Links 5/7/10

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Images show volcano intensifying BBC

Brain Scan Evidence Rejected by Brooklyn Court Wired

Britain wakes up to a hung Parliament Times Online. And Mr. Market is not happy: London Markets: U.K. assets fall as hung parliament looms MarketWatch

Algorithmic Trading and Price Volatility Rajiv Sethi

“On the brink of the abyss” Eurointelligence. Be sure to read the sections on U-turns

Lehman-Greece parallels du jour (III) FT Alphaville

Kaupthing chief arrested on suspicion of market abuse Telegraph

Andy Xie: China Asset Bubble Triggered By Long-term Low Interest Rate Capital Vue

Shareholder revolt against huge bonuses grows Times Online

Plan for Congressional Audits of Fed Dies in Senate Wall Street Journal

Surveillance Over the Federal Reserve: On the Sanders Amendment to the Dodd Senate Financial Regulation Bill Brad DeLong. This is pretty amazing, DeLong, who is generally cautious in crossing swords with Team Obama, comes out squarely against them.

‘Very real’ threat that Greek contagion could spread to Britain Independent

A Money Too Far Paul Krugman, New York Times. Reader Swedish Lex quips, “Krugman comes late to the party (not according to him, though)”

What Any Goldman Settlement Might Entail New York Times

How China and India Sabotaged the UN Climate Summit Der Spiegel (hat tip reader Swedish Lex. And Barack Obama too. Today’s must read, and check out the video.

Antidote du jour:

Picture 9

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  1. charles 2

    What is interesting about the Copenhagen story is that it comes out now. It neatly prepares hearts and minds into a “us” vs “them” confrontation. In the case of China, what would really hurt them is the imposition of border-adjusted carbon tax at the EU level (and if EU explodes, at the German level). Economic wafare in the name of climate…

    1. tyaresun

      I could not find any references to India other than in the title. Can anyone explain India’s role based upon this article?

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        It’s clearly in the article and the related video:

        But China and India were unwilling to make that commitment. Behind the backs of the Europeans, they had apparently reached their own agreement with Brazil and South Africa. “We have all along been saying ‘Don’t prejudge options!,'” said a representative of the Indian delegation*, prompting Merkel to burst out: “Then you don’t want legally binding!”

        This, in turn, prompted the Indian negotiator to say angrily: “Why do you prejudge options? All along you have said don’t prejudge options and now you are prejudging options. This is not fair!” Chinese negotiator He Yafei stood by this remark.

        In the context of the state of horse-trading, this was tantamount to saying they weren’t willing to do any kind of deal.

  2. Ina Deaver

    So apparently, ours isn’t the only country where the politicians fostered a xenophobic climate that initially benefited them, but which they now cannot control . . . .

    Wie habe ich DaB gefuhlt, was Abschied heiBt?

    Something is going away, it’s just not certain yet what it will be.

    1. Martin

      Yep, not brownosing banks is xenophobic.

      It is really cool with which arguments the corporate status quo is defended.

  3. A.

    The U turn — in reference to the, as a reader of FAZ for many years, I can only voice total disenchantment with their views on the crisis. The FAZ has become a banker’s mouthpiece, lukewarm to the extreme and like the politicians, totally out of touch with the German people. Just read the comments, and the amount on them beneath every story on bail-outs. It’s the finger in the wind the leaders forgets about.

    I am most curious about the outcome of elections in NRW on May 9th. Though the polls currently indicate a tie, it is my guess voters will vote with their feet this time around.

    Mrs. Merkel support of a bail out will cost her and her party in more ways than one. Of course old Chancellor Mr. Kohl will say “something must be done”. Duh.

    Nobody has learned anything, and won’t as long as these bail outs continue. There comes a point when containment is water down the drain. The only honest solution is to Let It Come Down, straight out of King Lear….The times are a-changing.

  4. attempter

    Re Krugman:

    Lex’s quip is right on. Krugman had been blustering in full Thugman mode about how the Eurozone was now an iron law of the universe and how only a madman would question its full perpetuation.

    Then all at once he suddenly realized that if the bank run commences without first consulting global elites like himself, his whole logic might come undone on its own. So for a few days there he was basically saying, “I changed my mind”, and by today he’s saying “I knew it all along.”

    He’s still as contemptuous as ever of the filthy peasants, though. He says one of the ways Greece can still stay in the Eurozone is if the workers “redeem themselves” by cutting out their nonsense, if they stop fighting back and just lay back and enjoy it.

    Re Delong:

    I really wish that we had been peppering him with questions about the rating agencies and mortgage-backed CDOs and about whether firms that claimed to be following the originate-and-distribute model really were distributing.

    Why? According to your very next sentence:

    I know that I said often in 2005 and 2006 that subprime and the housing bubble were not a big threat to cause a financial crisis and a deep recession because “the banks are not holding onto these loans but are instead selling them off–it’s not as though leveraged financial institutions are holding these things; a real-estate crash would probably have small macroeconomic effects just as the dot-com crash did.” It would have been nice if somebody inside the Fed had back then been doing the legwork to establish that I was wrong.

    He would’ve just told you a different pack of lies and you would’ve happily believed it, just the same as you happily believed the lies he did tell you.

    (Just to be clear, nobody needed the Fed to “tell you you’re wrong.” The housing bubble, the insanity of securitization, and the inevitability of the bubble’s horrific burst were all obvious to plenty of people who weren’t ideologically committed to insanity and/or kleptocracy. The likes of DeLong believed because they wanted to believe. Nor would any reasonable person have trusted the obviously captured and heavily ideological Fed. So how childish that he’s now whining not only about how Geithner lied, but how he didn’t steer “questioners” like DeLong to asking the right question to receive and believe the right lies in the first place.

    “Sure, I was going to believe any lie he told, but it would’ve been nice if he’d at least corrected my incompetence in not even believing the right set of lies.”)

    And at the end of the piece, after all his harrumphing, he still genuflects and says “I’ll defer to Obama on this, even though he seems wrong and isn’t offering an alternative solution.”

    Here’s my take on yesterday’s storm and stress:

  5. b

    I’m curious if Yves or anyone else finds the timing of the Bernie Sanders “audit the fed” amendment and the market free fall more than a mere coincidence? What was the timing with regard to the, “Last-minute maneuvering in the Senate allowed the Federal Reserve to sidestep legislation that would have exposed its interest-rate decision-making to congressional auditors”? At what time yesterday did it become apparent that the Sanders amendment would be watered down? The market seemed to be dropping all day. The drop seemed to proceed a bit faster in the early afternoon when reports were coming out that the Sanders amendment, and the other amendment regarding caping the deposits at the banks, were building momentum in the Senate. At what time yesterday did it become apparent that Dodd and the Treasury had reached a compromise to water down the Sanders amendment? What time was the vote held that defeated the deposit cap amendment?

      1. BillF

        The timing is even more interesting given the recent appearance of Bill Black on Icelandic television. In the interview, Black clearly asserted that Iceland had been the victim of fraudulent banking activities and he somewhat criticized (as failing to come to grips with the fraud) an investigative report of the matter that had been made by the Icelandic authorities. A few days later the arrest was announced.

  6. lambert strether

    As for DeLong, a post that contains these words:

    So I am willing to defer to President Obama’s judgment that the Federal Reserve’s desire for a modicum of central banker privilege is worth respecting…

    can hardly be said to come out “four square” against the administration.

    And as for market manipulation, yesterday. Well, they would never do that! Think of the old formula from detective stories: Means, motive, and opportunity… Oh, wait…

    1. tyaresun

      What does DeLong mean when he says “Ben Bernanke ought to be in the center of opinion when the Federal Open Market Committee deliberates–not on its left wing.” Does he mean that the rest of the FOMC are to the right of Ben? This is certainly news to me.

    2. Yves Smith Post author


      You need to get familiar with the Team Obama grading scale! Given how serious the grade inflation is, this IS big time criticism! :-)

  7. Anonymous Jones

    I’m not only fascinated by the ‘hung’ parliament, but I also love the blue/red map of Britain. It contains so many similarities to our map of blue states and red states.

    Density isn’t destiny, but wow, it sure tells you a lot about how the majority in any one area will vote in any given election.

    Also, on the Krugman article, I don’t want to get into whether his opinion was ever nuanced enough to support his current claims, but it always pisses me off in this kind of analysis when the option of asset confiscation by the state is not considered as a stopgap way to bridge a primary deficit. I’m sure if the Greeks enacted an asset tax on the top 5% of wealthy citizens, they could close that primary deficit right quick. Yes, there would be many, many potentially long-term deleterious consequences to such a move, but it still might be better than the alternative (except for the elites and their astonishingly disproportionate share of the world’s wealth).

  8. RN

    Krugman hater “Attempter” said:

    “Krugman had been blustering in full Thugman mode about how the Eurozone was now an iron law of the universe and how only a madman would question its full perpetuation.”

    Point us to links to prove this.

  9. RRNN

    Krugman hater “Attempter” said:

    “Krugman had been blustering in full Thugman mode about how the Eurozone was now an iron law of the universe and how only a madman would question its full perpetuation.”

    Point us to links to prove this.

  10. Ignim Brites

    P Krugman makes the point that Greece is different from California in that CA can expect some regular emoluments from DC whereas Brussels cannot deliver this to Greece. Sure but the real question, the comparable question is whether CA would be better off issuing its own currency rather than being required to balance its budget in New York City dollars.

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