Links 2/26/10

Citibank Shuts Down Gay Entrepreneur’s Bank Account Over Blog’s Content Washington Independent (hat tip reader John D)

‘Zombies’ have free speech rights too, US court rules Raw Story

Lost Exile: The unlikely life and sudden death of The Exile, Russia’s angriest newspaper Vanity Fair (hat tip reader

Leaked Microsoft intelligence document: Here’s what Microsoft will reveal to police about you Computerworld (hat tip reader John L)

Emergency shipment of condoms headed to Olympic athletes CBC (hat tip reader John D)

Goldman vs. Grassley on Build America Bonds Ed Harrison, Credit Writedowns

Scientists find first physiological evidence of brain’s response to inequality Science Daily (hat tip reader Paul S)

Blue Cross parent hiked rates after paying out $39 million in bonuses Raw Story (hat tip reader John D)

Swiss shun untaxed cash, seek fix to “black money” Reuters (hat tip reader Bill)

Labour shortage hits China export recovery Financial Times (hat tip reader Paul S)

Satyajit Das: Paul Volcker’s Trojan Horse Business Standard (hat tip reader MichaelC)

Dodd punts on fiduciary requirement for brokers Investment News

Ten Wall Street Blogs You Need to Bookmark Now Wall Street Journal. Several readers remarked they thought we were not give the credit due by being “ranked” eight. But the listing was alphabetical. I don’t think rebranding the blog a “Capitalism, Naked” to boost our standing would be a net plus.

Antidote du jour:


Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. attempter

    Re zombie free speech:

    What that article turned out to be about was much better than what I expected from the headline.

    Re Citi’s homophobia:

    Here’s a chance for identity politics to demonstrate that it really is a public interest movement and not just another special interest. Let’s see a union of the gay rights and Move Your Money campaigns, calling for gay people and all who despise bigotry in general to take their money out of Citi and put it in community banks and credit unions.

    I’m also looking forward to seeing the list of all the fine, upstanding persons and outfits who are Citi account holders in good standing. I’m sure we won’t find any hypocrisy at all.

    Re the top 10 blogs:

    When I first read about this at the Big Picture yesterday, for some reason Rithloz didn’t make it clear they were in alphabetical order only. :)

    1. i on the ball patriot

      Will ‘Naked’ Capitalism’s “Econned” be banned from the ipad? I’ve been a a big Apple fan in the past but I am really pissed with their latest censorship moves … here is another example of the snowballing loss of Free Speech caused by the corporate power structure that now has far more power than many nation states …


      “But the lack of bikini-clad ladies in the App Store isn’t the issue here. It’s the fact that Apple has so much market power, combined with the fact that magazine and newspaper publishers are getting pumped to produce apps for Apple’s iPad, which will be served through Apple’s tightly regulated App Store. The iPad could very well play a major role in the future of publishing, with several of the biggest book publishers already on board to sell e-books through the iPad’s iBooks store, and major publications, including Wired, already working on iPad apps to launch in the App Store.”

      More here …

      Deception is the strongest political force on the planet.

      1. BDBlue

        Yet another reason to stay with good old paper books, IMO. You can share them. You can share them without limitation or creating a record in some cloud somewhere. You can read them without creating some record.

        I’m sure there are many reasons for the move to electronic books, but DRM is one of them, IMO. And where DRM goes, freedom doesn’t (at least in my experience).

        Be a subversive read actual books!

  2. fresno dan

    Ten Wall Street Blogs You Need to Bookmark Now
    If hits are important, than just leave off “capitalism” ;)

  3. liberal

    Several readers remarked they thought we were not give the credit due by being “ranked” eight.

    IMHO this is the best finance blog. (“Finance” meaning stuff related to the banksters, and so on.)

  4. Ignim Brites

    Satyajit Das’ article suggests that Tall Paul may in the end outwit Summers/Geithner. Anything that moves the financial system toward true utility banking (which is really just cash management services) and away from TBTF is a plus. But banning proprietary trading seems to miss the point. If a bank originates a mortgage and then sells it, isn’t that proprietary trading. The real issue for the banking sector and the shadow banking sector is leveraging short term liabilities (aka deposits) for long term assets. Can that be controlled? It is based on greed, vanity and human weakness. You cannot control that.

  5. Keenan

    I don’t think rebranding the blog a “Capitalism, Naked” to boost our standing would be a net plus.

    Hmmm…. how about BareNaked Capitalism ??

    Added bonus: Rejiggering the letters a bit gives “Bernanked” and “BearNanked” which may be appropriate modifiers to describe what now passes for capitalism.

  6. Lyle

    Re the broker advice piece. This makes the answer very simple don’t trust your broker any further than you can than you can throw him/her. Likewise don’t trust real estate types on when a good time to buy is. All have conflicts of interest. Go with a brokerage that does not dispense advice. The more one reads the more the brokerages resemble the house in the great wall street casino, they win all the time. The whole gang is only out for themselves damn the customer.

  7. MichaelC

    The Taiibi piece is great.

    But, I wonder, does anyone who’s made it through one paragraph of his articles, not realize the individual writing this stuff is a fascinatingly flawed individual with a gift for making and supporting substantive arguments.

    It’s more noteworthy that a beat reporter covering a chaotic and corrupt Russia who knows firsthand about corruption,oligarchs, and human ugliness has adopted GS as his nemesis.

    The Hunter Thompson references may be apt on one level , but this gonzo journalist is covering things like Accounting and finance regs for god’s sake. Hardly comparable.

    The best (most pathetic) tut-tutting, there he goes again, put down was in yesterday’s NYT Deal book article:

    “Goldman Sachs and Mr. Taibbi are in a running dispute over the bank’s qualities as an institution, and the writer’s authority to lampoon them.”

    As if it were just some personal spat between Taibbi and the good folk at GS. ANd this was the only point the article made. The comment explains a lot about the editorial attitude at the NYT. Report on him personally,
    but for god’s sake don’t report on anything he’s talking about. Gretchen M got the memo. and Sorkin too apparently if he’s still editing the DealBook page.

    1. attempter

      What do you expect from ErrandBoy Sorkin?

      Not long ago he was sneering (I paraphrase):

      “You stupid peasants, first you wanted Goldman bailed out and returned to prosperity, and now you’re whining over their bonuses? You’re so childish!”

      I wondered then, and I’m still wondering, who (other than Krugman) are the people that ever wanted Goldman bailed out, and have since complained about the bonuses?

      I think we’re mostly the same people who thought they should’ve gone the way of Lehman in the first place.

  8. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    I believe the brain’s response to inequality evolved when the alpha male chimp had the first and best cut of the chimp from another troop they had together as a team just killed, with the other chimps looking on hungrily.

  9. EmilianoZ

    The Vanity Fair piece about the Exile is surprisingly good. It’s actually more about Mark Ames than Matt Taibbi.

    I had absolutely no idea the fall of the Soviet Union had been so hard on its ordinary citizens. At that time I was still exclusively reading the MSM. I was convinced The Economist was the greatest magazine on earth (*blushes with shame*). I guess they were busy covering up while western capitalists participated in the looting of the empire’s rotting carcass.

    Anyways, I was looking for another book to buy along with Econned to get free shipping from Amazon. Now I’ve found it: “The Exile” by Ames & Taibbi & Limonov.

  10. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Luckily for the Chinese export sector, their labor shortage was and will be matched by their order shortage.

    Everything should be in balance.

  11. Jim in MN

    I just walked into a big chain bookstore to pre-order ‘Econned’ and the lady looked thoughtful and said “wait a minute, I think we have that here.”

    She led me across the store and there on the prominent Business table were two copies of Econned! Naturally I bought both…naturally using my member discount.

    Walking back to the cashier she remarked that while the title kind of stuck with her, she definitely remembered the cover.

    I am excited….the other copy is for my Dad. He’s in his mid-70s, a Korean War vet who got his Yale PhD after going to college on the GI Bill.

    Thanks Yves! We need you!

  12. emca

    The article on Tiabbi and Ames adventures in post USSR Russian transformational mimicry of Western Democratize dysfunctional depravity might be seen as a backdrop for our current state of affairs, if anything valuable is to be taken, outside further capitulation on the phenomena.

    I quote:

    “There was kind of a suspension of disbelief in the 1990s—it may be corrupt, but it will work. The Exile spotted very perceptively that the most optimistic Western interpretation was wrong.”

    Although the undo optimism is a reference to Neo-Reaganistic perception of Russian destiny, I think it could be applied to the U.S. as well. I think also, that rather than reform of “suspension of disbelief” it has rather grown and prospered natively over the decades and is now so entrenched into the fiber of public discourse that perception as a flawed argument can lead only to one looking up and asking in wonderment, with naivety and banality cynics so love to lampoon, “How can this be?”.

  13. kevinearick

    Open Source Investing

    The tortoise always wins because it sees the destination; the hares do not. Democracy always wins. It’s just a matter of building an appropriate exit gate, and being patient (which is pure unadulterated pain). Even the currency traders lose everything before the cycle is finished.

    At the beginning of the cycle, a large percentage of the population has just witnessed how the cycle ends, but over the course of a few generations, the mythology of capital has taken over, and the market makers are directing both breeding and education. The system exceeds parameters, and the environmental input variability increases, crashing the brittle financial skeleton.

    In the middle, you take a small piece from the old system and transport it to the new system. Then you go back and take a slightly larger piece. The system will react, so you must learn each time. Short the old, long the new. Once the old system recognizes overall leakage, it will attempt to systematically prevent the migration, cutting off its own circulation.

    Markets are designed to distribute new processes and recycle the old ones. The new processes all come from new entrants. Capital seeks to regulate new entrants, to regulate its own circulation. All the new entrants then build outside the system, while they patiently wait for capital to strangle itself to death.

    The number that can withstand constant predation by capital over generations grows smaller over time. That’s evolution. Each segment gets something out of the system during different parts of the cycle. Short-term investors get short-term returns, thinking that the long-term investors must be idiots, right up until the flood.

    Capital and small labor have been playing the democracy game for several thousand years now. Capital writes the History books, choosing its course by selectively looking in the rear-view mirror, in a self-fulfilling prophecy. Capital was once small labor.

    Irrational markets can outlast rational investors, but not democracy, which leaps in quantum jumps. The American Enterprise System was great when it led by the example of liberty. Like all empires, however, it now leads by force, controlling power, through the divide and conquer model, which only has one outcome. The army of winter always defeats the empire builders.

    Knowledge may be the ace, but learning is the trump, and it only takes a two to beat an ace. David always beats Goliath in the end. The American Enterprise System was David at the beginning of the cycle. Now it is a system of global cartels, strangling itself to death, by its own hand, which is no longer invisible. It’s like a spoiled kid in the supermarket, threatening suicide if it doesn’t get its way.

    The point, aet, is to teach the kids the limitations of space exploration before they go. The new economy is building that foundation now, in a separate circuit, connected by a transformer, drawing current from the primary circuit, which capital will have access to only if it pays the middle class to build the required bridge, to bring up the rear.

    The planet expanded the absolute error limit range just behind demographic acceleration. Now, it is systematically reducing that range. Hold onto that tree of knowledge in the valley if you want. That’s your choice. I am only suggesting that you climb the hill, or learn to surf big waves, fast.

    That $500T in unfundable liabilities is only real because it represents the inbred expectations of a large, global population, controlled by the global cartels. Politics follows form. Oil is no longer viable, and the old economy is predicated on the control of oil supply and demand. That was the mistake capital made when it engineered the oil embargo, to artificially direct the global economy to its current position.

    Due to the global cartel transfer contract threshold of $65, and the $15 speculation premium, you are paying $80/barrel for oil, when the real market price is something below $20. You are being taxed into bankruptcy to keep the pyramid afloat, and the pyramid is sinking nevertheless.

    In short, you need a new economic motor, now. Where do you suppose you are going to get it?

    Big Capital has a gun to its own head, and the heads of all its dependents. It’s welcome to pull the trigger at any time. Small labor will continue to work on the economic profit circuit regardless, as it always does, because it is not addicted to the economic activity.

    For small labor, the equation is I – C / G. It maximizes I, and minimizes both C & G.

    1. kevinearick

      From the perspective of the planet, the economic profit half-cycle is two steps forward, and the economic activity half-cycle is one step back (51/49). Internally, it appears that the process is always moving forward.

      All small labor does is move forward. If Big Capital fails to pull up the rear, it falls off the back end of the fulcrum. Big capital is a partner, but it has a junior equity position. Big Capital is falling off the back end of the fulcrum.

      In practice, small capital begins induction by funding new processes, but the nexus has completely blocked that process, with job certification, connected to the family law banking and credit information system, reinforced by public education, for some time now, creating the tsunami.

      Investing is a lot like surfing. You want to begin with the small waves and work your way up. Part of that process is location and timing of the big waves, and culling the required skill-set and instinct on the smaller waves in between.

        1. kevinearick

          that’s it, leave one guy behind to make a threat on Friday, and then disavow any association, only to come back the next week and save the day.

          can’t wait to see the healthcare show.

          1. kevinearick

            Consumption is falling, working hours are falling, asset prices are falling, working returns / assets prices is rising, and the process is being floated by G, nothing but ledger changes in bank computers, which cannot continue indefinately. The motor will turn over at 51%, if the middle class has been investing its time wisely, when the wave hits, with large scale termination of government employment.

            If, instead, the welfare payments are reinforcing the entitlement behavior and/or there is a delay in the terminations, then much will be lost. Wall Street is assuming the latter, because government is assuming that it can get by with an incremental improvement over a long period of time.

            Regardless, those who have been investing their time wisely during this period will do well; small capital will attract talent, irrespective of the family law banking and credit system, to build self-sufficient communities that are capable of trading surplus globally.

            Big Capital and Big Government are locked up because of their addiction to economic activity, which is the basis for the reserve status of the US dollar. They are in a catch-22 situation.

            Humans have been exploring space since the beginning. That space just happened to be earth. When it reached what it thought was a limit, liberty was increased, scientific inquiry flourished, and the limits were surpassed.

            The problem inhibiting space exploration is not technology. It is the social structure limiting liberty, and the threshold to return trust is now extremely high, making the US Constitution obsolete.

            Without something in it for the universe, the planetary limit range will decline rapidly. It could get ugly, and much sooner than either government or Wall Street thinks.

          2. kevinearick

            the universe is about to look through the telescope of the galaxy at this solar system, and make an adjustment based on what it sees.

Comments are closed.