Links 3/9/09

Chimps craft ultimate fishing rod BBC

Free Advice: Watch the Mail and Opt Out of Verizon Sharing Your Personal Data Gizmodo.

Obama Disses Economics Blogs Joe Weisenthal, Clusterstock. Several readers pointed to this, but I take it differently than most do. The very fact that he mentioned econ blogs (and tried to downplay them) must mean his advisors perceive there to be pressure from them. Some very influential people (Krugman is the top of the list) haven’t been too kind to Team Obama’s policies (although he is more measured than a lot of other critics).

Why You Need Devaluation – An Open Letter To The People Of Estonia Edward Hugh (hat tip reader Tim)

Too Big Has Failed Thomas Hoenig (president of the KC Fed, hat tip reader Hubert). Short and a must read. Backs nationalization (as in taking over, cleaning up, breaking up when needed, and reprivatizing banks, according to clear principles). A short and important read.

A Quick Note on Bank Liabilities Baseline Scenario (hat tip reader Richard)

BofA withdraws job offers to foreign MBAs Financial Times

The shadow financial system – as illustrated in three new papers that cut through the London fog Brad Setser (hat tip reader Steve A)

In hard times, more U.S. women try to sell their eggs Reuters (hat tip reader michael t)

China luxury hotel glut too much of good thing Chicago Tribune (hat tip reader Michael)

ITEX Payment Systems: a Small Business Community and Barter Network (hat tip reader Bill). Zeitgeist watch.

World Bank Says Global Economy Will Shrink in ’09 New York Times. This is a very big deal. Developing economies typically have much higher growth rates than advanced economies, so an aggregate negative number is serious indeed (not that this is a surprise, mind you, but the officialdom does not generally say that it anticipates a train wreck).

Thanks to the Bank it’s a crisis; in the eurozone it’s a total catastrophe Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph

Antidote du jour (hat tip reader jb) This is enough to make me consider living in Minnesota, expect I spent part of my childhood in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and man, are the winters brutal.

A baby moose was in distress in a creek in Minnesota .

A man got him out of the creek; tried to find the mother & send him on his way, but eventually the moose stumbled back into the creek & was rescued again.

The baby moose followed the man home. The man has only a small cabin so he took the moose to another neighbor, who took these photos.

They took the moose the next day to a woman who looks after wild animals & she put it in a pen with a rescued fawn.

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  1. Richard Smith

    Obama on blogs – yes, he may be experiencing cognitive dissonance. That would be a start.

  2. Anonymous

    Trying to sink the euro to save the pound? AEP again at it with his last piece: “Thanks to the Bank it’s a crisis; in the eurozone it’s a total catastrophe”

    He writes that “Spain’s agony is already well advanced. Industrial output has fallen 24pc.” all because of the euro. And what about Japan (-31pc), Korea (-26pc), Russia (-16pc), Brazil (-15pc)? Also Euro-zone members?

    The further the pound slides into the abyss, the more hysterical AEP’s propaganda becomes.

  3. Minh

    Obama Disses Economics Blogs Joe Weisenthal, Clusterstock. Several readers pointed to this, but I take it differently than most do. The very fact that he mentioned econ blogs (and tried to downplay them) must mean his advisors perceive there to be pressure from them. Some very influential people (Krugman is the top of the list) haven’t been too kind to Team Obama’s policies (although he is more measured than a lot of other critics).
    The other day seeing you in CNN, I’ve got the impression that TPTB represented by the MSM is trying “if you can’t beat them, join them”. They failed to realize the fact that because of their intentionally distorted view of reality, they’ve lost their credibility. When a news-paid-per lost that, it’s finished, like the NYT.

    The comming collapse of TPTB will only formalize that status.

    So as always, i wish you to continue speaking the truth as you see it.

  4. gordon

    “A Quick Note On Bank Liabilities” is actually about bondholders and is a valuable piece – I recommend it. I’m beginning to use treatment of bondholders as a touchstone to evaluate the various nationalisations schemes around, and not much to my surprise I find most of them very bondholder-friendly.

  5. Minh

    I find most of them very bondholder-friendly.
    The bondholders trusted the banks. The banks lent the money to the average Americans, who consumed it and won’t pay back. The US government borrow from abroad/future generation, or print, to give back the bondholders the money that has been lost.

    Its seem just as far as the bondholders see it. But the average Americans may not, and won’t pay the tax needed to keep this working. The government thus is forced to print (QE) The currency is worth less, but that is done by all CBs around the world. Gold and silver jump to the roof.

    But return to the question, could the newly printed money create jobs ? and competitive job in the global market place ? If not, then the next step is protectionism and that’s the next shoe to drop in the road to globalization.

    Which leads me to the conclusion that country which are self-reliant and have plenty of energy and agricultural resources will be the one to ride through this crises relatively unharmed.

  6. Timo

    Ambrose is the high priest of New Eastern Island. “BELIEVE ME! EVERYWHERE ELSE IT IS MUCH WORSE! WE ARE FINE!” :)

    Somebody please just open that bottom valve of UK and let her sink gracefully into Atlantic…

  7. Richard Kline

    So Yves, my reaction to Pres O’s comments against ‘bloggers’ calling for nationalization were much like yours, only moreso. The fact that he mentioned this in the context of an important interview means that the blog content had to have come up _in his daily briefing_. That is major. I dropped you some remarks in an email, but part of what I said there is that powerful commentators shape the space of debate; they make ideas ‘possible’ by making them known and in that sense ‘credible.’ Amongst such commentators I place blogs because contexts such as NC have maximal visibility, and amongst a fairly put-together demographic. Nothing here or in any one place can _dominate_ debate. The thing is to stretch the space of debate to include perspectives not otherwise given voice. Many blogs are heavily for nationalization of zombie banks; indeed, the phrase really gained currency on blogs such as yours. Most blogs and online contexts are heavily against the bank stealout which is ongoing.

    Bo Prez is feeling the heat that he bothers to talk down a specific section of the commentariat; turn up the flame, sez I until he gets off the position he’s sittin’ on.

    I had read Hoenig’s remarks elsewhere, and I was very impressed. He was succinct, on the money, and didn’t hedge his call _at all_, and given his stature that is highly meaningful. The ‘generals’ of government finance are beginning to have more than qualms about the grand strategy of Paulson-Geither-Summers. Bon. It’s the thrid day in the Battle of the Somme, financialwise, and we’re patzing along like the toffs of old. We’re fighting the wrong war the wrong way for the wrong people for the wrong reasons. And that’s just wrong. Hoenig wants to right that. Right on, sez I.

  8. Richard Kline

    Oh, and re: Krugman, his feet are moving backward on where he stands in relation to Prez O. Krug has a defined perspective, and he advocates tirelessly for it, but he’s not stupid, and is results oriented. He turned critical of Obama’s weak-knees several weeks ago. It wasn’t only that the stimulus effort, to which he is wholly committed, was in his view a half-measure, he has specifically—and finally—turned highly critical of the Executive’s coddling of the banksters. In a column last week he was—Alors!—deeply critical of the action and intent of Ben Bernanke on the banks. About frickin’ time since Bernanke was doing exactly the same things last fall when Krug was defending him in pixels. Like I said, Krugman isn’t stupid, particularly when his intelligence is being insulted. And that last phrase best sums up Obama’s financial crisis policy to date: he’s insulting our intelligence. And that’s gonna cost him if he doesn’t get smart quick.

  9. Independent Accountant

    I know at the very least some of “Authorities” read Skeptical CPA: the SEC, Fed, DOJ and Japan’s MOF. Do they care about what they read? I doubt it, until they see millions of peasants in the street screaming for a repeal of the Federal Reserve Act.

  10. Robert Helgason

    I read recently (i think it was on this blog) that the reserve requirement had become largely ineffective as banks could simply borrow money to fill their reserves. Could somone point me in the right direction to get details on how this is done — and if this really is the case?

  11. Anonymous


    At almost -2% against the euro and the dollar, it looks like the pound is indeed sinking today..

  12. artichoke

    I hear from Chinese that China is not having problems. I hear from Germany that their Christmas merchandise was not discounted.

    No, ladies and gentlemen, our problem is right here in River City. Don’t let them distract you to think it is elsewhere. The rest of the world is much better protected than are American peasants (that includes those who enjoy styling themselves “middle class”.)

    And with Buffett reportedly calling for the US to guarantee explicitly all bank debts, the agenda is out in the open. Obama is trying to tamp down dissent and reasoning in the blogs in support of the agenda.

    What happens next? I don’t know!

  13. Anonymous

    Dear Yves et al

    I enjoy your website very much; that cough you here from time to time in the back of the virtual room belongs to me as I listen to your and your colleagues’ very informative discussions.

    However, as much as I enjoy the ‘antidote du jour’ I feel compelled to speak out. You seem to be under the impression that these self-described ‘rescuers’ are helping the animal. THEY ARE NOT HELPING! It is not unusual for moose to spend their time in swamps, creeks, etc. etc. As for ‘orphaned’ baby moose, fawns etc. they are probably anything but, and the so-called ‘rescue’ may fail: young animals have died even in the care of the wildlife service. Add to this the unpleasant fact that the so-called ‘rescued’ animal will likely only be condemned to a lifetime in captivity. Just as you cannot learn to be a human being from a doe, neither can a fawn (baby moose) learn to be a deer (moose) from a human being.

    Growing up in Nova Scotia, I have been taught since childhood to ‘leave them alone’ if I should ever encounter young wildlife. But don’t take my word for it! Here is a link to someone official.

    John Girvan is Fish and Wildlife officer in Leduc, Alberta. I found the above link where you will find there an article entitled “Orphaned Wildlife? Not!”

  14. Eleanor

    Thanks to global warming, the winters in Minnesota are far milder than they used to be. Our moose will probably have to move north into Ontario.

    The moose calf is very cute. Though not as cute as the rat with teddy bear.

  15. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    I read once, before I decided that they were just a bunch of dictator wannabees and if they are not fascists today, it’s becuase the opportunities haven’t presented themselves…in any ways, I read once before on the Huffingtonpost, that Obama was very zen.

    Here is one Zen story.

    A novice monk went to the master and asked about the Way and how to enter it.

    They started talking. The master had many questions and the novice had an answer to each of them.

    Then the master asked if he wanted a cup of tea. Sure, why not, said the novice monk. It will help me meditate. Keep me awake.

    The master started to pour him some tea until it started to overflow his cup. Then, at that point, the young monk started to scream, ‘enough, enough!’

    ‘Why did you do that for,’ he asked.

    The master said nothing, becuase masters were like that.

    But we Naked Capitalism readers have the advantage of knowing that if your cup is already full, then you can’t add something good to it. There is no need for me to pour you more tea.

    So, I would say 1) Huntingtonpost is not worth visiting, for me at least, and 2) Obama is not a zen man.

  16. john bougearel

    On Obama dissing blogs,

    While I have nothing against Obama personally…It is a good thing he doesn’t get my financial newsletter. I began the year actually hopeful the new admin would either do some serious house-cleaning with the banksters, AIG, and CDSs or that there would the new admin could at least provide a pseudo-pyschological lift to the stock market. But I was quickly dispelled of that delusion by the second week of Feb.

    Here are my top five titles railing against the new administrations failure to act and more (these are not in any particular order).

    1) Obama’s Stimulus and Bad Bank Proposals Threaten to Sabotage Inauguration Low

    2)“Hey Obama, Do You Think Could Get Your Paws off the Stock Market
    For a Moment, You Are Choking it to Death”

    3) Thank God Equity Investors Can Put Obama’s 1st 30 days Behind Us

    4)Stock Market Has Rated Obama’s Stimulus Package and Other Initiatives a Failure

    5)The Stock Market is an Obamanation: What Would FDR Do?

    According to Weisenthal the NYT alleges that “[Obama] said he did not find blogs to be reliable…”

    Here is my take: My clients probably find my newsletter a helluva lot more credible than O’s first 50 days in office!~

    If Weisenthal and others would like to see these articles on a popular blog so as to add a little more thorniness to his already uncomfortable presidency, why let me know.

  17. Anonymous

    I think Obama is dissing economic blogs in public to encourage us to become louder and more pressing. There needs to be strong truth telling developed by economic blogs to expose the economic lies and propoganda put out by the fascist MSM.

    And we need Yves at the front slicing and dicing like none other.

  18. Anonymous

    Beyond Wall St., Losses Spill Over
    The Washington Post also writes, "Beyond Wall St., Losses Spill Over," which is subtitled, "Long Regarded as Safe, Money-​Market Funds Are Pulled Into Peril." It says, "[​T]​he safety of money-​market funds has helped shape the decisions of federal regulators about which financial companies to save, according to people familiar with the government'​s thinking. The funds had relatively little exposure to Lehman, which the government allowed to file for bankruptcy. By contrast, the funds hold large quantities of debt issued by mega-​insurer American International Group, a key reason that the Federal Reserve intervened Tuesday to stave off the firm'​s bankruptcy by taking control of it and offering it an $​85 billion emergency loan….

    >> Investors held $3.58 trillion in money-market funds as of Sept. 10, according to the Investment Company Institute, a trade group. In a research note Tuesday, a Bank of America analyst said that number could drop sharply.

    >> Now see: Money Fund Assets Rise to $3.906 Trillion

  19. Anonymous

    Sorry I’m not buying it. To save the money funds there must have been a more efficient way than spilling out all those billions to AIG’s CDS counterparties.

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