Monthly Archives: January 2012

Why is the Normally Astute Taibbi Sounding Like a Hopey Dopey Liberal on the Mortgage Settlement?

I hate taking issue with Matt Taibbi. I’m a huge fan of his writing and think he has done more to cause the big bad banks discomfort than any single writer.

But even someone as skilled as Taibbi occasionally has the writing equivalent of a bad hair day. And his post, “A Victory for the Public on Foreclosures?” is an example. And his misreading matters precisely because he has so much cred with the public that is unhappy with Big Finance.

Taibbi has taken up cheerleading the Schneiderman involvement in a Federal investigation committee as major progress and also amplified the messaging that the current version of the release in the mortgage settlement deal (which by the way is still more of a mystery than it ought to be) is a good deal. As we will discuss in due course, even a narrow deal around robosigning is in fact NOT a good deal.

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Mainstream Economics as Ideology: An Interview with Rod Hill and Tony Myatt — Part I

Rod Hill and Tony Myatt are Professors of Economics at the Department of Social Science at the University of New Brunswick in Saint John. Their new book, The Economics Anti-Textbook is available from Amazon. They also run a blog at www.economics-antitextbook.com.

Interview conducted by Philip Pilkington.

Philip Pilkington: Your book seems to me a much needed antidote to the mainstream economics textbooks and can either be read alone or together with them. I think that’s a great approach because it allows students to become familiar with what is being taught in the classroom but also allows them to take a critical perspective on this material. So, let’s start with the format of these textbooks.

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ProPublica’s Off Base Charges About Freddie Mac’s Mortgage “Bets”

A new ProPublica story, “Freddie Mac Betting Against Struggling Homeowners,” treats the fact that Freddie Mac retains the riskiest tranche of its mortgage bond offering, known as inverse floaters, as heinous and evidence of scheming against suffering borrowers.

The storyline in this piece is neat, plausible, and utterly wrong. And my e-mail traffic indicates that people who are reasonably finance savvy but don’t know the mortgage bond space have bought the uninformed and conspiratorial ProPublica thesis hook, line, and sinker.

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Satyajit Das: Top Secret – The Chinese Envoy’s Briefing Paper On The Australian Economic Outlook (Part II)

By Satyajit Das, derivatives expert and the author of Extreme Money: The Masters of the Universe and the Cult of Risk Traders, Guns & Money: Knowns and Unknowns in the Dazzling World of Derivatives – Revised Edition (2006 and 2010)

Your Excellency, I am pleased to present the requested report on the economic outlook for the Great Southern Province of China, currently referred to by the local population as “Australia”. For convenience I will refer to the country by this older name. We will now turn to the outlook.

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So Why Hasn’t SEC Enforcement Chief Robert Khuzami Resigned? SEC Only Now Investigating CDOs Created on His Watch at Deutsche Bank

I’d heard from German speaking readers about the Der Spiegel report of an SEC investigation in its German edition over the weekend and they’ve now released it in their English language version.

Der Spiegel is careful about its sourcing, so readers should take this account seriously.

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Marshall Auerback: Anschluss Economics – The Germans Launch a Blitzkrieg on the Greek Debt Negotiations

By Marshall Auerback, a portfolio strategist and hedge fund manager

News stories continue to suggest that Greece once again appears on the verge of reaching a deal with its private sector creditors on how much of a loss they would be willing to accept on their bond holdings.

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Satyajit Das: Top Secret – The Chinese Envoy’s Briefing Paper On Australia’s Economy (Part I)

By Satyajit Das, derivatives expert and the author of Extreme Money: The Masters of the Universe and the Cult of Risk Traders, Guns & Money: Knowns and Unknowns in the Dazzling World of Derivatives – Revised Edition (2006 and 2010)

Your Excellency, I am pleased to present the requested report on the economic outlook for the Great Southern Province of China, currently referred to by the local population as “Australia”. For convenience I will refer to the country by this older name.

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Obama’s SOTU, authoritarian followership, and civil society: Part I

By lambert strether is an old school blogger from Corrente.

I make no apology for a late post on the SOTU; the SOTU, as Charles Pierce points out, was a campaign speech, so those of us who still listen to the teebee or the radio are going to be hearing the talking points and tropes deployed by Obama last Tuesday drone out over and over and over the airwaves at least until November 6.

Let me be clear: I did listen to the speech, and all the way through, too. One can hardly blame Obama for leading with his strongest card: He transmogrified killing the unarmed Osama Bin Laden, then dumping his corpse into the sea, into a surefire applause line. We’ve been here before; after all, Obama’s “Osama bin Laden is not a threat to this country” isn’t all that different from Bush’s “Let’s put it this way: they are no longer a problem to the United States and our allies”, and really, who over the age of six ever expected anything else? After that first fine, careless rapture, at least.

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Doug Smith: Useful Idiot Watch – Matt Yglesias

By Douglas K. Smith, author of On Value and Values: Thinking Differently About We In An Age Of Me

Earlier this month, Matthew Yglesias of Slate tweeted “EXCLUSIVE: The activities of individual business executives have no relationship to the level of economy-wide employment.”

It’s hard to choose what is most ridiculous here…

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