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April 22, 2009



Can I be the first to ask the question sure to be on most people's lips? Did he leave a suicide note?



Conspiracy theorists in 1 .. 2 .. 3 ..

Dorothy Jane

Why? Why oh, why? How can it be THAT bad? Even if a few years in a country club prison loomed somewhere - is anything worth that? Is it worth missing out on your kid's life? Oh - it is so sad.


Conspiracy theory? Hey, why not? I'll make another plug for a clever blog: Jack Bauer can't stop 'The Goldman Conspiracy': 10 reasons why Wall Street has absolute power over America's democracy

Here's the lead-in:

Two mind-numbing fast-paced dramas. Two parallel worlds. One real, one fiction, both deadly. Jack Bauer, mythic hero of "24." Dying from a deadly bio-pathogen leaked from weapons developed by Starkwood, a rogue mercenary army attacking the presidency, hell-bent on taking over America.

The other drama in play: "Hank the Hammer" Paulson, iconic Wall Street hero, a Trojan Horse placed inside Washington by Goldman Sachs as Treasury Secretary in control of America's $15 trillion economy. Goldman, a modern dynasty with vast financial powers much like those once used by the de' Medici, Rothschilds and Morgans to control nations.

Both dramas play high-stakes games with financial WMDs that have lethal consequences. Jack compresses thrills, kills and chills into 24 hours. Hank, Goldman and their army of Wall Street mercenaries move with equally blinding speed, heart-pounding action.

Drama? You bet. Six short months ago Hank led an assault on Congress. The scene parallels one in "24:" Sangala War Lord Juma's brazen attack inside the White House. But no AK-47s necessary. The Hammer assaulted Congress with just a two-and-a-half page memo in hand. Like a crack special-ops warrior, he took down the enemy, demanding $750 billion, absolute control, total secrecy, no accountability and emergency powers to act immediately ... warning that inaction was not an option, that collapse of America's banking system was imminent, would bring down the global monetary system, pushing world's economies into a "Great Depression II." Congress surrendered.

Charlie (Colorado)

anduril, everyone who really understands it's all Adam Weishaupt's doing.

Charlie (Colorado)

Um "who really understands, knows".

See they've even gotten control of Typepad.


Adam Weishaupt? Sorry, could you shed some more light on that for me?

Charlie (Colorado)

anduril, try here.

Charlie (Colorado)

In the meantime, here's some good Earth Day reading.


Thanks for the links, knucklehead.

"shed light" "illuminati"

Get it? No? Try googling "pun."


He had a 5 year old. And a really really big, really expensive house on a corner lot. SO he got the money somewhere. Maybe he inherited it. Maybe he was late on his mortgage.

Sad regardless.

Rick Ballard


Thanks for the link. I found this:

“Public opinion data on advertising and marketing suggest growing public weariness with ‘green’ messages in general and messages on global warming in particular,” Dr. Hayward said. “It’s no wonder. The data show that 2008 was the coolest year since 2000, and there has been no discernible warming for the last decade, after two decades of steady warming between 1979 and 1998.”
very entertaining.

Farrell's Fantasy in MarketWatch contains this bit of drivel "Then during the market meltdown six months ago the $700 million personal fortune he built at Goldman", which seems to be contradicted by this Paulson files to sell $500 mln of Goldman stock story from - MarketWatch in 2006.

Good conspiracy raving should not be so susceptible to easy disproof of a salient point. I have no doubt that GS rents pols wholesale but so do their competitors. JPM just sits, quietly burping in the background as it digests its "take" from last years economic adjustment. I believe it beat GS, in total, by a considerable margin.

Charlie (Colorado)

"shed light" "illuminati"

Ah, crap.

Sorry, I've Goethe do better.


Really sad.


Not bad. In fact, I LIKE IT!


What did he know that we don't know yet?


ABC is reporting that he hanged himself in his basement.



If I was ever going to kill myself, hanging would be one of my last choices. Almost as bad as (drowning or suffocating yourself). And in a basement it would be slow since you wouldn't have any height to fall.....

So I would like o hear more...


Whatever happened, it's a terribly sad thing. He was inside the beast for 16 talented capable years in key positions to know where the bodies were, and was certainly around enough trouble to get slimed by it. A good lawyer could have negotiated an outcome that would have looked more like the Michael Fasdow deal than what happened to Lay and Skilling. Certainly gives me one more reason to dislike Barney Frank, Gorelick, Rahm Emannuel and parasites like them. People forget the bitter price paid by everyday folks working in institutions plagued by corruption, duplicity and predatory management.


WEll since he was the CFO of the mortgage sector I'm not all that sure he was an "everyday folk".


So sad.
I would never kill myself because there is just no way to guarantee you'll end up dead in a flattering position.

I remember when everyone thought Bush had offed that poor guy at Enron that killed himself.


One can only hope someone other than his wife or child was the one who discovered his body.


It's always the wife or kids that find the body in a home suicide. This is incredibly sad for anyone and should not be open to random speculation.

I had a neighbor that did the exact thing. Everyone was shocked, nobody knew why. His wife told us that he fought depression for years, he had sought treatment and was on medication. But each night he would fight his demons and try to justify living another day. Inexplicably, a successful business, loving wife and two children weren't enough.


My neighbor in HK committed suicide by throwing himself out the window of the apartment below mine.

My friend was the first to find him, when she heard the awful noise and looked out her 1st floor window.
There is no good person to find a suicide. It is so irresponsible.


Was he Vince Fostered or did he Vince Foster himself?


jfh, some home suicides are discovered by domestic help, home repair contracters, extended family, etc.

Depends on the degree of planning involved.


'If I was ever going to kill myself, hanging would be one of my last choices."

I read an interesting article where they polled survivors who jumped off the Golden Gate bridge. All of them said that on the way down they regretted jumping. However, one guy actually jumped off and died several years after surviving the first jump.


since he was the CFO of the mortgage sector I'm not all that sure he was an "everyday folk".

Yes, but he was only CFO since September, and "acting" CFO at that. We're all jumping to conclusions here. For all we know the suicide was for reasons unconnected with his job. Hard to believe someone could inflict this on his family, never mind on himself.

bio mom

I heard that he was moved up to his position when the top Freddie Mac execs were essentially fired recently. Before that he was just a junior guy. Supposedly very hard working, moral guy and good family man. 5 year old daughter. 16 years with the company (unlike those dive-bombing CEOs who fly in, destroy, and fly out again). Wouldn't read much into his house. In Arlington, it doesn't take a lot of house to be at a 1 million price tag. I feel so sad for this guy and his family. I actually hope there is some non-Freddie reason.


bio mom, it's a big, gorgeous house, beautifully landscaped.



My guess is that it certainly was more than a million. Did you think so too?


Where was Hillary?

(Remember Vince Foster)


"If I was ever going to kill myself ..."

... self-immolation would be the last thing I'd do.


I would say so, Jane, based on what I've seen of real estate markets there.

Captain Hate

I had a neighbor that did the exact thing.

Me too; I'll never forget hearing his wife scream when she found the body hanging at night. Sorry for not being more sympathetic to the deceased, but you've gotta really hate your spouse to let her (and it always seems to be guys that do this) find you like that. I can't imagine the spouse not being permanently scarred.


I would guess the entire contents of his suicide note were "I can see the Fnords."


Inexplicably, a successful business, loving wife and two children weren't enough.

Only someone who has never suffered through chronic depression could call it inexplicable.

Charlie (Colorado)

Only someone who has never suffered through chronic depression could call it inexplicable.


And there are no fnords. If you can't see the fnords, they can't hurt you.


Did anybody Else just hear Ollie North on Hannity?

And, I paraphrase.

He just said he was on a Flight with "An Executive for a major bank" and this executive said that the funny thing about the "No body under $250,000 will pay more taxes" statement, was that after the Fed fueled hyperinflation in 2 years everybody would be making $250,000.



@ 15 years ago my mother's next door neighbor shot himself in the bathroom. His 6 year old son found him. After that, I never had any sympathy for a suicide.


Suicide is selfishness and hubris feeding on themselves.


car exhaust pipe, with pink floyd, Dark side of the moon in the cd...

big gig in the sky.

not in my plans, but I can't know if twenty years from now, I'll be dying of cancer.

the easiest homicide to make look like a suicide.


"the easiest homicide to make look like a suicide"

if you don't own a gun.


Agree w/Jane. NOT "everyday" folk.

Charlie (Colorado)

Suicide is selfishness and hubris feeding on themselves.

SBW, as P noted, anyone who has truly dealt with a really severe acute depressive episode understands completely how it could happen.


A relative of mine once had a strange premonition that her son ( who was in his twenties and troubled by several demons ) was in danger. She cut him down from a noose and saved his life.

Another relative of mine found his mother with her head in the oven, and saved her life. Her husband had left her for his secretary.

I agree that suicide is often just as much an act of hostility toward others as it self-directed.

JM Hanes

Ditto that Charlie. Chemical depressioin is nothing to fool around with. A friend of mine finally accepted the fact that she needed to be on medication for the rest of her life when she almost drove off a bridge -- for no reason. Most other true suicides are virtually incapable of thinking beyond the moment when blessed peace will descend.


ChaCo, having lost friends and relatives to it, I can also understand how it could happen... and also see why, besides fighting imbalances in brain chemistry that can cause it, the defective reasoning needs to be met when and where it can.

A brain is like a thoroughbred. Ride it or it rides you. And one does not learn to ride taking Social Studies or English in high school.

I am upset when any life is squandered... and by social systems that are not constructed to help.

Captain Hate

SBW, as P noted, anyone who has truly dealt with a really severe acute depressive episode understands completely how it could happen.

Yeah well those of us that haven't don't understand; so who's right? Maybe somebody who's dealt with severe depression that didn't commit suicide is a better person than those that did. Sorry if that makes me sound like a bad person but I've seen the wreckage wrought on the survivors of suicides, including co-workers and distant relatives, and I care more about them.


Captain, regardless of what caused the suicide, the pain is there for those left behind. Ministering to them and caring for them is a very good thing. I'm glad you've helped those people.


JMH, chemical depression can result from a medication reaction. I've wondered how many suicides where no one had any idea there was a problem, resulted from a chemical imbalance.

Thank goodness your friend was able to recognize that she needed help and got it.



The net worth of many Fannie and Freddie employees has been slashed by the fall in the companies' stock prices to less than $1 a share. In an effort to avoid an exodus of talent, the regulator last year directed the companies to set up a program under which they expect to pay about $210 million in retention bonuses to 7,600 employees over 18 months. Those bonuses, which will exceed $1 million for a few executives, have drawn angry protests from Congress and the public.

Under that retention-bonus plan, Mr. Kellermann was due to receive $850,000. Of that amount, $170,000 was paid in December and the rest was to be paid in installments through early next year, assuming he remained at the company, according to a Freddie spokesman. One neighbor said a private security service recently had been protecting the Kellermann home, apparently because of concern over public reaction to the bonuses.

The article also says his undergrad was political science and his masters was in finance. Interesting...


I have been praying for the family this day.

JM Hanes


No one even so much as implied that it's not tragically life altering for survivors! Despite your blustering, it helps survivors to understand why a loved one committed suicide, whether it mitigates a terrible, unnecessary sense of responsibility or the anger that almost invariably compounds the grief. Telling a young person that his father was a selfish bastard who just didn't give a damn about anyone else, does not help anyone, especially when it's untrue. Part of why a lot of clinically depressed people end up committing suicide is a misguided belief that they ought to be able "deal" with severe depression without the supposed "crutch" of medication.

JM Hanes


It's the chemical imbalance which requires medication. Depression can often be a side effect of other medications, and sometimes a serious side effect, but clinical depression is an entirely different beast.

Patricia Downing

He had at least one child, a five-year-old daughter.

Are we sure he committed suicide?


WaPo has more details on the situation. No note.


Captain Hate


No one even so much as implied that it's not tragically life altering for survivors! Despite your blustering

You putting yourself on a high ethical plateau than me has been duly noted. Good luck with the nosebleeds.


You know you are both saying the exact same thing - just from different ends of the rope (so to speak).


JMH, you write beautifully, with wonderful content. And ChaCo offers solid insight, too. I sometimes write okay, but often oversimplify trying for accessibility and lose the intent.

When I wrote that suicide reflects selfishness and hubris, those are the starting points for friendly assistance when one discovers someone with such inclination.

Schools in their Dickensian "Hard Times" approach to learning cannot conceive of a brain as a Turing Machine-type computer capable of recursion -- of thinking about thinking about thinking: of looping.

And in such a situation one cannot "think" one's way out of the loop. One needs to walk, to exercise, to watch slapstick movies, to sleep, to play with puppies. In that way, and in learning about thinking, non-professional therapy can work parallel to professional therapy.

And then, too, sometimes, Mother Nature does her work when it is time for someone to cease the psychic pain. But I try like hell for it not to be. Ninety percent of my job running a company is coaching and counseling damaged people that schooling never helped. I have learned useful ideas that help... but not enough.


Mickey Kaus has a piece on the suicide:

Paragraph #8 in WaPo's account of Freddie Mac acting CFO David Kellerman's suicide:

He and a group of company lawyers tussled with the company's regulator in early March as the firm prepared to file its quarterly disclosure. The group insisted that Freddie Mac disclose the $30 billion cost to the company of carrying out the Obama administration's housing recovery plan, but the regulator urged the company not to do so.

Freddie Mac employees argued they had a legal obligation to disclose the information and would have to get the Securities and Exchange Commission, which oversees such disclosures, to sign off if they didn't. The regulator backed down.

Alert reader J. says, "[A]n odd story, isn't it? The regulator says don't disclose the cost of this government program? Why would he say that?" ... There's an obvious overarching reason--it would be embarrassing to the Obama administration. But why? Isn't the administration usualy boasting about how much it's spending for struggling homeowners. ...

Update: Politico's Josh Gerstein offers some informed speculation:

In the end, FHFA [the regulator] reportedly retreated and Freddie formally disclosed that the Obama anti-foreclosure plan could force the firm, which is in a federal government conservatorship, to take a pre-tax charge of $30 billion.

While the Obama administration might not want to have the pricetag for its foreclosure efforts look too big, the reason regulators may have pressured Fannie to understate the cost of the program is pretty simple: both Obama and Geithner said publicly that it wouldn't have a material financial impact on Fannie or Freddie.

Why would Obama and Geithner make such an estimate? Because they were publicly buying into the Juiceboxy free-lunchish, counterintuitive** notion that if only lenders were made to offer more lenient terms to homebuyers, the lenders would make more money! (Obama: "While Fannie and Freddie would receive less money in payments, this would be balanced out by a reduction in defaults and foreclosures.") Looks like those numbers don't add up--though you can expect the free-lunch argument to crop up again in the current effort to get credit card companies to offer less harsh terms (i.e., as if that will let banks pay off their bailout loans quicker). ...

P.S.: Gerstein does raise the issue of why the "FHFA would feel obligated to carry water for the Obama administration," given that FHFA Director James Lockhart was originally a Bush appointee. ...


**--The intuitive notion would be that if there's one thing rapacious lenders know how to do, it's make money. If setting more relaxed terms would maximize their profits, they'd do it. ... 4:34 P.M.


Why would Obama and Geithner make such an estimate?

Because they're stupid.... duh! And it sounded good at the moment and propbably polled well.

But I love the "juiceboxy" line. It illustrates the insanity of liberal economic "thinking:"

AS long as we have good intentions, the money will work itself out. kumbiya and pass the pipe...

JM Hanes


I may have mistaken what seemed to be your combativeness, but I certainly don't plant myself on any higher ethical plateau. You framed the question in terms of who is a "better person," not I. When someone does commit suicide, understanding why that happens does not come at the expense of those left with the horrendous aftermath, it far more often helps those whose lives are shattered as a result.

JM Hanes


You write beautifully and substantively yourself. I do agree that suicide is generally the result of an inwardly focused downward spiral, although this is not what is generally meant by selfishness. I also agree that there are many potential suicides that can be averted or perhaps preempted with interventions of one sort or another, whether chemically in the case of clinical depression, or with professional therapy, or with attention, advice, and sometimes tough love from concerned family or peers.

When my son was young, he typically reacted to any setback with a kind of whirlpooling despair that sucked in any and every painful experience as if in confirmation of his helpelessness in the face circumstances that he could never hope to change. That strikes me as just the sort of "looping" that you describe. It was simply not something that he could be reasoned out of, and I ended up short circuiting the process by doing things like glancing toward a window and suddenly exclaiming, "Look! There's a squirrel running round and round the big tree! Can you see it?" It was sort of like jump starting his engines again, and it seems similar to the process of turning his attention outward again that I think you're suggesting.

The underlying tendency I saw in my son seriously worried me for a long time, but in the end I feel lucky that it was so pronounced that it was identifiable so early in his life. I believe that it is a personality trait that he was simply born with, but it was leavened over time as he learned how to direct himself outward on his own. It still shows up fleetingly from time to time, but it is not really worrisome any more.

The heart can only ache for the parents whose are stunned by a teenager's suicide, and blame themselves for not seeing the "signs" of impending tragedy. But I think the signs are often almost impossible to detect when young people find their own inner turmoil inexplicable and compensate for a perception of themselves as wanting by working very hard to cover it up.

As you explain it above, I think perhaps we are not really very far apart, don't you?


It seems tacky to speculate on such a sad matter but the WaPo near the very end of its story on this today indicates he'd had a dispute with a regulatory official who wanted him not to disclose to shareholders as much as he thought he should about the cost to them of Obama's policies.

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