I am a little under the weather right now, that weather being the Great Red Spot of Jupiter. Yes, I have contracted the So-Called Fiscal Cliff… er, the flu (sorry, everything seems to come back to that goddamn Fiscal Cliff), and with it has come the full panolply of aches, raspy lungs, and a rainbow of mucous.

I don’t know if this is connected, but yesterday I also took what must be the most comical shit of my life. I won’t burden you with the details, but suffice to say that it would have been right at home in a stoner/bodily function movie like Ted, which I happened to be watching at the time. In fact, I think even Seth MacFarlane would have considered my crap to be a little too broad.

Ted is a bout a little boy’s teddy bear who comes to life after the child makes a Christmas wish, and who then lingers on the in the boy’s life as his friend grows up to be Mark Wahlberg. My verdict on Ted is that it was funnier than I expected, and is somewhat less pandering than Family Guy (the animated cartoon that the film’s creator Seth McFarlane is best known for). Still, some of the gags ran on too long and even for a movie with a by-the-numbers plot the ending could have been riskier and still worked well with the overall theme. On the other hand, and I hope I don’t get any weird looks for this, but Ted himself seemed… really cuddly. Even if you don’t like the film you’ll still probably want to spoon that bear.

On the other end of the spectrum (though not unrelated to rivers of shit) is this weeks revelation that HSBC will pay a whopping five-week’s profits as a penalty for laundering billions of dollars for Mexican drug cartels, as well as working all sorts of other money magic for America’s enemies, including Iran and Sudan.

That HSBC, already embroiled in the LIBOR scandal, should once again be revealed as the kind of bank that Lex Luthor would run is one thing, but the there is an additional scandal, more poisionous, and that is the tacit admission that the reason Manhattan’s AAG for the  Justice Department Lanny Breuer is not pusuing criminal charges against an institution that they have dead-to-rights as aiding and abbetting criminals as high profile as any al-Qaeda affiliate is because HSBC is too powerful to be held accountable.

For a snapshot of what I’m sure is the reasoning Breuer uses to get back to sleep at night when he wakes up in a cold sweat, here is Felix Salmon, a blogger for Reuters:

The US is the most powerful sovereign nation on the planet. With a flick of its Justice Department finger, it could wipe a globe-spanning bank off the face of the financial system… The question isn’t whether to use that power, it’s why. To do so would be bullying, and capricious, and would punish thousands of innocent individuals, and would destroy hundreds of billions of dollars of value, all for the purpose of nothing much in particular. Just because the US can prosecute HSBC doesn’t mean that it should prosecute HSBC. And sometimes, forbearance isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of maturity.

“Maturity”… is that the reason that neither this bank nor any of it’s corpse-fucking executives are to be made to suffer more than the deduction of a little couch-cushion money? We are living through an extended depression where every day brings new revelations that the masters of high finance are the ebola virus of the world economy, and Felix Salmon thinks those of us who think it’s time for the handcuffs to come out need to grow up.

Matt Taibbi, on the other hand, puts all this in the proper perspective, though who we really need right now is a Tyler Durden.