Monthly Archives: February 2012

Mark Ames: Why is Ron Paul’s Superpac Headquartered in Mitt Romney’s Backyard?

By Mark Ames, the author of Going Postal: Rage, Murder and Rebellion from Reagan’s Workplaces to Clinton’s Columbine. Cross posted from The eXiled

Last week it finally started to dawn on the slow-as-Stegosaurs media: Why is Ron Paul going so soft on frontrunner Mitt Romney, his natural ideological opposite? Dr. Paul has been flaying every other candidate, particularly when that candidate threatens Romney’s front-runner status—why is Ron Paul so protective over internationalist/neocon Rockefeller Republican, Mitt Romney? Does this point to some sort of alliance between the two? And if so, doesn’t that raise further disturbing questions about the supposed rock-solid-principles guiding Ron Paul’s campaign?


Satyajit Das: Pravda The Economist’s Take on Financial Innovation

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)

In the old Soviet Union, Pravda, the official news agency, set the standard for “truth” in reporting. Discriminating readers needed to be adroit in sifting the words to discern the facts that lay beneath. Readers of The Economist’s “Special Report on Financial Innovation” (published on 23 February 2012) would do well to equip themselves with similar skills in disambiguation.


Cathy O’Neil: Economists Don’t Understand the Financial System (Quelle Surprise!)

By Cathy O’Neil, a data scientist who lives in New York City and writes at

A bit more than a week ago I went to a panel discussion at the Met about the global financial crisis. The panel consisted of Paul Krugman, Edmund Phelps, Jeffrey Sachs, and George Soros. They were each given 15 minutes to talk about what they thought about the Eurocrisis, especially Greece, the U.S., and whatever else they felt like.

It was well worth the $25 admission fee, but maybe not for the reason I would have thought when I went. I ended up deciding something I’ve suspected before. Namely, economists don’t understand the financial system, and moreover they don’t get that they don’t get it. Let me explain my reasoning.


Brace Yourself for Election-Driven Enforcement Theater: Token Roughing Up of Crisis Bad Banksters, While Corzine Gets a Free Pass

It’s bad enough that we are being subjected to relentless propaganda about how housing is just about to turn the corner and the state-Federal mortgage settlement is such a great deal for homeowners. In fact, as we’ve stressed, and bond investors such as Pimco have reiterated, the deal is above all a back door bailout of the banks.

But to add insult to injury, the chump public will be given bread and circuses enforcement theater to distract it from the fact that the banks are getting a sweetheart deal.


Yet Another Mortgage Scam: Homeowners Not Getting Cancelled Notes After Foreclosures, Hit by Later Claims

As we’ve discussed the “where’s the note?” problem of mortgage securitizations, some readers who are old enough to have sold a home more than once have said that while they’d gotten a cancelled mortgage note back on their first sale, on a more recent one, they hadn’t. They were concerned, and as this post will show, they are right to be.


Philip Pilkington: Vote or Die! – The Coming Irish Election Blackmail

By Philip Pilkington, a journalist and writer living in Dublin, Ireland

Vote or die muth#%#^*#, muth#%#^*# vote or die,
Rock the vote or else I’m gonna stick a knife through your eye,
Democracy is founded on one simple rule,
Get out there and vote or I will muth#%#^*# kill you.

– P. Diddy ‘Vote or Die

The Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny has announced that a referendum will be called so that the Irish people can vote on the new and oh-so-suicidal fiscal compact.


Adam Davidson Praises Economic Exploitation

There has been so much news on the mortgage beat the last few weeks that I managed to neglect one of my missions, which is my personal Ben Stein watch on Adam Davidson, who operates as the Lord Haw Haw for the 1% in his column in the Sunday New York Times Magazine.

His latest piece, “Why Are Harvard Graduates in the Mailroom?” is more accurately titled “In Praise of Exploitation.”


Philip Pilkington: Sexual Politics and Child’s Play – The Absurdity of Game Theory

By Philip Pilkington, a journalist and writer living in Dublin, Ireland

I prefer the company of peasants because they have not been educated sufficiently to reason incorrectly.

– Michel de Montaigne

The so-called ‘games’ depicted in game theory include some particularly disingenuous and evasive intellectual constructions.


Michael Hudson: 2,181 Italians Pack a Sports Arena to Learn Modern Monetary Theory – The Economy Doesn’t Need to Suffer Neoliberal Austerity

By Michael Hudson, a research professor of Economics at University of Missouri, Kansas City and a research associate at the Levy Economics Institute of Bard College

I have just returned from Rimini, Italy, where I experienced one of the most amazing spectacles of my academic life. Four of us associated with the University of Missouri at Kansas City (UMKC) were invited to lecture for three days on Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) and explain why Europe is in such monetary trouble today – and to show that there is an alternative, that the enforced austerity for the 99% and vast wealth grab by the 1% is not a force of nature.


Chris Cook: The Oil End Game

By Chris Cook, former compliance and market supervision director of the International Petroleum Exchange. Cross posted from Asia Times

The end game is about to begin. On the one hand you have the noise and rhetoric. Greedy speculators gouging gasoline prices; mad mullahs preparing to wipe Israel off the map; bunker buster bombs and fleets being positioned; huge demand for oil from the BRIC countries; China’s insatiable thirst for oil; the oil price will head for $200 a barrel and will never again fall below $130 …

On the other hand you have the reality.


Matt Stoller: Wall Street Fixer Rodge Cohen – Big Banks’ Key to American Global Dominance

By Matt Stoller, the former Senior Policy Advisor to Rep. Alan Grayson and a fellow at the Roosevelt Institute. You can reach him at stoller (at) or follow him on Twitter at @matthewstoller. Cross posted from New Deal 2.0.

Sometimes finance executives let slip the way they really feel: that they hold the world in the palm of their hands.

It’s not often that the people in charge admit what is really going on: a global game for political dominance.