Links 11/24/09

American Express takes aim at PayPal with Revolution Raw Story (hat tip reader John D)

S&P raises fears over health of some banks Financial Times

Pimco’s Gross Increases Government Debt to Most in Five Years Bloomberg. Gross has been talking inflation but betting on deflation.

Paul B. Farrell: 15 signs Wall Street pathology is spreading MarketWatch

Summers Dead Wrong on Cause of Crisis Economists for Firing Larry Summers

Obama’s Nice Guy Act Gets Him Nowhere on the World Stage Der Spiegel. Today’s must read.

Antidote du jour, from reader Mark, who said, “I took this picture last October at the Mala Mala game preserve in South Africa. I was about 5 feet away from him/her as I exited my tent.”


Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. Carrick

    Re: Yesterdays link to th Denver Post article about a man living without money in a cave

    Here is the website of Daniel Suelo (the moneyless ‘cave dweller’ in Moab)

    Its design looks like a lot of crack pot’s websites, but there’s some interesting stuff there — particularly anecdotes about how he survives, a long FAQ page, how friends and strangers respond(ed) to his choice, and general thought on wanting and having.

  2. BDBlue

    Interesting story about Obama’s Asia trip. However, I have a nit to pick, while the Iranian crisis certainly hurt Jimmy Carter, I don’t know how anyone – other than Newt Gingrich pushing his policy approach – can see the 1980 election as simply a referendum of Jimmy Carter being soft internationally when the country had a terrible economy with incredibly high interest rates. Bad economy almost always spells electoral disaster. If Obama really wants to avoid being seen as Jimmy Carter (or Herbert Hoover, which I think is more likely at this point), he needs to remember that.

    1. DownSouth

      I agree.

      The whole column seems more like a reiteration of neocon shibboleths than anything else.

      What makes polemics like this so beguiling is that they include just enough truth to give them the appearance of truthfulness.

      Obama is indeed spineless. And he does not represent the interests of a majority of Americans.

      But to successfully deal with a recalcitrant China the president needs the power to place the American consumer market off-limits to the Chinese.

      And to successfully deal with a recalcitrant Israel he needs the power to withdraw all economic and military aid from Israel.

      Solve the China and Israel problems and the Iran situation becomes much more manageable.

      Obama’s hands are pretty much tied, however, in dealing with China and Israel. But this is a wound America has inflicted upon itself, a product of domestic US politics. Obama’s “weakness,” therefore, has little to do with the neocon one-size-fits-all solution, which is the projection of military violence around the globe.

      This column fits the neocon pattern to a tee: neocon appeals are always to pride and ego—the perpetuation of the myth of American exceptionalism–and not to more pragmatic concerns like jobs, national security or rational self-interest. You’d think that after Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan the American people would have learned to tell people like Gingrich to go shove it up where the sun doesn’t shine.

      Unfortunately way too many Americans are trying to relive past glories, either that or have become captive to the American security-military complex.

  3. Kevin de Bruxelles

    The Der Spiegel piece focuses on Obama public presentation which in reality is irrelevant to almost everyone except the media. International relations are not normally conducted in public realm although occasion grandstanding stunts do take place. In fact the Obama “nice-guy” facade would be very effective if it were covering for a hard-driving Machiavellian bastard behind the scenes. The idea that now Obama will need to change to a “tough-guy” facade obscures the ultimate truth – there is nothing about the US relationship with China that he really wants to change.

    Because Obama and his people are not stupid; they know if they want something from China they must either offer carrots (persuasion) or threaten sticks (coercion) to make China budge. And with China coercion is easy; we know what they want – access to US markets; and we have the power to take that access away from them. The problem is one of basic political will – not presentation. President Bush showed the limits of acting tough in public but not carrying a big stick behind the scenes with China.

    The real story is that supposed shopping of list that Obama brought to China was just more public optics. If he really wanted any of these things he could have easily achieved them with a little old fashioned coercion. The problem is not that Obama is too nice, the problem is that he and most of our elite our complicit in encouraging the development of Chi-merica. Just watch how tough he will get in resisting the growing pressure to end Chi-merica

  4. attempter

    David Axelrod, senior advisor to the president, fielded the journalists’ questions in the hallway of the Blue House instead, telling them that the public’s expectations had been “too high.”

    Hmmm. Blaming the public’s high expectations for their own betrayals and failures is getting to be a way of life for them.

  5. DownSouth

    @ “Summers Dead Wrong on Cause of Crisis”

    I disagree with the byline on this web page, which reads:

    This blog is devoted to seeing to it that Larry Summers gets to spend more time with his family.

    I think the following would be much more appropriate:

    “This blog devoted to seeing to it that Larry Summers gets to spend the next 20 years looking at the world from behind bars.”

  6. Detlef

    I would be a bit careful with “Der Spiegel” articles written by Gabor Steingart.
    Back during the 2008 Presidential campaign I got the impression that Steingart was awfully close politically to Republicans and the McCain campaign. At least his articles in German were very sympathetic to McCain and his positions.
    There were quite a few puzzled discussions about that in German blogs since “Der Spiegel” normally is seen as center-left in Germany.

    For what it´s worth, James Fallows has written a few posts about the alleged Asia trip failure.

  7. donna

    Obama always comes off as a nice guy in public, seeming to gain little.

    But he usually seems to get what he wants in the end. ;^)

  8. donna

    I suspect Obama knows where the big sticks are hidden, too, and doesn’t see the need for actually walking around with them in hand in public.

Comments are closed.