its all on video. His real crime was sitting in Mike Pence’s chair and leading a prayer. He will be acquitted as well as the vast majority of those there. The main prosecution targets are 30 individuals who did the initial breech and bashed a cop to death, they will definitely go down as it is all on camera. The rest will get fines if even that.

    The revolt grows against the Hedge Funds.

  59. Z

    Trump is a coward for not giving all these Capitol Hill rioters a pardon.

    Cowardice is one of his strongest personality traits.

    He basically called on them to charge Capitol Hill. They did and they took it and then he hung them out to dry to try to distance himself from it and save his own ass.


  60. Z

    Our rulers treat us like we’re their farm animals by penning us up in a system so that most of us have to spend a large portion of our lives turning the blades on their plows in dissatisfying dead end jobs just to get enough hay to survive. Those folks that charged Capitol Hill had enough of it in their own way. I don’t blame them for doing it. We are basically a country occupied by a traitorous ruling class. Why wouldn’t they want to get their hands on them when they are systematically destroying us and the planet? Because they’re better than us? Ha ha ha. They are the worst of us!

    It was a perfectly rational action … one could say that it is for our species’ survival … to try to get to them.

    I respect them and the Redditors.


  61. dbk

    @ Stirling S. Newberry — Insiders missed the lecture: “Do not touch the crack cocaine.” —

    That’s a good title for yet another analysis of what happened, to wit: a kid who’s a day trader very astutely noted that GameStop was being shorted in a major way. He thought – rightly – “Let’s drive up the price and make a few bucks, everybody”. “Everybody” turned out to be, well, too many trades and traders for RobinHood to cover – an unanticipated problem. In the meantime, the hedgies who were shorting GameStop – also rightly, since it’s a business that’s on its way out – got caught, uh, short and had to cover their puts. Oops.

    The problem isn’t that these sorts of hedges are illegal; the problem is that they’re legal in the first place. Can anybody more knowledgeable about Wall Street explain to me what the real added value of shorting stocks is? (apart from possible profits for those engaging in the practice – that doesn’t add any real value to the economy, however)

    Abolish shorting; if you think a company or sector is going down, just divest, like NYC pension funds are divesting from fossil fuels (all five funds will probably be out by the end of 2021).

    Also, I agree with Ian: Private equity (PE) needs to go. It won’t – in fact, PE is bulking up to purchase a sizable portion of the housing and residential rental stock in the U.S. as evictions/foreclosures pick up. But it should.

    Meanwhile, I’m going to watch The Big Short for like the fourth time this evening.

  62. Z

    Look at this way: these scumbags on Wall Street are pilfering so much from our economy via their rigged markets that their greed is constantly destabilizing our entire monetary system and the only way that they are able to conceal it is by having their attendants at the Fed fix it for them by continually rewarding their insatiable greed at the cost to the rest of us.

    The Fed was pumping out a ton of liquidity to Wall Street two autumns ago, before COVID even hit. Then when COVID came our rulers tossed us $1200, told us to deal with it, and took advantage of COVID to drive the stock market to record highs while the real economy, the one that is not being floated by the Fed’s infinite liquidity, crashed.

    Our rulers route us through an obstacle course of their bribed and blackmailed politicians that is rigged against us for us to get anything done for us while they have a drive-up window at the Fed.


  63. Ché Pasa

    The greatest fear Our Overlords have is that the Unwashed will find out (how? how?) that the game is rigged; that ALL the games are rigged. Ohnoes!

  64. Plague Species

    McDonald Trump’s response to this? Bring Back The Death Penalty.

  65. Plague Species

    Insurrectionists, meet thy enemy, or one of them at least. The Capitol is for the Errand Boys and Errand Girls.

    Next time march on Wall Street or their palatial estates and skip the middle man. But you won’t because you were sent to the Capitol by the enemy and you’re too stupid to realize it. Buffoons.

  66. Hugh

    We need to start calling things what they are. Most Republicans and the right wing in the US are fascist. The people who attacked the Capitol on Jan. 6 are not your friends. They want a country run by whites for whites. Nothing they want and get real mad about makes much sense or is coherent. Elections aren’t about who gets the most votes. It’s about who counts those votes, and in their minds that means throwing out the votes of black and brown voters until they win. So what they want is not elections, but validation regardless of the vote. American fascism isn’t just at war with us. It’s at war with reality. If reality or science undercut their views on abortion, covid, race, then reality and science are wrong, period. There was a big push for bipartisanship, but bottom line you can not be bipartisan with fascists. Unity is something they don’t want, and we shouldn’t want. Yet we remain in this crazy state of denial where even as thousands of National Guard are being kept in Washington to prevent another fascist uprising, we can’t even call those from the last uprising fascists. Meanwhile we have a bunch of Republican fascists running around Capitol Hill, competing on who can be the nuttiest and most dictatorial. Again these are people that not even the conservative, corporatist Democrats can work with. Don’t. Call out their fascism instead.

  67. Hugh

    Another comment in mod. Shorter form: Trump fascists aren’t our friend, and the Bidenesque bipartisanship meme is nuts. You can’t make alliances with fascists without being fascist.

  68. Plague Species

    Gabe Plotkin was born and raised in Portland Maine and received his Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from Northwestern University. Yaara Bank-Plotkin was born and raised in Queens, New York, and received her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from New York University. They were married in 2006, and are proud parents of their son, Eytan Shmerel.

    While Gabe spends his days as a portfolio manager at Sigma Capital, as a family they enjoy petting zoos and sports, Eytan’s favorite activities. Gabe and Yaara share a passion for the land of Israel, which is what connected them to the Chabad Israel Center and Rabbi Uriel and Shevy Vigler.

    They immediately felt a sense of community and discovered that in working with Chabad they are able to help and support Israel and the Jewish community. Belev Echad holds a special place in their hearts, through which they better the lives of Israeli wounded soldiers and terror victims.

    The Plotkins have committed themselves to Belev Echad each year, and are proud to continue their partnership with the Chabad Israel Center.

  69. Plague Species

    I bet Gabe was another good friend of Epstein’s. I hope the Redditors send him packing to Israel where he belongs.

  70. Thomas Golladay


    Trump did not call for storming the capitol and it was the last thing he wanted. The people who breached the capitol did so while he was speaking and succeeded because security was so weak.

    Get basic facts right.

  71. Z


    Not to mention that Guiliani, who one could take as his spokesperson, called for “trial by combat”.

    No, there was no inciting going on, just a few good ‘ol boys and girls getting a bit tipsy on patriotism …


  72. Z

    Must have been imbibing on an empty stomach …


  73. Willy

    Why is it so hard to understand that extreme personalities (in the psychopathic direction) exist, want extreme power and control, and can be skilled enough to know how to manipulate certain individuals?

  74. Mark Pontin

    Hugh: ‘Trump fascists aren’t our friend, and the Bidenesque bipartisanship meme is nuts. You can’t make alliances with fascists without being fascist.’

    What planet do you live on, Hugh?

    In the actually-existing real world of 2021, U.S. elites are very evidently trying to move towards fascism — the merger of the state and the corporations into one oppressive entity — via an alliance of Big Tech, the Deep State intelligence agencies, the MSM, Wall Street, and the PMC that’s being presided over by the Democrats.

    The Democrats _are_ the primary fascists now. You are still lying to yourself about that.

  75. Z


    I’m not big on writing off the whole insurrection as consisting entirely of fascists.

    The Biden bipartisanship meme is Creepy Joe contriving to do what he has done his whole entire political career: pimp out the working class and poor to the rich.

    The scumbag still gets a stiffy from f*ing over the working class and poor. He’s no better than Trump and is even worse in many ways.

    We are all Cornpops now!


  76. NR

    It takes some real big brain energy to spout “Well ACKSHULLY, Democrats are the real fascists” after a Republican president incited an insurrection based on a false ‘stolen election’ narrative.

  77. Ché Pasa

    Just a side note: by the time the Reich invaded Poland, most of Europe was already ruled by Fascists/Nazis or by Fascist-lite “democratic” parties. The victors against this Fascist tide in Europe were the United States (arguably Fascist-lite under FDR) and the Soviet Union — the other end of the totalitarian spectrum.

    Even in victory, Fascism was by no means swept away but survived pretty much unscathed in Spain, Portugal, much of Latin America, the Middle East, and, yes, the Unite States and other parts of the English-speaking world.

    Back in the day there was a term of political art known as “fellow travelers” (or “running dogs” or “useful idiots,” depending on your political preferences) and we’ve got a whole fuckton of that now.

  78. Hugh

    Trump invites his nutcase supporters to Washington so he can harangue them on the very day the election is being certified. He delivers an inflammatory speech to his supporters both at the White House and listening in at the Capitol. Let’s remember how crazy this is, that a crook and carny is selling a Big Lie that he won an election that he lost, not even close, and that only his fascist supporters would believe and come to Washington to raise hell about. Random excerpts from that speech:

    “All of us here today do not want to see our election victory stolen by emboldened radical left Democrats, which is what they’re doing and stolen by the fake news media. That’s what they’ve done and what they’re doing. We will never give up. We will never concede, it doesn’t happen. You don’t concede when there’s theft involved.
    Our country has had enough. We will not take it anymore and that’s what this is all about. To use a favorite term that all of you people really came up with, we will stop the steal. ”

    “All Vice President Pence has to do is send it back to the states to recertify, and we become president, and you are the happiest people.
    I just spoke to Mike. I said, ‘Mike, that doesn’t take courage. What takes courage is to do nothing. That takes courage,’ and then we’re stuck with a president who lost the election by a lot, and we have to live with that for four more years. We’re just not going to let that happen.”

    “After this, we’re going to walk down and I’ll be there with you. We’re going to walk down. We’re going to walk down any one you want, but I think right here. We’re going walk down to the Capitol, and we’re going to cheer on our brave senators, and congressmen and women. We’re probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them because you’ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength, and you have to be strong.”

  79. Z


    Quick, do you even know what fascism is?

    Is trying to overthrow a government that pisses all over its subjects fascism?

    How do you know that the slimeball democrats didn’t steal the election?

    Oh no, not the democrats. That would be so out of character …


  80. Thomas Golladay


    That transcript exonerates Trump.

    At no point does he say storm the Capitol and seize Congress, he called for a peaceful and patriotic protest march to cheer on the objectors.

    Incitement requires a person to call for specific action in a specific time frame to legally qualify.

    The rioters who breached the Capitol did so while he was still speaking and had planned it on Facebook weeks in advance. The larger crowd knew nothing of the storming of the Capitol and were let in by the police due to a complete communication breakdown by the Cops.

    Get basic facts right Z.

    Elizabeth Warren sides with the Hedge Funds.

  81. NR

    Deactivating someone’s Twitter account = fascism.

    Deliberately propagating lies about the election that lead to a violent insurrection and attempt to install a corrupt, illegitimate regime into power = not fascism.

    This message has been brought to you by some very smart people.

  82. Z


    I stand corrected: Trump DID NOT grab a U.S. flag and yell “charge” to the crowd and run towards Capitol Hill.


  83. Z

    By the way, supporting the Daily Poster is certainly worth it.

    They’re putting out some damn good work connecting the dots in our corrupt economic and political system.


  84. Hugh

    If Trump had said, “Burn down the Capitol,” Thomas would take that as an exoneration because the Capitol was stormed by his supporters instead.

    Mark Pontin would probably be among the first to decry American Exceptionalism, but instead of folding Trumpism into the cadre of other fascist movements around the world, a place it fits quite nicely, he comes up with this convoluted, Exceptional definition of what fascism is in the United States. His up is down, day is night approach actually has a lot in common with Trumpism. Trump can not fail in an election. He can only be failed by them. If science or reality contradicts a Trumper, then science and reality are wrong. Apparently for Mark, no matter what the Republicans do, the Democrats must be worse. So if Trump incites a insurrection, those rotten Democrats are the ones we really should blame. There are a lot of things the Democrats can be blamed for, most notably their neoliberalism, but then the Republicans are pretty neoliberal too. I just don’t see where Mark’s tribalism gets us anywhere or helps us understand anything.

  85. Cheef

    Mark Pontin more like Make Poopin

  86. Thomas Golladay

    More escalation and Hedge Fund losses now approaching 70 billion.

    And Hugh, et al can pound sand.

  87. Hugh

    Sorry, Thomas, to get between you and your Führer love, or maybe not.

  88. Joe Reeves

    To DBK asking about the value of shorting stocks. In simple terms it’s simply taking the other side of the almost always bullish, often manipulative and certainly disingenuous practice of most Wall Street analysis. So it’s a counter balance to it. Wall Street usually says buy, buy, buy or bull, bull, bull, the short seller says “wait this company is a) very overvalued (think Tesla), b) might be committing fraud (Think Enron, WorldCom et al. Could also throw in Tesla there too as many allege). Short sellers usually do much more rigorous analysis than typical investment firms do. It’s preferable to look at more than one side of things when thinking of investing.

  89. Hugh

    Joe, the total market cap for US stock markets is around $50 trillion. This is a totally made up number, the result of 12 years of Fed juicing of these markets. Your real world valuation of these companies may vary. My rule of thumb is that their real world valuation is a quarter to, on a day I’m feeling more optimistic, a third of this amount. I don’t get the value of “rigorous analysis” which accepts as real the fundamentals of what is a Fed-inflated bubble con game.

  90. Thomas Golladay

    Barnes on the institutionalized corruption of the Establishment. As this Gamestop and the stolen election shows, the entire system is breaking down.

    Fascist apologists like Hugh can lie all they want, but the Biden Regime will come to an end and when the new Republican Party wins in 22 and 24, Biden will have damnatio memoriae inflicted upon him along with his entire illegal and illegitimate administration.

    The Left went woke and got broken by the Establishment, they’re out. The Right built parallel systems Corporations can’t game, are primarying out Establishment hacks, and championing the working class and gaining popular support.

    Forget the Left, it sold out. The Right will bring the Establishment down.

  91. bruce wilder


    Financial markets cannot work to arrive at prices that incorporate all available information without derivative trades — most especially “shorts”

    Imagine a situation in which 20 companies are competing to develop a new technology: the prospect is that maybe 6 of them will succeed well enough to survive long enough to realize a return on capital invested, with a well-founded expectation of an eventual consolidation of the market into three firms, the dominant surviving firm will realize substantial economic returns from capturing a dominant market share, rewarding its investors with a return on capital that is a multiple of capital invested.

    If long bets are possible, partisanship may lead to gross overinvestment as rival parties back one or another of the original 20, bidding up the fan favorites. The total invested in the whole proto-industry may well exceed what could possibly be returned by the winners.

    Short bets introduce realism into the situation by providing a route to profit from inevitable disappointment. With the fuller array of derivative bets, savvy investors can use their knowledge to hedge their bets. The effect is to make financial market prices more accurately reflect the information available to all investors.

    As others have noted, central bank intervention sustained over many years has distorted and grossly inflated all financial market trading, but that is a different problem and one which shorting cannot solve.

  92. Hugh

    I don’t know that companies compete that much in terms of products. If there is a disparity in size a big company will seemly buy a smaller company rather than compete with it or assume any risk developing its own product. Or they can line up tax subsidies and regulations that give them an advantage. Or they can go the unicorn route as you mention, operate at a loss for years while garnering a dominant or even monopoly market position.

  93. VietnamVet

    Retail Investors who used the Robinhood App to buy GameStop stock will lose all of their money. Janet Yellen’s $810,000 speaker fees from Citadel (who recapitalized the hedge fund that shorted GameStop) assures this. The 64-trillion-dollar question is will the billions of dollars lost already with more to come be enough to cause a collapse of the derivatives market and cause another Lehman moment? Whatever happens, little people’s money is collectively being used to try to topple Wall Street’s Oligarchs.

    The wall around the Capitol and thousands of National Guard troops protecting it are signs of the trauma inflicted on the politicians by the storming on Jan. 6th. Their PTSD is made much worse by having opposing cult members infesting their chambers when in session. An attempted pacification by professional managers of the 75 million riffraff Trump voters with surveillance, jailing, censorship and propaganda is likely.

    The US federal government is now so corrupt and incompetent that breakup of the 50-state Union due the pandemic, depression, wall street crash, endless wars and unrest is almost a given. The fall of the Soviet Union is a guide to what happens next.

  94. someofparts

    “The only thing “dangerous” about a gang of Reddit investors blowing up hedge funds is that some of us reading about it might die of laughter.” – Taibbi

  95. someofparts

    “In the actually-existing real world of 2021, U.S. elites are very evidently trying to move towards fascism — the merger of the state and the corporations into one oppressive entity — via an alliance of Big Tech, the Deep State intelligence agencies, the MSM, Wall Street, and the PMC that’s being presided over by the Democrats.

    The Democrats _are_ the primary fascists now.”

    … if it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, waddles like a duck …

    from Automatic Earth yesterday –

    scroll down to the copy of the Reddit post called Robinhood Insider Information

    Some techie who works at Robinhood risked their job to put up that post. Here’s the part that stood out for me –

    “founder Valdimir, and the C-Suite, received calls from Sequoia Capital and the White House that pressured into closing trading on GME etc. I guarantee you the same took place at E-Trade and the others who closed trading.”

    That would be the same White House that lied to us about those $2000 checks, right?

    with friends like that …

  96. someofparts

    dbk – re: The Big Short

    “Burry’s hedge fund Scion Asset Management disclosed it bought 5.3% of ailing video game retailer GameStop GME +67.9% at between $2 and $4.2 a share, spending about $15 million in total. Burry’s play was to urge GameStop to use its cash to buy back stock, potentially retiring about half of its shares outstanding.

    Burry’s play helped set off one of the wackiest and most out of control trades in financial history”

    “Now … Burry, arguably the person who instigated the current circumstances with his massive buyback call, says the squeeze is “unnatural, insane and dangerous.” In a tweet, Burry said there should be legal and regulatory repercussions from the surge. (It appears he later deleted the tweet).

    Perhaps, Burry is trying to put a lid on the Pandora’s Box he helped open. Or he may be suffering from a bit of FOMO, or fear of missing out. The 3.4 million shares Burry purchased for about $15 million would be worth over $1 billion at current prices.

    Unfortunately for Burry, securities filings reviewed by Forbes indicate he sold his GameStop before the fun really got started. As of Sept. 30, Burry owned just 1.7 million shares and it’s more than likely he kept selling as GameStop ripped into year-end”

  97. Synopotocon

    What’s important about Game Stop and the like is the indicator of how much dumb money there is following market movers systemically mis-pricing risk.

    Robinhood and the like are only among the more visible fuses – the system’s acting this way because the supposed adults are increasingly nervous about the amount of pure nitro sweating out of that old dynamite pile. Not nervous enough, but nervous.

    I couldn’t give two hoots about free riding gamblers who think themselves “Investors”. I hate them when they’re organized into funds, I sure ain’t gonna care about a Brogasm mad that the world doesn’t work the way they assumed based on six months riding Robinhood.

  98. NR

    Thomas still spewing lies, I see. The fact is that the election was not stolen, Trump lost fair and square and his cultist devotees like Thomas simply cannot accept that fact.

    And the idea that Trump and right-wing Republicans are somehow against the establishment is so far from the truth that it’s hilarious. Trump’s one and only legislative accomplishment as president was to pass a huge tax cut for billionaires. The fact that people like Thomas are out there preaching the Republicans as the party of the working class just shows how steeped in propaganda and identity politics the right is today.

  99. Plague Species

    And the idea that Trump and right-wing Republicans are somehow against the establishment is so far from the truth that it’s hilarious.


    The Establishment is knee deep in 1/6 and so much more. What’s synthetic and what’s organic? Hard to tell. What a bunch of dirty birds. It’s understandable why America’s indigenous scalped these thugs/goons. They deserve more than death.

  100. kråke


    No, not the Soviets. I have kin who were in Ukraine and Russia proper. Nobody had a deed to anything. No one was expecting eighty years of cornucopia to continue. Or for toilet paper to magick itself onto shelves. Nobody was counting on good government. Nobody was around to enforce non-existent bank claims to everything. A family of six in Odessa might have to bribe a dock-gang or two, for aspirin and for their daughters to get to school without an inconvenient rape breaking out, but there was no one to evict them from a property no one owned.

  101. different clue

    @Plague Species,

    Did the black-hat hedge funds which were the target of this share-buying counter-offensive lose more money than BlackRock made? If they did, then the Black Hat Overclass overall collectively lost more money than it gained in this operation. And IF that is so, then the Reddit piranha flash mob was able to inflict more pain than it suffered.

    Especially if all the gains and losses made by each individual flash-mobber are added up and discovered to be an overall collective smaller loss than the loss they inflicted on the hedge funds.
    If enough social media flash mobs could inflict big-enough losses enough times, they could, in a beautiful ideal perfect world, exterminate the hedge fund sector from existence.

    And that is a beautiful goal.

  102. different clue


    If what Taibbi reported about DC FedRegime pressure on Robin Hood and the others to suspend trading in the targeted items, then the Reddit piranha flash mobs will have to decide what their long range goal is, both as individuals and as a group.

    If their goal is to make money, at least for some of themselves, then I have no idea what they should do.

    If their goal is to exterminate the hedge fund sector from existence, and wipe the hedge fund sector from off the face of the earth, and they are prepared to lose collectively millions or billions of dollars in order to cost the hedge funds tens or hundreds of billions of dollars, then they will have to figure out how to collectively buy so many millions of shares of the targeted company so fast and all-at-once that no FedGov Regime can pressure the Trading Platforms to close trading fast enough to matter.

    Perhaps the Reddit piranhas should have that philosophical discussion in all their chat rooms and etc. to decide, in their millions, what they believe, and what they want, and how they want to achieve it.

    And maybe do dry-run virtual-buyup practice sessions first in order to co-ordinate all their millions or tens of millions of piranha school-members before trying it again in the real world . . . so they have a better chance of achieving it before the enemy moves to close trading.

  103. different clue

    Maybe the members of these flash-mob strike-mobs should think of a compelling name or names to give themselves collectively so as to attract more people to their cause.

    Something like social pirahna flash mobs. or flash piranha mobs. Or hedge-fund assassin piranha strike-mobs. I’m sure other people could come up with better words than that.

    And if the trading platforms try to stop trading in the piranha strike-force target, perhaps the strike force could strike those trading platforms with so many trading requests that the platforms themselves are seized up and frozen by hundreds of millions of sincere trading orders all coincidently focused on the same space at the same time . . . . that the platform can’t tell all these orders from an MDOS attack . . . . and gets shut down.

  104. someofparts

    I was wrong about Robinhood. The extreme volatility of the stock made their costs for brokering the stock skyrocket. That’s why they shut down briefly, to recapitalize.

    Yves Smith did a great post that sorted the sense from the nonsense. Her core point is that the real bad guys here are the SEC to allow markets like this. Also says this is why we need a financial transaction tax.

  105. Hugh

    My understanding, could be wrong, was that Robinhood was operating as a market platform and as such if a hedge fund crashed and burned and had Gamestop losses it couldn’t cover, Robinhood would have been on the hook to cover a percentage of those losses. Shutting down the short squeeze was a way for Robinhood to limit its liability.

  106. different clue

    If that is so, then Robinhood was just saving itself and is an innocent victim here. Maybe that will be a lesson to Robinhood and others to keep enough money on hand to cover vast losses. Or if they can’t, to quit the business.

    Will the Attack-piranha forces have enough money to be able to trade on platforms which charge for each trade? Such platforms would probably have enough money on hand to handle the fallout from a concerted anti-short mass-attack purchase by millions of vengeance-seekers.

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