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Links 1/19/12

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Dark matter galaxy under the lens BBC

Can Money Buy Self-Esteem? and the older Money Can Buy Happiness Scientific American (hat tip Lambert)

Abortion Rates Are Higher In Countries Where Procedure Is Illegal, Study Finds Huffington Post

madness: tales of an emergency room nurse girlvet (hat tip Lambert)

Oil demand falls for first time since 2009 Financial Times. Normally, a telling negative indicator but we are having a freakishly warm winter.

Closing Strait of Hormuz Is an Option: Iran Bloomberg. Duh.

US Israeli War-games Canceled Real News Network (hat tip Philip Pilkington)

Fears rise over Commerzbank and MPS Financial Times. This is only the beginning.

Greece’s game plan Felix Salmon

Hedge Funds May Sue Greece if It Tries to Force Loss New York Times (hat tip reader bob). This is the silliest threat I have seen in a very long time. Hedge funds suing in a human rights court when austerity is leading to suicides, an inability to import medicine, garbage piling up in the street, and a breakdown in services (like public transport and electricity). I’d LOVE a really clever lawyer to turn the tables on these jerks and file a counterclaim.

And what are they going to do if they win? Ask NATO to send in tanks? Please.

Münchau: We are fighting the wrong crisis Edward Harrison

Eurocrisis is a Global Crisis Real News Network

Mitt Romney, Karl Marx, and the myth of creative destruction Louis Proycet

Poll Sees Shift in Independent Vote, a Hurdle for Obama New York Times

Terrible Optics Watch: Obama to Accept Dem Nomination at Bank of America Stadium Dave Dayen, Firedoglake (hat tip reader Carol B)

Key Reform Ally Dishes On ‘Weak-Kneed’ White House Health Care Push TPM. In case you doubted the existence of the veal pen.

Zombie Larry Summers Could Reappear as Head of the World Bank Dave Dayen, Firedoglake.

Occupy Wall Street’s Next Phase: Avoid Cooptation in Election Seasonhj Black Agenda Report (hat tip Lambert)

Change academic publishing mathbabe

David Tuckett: How Stories about Economic Fundamentals Drive Financial Markets INET. Plausible, but notice how this is effectively an argument for better central bank propaganda.

Four banks set to bid for mortgage securities Financial Times. Only four banks bidding does not smell right.

Our Morally Bankrupt Government, Justice Part II: Defending the Rule of Law Abigail Field

Antidote du jour. I am a sucker for interspecies harmony pictures:

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82 comments

  1. Dennis

    “And what are they going to do if they win? Ask NATO to send in tanks? Please.”

    The try to cease Greek assets abroad. Just like they did with Argentina/Peru/Congo back in the day.

  2. skippy

    From Occupy Brisbane FB page

    http://www.facebook.com/TheOccupyBrisbane?sk=wall&filter=1

    Phil Airey,

    Here my first mid-length Occupy documentary, shot in Occupied America and edited back in Australia. I hope you enjoy it, and feel free to spread if you do. Starts with interview, then branches out dramatically after that! Love and solidarity.

    http://vimeo.com/35264367

    Skippy… So many pass through the_over there_filter… no matter what guise they don… to hide from what they did or saw… lurks

      1. Skippy

        What occurs_over there_is creepy, at the least.

        Skippy… Knew a bank branch Mgr in Redondo Bch CA. Ex-SF sort that hung tribal weapons from Nam in his office, viewable from the street (glass wall). First time I met him he was drunk at a nice bar, what a mess. The gift that keeps giving, self, kids, wife, family, others.

  3. Middle Seaman

    Canceling the American Israeli drill is one of the only smart moves the US administration took in the whole Iranian mess. Otherwise, the whole approach is pigheaded. Why Iran cannot have the bomb while the non-state chaotic and in constant war Pakistan, its neighbor, can?

    How about recognizing that if India, Pakistan and Israel have it, the Iranians can have it too. Then work for limiting the quantities on all sides.

    The Democrats have lost it totally in a big way. Why have your convention in right to work state when your strongest and most instrumental constituency is the unions?

    1. tom allen

      Do you have any evidence that Iran is building a bomb? Because no one else seems to. Not Panetta, not Mossad….

      1. YankeeFrank

        Not only that, but the reason the drills were canceled, from what I’ve read, is that Israel doesn’t want American troops on the ground in Israel if/when they begin their bombing raids on Iran.

    2. lambert strether

      Because they don’t want the unions in their base any more. The Obama faction threw out half the party in 2008 — not only was the vile misogyny enjoyable to them, it had that political purpose — and they’re continuing their work in 2012. And why wouldn’t they? It’s working out very well for them.

      1. Bagbalm

        The unions should be happy if they are deftly dropped. Hitler had to get rid of a lot of his unsavory supporters and he just killed them all one night.

      2. Maximilien

        @lambert: Right you are. Union membership stands at 11% of all workers and 9% of those in the private sector (Wiki). A fringe constituency at best. Obama knows who butters his bread these days, and it ain’t the unions.

        1. ambrit

          Dear Maximilien;
          Your allusion to Obama and ‘buttering buns’ instantly made me think of “Last Tango in Paris!” Yes, the more I think on it, the better the image becomes! Imagine one of the POTUS’ ‘advisors’ telling him, “Alright Barak, go get the butter!” We know what happens next.

  4. Max424

    YS: “I am a sucker for interspecies harmony pictures…”

    Yeah, me too.

    re: Closing Strait of Hormuz is an Option: Iran

    The shipping channel in the strait is 6 miles wide. That represents a substantially large, chokepoint/bottleneck.

    Now, if the US Navy pulled a Rip Van Winkle and went to sleep for two weeks, yes, the Iranian Speedboat Navy would have the quiet time necessary to mine the Strait effectively, and could shut it down. But for how long?

    Not long. Once we woke from our Rip Van sleep, US Navy minesweepers & dolphins would clear a one-way channel in a matter of days, and a two-way traffic channel would be open in a matter of a week.

    So forget that. And forget the: Sinking Ships –in the Shallow Waters of the Strait– Blockage Plan. That won’t work. The passageway is three lanes wide for a reason. Each lane can only be blocked at one specific point, so even Iran miraculously sinks 40 ships at once, oil tankers could still zig zag nimbly around the wreckage.

    Ras Tanura, Al Juaymah, and Abqaiq; now those are targets. If Iran could put those facilities out of operation for a year, and it is a distinct possibility they could, I would book the over/under on damage and losses to Western economies at $25 trillion dollars* …and would gladly take all bets from across the internet.

    *That’s real dollars, not banker dollars

    1. Parvaneh Ferhadi

      One thing that is commonly overlooked is that Iran doesn’t need to close the Hormuz straight itself to close down traffic.
      The shipping lanes in the Eastern part of the Persian Gulf are completely within Iran’s territorial waters. The red areas on the map are the Iranian territorial waters in the area in question.
      http://zeropointfield.ch/gallery3/var/albums/countries/iran/2012/n173268_Strait_of_hormuz_full_iranian%20territorial%20waters%20h.jpg

      Of course, there is the right of “innocent passage”, but that certainly doesn’t apply to ships from nations (or with cargo for nations) that threaten Iran with war, crippling unilateral economic sanctions (a form of war in itself) or those who perform actual military attacks on Iran.

      Closing the lanes for ships from or with cargo for certain nations would be perfectly legal under international law.

      1. Richard Kline

        So Parvaneh, agreed completely. Unilaterally blockading Iran’s commerce or shipping constitutes an act of war in international law; Iran would in the circumstances be perfectly justified in retaliating withing its means. This is the main reason in my view, exactly the reason, why no such action has been undertaken by the US. Sanctions target at third-parties or commercial partners to Iran don’t cross the legal threshold while having effects that may approach a similar scale. The goal appears to be to back Iran into a corner and force them to act first in an overtly military way, i.e. to ‘be the agressor,’ thereby legitimating ‘regime change’ in ‘retaliation.’

        The entire process pursued by those opposed to Iran in the sanctions racket here is grossly illegtimate of intent and action. ‘A war by other means’ against an adversary deemed to inefficatious to itselt retaliate. Bullying in a plain word. If the goal was to change the behavior of the Iranian regime, that might be achievable within parameters. But clearly, that is not the goal: exemplary punishment is the goal. Which is why the process will fail, and deserves too.

        Bad, bad policy, this US policy, pursued by the choice of arrogance . . . .

    2. Richard Kline

      So Max424, your remarks are so ‘last war,’ regrettably. One doesn’t ‘block’ the Strait of Hormuz by putting something into the Stratit, whether ships or hulks. One _blockades_ the Strait by firing a tight bracket missle salvo as a demonstration and making an all-channels announcement. Thereafter, nothing sails until the matter is settled.

      Missles are cheap. They can be launched from well-hidden sites many, many miles inland. They can be accurate enough to hit a supertanker at least, and that is all the ‘accurate’ they need to be. The US, or anyone else, could spend many months, and indeed many years, bombarding many, many places in Iran without being able to seriously prevent Iranians on a schedule of their choosing from firing missles into the Strait. Everyone in the US decision-making and military command understands this very, very well. The thinking may be that the pain inflicted on Iran would be sufficient to make them cease and desist. I find that notion in probability somewhere between absurd and demonstrably disconfirmed on an historical basis.

      So let’s simply accept that if push comes to shove, Iran will blockade the Strait and there’s nothing anyone can do about it in a meaningful timeframe. Are the costs worth the gains, that is the question? In any rational world, no. In the “We make our own reality” US imperial bunker, maybe/probably. In the phantom zone kaliedascope in shades or red and gray which passes for Israeli ‘decision space,’ the answer seems to be, what are you stalling for, Big Guy? Madness . . . .

      1. Skippy

        Missiles are cheap. – RK

        Yep… plain vanilla grid square eliminators would do. Don’t even need PlayStation components … LOL.

        Skippy… a bunch of kids with some experience could do it. Plenty of_that_around there these days.

      2. Max424

        My remarks were so ‘last war,’ regrettably?

        Has there ever been a war, where one, massed, missile salvo can cause $25 trillion dollars in damage?

        The REAL Iranian military threat is not to the Straits, or to Israel, but to the defenseless* oil infrastructure that lines the east coast of the Arabian peninsula.

        And that is the “new” reality of “modern” war –Peak Oil and Persian Gulf style.

        *Defenseless indeed. The Ras Tunara terminal, a paper mache target –if ever there was one!– for those cheap missiles you refer to, is worth ten trillion by itself.

        P.S. Do you really think we will sit idly by, while Iran pops off a missile here, and a missile there, so as to keep the Strait indefinitely shut?

        Hate to sound like Mad Bomber LeMay; but we WILL obliterate Tehran, and all its inhabitants, before we allow that.

        1. Max424

          That should read:

          …one, massed, ‘conventional’ missile salvo…

          Obviously, if the US and the Russians launch missile salvos at each other, we’re talking what? One point four-four quadrillion in damages? If you count the OTC derivatives market?

          Is that what the world is worth? 1.44 quadrillion?

          1. Jim Sterling

            That’s $200,000 for every human on Earth. You and I are among the wealthiest 5% of people on Earth, and I sure don’t have $200,000 in assets. Someone’s got legal title to all that property, though.

        2. ambrit

          Dear Max;
          My parents lived through the London Blitz, and were still pissed off about it fifty years later.
          A perusal of recent military history shows that even massive aerial bombardment doesn’t signifigantly degrade civilian ‘resoulteness’ until near the bitter end of any war. Figures for Herr Dr. Speers war production economy showed actual increases in overall output until late 1944!
          Human spirit and commitment are the true determiners of effective bellicosity.
          Curtis LeMay might have promised to “…bomb them back to the stone age…” but “they” now rule all of Vietnam from Hanoi, while “Mad Bomber” moulders in his grave.
          As usual, the Defense Department Crowd lusts after the next Remote Controll War. They havent learned the lessons of Iraq and Afghanistan. Boots on the ground is the only way to impose your will on a foreign population. That, or do what “Our Man in Baghdad” did to the Kurds.
          Empires always fail sooner or later.

          1. Dale

            If the American people would just adopt that same resolutness in fighting the economic powers that be the revolution would be achieved before it even started.

            Pipedream I know. Say, when’s the Stupor Bowl?

          2. Max424

            If we assigned one small asset in our military arsenal to do the the job; called on say our B-52s to fly round-the-clock missions over the target zones for three short weeks, there would be nothing left in Iran at the end of it, but ruble and dust.

            Not even an outhouse would be standing. But that’s obvious and beside the point.

            We are trying to draw and quarter the Iranian economy, right? Rip it apart, literally, limb from limb.

            Banking, oil, the saffron and pistachio nut export sectors, everything, etc., we’re hacking at em, trying to chop them off from the main body, so as to make limbless Iran beg for mercy.

            Cool. Good strategy. Same one we used against Iraq. But what if, just like Iraq, it doesn’t work?

            So the point is: If and when the attacks come, what form must they take? Logically?

            For instance: Will Iran start the war by attempting to mine the Straits of Hormuz? Does that type of pointless, suicidal activity make sense?

            Or, will the US us a false flag operation as an excuse to level a couple of Iranian nuclear facilities, knowing Iran can unleash a missile salvo in retaliation that can lay to waste the Western economies just minutes later?

            Would that type of reckless, semi-suicidal behavior make sense, from our perspective? …hmmm…

            It’s all pretty basic, I think, from the US end. If and when war comes, it must be of the ALL OUT preemptive variety, because the US, and the West, cannot afford to let those Iranian missiles fly –not in any significant numbers; meaning, every “target” in Iran, from Shiraz to Mashhad, and from Tabriz to Bandar-e-Abbas, must be leveled in a first strike.

            Note: Or, we could diffuse the situation by sending Hillary to Tehran to negotiate, like a latter day Anwar Sadat.

            Giggle.

          3. ambrit

            Dear Max;
            I seem to remember us sending an ill fated woman to ‘talk’ to S H, (Our Man in Baghdad) just before hostilities started the first time. That didn’t end too well. But Bush 41 did end it, and at an opportune time for the West. He showed much more wisdom and finesse than Sonny Boy and his Kid Wonders did the second time around. As for the present lot…

          4. bob

            Called geoncide-

            It’s all pretty basic, I think, from the US end. If and when war comes, it must be of the ALL OUT preemptive variety, because the US, and the West, cannot afford to let those Iranian missiles fly –not in any significant numbers; meaning, every “target” in Iran, from Shiraz to Mashhad, and from Tabriz to Bandar-e-Abbas, must be leveled in a first strike.

    3. ohmyheck

      Max424—I found this lin last week, which debates your claims, if you care to look into it:

      http://www.voltairenet.org/Would-the-US-be-defeated-in-the

      “Besides the fact that it is a vital transit point for global energy resources and a strategic chokepoint, two additional things should be noted in regards to the Strait of Hormuz’s relationship to Iran. The first point is about the geography of the Strait of Hormuz. The second point is about the role of Iran in co-managing the strategic strait on the basis of international law and its sovereign rights”.

      It also discusses the vulnerabilities of the US military in the Persian Gulf.

      1. Max424

        Thanks for the link.

        The MCO2 Persian Gulf war game was indeed an eye opener for the Pentagon. However, that was nine years ago, and I highly suspect (conclude), that over the intervening years, the “proper” adjustments have been made.

        That’s why I don’t see an “Iran War” escalating in a series of semi-strikes and counter-strikes. Nope, if the US attacks first, it will come in the form of an ALL OUT preemptive attack.

        Think “Shock and Awe,” to the 10th power.

        Note: The Straits of Hormuz are vital not because they can be theoretically blocked, but because 90% of Saudi and Kuwaiti oil is refined, stored, and off-loaded north of them.

        As alluded to in the article; destroy those facilities, a much easier task than physically blocking the Straits, and no oil will pass through Hormuz –and possibly for many years.

    1. tom allen

      Well, but “there are issues of intrinsic aptitude, and particularly of the variability of aptitude” that might keep Larry Summers out of the World Bank. Or more realistically, get him in. :-(

  5. BDBlue

    As Ian Welsh said, Obama accepting the nomination in BofA stadium isn’t horrible optics, it’s truth in advertising.

      1. Walter Wit Man

        This is a test. I keep trying to post a comment but it’s disappearing. I’m wondering if my link has something to do with it. Here’s my comment without the link (please delete any duplicates):

        He looks like the neoliberal assassin he is.

        There are compelling clues Obama and his family were connected to the CIA: [link removed]

        I have doubts about Alex Jones, but hey, he’s reporting this stuff that no one else is. I don’t see anyone questioning the basic facts.

        What I always wondered about Obama’s background . . . how does one go from Harvard law school and spending a year working for Business International Corporation in New York City and then all of a sudden transition to Mr. Progressive and join Ralph Nader’s PIRGs? That would be an awkward transition. Then Obama is off to Chicago to buttress his progressive bona fides . . . very suspicious.

        1. René

          Alex Jones is for real. And he is a very brave man.

          We differ on some points. And some of his topics are far out there.

          But if you are honest, what do you KNOW about those topics?

          We are the 99% and we have to somehow unite with people who differ from us substantially and live on the other side of the World. Yes, this “problem” of ours transcends national borders, religion, race, gender and culture.

          We know the extremely painful truth now.

          What is the Larger Agenda Behind the NDAA?

          http://campaign.r20.constantcontact.com/render?llr=r4donkhab&v=001QORyCDlYxyuDCnTKNyNZuyuteEqp09dSxNZKfmGo0QrKY_eyH5iQuQG_8Kx8QQjhcVg3d5KYFTPkb84da_pS2ftVV2n_LQUQreBhtCEoNyNXnXbtmxjNTQ%3D%3D

          1. Walter Wit Man

            I’m saying Alex Jones’ message appears to be legit (and really he’s simply passing on the reporting of Wayne Madsen). There are a few instances where I will ignore the message if the messenger is suspect–and I suspect Alex Jones as a messenger is some small (but important) ways.

            But you are right that he is covering stories that the mainstream media doesn’t want us to see. And these are massively important stories. Even his frame of an “information war” for our minds is spot on. So on the whole, he is a positive messenger and his messages are worth considering and researching.

            For instance . . . I don’t see anyone refuting the basic facts that implicate Obama’s father, his mother, and his grandparents, as being involved with the C.I.A.

            I don’t see an innocent explanation for these facts.

            And like I say, one doesn’t go from being the first black editor in chief of the Harvard Law Review to work for BIC for one year, and then all of sudden decide to focus on local recycling issues at Ralph Nader’s NYPIRG. These are completely different worlds.

            It doesn’t make sense even under the cover story of Obama building a progressive resume before running for office. This is what the editor in chief of the Harvard Law Review chooses to do? To work as a junior guy in NYPRIG? Why not something bigger? You can’t tell me a law school gunner like Obama just all of a sudden decides to lower his sites like that. And why not right out of law school? Why the year at BIC? Why is there no compelling description of this huge ideological transformation? His book barely covers this period and does not sufficiently explain this transformation.

          2. Walter Wit Man

            I guess Obama worked for BIC and NYPIRG before law school, not after . . . still seems like an odd transition to make.

          3. Walter Wit Man

            And all of a sudden I realize why we have the “show us the birth certificate” controversy. It’s a good way to cover up Obama’s past and label any sort of investigation into it as “crazy.”

    1. Can't Make an Omelette

      Thanks for posting that link, Max! I read Sullivan’s Obama story.. actually I think it was linked from NC also. And I just shook my head. It’s very disturbing to see how Sullivan’s arguments pit one civil-liberties erosion against another.

      Like Sullivan saying, yes, Obama signed indefinite detention into law, “But he has done the most important thing of all: excising the cancer of torture from military detention and military justice. If he is not re-elected, that cancer may well return.” And Friedersdorf says, “how low we’ve set the bar.”

      Instead of saying torture and indefinite detention are BOTH wrong, shock the conscience, and once someone is IN indefinite detention it may as well be torture because they have no recourse… Sullivan sets up a false pulley between two unacceptable things and says accept this because it’s a concession to prevent that. Miserable.

    2. Doug Terpstra

      Yikes, Sullivan’s head shot in the Daily Beast link evokes G Gordon Liddy! So another well-fatted veal pen “liberal” says Obama “has not had a single significant scandal to his name” — an utterly lame attempt at revisionism that Conor Friedersdorf forcefully debunks in the Atalntic.

      “But [Sullivan] lauding him as a president who has governed “with grace and calm” and “who as yet has not had a single significant scandal to his name”? If indefinite detention, secret kill lists, warrantless spying, a war on whistleblowers, violating the War Powers Resolution, and abuse of the state secrets privilege don’t fit one’s definition of “scandal,” what does? If they’re peripheral flaws rather than central, unacceptable transgressions, America is doomed to these radical, illiberal policies for the foreseeable future.”

      To his list of outrageous scandals, I would add a few more:

      -FISA and Telecom immunity
      -Breaking pledge on public campaign funding and lobbyist fundraising
      -Direct action to protect AIG bonuses
      -Failure to investigate/prosecute war crimes or massive financial fraud
      -Health Racket bailout mandates; assassination of single payer.
      -Flip flop on NAFTA
      -New SHAFTA pacts under Mr. NAFTA, Bill Daley
      -Bradley Manning
      -Doubling down in Afghanistan … Pakistan … Libya … Somalia … Yemen … Iran (?)
      -Cat Food Commission and unilateral concessions on SS and Medicare

      Friedersdorf notes, as many have here, that Obama has achieved far more deadly regressive policy goals by stealth, as a Trojan horse than any non-camouflaged Neocon could have dreamed of. Recall how he singlehandedly resurrected the GOP when it was already deep-sixed in 08 and then conspicuously forfeited the 2010 midterms in order to push his Neocon agenda under briar patch cover. Sullivan sounds like another well-fatted veal pen “liberal” apologist for the quisling.

  6. chad

    RE: the ER nurse link

    My mother is a nurse and has all kinds of stories like those in the article.

    My favorite is a patient that was tagged “do not resuscitate” in error. The patient coded, no one did anything, and managed to come back on their own. Only after did the head nurse discover the error. The patient basically saved their own life.

    Another time she got her ass handed to her by a very large schizophrenic patient just wandering the hospital (my mom is all of 5’2′ and 120lbs). Black eyes, busted lip, and bruises, she looked like she got mugged which she basically did.

    She use to come home in tears fairly regularly with the conditions at this particular hospital. She has since moved on to a better hospital thankfully.

    1. PQS

      Imagine what the world would look like if all the nurses, teachers, child care workers, and home care aids got paid what the bankers do, just in bonuses.

      They say that in 3rd world development, when women get jobs and make money that society improves because women spend money on their kids, schooling, and other things to better their lives and the lives of their children.

      I can’t believe we’re much different around here, and God knows it appears the bankers are blowing THEIR money on $5K shower curtains, hookers, and parties.

      1. Procopius

        “…it appears the bankers are blowing THEIR money on $5K shower curtains, hookers, and parties.” And blow. Don’t forget cocaine. How much bloodshed occurs in Colombia, Mexico, Paraguay, other Central American countries, because the bankers (who else can afford cocaine?) are a huge market? Tens of billions of dollars a year. And who gets arrested in the War on Drugs? Poor black guys with a couple grams of marijuana. The War on Drugs failed to interdict the supply and they’ve targeted the wrong source of demand. Unfortunately, that’s the way the Galtian Overlords ™ want it.

  7. YesMaybe

    From the Felix Salmon piece:

    “The only thing a CDS trigger does is make sure that people who bought insurance on a Greek default get paid when Greece defaults. It would mean that the people doing the insuring lose money, of course. But anybody writing an insurance policy has to be willing to pay out on it — especially when you’re insuring a credit as risky as Greece. A CDS trigger would not be catastrophic at all, and there’s really no reason to try to avoid one.”

    Umm… really? Kind of like how a super-huge-and-respectable insurance company like AIG must be willing and able to pay out on the insurance policies it sells? I think Salmon is a little to confident about the derivatives markets. Not to mention the effect a greek CDS payout (even if it comes off without bankrupting anyone or any bailouts) would have on CDS’s on other eurozone countries’ debt.

    1. Susan the other

      So why don’t the hedge funds just wait until the squabbling ratings agencies declare Greece’s restructuring to be a defacto default and then sue their CDS issuer? If they have insurance they shouldn’t be beating a dead horse. And also, how is it Argentina’s economy is doing so well if they have been cut off from international capital? Could it be they don’t need it?

    2. YankeeFrank

      Jeez, what is Salmon smoking? Mmmmmm. Smoked Salmon. But seriously, I guess he was on vacation when Geithner ran to Europe to make sure Greece’s default was a “non-default default” just to US banks wouldn’t take a hit they certainly couldn’t stand. Sometimes I gotta wonder about Felix… he does work for Reuters.

      1. Susan the other

        So if Greece defaults it makes the Fed the bag holder of last resort as with AIG. What other legal steps does the Fed have then to mitigate Goldman’s losses and therefore taxpayer losses? Can the Fed as a fiduciary for the US taxpayer do what a sovereign country like Greece does, that is, state that it simply will not honor the payout as once expected in the contract. The US Taxpayer was not party to the contract. This is one for Congress. A nice little after-the-fact law stating that yes the Fed can backstop bank liabilities as long as it is for a properly construed contract.

      2. Yves Smith Post author

        Hahaha, I had noticed that too! But the rest of the article was OK so I didn’t feel like pounding Felix.

    3. Fíréan

      “But anybody writing an insurance policy has to be willing to pay out on it”

      aig didn’t and weren’t, so the situation got bailed out

  8. Dale

    Re: Hedge funds suing for austerity.

    We need to turn this on its head and take
    Citizens United at its face value.

    If corporations are people then we should sue them in small claims court whenever we feel that we have a case and have been injured. No attornies allowed, that means that they have to dispatch a corporate toady to the small claims court to defend against a small amount of damages which will end up costing them more than they are defending against.

  9. Gil Gamesh

    Re Hedge Funds Sue…..If there were a counterclaim for austerian damages, intentionally inflicted by the estimable creditor class, one can anticipate the defense: anhedonia setoff. When our beloved rentiers impose policies that cause a man or woman to kill themselves, well, they have done that poor sod a favor. They were in all likelihood poor or middle class, miserable wretches, bound to live out their dismal days in hunger, privation and want. Better off dead, for sure.

    1. Jim

      Why blame hedge funds? It’s their objective to secure a return for their investors, whether they be family offices or public employee pension funds.

      For the austerity I blame the architects of the Eurozone. How many of the original architects of the Euro are still in Brussels? Why havent’ they been tried for gross incompetence?

  10. Gil Gamesh

    Good lord. Independent Voters a Hurdle for BO. So, the NYT is providing fodder for Obama’s brain trust to steer his political theater center-right yada yada. Attending to the 2012 POTUS Farce is like watching excrement harden in the noon-day sun. No, not as edifying, come to think.

    1. Jim

      Bush won in 2004 because his base came out in droves. Bush was their messiah.

      Unless his base feels the same way about him, President Obama will not be reelected.

  11. Susan the other

    Abigail Field’s Part II was so good. I love her. Beginning to sound like a good case for impeachment. Just wondering what happens to a president if he is being impeached in the middle of his campaign for a second term?

    1. YankeeFrank

      But who is gonna impeach him? Not the repugs for sure, at least not for rule of law abuses in support of corporate fraudsters. Maybe if he took his willie out in an inconvenient place… or if he stopped jailing American citizens to keep the private prison profit system afloat… but certainly not for supporting their own paymasters.

      1. tom allen

        The whole damn lot — in all three branches — should be impeached and tried in a truth and reconciliation commission for allowing torture, assassination, covert surveillance, and other unconstitutional acts (not to mention war crimes) to go on unchecked.

        1. Doug Terpstra

          Let me fix that: “truth and retribution commission”. Crime requires punishment or the law is toothless and moot.

  12. Foppe

    The Dutch government has just been reminded that thanks to an agreement made between the last neoliberal coalition and the EC, the current neoliberal coalition (which is loving this, but can’t say this out loud) will be expected to cut another €7B/year (some 3% gdp iirc) off the budget.
    Who said policy should be adapted to fit current macroeconomic conditions? Convergence criteria go!

  13. llyod blankstein

    Given that the internet is built on libertarian model, I am surprised people of this blog did not strongly support SOPA.

  14. barrisj

    Anybody surprised?

    blockquote>Perry bows out of GOP race, seeing ‘no viable path to victory’
    Reporting from North Charleston, S.C.—

    Texas Gov. Rick Perry abruptly quit the Republican presidential race Thursday and threw his support behind Newt Gingrich, a move aimed at slowing Mitt Romney’s drive toward the GOP nomination.

    “I have come to the conclusion that there is no viable path to victory for my candidacy in 2012,” said Perry, his expression taut as he read from a prepared statement before an audience consisting of reporters who rushed to scene for the surprise announcement.

    Acknowledging past differences with Gingrich, Perry nevertheless described the former House speaker as “a conservative visionary who can transform our country.”
    {more…if readers are up to it]

    http://www.latimes.com/news/politics/la-pn-rick-perry-formally-exits-presidential-race-20120119,0,7617992.story?track=icymi

    My God, has it only been a few months that this podunk dickhead announced his candidacy and EVERYBODY declared the
    git an absolute dead cert as President in 2012? All it took was his first “debate” appearance to dispel THAT bit of nonsense. “Stop Romney”? Huh?

  15. David

    On an unrelated topic, does anyone know what happened to JW Mason’s Slackwire blog? I went to check it today, and it seems to have been disappeared. Is he writing somewhere else or …

  16. Foppe

    Dutch National Bank has just suggested in a press release that they are aware of the fact that ‘the single currency makes it difficult if not impossible for the Southern European states to become more competitive, and that this is one of the main causes of the Eurocrisis.’ So is to admit it criminally late better than to never admit it at all?

  17. kevinearick

    The Traveling Salesman Problem: Children

    Building the same widget function more efficiently, at less realized accounting cost, with greater unrecognized misdirection cost, legacy profit fed by agency loss, and building a more effective process at less real cost to release energy, for the invention of widgets to open new economic horizons, are completely different economies, existing across a looking glass relay, of lawfully conforming social nonconformance.

    Calculus steps off the unknown curve in smaller and smaller integrals to distill the key to each event horizon, where speciation “appears” to occur. At threshold, the latter pulls in the implicit relay.

    Healthcare, like everything else in the efficient empire, attempts to adapt the environment to equal outcomes, rather than adapting to the environment. The empire seeks to be the environment. In the beginning, the embryo requires massive relative energy and materials timed to entry for proper transcription, and the starting point is relative to parental behavior. Everything else is derivative.

    Healthcare operates exactly backwards, chasing symptoms among the ponzi bred retirement community. The last place you want to birth children is in a ponzi corporate hospital, run by an ever increasing myriad of anxious civil unions to the end of paying themselves in OPM, in a positive feedback loop of loops, stealing the money to justify it later.

    What did she pay, $1.2M or something, to birth her baby? Mass entertainment is about avoiding self/responsibility, spending the dumbest money possible as an example to others, actors acting for actors, and copyrighting the result. Corporate babies are born in a bubble, raised in a bubble, and produce bubbles, creating the bubble economy in aggregate.

    The planet has a selection process, which, of course, the empire must argue that it can short. The centrifuge distills activation energy in quantum bits to reach the next threshold, as the derivative spoil grows, building social spring pressure. Most cannot properly care for their pets, but believe they may serve as peer parents.

    Never attempt to solve yesterday’s problem; prepare to solve tomorrow’s problem, which will be yesterday’s problem in a new dress, transcribed. We pay the legacy families for relevant historical investments, to remove the DNA spoil. Naturally, they attempt to control the drilling process by controlling the spoil pile.

    If your bit has two edges at the tip and you want to expand the circuit in the next pass, you follow with at least 3, depending upon the terrain, marginal direction, and spoil removal. Prime numbers minimize your overhead as you build your bit of bits. Never expect agency working for bipolar bipolar spoil, to understand what is required to drill directionally through granite. A jury of peers is relative to the implementing authority.

    How many children you have, how the resulting fulcrum of behavior balances the growing community determines adaptive capability. Replicating the empire into cancer is not rocket science; raising a functional family is, from the perspective of DNA, the goal, distilling intelligence in a vacuum created by ignorance.

    So, the couple drops keys from each side of the centrifuge into the neutral zone to complete the new waveform, drilling the new event horizon, with increasing support from the community, beyond the knowledge of the empire, to open the NPV window for equitable trade of surplus, depending upon negative planetary feedback to distill a network of communities, with a density/expansion spoil relationship.

    For those who want it on a business card, here it is, AGAIN:

    IF YOU HAVE A PROBLEM WITH MY CHILDREN, COME TO ME DIRECTLY. OTHERWISE, YOUR ECONOMY WILL CRASH. THE EMPIRE IS STUPID, BY DESIGN. OR BET THAT YOU ARE A BETTER ENTERPRISE ARCHITECT. THE EMPIRE IS NOT IN A POSITION TO MAKE ME DO ANYTHING; IT IS NOT A PARENT.

    DO NOT ENSLAVE OPC, OTHER PEOPLE’S CHILDREN, TO YOUR CAUSE, UNLESS YOU WANT YOUR ECONOMY TO CRASH. EFFECTIVE PARENTS CAN DRILL WITH NO SPILL IF NECESSARY, FOR MUCH LONGER THAN THE EMPIRE’S MARKET CAN BE IRRATIONAL.

    The Fed can give the IMF all your money it wants to…

  18. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    A number of people have commented that they need help in reading your posts.

    I thought I’d give a try with helping them.

    I take the folloing paragraph

    Calculus steps off the unknown curve in smaller and smaller integrals to distill the key to each event horizon, where speciation “appears” to occur. At threshold, the latter pulls in the implicit relay.

    And using Google Translate frist into Hebrew, then Arabic, then Filipino, then Swahilli, then Basque, then Estonian, finally back to English to see if it would help them. This is what I got:

    The Calculated curves are less comprehensive and More Useful Time Machine is an event known as the horizon, Where speciation is ‘It’ It looks That “Everything Happens. Finally, with a clear message

    —–

    Here is the raw data, which is a must in all scientific conversations:

    חשבון יורד עקומת ידוע אינטגרלים קטנים יותר ויותר כדי לזקק את המפתח האופק כל אירוע, בו התפצלות “מופיע” להתרחש. בשלב הסף, הלה מושך ממסר מרומז

    يقع منحنى حساب التكاملات المعروفة هي أصغر حجما وأكثر لتقطير مفتاح كل أفق الحدث, حيث انتواع “يظهر” أن يحدث. على العتبة, وهذا الأخير يجذب الرسالة الضمنية

    Kinalkula curve integrals kilala ay ay mas maliit at IBA PA magdistila you lahat ng mga abot you wolf-tanaw kaganapan, kung ang get speciation “lumilitaw” mangyari. You hangganan, Huli ang ang umaakit implicit mensahe

    Curve integrals in mahesabu inajulikana ndogo zaidi na kwa kwa Distill muhimu upeo tukio yote wa macho, ambapo speciation in “inaonekana” kutokea. Mpaka, mwisho huvutia ujumbe thabiti

    Kalkulatutako sad ezaguna integralak dira txikiagoak ETA gehiago erabilgarria Distill gertaera Horizonte, non speciation da “dirudi,” denak gertatuko. , Azkenik, koherentea mezua arte erakartzen

    The calculated curves are less comprehensive and more useful time machine known as an event horizon, where speciation is “It seems that” everything happens. Finally, with a clear message

  19. Mentalic

    Megaupload site closed…

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/20/technology/indictment-charges-megaupload-site-with-piracy.html?_r=1

    http://www.theverge.com/2012/1/19/2719223/megaupload-criminal-copyright-justice-department-conspiracy

    More than that, look at the charges..
    “Those charges also come with some potentially hefty prison sentences, including a maximum 20 years for conspiracy to commit racketeering, five years for copyright infringement, 20 years for money laundering, and five years for each of the substantive charges of criminal copyright infringement”

    If only, similar or worse charges could be issued to our banking overlords…for a crime they did which was worse than what this site did…destroying people’s lives

  20. Jesse

    And what are they going to do if they win? Ask NATO to send in tanks? Please.

    Yves. Please don’t give them any ideas.

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