Links 11/19/08

Texas grand jury indicts Cheney, Gonzales of crime Reuters

World’s Most Conscientious Customer Completes Botched Software Purchase Over A Year Later [Above And Beyond] Consumerist

China moves to stem mass layoffs BBC (hat tip reader Michael)

China’s Workers Head Home Jobless The Straits Times (hat tip reader Michael)

Naomi Klein: The Borderline Illegal Deals Behind the $700 Billion Bailout AlterNet. All the things that Klein is exercised about were previously commented on here. The open question is whether her diatribe gets these issues treated more seriously.

Facing a Slowdown, China’s Auto Industry Presses for a Bailout From Beijing New York Times

The Professor’s Pop Quiz: Who Controls A.I.G.? Dealbook, New York Times

Advantage of Corporate Bankruptcy Is Dwindling New York Times. We had written earlier that the difficulty of getting debtor in possession (“DIP”) financing meant that a lot of bankruptcies that would in the past have been done as Chapter 11 (meaning the company would continue operating in some form) will now be liquidations. And that will make the downturn more severe. The issue is finally starting to get traction in the mainstream media.

Greece braces for shipping storm Reuters (hat tip reader Dean)

American Express Delinquencies Hit 4.4%, Defaults 6.96% Michael Shedlock

Is the US Too Big to Fail? Carmen Reinhart, Kenneth Rogoff

Antidote du jour: From Cute Zoo Animals Eating Birthday Cake, Huffington Post (hat tip reader Carrick):

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  1. ndk

    As a nit, I don’t think this particular financial doom article has Rogoff as co-author.

    I’m finally hearing loud anecdotal reports from my Chinese colleagues and friends about severe job losses. They’re heavily concentrated in IT/development. Some companies there have liquidated entirely — well, more disbanded, as they had no assets other than people anyway — and others have summarily fired upwards of 60% of staff.

    Many are scared, and indeed, packing it in for the countryside. Life in the countryside there is not nearly so bad as we commonly conceive, and it’s not isolated at all. Frankly, it’s about the same standard as your average underclass city-dweller. but the farmland is fallow. They, like most people in those small towns scattered across the interior countryside, probably just won’t do much of anything.

    Also, this bust is heavily concentrated on the coasts and export sectors. The cities that are more isolated, like Chengdu, aren’t suffering at all yet.

  2. River

    Off Topic: Yves, here is a recent CPI release courtesy of Bloomberg…

    Consumer Prices in U.S. Decline 1%, Most on Record (Update2)

    …snip…'Consumer prices plunged 1 percent last month, more than forecast and the most since records began in 1947, after being unchanged the prior month, the Labor Department said in Washington. Excluding food and energy, so-called core prices unexpectedly fell for the first time since 1982.'…snip…

  3. Anonymous

    A prominent blogger in China discusses the difference the internet has made in the processing of scandals in his blog Roland Soong’s EastSouthWestNorth.

    “You will note the role of western media has been eliminated from the process model… If once upon a time western media coverage, which affects the opinion of western politicians and citizens, mattered to the Chinese people, this is no longer the case.

    In the political realm, the Chinese people no longer have to believe in the rhetoric of freedom, liberty, democracy, sovereignty and human rights. The war in Iraq, the Abu Ghraib prison, the Guantanamo camp, hurricane Katrina and other misconduct took care of all that. Why would the Chinese people be interested in what American president George W. Bush have to preach to them about freedom, liberty, democracy, sovereignty and human rights? When the western media invoke those terms, the reaction from the Chinese people is: “Look within yourselves and fix your own problems first!”

    In the economic realm, the financial tsunami of 2008 took care of any credibility in the Washington consensus. In its place was an as-yet-undefined Beijing consensus which has less specifics than the general idea of self-determination. Why would the Chinese people be interested in what Alan Greenspan and Henry Paulson have to tell them about how to run their economy when they have failure on their hands?”

  4. Shawn H

    WAYNE — Ken Pool is making good money. On weekdays, he shows up at 7 a.m. at Ford Motor Co.’s Michigan Truck Plant in Wayne, signs in, and then starts working — on a crossword puzzle. Pool hates the monotony, but the pay is good: more than $31 an hour, plus benefits.

    “We just go in and play crossword puzzles, watch videos that someone brings in or read the newspaper,” he says. “Otherwise, I’ve just sat.”

    Pool is one of more than 12,000 American autoworkers who, instead of installing windshields or bending sheet metal, spend their days counting the hours in a jobs bank set up by Detroit automakers and Delphi Corp. as part of an extraordinary job security agreement with the United Auto Workers union.

    The jobs bank programs were the price the industry paid in the 1980s to win UAW support for controversial efforts to boost productivity through increased automation and more flexible manufacturing.

  5. doc holiday

    China has taught panda bears how to use mortars in the war on capitalism… great. I guess that panda is working for China’s Bernanke, who is doing all he can to destroy America and capitalism, without the use of panda-backed arms: Great war we have here between the capitalists and communists!

    Federal Reserve Chairman (General) Ben S. Bernanke said the central bank won’t disclose details of the $2 trillion in emergency loans of taxpayer funds because doing so would stigmatize banks needing the money.

    “Some have asked us to reveal the names of the banks that are borrowing, how much they are borrowing, what collateral they are posting,” Bernanke said today to the House Financial Services Committee. “We think that’s counterproductive.”

  6. Tortoise

    This was a decent article on Greek shipping, the industry and the effect of the current crisis. Yes, the Greek economy has benefited tremendously from the boom in shipping (even more than the numbers mentioned in the article). The bust will destroy the late-comers to the party and those who lost their heads and overextended themselves during the happy times. The traditional shipping houses were scratching their heads that the boom lasted for so long and have cash set aside to buy ships at one quarter their cost of replacement.

    Typically, booms last shorter periods than busts. The last boom was extremely profitable and lured a lot of newcomers, who will most likely be crashed during what promises to be at least a typical brutal downturn.

    Real estate in Athens will be affected, particularly the most expensive segment. A condominium that in 2000 would be valued at 400,000 euros was sold last summer for 4,000,000 euros. The fall in prices will be spectacular.

  7. Anonymous

    Cheney's office declined comment. "We have not received any indictments. I can't comment on something we have not received," said Cheney's spokeswoman Megan Mitchell.

    >> I'm sure once she does read the indictment, she will say, no comment ….

  8. Anonymous

    Solution that might work

    Pay GM to crash a brand new car into a brand new house. Make sure there is nothing left.

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