Links 9/30/11

The special trick that helps identify dodgy stats Guardian (hat tip reader John M). From earlier in the month, but still germane.

The Onion’s Twitter Posts Draw Scrutiny New York Times (hat tip reader Scott)

Europe Blinking Red Mike Whitney, CounterPunch (hat tip reader furzy mouse)

Australian pension funds pressure News Corp board Associated Press (hat tip Buzz Potamkin)

How to stop a second Great Depression George Soros, Financial Times

Chinese Currency Bill: A No-Cost, Bipartisan, Long-Term Jobs Measure Dave Dayen (hat tip reader Carol B)

What kind of Western recession? MacroBusiness

Foreigners filling temporary jobs at North Carolina farms McClatchy (hat tip Buzz Potamkin)

“Occupy Wall Street” and the History of Democratic Finance Protest William Hogeland (hat tip reader Thomas R)

Six arrested protesting bank foreclosures during Occupy SF San Francisco Bay Guardian (hat tip Lisa Epstein). Reader Deontos sent me pix and a video clip, and you can see some protestors using blackface version of the Guy Fawkes mask. Is Anonymous adopting OccupyWallStreet?

Union Airline Pilots Occupy Wall Street Forbes (hat tip Robert N)

As NYPD Probes Footage of Police Brutality, Recording the Cops Still a Felony in Illinois Alternet (hat tip reader furzy mouse)

Outsize Severance, Even for Failed Executives New York Times

Why Don’t the Deficit Hawks Want to Tax Wall Street? Dean Baker, CEPR (hat tip reader Aquifer)

Investment banking fees at two-year low Financial Times

Japan’s rate dilemma casts shadow over Fed Gillian Tett, Financial Times. The fact sets are very different. Banks didn’t lend in Japan because they were so flush with cash that there was enormous competition for any decent loan. The profit (spread over funding cost) was so thin that they were loss intolerant. No one wanted to go into riskier loans because the perception was that they could not command enough spread to cover for expected losses. By contrast, the issue with smaller businesses in the US appears to have much more to do with loan demand than credit availability.

Phony Fear Factor Paul Krugman, New York Times

The No-Evictions Sheriff yes! (hat tip Lisa Epstein)

Sorry, But This Trader’s Banking Confession Was No Prank The Yes Men, Common Dreams (hat tip reader Aquifer)

NY TOXIC TITLES | HERKIMER COUNTY CLERK TO NATIONWIDE TITLE CLEARING “MERS ASSIGNMENTS AND SATISFACTIONS DO NOT COMPLY WITH ALL THE LEGAL REQUIREMENTS PER NY LAW” 4ClousureFraud (hat tip reader Carol B). Short and ugly.

Antidote du jour (hat tip reader Robert M). I give great credit to this owner for taking such good care of this cat.

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67 comments

  1. Commiemaniac

    Last link is dead.

    BTW Did I ever tell you how much I value and enjoy your work Yves? I really do. Keep it up.

    1. Susan the other

      I like Frank-Louis. We once had a half Siamese with only one face that looked just like Frank-Louis. The one thing Velcro couldn’t do was jump through a picket fence. He finally gave up. I wonder how Frank-Louis does.

  2. Jim3981

    I thought that trader yelling “collapse” in a crowded room seemed very timely. It gives the Elites extra ooopfm when whipping the eurozone countries. By doing so they can hoodwink the politicans into socialize all the bank losses in the Euro zone. Just like they did to us in the USA!

    This serves an important purpose in my mind, to bury the western world so deep in dept, they can leverage the debt burden countries into a NWO with the IMF, world bank, UN, etc.

    The Wars, the health care costs, and the engineered banking crisis all have about buried the western world’s taxpayers.

    Good old Henry Kissinger probably thinks things are going quiet well about now for his NWO.

    1. Linus Huber

      I am often faced with people who do believe that the next generation is going to accept all the debt that we produced over the past maybe 30 years. No offense to anyone who has this mindset.

      However, there is no way that even the most stupid young people will allow this to happen as things will turn in their favor long before we are gone. We have not lived throu a real crisis in our life time. I am a great believer that each generation will go throu some difficult periods sometimes during their life time. On that basis, I am convinced our hard times have just started and will not abate until real change is possible politically. Views are changing but it takes a lot of time to be able to recognize the new direction.

      1. aet

        “We have not lived throu (sic) a real crisis in our life time.”

        I spend most of my time with people who have been alive since the early 1920s, and I’m no “spring chicken”, either….what the hell are you talking about? “we”?

        Maybe you ought to travel more, or speak to more people (about their, not your, experiences) who live outside of your own demographic ghetto.

      2. Fíréan

        I have never understood the concept of a “generation” on a national level, only on the basis of parents and their offspring, and as people are marrying and having children constantly and not within set time boundaries where is one “generation” ( out side of any individual family) supposed to stop and the next one start ? Are there set date lines ?

        I fully agree with the sentiments posted by AET.

      3. James

        Agreed, in the financial sense at least. The next generation will absolutely repudiate their inherited debt burden, one way or another. That part I understand and even totally agree with.

        The problem is, what comes next? We’ve got a current global population of ~7B or so, which was only enabled by the current malignant global capitalist mentality, which was in itself only enabled by the fleeting phenomenon of cheap energy, aka cheap fossil fuels, aka cheap oil.

        When all that comes to an end – and it’s coming to an end as we speak – the question of what the next generation(s) will do becomes academic. Or should I say pragmatic? That is, their numbers will fall; as in, they will begin to die faster than they can reproduce.

  3. Jim3981

    “Phony fear factor”. Yeppers.

    Watch Noam Chomsky’s “Manufacturing Consent” for free on Hulu to understand how the media screws with your reality.

  4. financial matters

    So much for shareholders ‘owning’ their companies..

    Outsize Severance, Even for Failed Executives New York Times

    “”Critics have long complained about outsize compensation packages that dwarf ordinary workers’ paychecks, but they voice particular ire over pay-for-failure. While fuller disclosure of exit packages several years ago has helped ratchet down the size of the biggest severance deals, efforts by shareholders and regulators to further restrict payouts have had less success.

    “We repeatedly see companies’ assets go out the door to reward failure,” said Scott Zdrazil, the director of corporate governance for Amalgamated Bank’s $11 billion Longview Fund, a labor-affiliated investment fund that sought to tighten the restrictions on severance plans at three oil companies last year. “Investors are frustrated that boards haven’t prevented such windfalls.”

    Yet so far, few investors have gone to battle. Only 38 of the largest 3,000 companies had their executive pay plans voted down, according to Institutional Shareholder Services. Even then, the votes are nonbinding.

    At Hewlett-Packard, its revolving door for chiefs has led to tens of millions in severance payouts even as thousands of employees have lost their jobs.

    Lloyd Doggett, a Democratic representative of Texas and senior member of the House Ways and Means Committee, said excessive severance packages were “outrageous.”

    “The whole concept that the only way to get rid of bad management is to buy them off is fundamentally wrong” he said.””

    1. alex

      financial matters: So much for shareholders ‘owning’ their companies.

      Of course, if the owners actually controlled the company it would be called ‘capitalism’. That has dire consequences for incompetent members of the anointed class. Won’t you think of the poor CEO’s who lost their jobs just because they are incompetent.

      1. Maximilien

        “The chance for stockholder action is, it must be conceded, not great. Those who own the modern corporation are notably passive as regards their personal exploitation.”
        —–Galbraith, The Good Society

  5. kingbadger

    re: NY TOXIC TITLES

    Argh, capslock fail there. Please, please, make it stop. Those eXile headlines are in all-caps too. It’s too much for someone of my age (29).

    1. craazyman

      No reason to worry Old Man. I’ve invented a pair of reading glasses that changes ALL CAPS to Sentence Case or lower case.

      Simply flip the adjustable lens up or down and the case changes right before your eyes. it’s almost a miracle!

      And there’s more good news! Order by midnight tonight and you also get a free Expander lens that raises type size by 3 full points. No longer do you have to squint at perscription labels or hard to read food ingredients at the grocery store.

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      Send $359.82 to:

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      Wonderama Products
      PO 55
      Arkansas, Kansas

      1. Joseph Browning

        I don’t know if you know, but in Word you can select all caps sentences and hit shift-F3 to knock them down into small letters. Another hit of shift-F3 will capitalize the first letter of each sentence. Not much of a need to know something like that, and completely useless if you don’t use Word, but there it is. Thanks for the awesome site, btw. Read it everyday.

  6. Michael H

    From “Foreigners filling temporary jobs at North Carolina farms”:

    With regards to the last line, “Farmers and industry advocates say Americans simply don’t want these jobs because of the laborious and seasonal nature of the work,” I’ll add one more point:

    The cliche is that Americans are too lazy to do farm work. But the real problem is that farm work takes skill, and there are few Americans with the skill and experience necessary to do the work quickly and efficiently on a commercial scale.

    1. alex

      “farm work takes skill, and there are few Americans with the skill and experience necessary to do the work quickly and efficiently on a commercial scale”

      I’ll take it you speak knowledgeably (this suburbanite has trouble growing weeds). A good opportunity for a jobs program?

      1. Michael H

        Yes, a jobs program may help, but it has to pay the farmer, not just the would-be farm workers.

        Farming is best learned through on-the-job experience, which requires training and supervision. Mistakes by new farm workers incur additional costs and headaches.

        Inexperienced ‘free’ labor, by itself, can be a losing proposition for a farm.

    2. Pepe

      Plus, most farms are in *rural* areas. How many urban dwellers will relocate to rural areas for temp work? What’s the public transportation infrastructure like in rural North Carolina, btw?

    3. Joseph Browning

      IMO, the real problem is that the labor market is being deliberately controlled by capital to prevent American workers from receiving wages that would ensure the work occurs.

    4. mk

      the article id’s people from mexico as the immigrants, so what is different? that they have a legal program for them to work under now? at least they’re paying the workers and not getting free labor from prison workers. I attended a farm worker immersion workshop last year, learned how to pick strawberries, it’s backbreaking work, you do need skills, and you’re exposed to pesticides. Some workers wear masks and gloves, others do not. I would not want to do this type of work, but maybe if I was a lot younger I would be open to it.

  7. alex

    re: Chinese Currency Bill: A No-Cost, Bipartisan, Long-Term Jobs Measure

    Any hope this will finally get some traction? Read the article and the NYT op-ed it links to. Money quote from the latter: “The United States runs an annual trade deficit of about $600 billion, or 4 percent of our entire economy. Eliminating that imbalance would create three million to four million jobs, according to Commerce Department estimates, at no cost to the budget.”

    What’s not to like? And why is there so much presidential and Republican leadership opposition to this when it has broad bi-partisan support?

    I’ve often heard that there’s Wall St. opposition, but I find that hard to believe when one of the strongest bills is from none other than Sen. Chuck “Wall St.” Schumer. I honestly don’t understand it – theories welcome.

    1. Externality

      And why is there so much presidential and Republican leadership opposition to this when it has broad bi-partisan support?

      Because the parties play a shell game of alternatively being for and against standing up to China. Last year, Democratic party activists such as Robert Reich angrily attacked Republicans for mentioning this subject, even comparing them to Holocaust perpetrators:

      Deep economic crises are fodder for demagogues who channel economic fear into a politics of resentment against “them.” In the 1930s it was foreign traders (mainly Europeans), immigrants, and Jews. Now it’s foreign traders (mainly the Chinese), immigrants, and Muslims.

      […]

      Now that the Great Jobs Recession continues, they have more fertile ground. Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, and Newt Gingrich are given megaphones by Fox News to bash immigrants and Muslims and to question the President’s patriotism.

      Yet Democrats are entering the same terrain when they blame China. According to the New York Times, House speaker Nancy Pelosi has been encouraging Democratic candidates to go after China, after internal polls showed voters increasingly willing to blame China for our problems and strongly in favor of eliminating tax breaks for companies that do business in China.

      Democrats must know high unemployment in America has little or nothing to do with China. Yes, China should allow the yuan to rise further against the dollar. But China’s under-valued currency isn’t the reason we’ve lost 15 million jobs since the end of 2007. No, the tax code shouldn’t reward companies for relocating jobs there. But this tax break is barely relevant to the situation we’re in.

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-reich/why-democrats-should-not-_b_757418.html (emphasis added)

      Last year, in other words, any Republican (or Democrat) who mentioned China’s overvalued currency was scapegoating Chinese people over something that had nothing to do with American unemployment. Now, the Republicans are “bad” because they the do not want to discuss it. If the Republicans support it, the Democrats will suddenly return to opposing the bill as “racist.” This is nothing more than an elite game to distract the peasants.

      1. Externality

        Should be:

        Last year, in other words, any Republican (or Democrat) who mentioned China’s undervalued currency was scapegoating Chinese people over something that had nothing to do with American unemployment.

      2. alex

        That’s Reich being an idiot, and taking a cheap and unjustified shot.

        Certainly criticizing China for exchange rate manipulation is not bashing or scapegoating, because it’s a legitimate problem. Nor did any of the people he criticized refer to the “yellow peril” or some such nonsense. It’s a straightforward trade issue, but Reich turns it into a variant of identity politics.

        Thanks for a good reply, but it still doesn’t answer the question of the obstruction by the president and the Republican leadership. It’s bipartisan obstruction of something favored by the bipartisan rank-and-file in congress (and even the non-rank-and-file – Schumer is a prominent senator). Something else is up here.

        1. Jessica

          Maybe it is all shadow theater or kabuki. They want to be seen standing up to those foreign devils, but they don’t want to actually do anything that could start a trade war or inconvenience any of the elite that profits from the scale and type of trade with China. So they take turns getting to be the Big Brave Defender of Working America and having to be the Pragmatic Realist Who Is Above Cheap Populism.

  8. barrisj

    Apropos an earlier post regarding Obama’s increasing use of drones to enforce his GWOT policies, various news media are reporting the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki, the American-born cleric who has been labelled a “key al-Qaeda operations chief”, although the only evidence ever offered are his many Web-based sermons, assorted rants, and alleged email exchanges with people later charged with various crimes. He was incinerated by a Hellfire missile launched by a drone whilst driving somewhere in Yemen. Though a US citizen, al-Awlaki didn’t qualify for arrest, indictment, or anything else normally guaranteed to citizens suspected of a crime, you know, that which is quaintly known as “due process”…just get him in the crosshairs and liquidate. Glenn Greenwald has all the details:
    http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2011/09/30/awlaki/index.html

      1. barrisj

        I thought this guy was involved with two of the 9/11 hijackers as well.

        Well, I suppose that I thought… is good enough for summary execution, but so much about al-Awlaki’s alleged crimes were based upon hearsay, conjecture, speculation, and tenuous “links” in the manner of the “Kevin Bacon 6 Degrees of Separation” exercise. More importantly, it can be reduced simply to killing a symbol, someone who is an unreconstructed anti-American, who actually was interviewed shortly after 9/11 by Ray Suarez on PBS…Google it and check it out. All about revenge, in the manner of the Mafia.

        1. Kevin Murphy

          Saw the interview ( exerpts) over the 9/11 weekend retrospectives. All peace love and tie dye from him. Then he flees the country.

          In any case, what I think, barrisj, has nothing to do with it. The people that ordered his killing are the ones who have the burden of proof.

    1. Hugh

      If the government can murder one of its citizens without charge or trial, then none of us are safe. The law was not made for the best of us but all of us. When we start picking and choosing who is worthy of the law’s protection we end up with the system we have now: one law for the rich and powerful that sanctions all that they do, their frauds, their wars, their looting, and their murders, and another law for the rest of us, capricious in its application and Dickensian in its severity.

      I am reminded again of Martin Niemöller’s:

      First they came for the communists,
      and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.

      Then they came for the trade unionists,
      and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

      Then they came for the Jews,
      and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.

      Then they came for me
      and there was no one left to speak out for me.

      We used to condemn countries with their death squads and extra-judicial executions. Now we are no different. The argument nowadays is not that we are better than the terrorists, but only that we are more powerful and deadly. That is the real meaning of what Obama did here.

      1. René

        First they came for the communists,
        and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.

        Then they came for the trade unionists,
        and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

        Then they came for the Jews,
        and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.

        Then they came for me
        and there was no one left to speak out for me.

      2. Jim Haygood

        Peace Laureate O’Bomber’s apparent executive murder of a U.S. citizen constitutes a more than sufficient factual basis to impeach him for abuse of power.

        Time to end the political career of this thuggish imposter.

      3. Maximilien

        I was gonna make a crack along the lines of “If Obama could ensure his re-election by killing ME, he probably would”, but on second thought…..

  9. acai

    My head wants to explode evertime I hear liberals, including Bill Maher, say that Obama averted a 2nd great Depression. Oh? And what is the evidence of this? Oh yes, Ben Bernanke said so. OK, then…

    1. Hugh

      Maher is more of a neoliberal, Third Way Democrat. Somewhat liberal on social issues and center-right to hard right on everything else.

    2. Anonymous Jones

      Ah, just let it explode next time.

      I’d love to hear all the ‘evidence’ you have for your theories on the economy.

      We all don’t know nothin’. Calm down.

    3. Maximilien

      The GFC has brought on an epidemic of confirmation bias. As in: “I believe spending is good, is needed, therefore spending averted a crisis.”

  10. Hugh

    Soros’ solution to the euro crisis demonstrates that while he may be a financial wizard he’s a lousy macroeconomist. Unsurprisingly, it is a financial solution that would protect the holdings of rich kleptocrats like himself.

    How lame his reasoning is is encapsulated in this bit: “That solution would be more complicated because the regime imposed by the ECB would leave no room for fiscal stimulus and the debt problem could not be resolved without growth.” The solution would not be more complicated. It would be impossible.

    He does something similar mentioning the need for a common European Treasury and then leaving that to the future. Replacing the looting managements of the eurobanks or addressing trade patterns and German mercantilism on the other hand get no mention at all. I know Soros is 81 but this op-ed comes across as blather.

    1. craazyman

      yeah I don’t know how he expects anyone to even understand it.

      it’s funny how this eurocrisis just gets more and more convoluted. I’ve lost track of how many acronyms there are — ECB, EMU, EFSF, EEU, EU, IMF – those are just the first few. And he wants to add another ‘intergovernmental agency’ on top of this. That’ll be another 3 or 4 letters.

      How can any normal person keep track of any of this? The only people who can keep track of this are the bureaucrats who’re inventing it all and the hedge fund dudes trying to speculate on it. I doubt the politicians understand it, because they’re listening to the bureaucrats and the hedge fund dudes talking their book.

      And Mr. Soros calls for “public pressure” to make it happen. I mean really. There might be 3 or 4 retired economists who are part of the public and who understand it. Everybody else just wants to watch football — until they look out their window and see the riots starting. And then they’ll have to figure out what to do. one way or another.

  11. PQS

    Just wanted to say Yves is on fire here today. I saw that BoA 5$ story yesterday and made popcorn in anticipation of the Patented Yves Smith Takedown.

    Other stories, too, are fantastic. Loved the woman running for sheriff and the stories from OWS.

    I saw a story yesterday on Hullabaloo (no link), wherein Wall Streeters were drinking champagne while watching the Occupiers. You really can’t make this stuff up.

    1. Maximilien

      Re: BofA

      Saw an item about its proposed fees on NBC tonight. Among them, a $2 fee to check your balance!

  12. aletheia33

    info if you want to get involved in occupy wall street:

    Where: Liberty Square (How to get there)
    Donations: NYCGA Donation Page
    Help & Directions: +1 (877) 881-3020
    General Inquiries general@occupywallst.org
    Press Inquiries press@occupywallst.org

    Live Coverage – http://www.livestream.com/globalrevolution
    Donate Now – http://nycga.cc/donate/
    Donate to Media – http://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=BHMV6P88TGGYE
    Physical Address – The UPS Store Re: Occupy Wall Street 118A Fulton St. #205 New York, NY 10038
    Carpool from other states – https://www.facebook.com/pages/Carpool-to-Occupy-Wallstreet/222614057794752?sk=wall – also try craigslist.org

    1. craazyman

      this is going to go BIG TIME, nationwide.

      I’m heading down this weekend to show some support for all the Hippy Dippies and the Tatoo Queens and see what’s up down there.

      I won’t be macing anybody though, just buying some pizzas for them or making a donation, and chatting them up a bit, (especially the hippy dippy tatoo queens, but I’m getting too old for trouble unless they’re over 35) and any really weird-looking dudes who look like they should be in a circus someplace.

      To me, this is Gnostic Central Station. I bet Tom Jefferson would be smiling at it. I Want to bring the mental magnifying glass with me and due some due diligence for the Institute for Contemporary Analysis. -Proffeser Tremens, GED

  13. Valissa

    Here’s the latest European assessment from Dr. George Friedman, Founder and CEO of STRATFOR Global Intelligence. For those of you unfamiliar with his background and style, please note that I have not observed Dr. Friedman to have a personal bias/preference one way or the other about the future of the EU. He is simply evaluating/forecasting based on geopolitical principles of analysis. I have excerpted what I think are the two key paragraphs from this interview.

    Agenda: With George Friedman on Europe’s Debt Crisis http://www.stratfor.com/analysis/20110929-agenda-george-friedman-europes-debt-crisis [note: this video clip and transcript are behind a subscription firewall]

    Colin: So what is a way out of this?

    George: Well, I don’t think there’s any way out of this within the context of the European Union. The European Union creates three realities that are unsupportable. The first is a single currency that is designed to manage both the German economy and the Greek economy, which obviously is impossible to do. Second is a free-trade zone in which the world’s second-largest exporter — Germany — is able to move its goods into any country that wants to buy it, and, therefore, essentially outcompete the locals. And finally you have a massive bureaucracy in Brussels, which tries to control and micromanage so much of the European economy and really doesn’t have the ability to do so wisely. Now what the Germans are trying to do is rescue all of this. And the problem is the more they rescue all of this, the deeper the problem gets. Of course they don’t quite know how to go in any other direction, but it’s the rescue itself that’s the problem, because it links together countries in a single fate that have totally different realities. The reality of Greece and the reality of Germany have nothing to do with one another and trying to manage them not only by these institutions but through unanimity, where the German-Greek relations are going to be dependent on Slovakia’s vote, is sort of a recipe for disaster, and they’re having it.

    Colin: Final question: Do we see the collapse of the eurozone, and then what happens?

    George: Well what Europe used to have was a series of countries, and these countries had their own currency, they managed their own economy, they borrowed money in their own currency or, if they wouldn’t be leant money in their own currency, they borrowed money in some other country’s currency based on that. However they did it, they did it for themselves and they suffered their fate. And it was not necessary that the entire continental-wide system collapse. The problem you have is that there is no way for the euro to collapse. It won’t collapse. There has to be an orderly regression, and the ideology of the European elite is so committed to the idea of European integration that they have not yet coped with the fact that it was European integration that helped create this problem. They believe the European integration or greater integration is the solution. So long as that ideology stands opposed to the realities that have been created, there really is no hope but further deepening of crisis. I don’t know at what point European elites say, This didn’t work,” and I don’t know at what point they simply lose control and new political parties emerge that are anti-Europeanist. But clearly the issue is not so much collapse — it’ll stay there — it is how you manage your way out of crisis you created?

    Colin: Well I think one thing is certain: There will be a lot more rhetoric.

    1. Jim

      I disagree with Stratfor’s “The problem you have is that there is no way for the euro to collapse. It won’t collapse.”

      One morning, Greece can decree that (i) the Drachma is now the official currency of Greece, and it will trade at whatever f/x rate the mkt determines, (ii) all Euro-denominated contracts are to be converted to Drachmas, at 1:1, (iii) Greece will honor its debt commitments. The Greek Supreme Court this morning has determined that all Euro-denominated debt will be converted to Drachma-denominated obligations at 1:1.

      1. Valissa

        Good point. I wondered about that sentence and phrasing re:collapse too. I was a bit surprised he spoke so definitively about it, since he doesn’t generally do that. Perhaps he is using a very specific definition of the word. Or maybe he knows more than he’s telling.

        One thing he always points out is how determined the Euro elites are for this project to succeed, regardless of facts on the ground. It’s like, as a student of history, he is wondering out loud how far they can go on political will alone. I don’t know how much background he has in economics or finance or who he relies on for those insights.

        1. Valissa

          STRATFOR is both a think tank and a news organization with many types of expertise on hand. Looks like someone was tasked with doing a counter scenario, but this report shows no author name.

          Europe’s Best-Case Scenario http://www.stratfor.com/geopolitical_diary/20110929-europes-best-case-scenario/

          The German parliament voted overwhelmingly today to improve the eurozone bailout mechanism, the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF), quieting worries that the issue would prove divisive enough to risk bringing down the German government, and improving confidence in the eurozone as a whole. …

          There are three major financial crises on Europe’s horizon: the need to bail out Italy, a banking crisis and a Greek default. Any could erupt in short order, and all are intertwined. The reforms the Germans just approved may make the EFSF more flexible and legally capable of handling these challenges, but the reforms do not give it the bulk it needs. To deal with the crises of the not-so-distant future, the EFSF will need 2 trillion euros, nearly five times its current capacity.

          All the angst and distrust that Europe endured to get to this point will soon have to be repeated. STRATFOR anticipates that this renewed and expanded effort will not begin until November, and will occupy most of the first half of 2012.

          But let’s look forward a bit. Let’s assume that no one balks at the cost and that EFSF 3 is ratified and implemented without hitches. Let’s assume that the three crises occur on a schedule favorable to Europe’s ability to handle them. Let’s assume finally that the bailout programs prove sufficient and that the financial calamity of the eurozone’s collapse is avoided. What is the end result of the best-case scenario, and what sort of Europe emerges from that? …

          Fast-forwarding somewhat, the euro will have stabilized, but with highly destructive consequences. The fallout from bailouts to Italy and to banks all but guarantees that Spain would need a bailout, so the Spaniards would join the Italians, Portuguese and Irish in receivership. It is possible — likely, actually — that Belgium would join them as well. That would put about 125 million Europeans and their governments under austerity and cut off from normal credit markets. It would be at least three years before any of them could regain normal credit. This will result in negligible growth in public, corporate and private consumptive sectors. Meanwhile, the bailout states are already highly sequestered within the EU, and the banks do not wish to deal with them. Greece risks descending in an ugly downward spiral.

          All of these states would be a huge burden on the European system, and dealing with their sovereign debts would not be the only problem. A substantial portion of the European banking system would also be under receivership, greatly constricting credit flows to even healthy non-bailout states. It could well take the United Kingdom ten years to grow to its economic standing prior to the crisis, and it requires boundless optimism to see Continental Europe recovering any more quickly. …

          Debate is already brewing in Europe over how much each country will pay in order to keep the eurozone alive. Already countries are starting to suspect that Berlin is rewiring the European system to its preferences. Once the financial storm has passed, European states may not like the world in which they find themselves living.

          And that is the best-case scenario.

  14. aletheia33

    announcement to all:

    after reading matt stoller’s piece (and others) on occupy wall street, i’ve decided to participate–just for a weekend (oct. 8-9). i’ve been yearning to be there, and i just realized that even at age 57, with some minor health issues, it’s not that hard. all i have to do is travel down to wall street, spend the night at the park, and return the next day. i live only 4-5 hours from nyc in new england. what’s the big deal? even if i don’t sleep at all and it’s chilly, i can certainly handle it for a single night. and how great can the cost really be to me? one night with no sleep, a weekend away from my responsibilities (haven’t had one of these for ages), the train or bus fare. so what if pizza doesn’t agree with my digestive system :) there are alternatives, including simply not eating for a few hours.

    i invite anyone else on this blog whose participation cost would be similarly small to take this little leap, too. they need bodies and numbers! we can help with that. one doesn’t have to camp out for the whole duration–not too many have that kind of freedom. but those of us who do have jobs, etc., can rotate in and out and make a difference that way. this is the beauty of occupation as opposed to a scheduled march. in tahrir square, families came over on the weekends, as if going for a walk in the park.

    i’m going out to look for wall street pajamas now… they need to be warm, for october. (didn’t thoreau say something about it’s okay to buy pajamas, just not a whole suit of new clothes?)

    i’ve emailed the organization to inquire–if they tell me to, i’ll stay home. but if the invitation is there… i’m RSVPing “will attend.” hope i can find some good company for the trip, but if not–i’ll just be a solitary pilgrim to the church of the next society, hoping to attend the General Assembly.

  15. Adam's Myth

    Is there any evidence Apotheker failed as HP CEO? He was there under a year, and announced his strategic plan less than a month before he was fired.

    More likely he failed as a politician, outmaneuvered by the better-connected Meg Whitman, who is on the HP board, pals with the CFO, and has been unemployed since her failed gubernatorial bid.

    NC should be less concerned here about pay packages, and more concerned that HP, one of the biggest employers in the US, has dumped Apotheker, a lifelong liberal and former leftist protester in Europe, in favor of Whitman, who embodies California’s angry extreme right.

  16. Valissa

    What I find amazing is that the Capital Police were not aware that The Onion is a satire news site. The Onion has been around for a very long time. Makes the Capital Cops look like the Keystone Cops. On top of that, it’s free advertising for them, and their brand recognition has gone up another level.

    More from The Onion… it’s party time, Joe!

    Biden Asks White House Visitor If He Wants To Check Out Roof http://www.theonion.com/articles/biden-asks-white-house-visitor-if-he-wants-to-chec,26171/

  17. MichaelC

    On Buffett and his (B)illionaire’s taxes vs O’s (M)illionaires tax ‘controversy’ (per CNBC’s GOP flaks)

    Have a look at the full BBG interview.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bBj4280ArCA then compare it to the CNBC/WSJ/Fox follow-up interviews.

    It’s pretty clear from the BBG interview that Buffett isn’t playing Volcker in O’s millionaire’s tax battle (its guaranteed to fail given the hundreds of thousand of millionaires vs. the smaller pool of 50K billionaires WG is targeting, just as the pretense that V was an inside the tent policy ally was a ruse in the regulatory reform charade).

    I’ve been skeptical re WBs motives in this fight, since I assumed he’s mostly interested in preserving control over his assets post mortem.

    But his fortune (and his legacy) is founded in his ownership in Berkshire Hathaway.

    And “his” investments in GS, Solomon ,etc, and most recently BoA (or those unnamed Euro banks he turned down), aren’t personal investments. Berkshire Hathaway made the investments. So his estate planning impacts a hell of a lot more people than his immediate heirs, a point that was lost on me till recently. YBGIBG.

    As it ever was he’s playing, on a magnificent scale, with other people’s money and his estate will be left to carry on. His heirs may sell their stake at his death, but I think his estate plan assumes BH survives.

    At this stage in his life why not piss off his peers (there are only 50k of them) if it results in his younger peers funding the elimination of a global catastrophe that would ruin his heirs holdings in BH stock.

    In the interview he seems to acknowledge that he is one of the few billionaires self aware enough (and too old (and safely positioned) enough to fake it anymore) of the long con he’s been so successful at, to speak the truth.

    There are 50k rich Americans who can bail out the entire global economy with little pain to themselves.

    What part of: “There are 50k rich Americans who can bail out the entire global economy with little pain to themselves”

    Doesn’t everyone understand?

    PS
    Till recently I’ve assumed Madoff was the 21st century personification of Dickens’ character Merdle in Little Dorrit. Merdle’s suicide and Madoff’s me culpa had similar effects.

    But since Buffet’s influence is on a par with Merdle’s, let’s hope he lives long enough for us to prepare for his demise.

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