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Links 10/22/09

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McCain’s Male Voters Suffered Testosterone Drop PsychCentral (hat tip reader John D)

Paulson revealed policy at Goldman Sachs meeting, book alleges Guardian

Compromise Bill Could Block States on Bank Rules New York Times. This is not good news.

Bernard Madoff enjoys eating pizza with the Mafia in prison Telegraph

$13 an Hour? 500 Sign Up, 1 Wins a Job New York Times

Meriwether setting up new hedge fund Financial Times. There’s one born every minute….

Wall Street Steps Up Political Donations, Lobbying Wall Street Journal. This contradicts a story that ran in the New York Times last week and is more in line with what one would expect to see.

US business lobby spent $35m fighting Obama plans Independent

Google Searchers Are Obsessed With The Dollar Collapse Clusterstock. I’m not a believe in short-term trading, but anytime you have a strong consensus on one side of a trade…they are already invested in it! This looks like a sign of a possible short killing rally (and I went long anti dollar bets quite a while ago).

PwC: Sour Economy Sparks Divestitures CFO

The FHA failed a recent audit Bubble Meter

The Next Financial Crisis Hits Wall Street, as Judges Start Nixing Foreclosures Pam Martens, CounterPunch (hat tip reader Stephen V). Today’s must read, particularly if you are not familiar with MERS.

Antidote du jour (hat tip reader John M) From the BBC:

A picture of a hunting wolf has won the prestigious Veolia Environment Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2009 award.

Jose Luis Rodriguez captured the imaginations of the judges with a photograph that he had planned for years, and even sketched out on a piece of paper.

“I wanted to capture a photo in which you would see a wolf in an act of hunting – or predation – but without blood,” he told BBC News. “I didn’t want a cruel image.”…

When he started planning the photograph, he feared that he might not be able to get close enough to the Iberian wolves.

This subspecies of the grey wolf lives close to human habitation in northern Spain. They are often persecuted by people who see them as a threat to livestock, and are consequently very wary of people.
Watching the animals as they returned to the same spot to collect food each night, Mr Rodriguez decided on his dream shot…

He hopes that his picture, “showing the wolf’s great agility and strength”, will become an image that can be used to show just how beautiful the Iberian wolf is and how the Spanish can be proud to have such an emblematic animal.

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13 comments

  1. Brian Peters

    Yves,
    Some of your readers may be interested in a report that was issued yesterday by the Senior Supervisors Group: “Risk Management Lessons from the Global Banking Crisis of 2008.”

    This report reviews in detail the funding and liquidity issues central to the recent crisis and explores critical areas of risk management practice in need of improvement across the financial services industry.

    http://www.newyorkfed.org/newsevents/news/banking/2009/SSG_report.pdf

  2. Richard Kline

    MERS. That’s a wallet-eating staff infection, right? No, wait . . . .

    And regarding carnivorous applications, the blog host insists on devouring recent posts and refuses to disgorge them again in the currenty month linkage. I was reading the very interesting post on Fuld’s El Foldo, and right in the middle I had an epiphany where I finally understood what was going on in the heads of Geithner, Paulson, Summers et. al.—they’re delusional. No, really. But I had to click away for a moment, and when I returned the post had been swallowed. Maybe the thread of that thought will come back to me at another moment more opportune. Hmm.

  3. rd

    The issue that Pam Martens is writing about is extremely important.

    The primary difference between the US and many developing countries, say China and Russia, is the rule of law. If powerful government-business interests can simply use the legal system as they see fit to run roughshod over defined procedures regarding property rights, then Simon Johnson’s “Quiet Coup” would be virtually complete and the various predictions by Faber, Farrell et al about the demise of the US are likely to come true.

    These judges are at the heart of a struggle that protects the US from turning into a place where freedom is just a buzz-word. We are likely moving from an era of race and gender based civil rights to property-based civil rights issues as powerful financial interests are attempting (and succeeding at the moment) to be able to divert the population’s assets and income into the pockets of a few.

    I hope that more judges are doing their job on these types of issues. I expect that one or more of these cases will end up in front of the Supreme Court over the next few years. That will be a very telling moment.

    On a side note, I wonder how much title insurance will cost in the future for houses that have gone through a foreclosure process after 2005?

    1. Lavrenti Beria

      “If powerful government-business interests can simply use the legal system as they see fit to run roughshod over defined procedures regarding property rights, then Simon Johnson’s “Quiet Coup” would be virtually complete and the various predictions by Faber, Farrell et al about the demise of the US are likely to come true.”

      If we can change the “if” above to “since” and the “would be” to “is”, I think we’d have a more precise take on the realities as they present themselves to us at the moment. And, frankly, I wouldn’t be surprized to learn that one, two or all three of these judges becomes the target of an orchestrated smear campaign at some point. Look no further than the recent AIPAC attacks on former NIC chair Charles Freeman for a kind of template here. Believe me, no ruling with the potential for engendering an authentic peoples justice that these three possess could ever be permitted to stand very long without being overturned somehow.

      That notwithstanding, the peoples patience with these abuses will not be infinite. And it is then that the ruling clique will be faced by a certain reality itself, one the spirit of which is perhaps best caught in the final stanzas of Edwin Markham’s poem, The Man With The Hoe:

      “O masters, lords and rulers in all lands
      How will the Future reckon with this Man?
      How answer his brute question in that hour
      When whirlwinds of rebellion shake all shores?
      How will it be with kingdoms and with kings —
      With those who shaped him to the thing he is —
      When this dumb Terror shall rise to judge the world.
      After the silence of the centuries?”

  4. Aki_Izayoi

    Denmark pursues a policy known as “flexicurity”-combining the flexible “hire and fire” system of freer economies and the government-provided security that is traditionally associated with continental European and Scandinavian countries. While it is far easier to fire employees than in France and Sweden, unemployment benefits is in fact even more “generous” than in Sweden (Unemployed gets 90% of their previous pay in Denmark, versus 80% in Sweden).

    As for unemployment, the seemingly low numbers in Denmark reflect in fact the same kind of manipulation of statistics that the Swedish government have been using. While official unemployment in Denmark was only 133,500 or 4.8% in March 2006, there were in the fourth quarter (latest available number in Denmark’s statistical data bank )some 117,600 people or 4.2% in so-called “arbejdsmarkedspolitiske foranstaltninger(=”labor market political activities”, what in Sweden is refered to as “AMS-åtgärder”)”. This means that Denmark have even more hidden unemployment in that respect than even Sweden, where “only” 3.2% (144,000) were put away in “labor market political activities” . And while the total level of hidden unemployment is still lower than in Sweden as Denmark have less people in early retirement and on “sick leave”, hidden unemployment is still a lot higher than in most other OECD countries.

    http://stefanmikarlsson.blogspot.com/2006/05/denmarks-overrated-flexicurity.html

    I wonder if Swedes in “AMS-åtgärder” get the equivalent of $13 an hour. At least the Swedes have the government to help them.

  5. DownSouth

    @ “Compromise Bill Could Block States on Bank Rules”

    Following in the wake of the New Deal and the steps implemented by the federal government to rein in the financial services industry, that industry jumped on the “state’s rights” bandwagon in a coalition with the racists and social reactionaries, who hoped to evade federal Civil Rights laws. The Southern Strategy grew out of this alliance, both social conservatives and economic conservatives wanting to escape federal laws through the doctrine of state’s rights.

    In the 1972 election, by contrast, Nixon won every state in the Union except Massachusetts… He was able to appear moderate to most Americans because the Southern strategy referred to integration obliquely through references to states’ rights and busing, issues that were emotionally charged for voters in the South.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southern_strategy

    Now that the capture of the federal government by the financial services industry is complete, we see this flip-flop—the abandonment of state’s rights in favor of a strong central government.

    One has to wonder how this will affect the Republican Party and the Southern Strategy that has been its ticket to the White House for the past fort or fifty years, and where it leaves the social conservatives.

  6. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    All animals kills in order to survive – sometimes they kill other animals, but often they kill vegetables, this includes Dalai Lama (take note, you sadistic vegetarians – sadistic because you literally chew a living being, like an apple or carrot, to death, slowly grinding them to pulp in you mouth).

    It’s sad that a realistic image of an Iberian wolf with blood would incite those Homo not-so-Sapiens not-so-Sapiens to more persecution beyond what is necessary to feed themselves and even sadder the photographer caved in to, instead of confronting, that human weakness.

  7. DownSouth

    @ “Paulson revealed policy at Goldman Sachs meeting, book alleges”

    A prison warden once told me an interesting story about one of his inmates. The first time he stole, he snuck in the darkness of night and broke into an unlocked car parked on a lonely street. The last time he stole he bashed in the window of a car parked in downtown Dallas in the middle of the day.

    “That’s how the criminal mind works,” the warden told me. “He goes from being human, to thinking he’s bullet-proof and can jump tall buildings, to believing he’s invisible and can walk through buildings.”

    1. rd

      It’s like Nixon in the Frost interviews: “Its not illegal if the President does it.”

      I think Hank Paulson truly didn’t believe that he had a conflict of interest because he was the Tresury Secretary and whatever he was doing was for the good of the country. Plus, he of course would know where to draw theline before anything nefarious would have occurred.

  8. fresno dan

    http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2009/10/20/the-secret-paulson-goldman-meeting/

    This is an OUTRAGE
    NO!, NO!!!, NO!!!!! NOT THE MEETING
    “Paulson didn’t have this meeting out of fear or necessity: in fact, he told the directors that although there might be tough times ahead, “I think we may come out of this by year’s end.””

    We had someone that obtuse running the treasury!!???!!!
    Do these guys have a parlor game where they get together to see who can say the stupidest thing is Public????
    ‘Ben, that “subprime is contained” is good, but I have a line I said, at a ‘secret’ meeting, that will blow your socks off!’
    Ben, bogarting the joint, laughed so hard he fell out of his leather chair.

  9. Dave Raithel

    Wall Street and Lobbying: Two modest proposals for political reform (because without it, I doubt much less than Civil War will accomplish any progress):

    1) A candidate for Congress may accept campaign contributions only from those persons eligible to vote for that candidate – registered voters of the district in which the candidate stands for office.

    2) Any meeting between a member of Congress and any persons employed to represent private interests to Congress shall be a matter of public record, wherein a transcript and recording of such meeting shall be collected by the office of the Clerk, and observed by a third party independent of the private interest representative and the member of Congress. (A congressman’s business is everybody’s business.)

    Yeah, this might cramp somebody’s night life and pose awkward scenes at watering holes and evening clatches, but I don’t care. Might be difficult to fully enforce, but we Americans are experts in futile tasks at which we throw copious resources – e.g. The War on Drugs, The War on Non-Existent Weapons of Mass Destruction, The War on Patriarchal Third World Peasant Societies in South Central Asia – so wasting money IS not a counter-argument…

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