Links 7/27/10

Dear Naked Capitalism people!

Here they are: the links. Today, I have more links than I can possibly put in the links post. I’ve chopped some good stuff. If you want to see them all, either go to the News Feed at CW or subscribe to it here.


PS – My home has been blacked out for two days now. Washington is one big adventure, isn’t it?


More on WikiLeaks

WikiLeaks | Weight of pages, but the best is yet to come  Sydney Morning Herald (Hat tip Crocodile Chuck)

The New Pentagon Papers: WikiLeaks Releases 90,000+ Secret Military Documents Painting Devastating Picture of Afghanistan War  Democracy Now (Hat tip Cynthia)

Why WikiLeaks’ ‘War Logs’ Are No Pentagon Papers ProPublica (Hat tip Conor)

The Afghanistan War Logs Released by Wikileaks, the World’s First Stateless News Organization PressThink (Hat tip Conor)

WikiLeaks and the Afghan War Stratfor (Hat tip Stephen)

Afghanistan war logs: IED attacks on civilians, coalition and Afghan troops The Guardian

Yves Smith Watch

Hunting: Chase for the nice people who plundered the American economy – Calcalist

This is an Israeli piece featuring our beloved Yves. Here’s the translated version for those of you who don’t read Hebrew (like me!),7340,L-3412141,00.html

Other Links

James Montier does MMT Credit Writedowns

Should the Fed Buy Gold At $5,000 per Ounce? Should Mexico Go to a De Facto Silver Standard?Jesse’s Café Américain: (Whalen is wrong on Chartalism, by the way. Don’t confuse modelling and accounting with policy recommendations. Policy is political – the model is not. I use the sectoral balances model all the time now. Read the post above and you’ll see what I mean. Does that mean I advocate printing money as a policy remedy? No. Read this post with extreme caution.)

Cuidado con los aprobados raspados ELPAÍ (Hat tip Diego)

Video – Americans mistakenly deported CNN (Hat tip Glenn. One commenter wrote in an earlier links post "Recessions and bad times may cause people to focus on things they might otherwise tolerate." He opined "but that is not necessarily a bad thing." My take: when economic times get tough the desire to crack down on free riders will produce many more of these kinds of events.)

The political genius of supply-side economics Martin Wolf

We had to burn the euro to save it Reserved Place

Fake £1 coins rising in circulation, figures show BBC News

Deficit Deal Only Gets Tougher After the Election Stan Collender

Deutschland gehört zu den Gewinnern NZZ (Die Frage ist, ob dies wahr ist)

The Death of Paper Money Ambrose Evans-Pritchard

Android Will be Dominant Mobile OS According to Motorola’s Sanjay Jha Phandroid

David Rosenberg raises odds of double-dip recession to 67% Financial Post

Arctic Ocean May Have Limited Ability to Absorb Carbon Dioxide Scientific American

‘Underwear Bandit’ apprehended; woman covered face with girdle to rob McDonald’s restaurant NY Daily News

Let Them Eat Losses The Daily Reckoning

Bruce Bartlett on the deficit, economy and VAT: Six questions for Bruce Bartlett The Economist

Department of Complete 180 Degree Intellectual Reversals… Brad DeLong

Some Simple Analytics of Anti-Marijuana Laws David Henderson

Antidote du Jour: The Quest For A Simpler Garden — And Perhaps A Chipmunk (we love you, Nancy!)


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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. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Actually, that dog was carved out of a unruly trunk of the tree you are looking at and then painted over…a Potemkin dog, if you will, not unlike our recent Potemkin prosperity.

  2. Glenn Stehle

    Re: Video – Americans mistakenly deported

    Most Americans, at least when it comes to formulating public policy, are probably like myself in that they are utilitarian consequentialists. They look for some rational basis for policy decisions. And in the immigration debate, the anti-immigration forces invoke two material considerations: crime and the economy.

    In regards to crime, perhaps some of the most incendiary statements regarding crime have come from Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, such as in this video, where she accuses “a majority” of undocumented immigrants of being “drug mules.”

    And the anti-immigration brigades have no shortage of law enforcement officers willing to give anecdotal evidence that crime in the border region is rampant.

    However, crime statistics don’t bear this out. Amongst many others, a survey by ABC News of federal and local law enforcement agencies along the border found that crime is actually on the decline. So the anti-immigration crowd’s crime argument is a canard.

    The anti-immigrationists’ charge that undocumented immigration hurts the economy, however, is more ambiguous. Whether one is hurt or helped by the wave of new immigrants very much depends on who one is. As this story
    from the San Francisco Chronicle put it:

    If you own a farm, a restaurant, a garment factory or a landscaping company, you’re likely to say immigration helps. Immigrants provide a ready source of relatively cheap labor that keeps your business humming and elevates profits.

    If you’re an American-born high-school dropout seeking work, you’re likely to say immigration hurts. Immigrants are taking entry-level jobs at lower wages than you’d accept.

    As to the overall economy, the impact of illegal immigration seems to be pretty much a wash:

    “GDP per domestic person goes up,” said James Smith, a senior economist at the Rand think tank in Santa Monica and lead author of the National Research Council’s study “The New Americans: Economic, Demographic and Fiscal Effects of Immigration.”

    Since 1980, he said, all immigrants, including both undocumented and legal, have boosted GDP by $10 billion per year. “That’s not to be sneezed at,” he said. “On the other hand, we have a $10 to $11 trillion economy” so proportionately, it’s a small impact.

    So the anti-immigration brigades are hard pressed to cite any clear-cut economic data that supports their policy recommendations.

    So in the absence of any rational justification for their policy prescriptions, what are the real reasons driving the anti-immigrantion debate?

    And as Ed asks, why now? The number of undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. has been in steady decline since 2007. Why does the outcry come now when illegal immigration is waning, and not in 2000 to 2007 when it was mushrooming?

    1. eric anderson

      Glenn, I am anti-illegal immigration, but I am not a member of a “brigade.” LOL

      What are the real reasons? I don’t accept that just because some expert claims it is economically a wash that this is necessarily so. But I’ll give you a number of real reasons.

      1. Simple fairness. Many people are trying to get into this country legally. I would love to have many of them come, after vetting, and meeting certain standards. And I don’t care what county they come from or the color of their skin or what accents they may have, as long as they speak English. But the number of illegals already here I believe impedes the process of legal immigration. It’s wrong.

      2. Crime. You say crime in border areas is down. But I believe the numbers who are illegally crossing are also down. In any case, a large percentage of folks in our federal prisons are foreign born. I’ve heard 20-30%. That is a substantial crime problem, and putting your hands over your eyes won’t make the truth disappear.

      3. Terrorism. It is a potential threat. Just because we haven’t had an incident as a result of such infiltration yet does not mean it isn’t a real possibility. It’s just too darn easy to get across.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        If people are coming here because of 1) poor harvests in their native countries due to Global Warming (or whatever reasons) or 2) loss of jobs due to free trade/globalization, letting people come doesn’t seem to address the root cause(s).

        In fact, it helps to hide the root cause(s).

      2. DownSouth

        eric anderson,

        It is true that, according to the Department of Justice, in 2005 20% of the federal prison population were noncitizens.

        However, that doesn’t quite tell the whole story.

        To begin with, federal prison inmates are only six percent of the total incarcerated population. If we add state prisons into the mix, only 6.4% of the nation’s prisoners were noncitizens in 2005. This compares to a total noncitizen U.S. population of 6.9% in 2003.

        Furthermore, nearly half the Latino population in federal prisons are immigrants, with 81% of these being convicted not for any violent or property crime, but for violations of immigration law.

  3. LeeAnne

    Have to admit I didn’t read the comment. When I see ANTI-IMMIGRANT and UNDOCUMENTED, I see propaganda.

    Pro-immigration policy would include safe borders, border regulations,and legal protection for foreign workers.

    There is no such thing under the sun as an American who is anti-immigration, let along anti-immigration forces. It does not exist. Only people stupid enough to call out American Mexican illegals to wave flags for their ‘rights’ would be stupid enough to think Americans buy the anti-immigration slur.

    Every year, approximately 1,000,000 people from other countries are sworn in as new American citizens. Where are the complainants?

    Think tanks don’t count. They’re the major pushers of propaganda and dissent.

  4. DownSouth

    Re: Rick Rowley’s comment on the Democracy Now video

    “…a state that looks less like a government and more like a patchwork of warlords and criminal gangs that’s extorting the local population…”

    Yep. That pretty much sums up the United States.

  5. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Dear Naked Capitalism people!?!!?

    You ignored Naked Capitalism animals. Shame on you.

  6. Cynthia

    “An Associated Press investigation found that over the past five years, the money the military spends on winning hearts and minds at home and abroad has grown by 63 percent, to at least $4.7 billion this year, according to Department of Defense budgets and other documents. That’s almost as much as it spent on body armor for troops in Iraq and Afghanistan between 2004 and 2006…”

    “This year, the Pentagon will employ 27,000 people just for recruitment, advertising and public relations — almost as many as the total 30,000-person work force in the State Department.”

    If a company has competitors, as is the case with, say, Colgate and other companies in the toothpaste industry, excluding the ones that are on the verge of going out of business for selling faulty toothpaste, then the only real reason why a company such a Colgate needs an enormous PR and marketing budget is to remain competitive against other toothpaste companies. In other words, if Colgate toothpaste was the only fault-free toothpaste on the market, Colgate would be spending next-to-nothing selling its toothpaste to consumers.

    But if a company has no competitors, as is the case with the Pentagon and with most other defense departments in countries throughout the world, excluding the ones that are torn by war, then the only real reason why a defense department such as the Pentagon needs an enormous PR and marketing budget is to hookwink the public into believing its product, namely the Afghan War, is worth buying, despite it being full of fault. In other words, if the the Afghan War wasn’t a faulty product, the Pentagon would only need to spend a few measly million a year, instead of several billions a year, to sell this war to the American people. And even if the Pentagon fails to sell this war to the American people, and looking at the polls that track the war’s popularity, this is probably the case, the Pentagon has an army of lobbyists in place to pay our elected officials to serve as cheerleaders for this and every future war. This is why the Afghan War is falsely being sold as a winnable war. This is also why the American people are wrongly being told that it is Islamic terrorists, not our war on Islamic terrorism, that’s bankrupting us.

  7. Ina Deaver

    Is it wrong that I am amused that German economists are no better than American economists? Don’t get me wrong – I’d probably rather be part of the German economy for the next decade than the American one (at least they have: A functioning social net! Free tertiary education for those who qualify! Trade apprentice programs! Tough environmental laws! But wait — there’s more!) But to blithely expect to be able to keep up the current trends in Germany while expecting the US, Greece, Spain etc. to tank . . . . nice parlor trick. Perhaps he should talk to the guys at DB.

  8. KFritz

    Re ‘Hunting: Chase….’

    Is my imajination or translation bots do even worse job wit tranzlashun fr/ Afro-Asiatic languages to Indo-European languages than wit intra-Indo-European translashun?

    Jus’ wonderin

  9. doc holiday

    While Dallas-area restaurants hung up “God Bless the Gulf” signs, another in upstate New York tweeted that it does NOT serve Gulf seafood.

    A survey of more than a dozen restaurants nationwide found that many said the increased curiosity from customers hasn’t necessarily cost them business. Rather, restaurateurs say a portion of their customers seek reassurance before ordering. It’s the same sort of squeamishness lampooned recently in Doonesbury when Zonker, working as a waiter, assured a customer the crabs are “petroleum-free” and points out the latest satellite image of the spill on the man’s placemat.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I heard Martians are insisting that no food imported from Earth be served in their restaurants.

      Is that rumor about Gaian food being all contaminated true?

      Can our Earthic economy survive?

  10. doc holiday

    BP & 3-D Catastrophe

    “What we have learned completely changes the idea of what an oil spill is,” Hollander said. “It has gone from a two-dimensional disaster to a three-dimensional catastrophe.”

    Biodegraded oil was found suspended at depths of 400 metres, and 1,000 to 1,4000 metres below the Gulf’s surface, in the form of microscopic droplets. The 400-metre layer was approximately 30 metres thick, and was observed 45 nautical miles north-northeast of the Deepwater Horizon site. The deeper layer was observed approximately 24 nautical miles east of the well. The clouds were found near the DeSoto Canyon, a critical area that interacts with Florida’s spawning grounds.

    Also: Researchers link undersea oil plumes to BP spill,0,2578252.story

    Also see comment made by CG-Dickhead: ‘Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, the Obama administration’s point man on the spill, said Friday that he had flown over the area the previous day and “there’s not a lot of oil out there.”

    Read more:

  11. Cynthia

    David Lapan, deputy assistant secretary of defense for media operations, told NBC News on Monday that a special assessment team looking over the WikiLeaks Afghanistan war logs has found nothing that could damage national security. Moreover, he said, none of the documents reviewed so far carries a classification level above “secret” — the lowest category of intelligence material in terms of sensitivity.

    But National Security Advisor James Jones and Press Secretary Robert Gibbs contradict David Lapan by stating that WikiLeaks’disclosure of a massive trove of classified military records documenting the Afghan War “could put the lives of Americans and our partners at risk, and threaten our national security.”

    So I don’t know if I should believe the Defense Department or the State Department and the White House. But if the Defense Department is speaking the truth, which is probably the case since it has more to lose than either the State department or the White House if the safety of our troops is compromised, then Bradley Manning shouldn’t be sent to prison for the rest of his life for leaking so-called classified documents to WikiLeaks. Maybe I’m wrong, but the State Department and the House White seem to care more about protecting the wealth of our war profiteers than they do in protecting the lives of our troops.

  12. Nelcisco

    Well said Cynthia regarding the Afgan war, we can first blame Bush for starting it, then Obama for lying during his campaign to get the troops out within the first 100 days and then sending 40k more after he was elected. Change we can believe in.

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