Links 4/8/10

Edward Harrison here. Yves is in Cambridge at a conference. So, I am stepping in with some links. The last time I did the links, I had the good fortune of having some of her Antidote du Jours to hand.  Unfortunately, I don’t have them to hand yet this go around. But, do send me some cute animal pictures, if you have some handy. Yes, I am in touch with my feminine side! And please send me links as well (email is, twitter address is

UK household savings lowest in 40 years say ONS BBC News (This is 2008 data. Dunno where it has gone since that time)

Banks write down €40bn in loans Irish Independent

Reverse engineering confirms Apple iPad is ‘a really big iPod Touch’ Download Squad (Vinny, I know you’re an Apple fanboy but c’mon)

With Demand for Failed Banks Building, FDIC Tries New Tools to Lower Losses – Structured Finance

Eliot Spitzer’s Long Road to Redemption NY Times

Confirmed: Obama authorizes assassination of U.S. citizen Glenn Greenwald –

Consumer credit unexpectedly falls in Feb Reuters

China is beginning to frustrate foreign business FT

The Born Ultimatum Tim Iacono (Brooksley Born giving the Business to Sir Alan)

Why we must break up the banks Dean Baker

Why the Greek rescue isn’t going to plan Mohamed el Erian (hat tip Swedish Lex)

Does Austrian economics understand financial crises better than other schools of thought? Martin Wolf (Yves mentioned a few days ago that he has started blogging)

Iraq outrage over US killing video Al Jazeera

Here’s today’s Antidote (courtesy of Angry bear)


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About Edward Harrison

I am a banking and finance specialist at the economic consultancy Global Macro Advisors. Previously, I worked at Deutsche Bank, Bain, the Corporate Executive Board and Yahoo. I have a BA in Economics from Dartmouth College and an MBA in Finance from Columbia University. As to ideology, I would call myself a libertarian realist - believer in the primacy of markets over a statist approach. However, I am no ideologue who believes that markets can solve all problems. Having lived in a lot of different places, I tend to take a global approach to economics and politics. I started my career as a diplomat in the foreign service and speak German, Dutch, Swedish, Spanish and French as well as English and can read a number of other European languages. I enjoy a good debate on these issues and I hope you enjoy my blogs. Please do sign up for the Email and RSS feeds on my blog pages. Cheers. Edward


  1. attempter

    As Greenwald documents, this is a clearcut example of Obama going beyond Bush in criminal atrocity, legally and morally. (Not to mention a radical repudiation of his lies during the campaign.)

    So where’s all the hacks with their “inheritance” lie on this one?

    1. nowhereman

      What really scares me is under this practice of killing Americans without due process, simply by labeling them “a danger”, or a “terrorist” what’s to stop them from labeling political opponents as a threat to the government.
      This scares the crap out of me, they used to do this stuff covertly, now they are brazen enough to not have to hide it anymore. What has become of us?

    2. Cynthia

      Not even Bush is fascist enough to order the CIA to assassinate US citizens. So we must kick our power-hungry, control-freak of a president out of the White House before he turns our Land of The Free into something that would make Hitler green with envy!

      1. Cynic from Seattle

        I wouldn’t be surprised if this was done in the Bush/Cheney administration as part of black ops. Obama’s earnest personality makes it ok to do it in the open.

  2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    If iPad seems familiar to iPod users, today’s antidote du jour also appears not to be a first time visitor.

    1. Edward Harrison Post author

      Is the cat a repeat visitor? I wasn’t sure. I have received a lot of pictures from some nice readers so if I do post the links tomorrow, expect something new!

      1. fresno dan

        definitely a repeat – but worth seeing twice.
        And I would characterize it as a roller ball playing cat! He has that Caan attitude

    1. Jack Parsons

      The female of the species is deadlier than the male.

      Cats are not James Caan in Rollerball, they are Clint Eastwood in Dirty Harry: total sociopaths.

  3. Spigzone

    Catlactic overlord, Fu Munchu

    In touch with your feminine side, but not TOO in touch …

  4. Bates

    ‘China is beginning to frustrate foreign business’ FT

    “With feelings so high, policymakers in Brussels and Washington are also rattling their sabres. There is a risk for China that governments of struggling western economies will increasingly take potshots at Beijing’s economic policies.”

    No matter what course China chooses the West will continue to whine. After all, it’s easier to point fingers at China than admit the many mistakes made in Western fiscal and monetary policy.

    “The European Chamber recently offered more than 500 recommendations for improving the business climate in China.”

    hmmm…Was the reintroduction of large scale opium importation into China among the 500 recommendations?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Not sure about the reintroduction of large scale opium importation, but China could start by legalizing marijuana, perhaps.

      Disclosure – I don’t smoke (anything), period. So, nothing ulterior here.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Hemp would be useful, but the amount of marijuana needed to keep a population relatively doped up is relatively small. Its more likely local neighborhood associations would start raising pot in medians or people would grow it in gardens.

        How much marijuana and land do you need for everyone to get high two or three times a week? The simple answer is not that much.

        1. Jack Parsons

          Too many thieves. Try growing in lockdown, even outdoors. Secure gardening fixtures will be a growth industry if legalization comes through.

  5. Evelyn Sinclair

    To Edward Harrison: Thanks for bravely pitching in. And for the Al Jazeera link.

    The Iraq helicopter footage (both long and short versions) is here:

    I heard an interview on NPR this morning, and was incensed at the flatly blase attitude in the discussion.

    Here’s the response i left to their version of the story:

    ‘Those guys in the helicopter did not sound even slightly stressed, just bored.

    They laughed over their kills, and laughed some more about the Bradly tank that drove over one of the bodies.

    They sounded like they were playing video games.

    When they realized there were children in the van, which they shot up for no apparent reason other than that people in it were trying to help one of their victims, one of the guys said it was the fault of whoever brought them to a war.

    The video is “disturbing” to me not so much because it is a snuff film, but because the killers are so casual about it.

    NPR host and AEI guests discuss it as dispassionately as if it were a rather dull tennis match. Were the US Military’s “rules of engagement” followed, oh, guess they were. So it’s OK to shoot up a bunch of unarmed people, good Samaritans, and children, if you suspect they might be up to something?

    If that film showed acceptable behavior, then we need to rethink the rules.

    We don’t belong there, taking potshots at human beings, and then scoring the snuff films for points.’

    1. Edward Harrison Post author


      I don’t watch TV but my scan of online media says this story is getting zero coverage stateside. I don’t know what to say about it. Where’s the outrage?

      The changes in the US as to what we get away with (in broad daylight, so to speak) over the past ten years – it’s breathtaking. And a lot of people seem unconcerned.

      1. Evelyn Sinclair

        TV? I don’t watch TV either. NPR (National Public Radio) used to be considered “subversive” decades ago. It’s gone sickeningly mainstream, has become, in my opinion, a conduit for some of the slicker propaganda, because it is still aimed at a “Progressive/liberal” leaning audience. Programs are often sponsored by Chevron and similar companies. The ‘experts’ called upon to discuss issues often are drawn from places like the American Enterprise Institute.

        But sometimes they cover topics like this, sometimes even in depth. And they do have some great stories. Ira Glass did a wonderful, lengthy piece on the causes of the economic meltdown, which was not the usual “assume your audience is stupid” uninformative repetition of the MSM memes.

        The Powers That be combine deliberate omission of stories like this, with misinformation, disinformation — lets call it outright propaganda — and the lucky accidents of attention-grabbing daily news bits that distract attention. So 200 people go to a “Tea Party” and that’s news. (As opposed to when 500,000 marched against war — not news.) And since that’s “the news” that’s what people talk about.

        So I DON’T passively let other package my news for me, I seek out what’s of interest to me by keeping track of blogs like this. In fact, THIS blog linked to the Chris Floyd article — The Silence of the Liberal Lambs: Outrage at Outliers, Hosannas for State Crime —

        –that in turn linked to the videos at .

        But that kind of seeking takes time, work, imagination, and motivation.

        Some people are too worn out by it all. Outrage fatigue!

        We’ve been utterly outraged, shamed, and wronged for so many years, unheard or told we are tiresome, that it’s hard not to turn away. I know I feel powerless.

        I keep hoping that SOME moment of outrage will turn the tide for the muddled majority who are numbed and don’t care. When will we have the image from Afghanistan that does what that poor little napalmed girl in Vietnam did?

        I wonder. Is America that morally drained? Are we truly, completely inured to evil?

  6. plschwartz

    Re:Anwar al-Awlaki
    Isn’t the Obama move just restatement of the old “Wanted Dead or Alive” of western fame. I believe the FBI most wanted still uses this phrase

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