Links 7/8/10

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Germany & Facebook aren’t friends

Report: NSA creating spy system to monitor domestic infrastructure Raw Story (hat tip reader John D)

“Millionaire” Aftermath: Why Do Studios Keep Losing Lawsuits? Hollywood Reporter (hat tip reader Buzz Potamkin)

Woman denied health insurance over one-cent shortfall Raw Story (hat tip reader John D)

BP Sets New Spill Target Wall Street Journal

Unemployment Insurance, 1: Raj Chetty’s research presented at EPI Mike Konzcal (hat tip reader Nick B)

Will the New Transport Rule Gut Cap and Trade? Mark Thoma. Um, this was foretold by John Dizard in January 2009: Is Cap and Trade Dead on Arrival?

Commercial bank ‘gold swap’ intrigue continues FTAlphaville. They’re very excited over this story, for reasons that mystify me a tad. But now they are excited about European banks being found to have so much gold. Ahem, I was told in 2008 by someone with top US security clearances who can get Trichet on the phone that a particular Eurobank had extremely large gold reserves which were listed as the gold reserves of a country that must go unnamed but were in fact a particular bank’s reserves….you can probably connect the rest of the dots.

Europe Stress Tests May Underestimate Probable Losses Bloomberg. Duh

China’s little emperors demand their due Financial Times

Austerity is not the only option Michael Hudson, Financial Times

Antidote du jour:
Picture 5

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  1. attempter

    Re Woman denied insurance over one cent shortfall:

    There’s Obama’s darlings in action once again. The insurance rackets, in a typical, not in the slightest bit unusual atrocity.

    So whenever you see something like that, and whenever it happens to you, remember who really did it to you: Everyone who said they were seeking “health care reform” and were lying through their teeth every step of the way.

    Obama, the Democratic party, liberal groups and hacks and blogger hacks, Krugman.

    “If this is how you treat people, you need spiritual training.”

    Her shaming words to those thugs should be applied to every thug who had the opportunity to smash these gangsters once and for all and maliciously chose to deliver us right into their hands.

    Their vileness is infinite.

    1. rjs

      russ, that happens any time you are short a penny, health insurance, checking etc; the automated systems dont give a damn if you’re short a penny or a grand…

      1. attempter

        According to the piece, the “humans” on the phone happily told her to go drop dead until she threatened them with going to the media.

    2. shargash

      @attempter “Everyone who said they were seeking “health care reform” and were lying through their teeth every step of the way. … Their vileness is infinite.”

      That’s a pretty egregious ad hominem attack. It is also an absurd statement. I guess we’ll get to see where Yves draws the line with the comment policy.

      1. Zephyrum

        Uh, attempter defined a class of people (those who said they are seeking reform but actually were lying) and then characterized their vileness as unlimited. You can argue against this by asserting the class is empty, or that their vileness is, in fact, limited. But calling this an ad hominem attack is fallacious–and itself a well-worn rhetorical device to divert discussion.

        One thing I appreciate about Yves is her willingness to include the moral context in discussions of the economy. Seems to me we need more of that.

      2. bystander

        Not so fast, shargash. That ain’t an adhominem attack.

        So you couldn’t use the survival of the comment as a basis for claiming that Yves’ comment policy is being applied hypocritically.

      3. attempter

        I’ll let the evidence of the entire sordid, criminal process of the making of the health racket bailout speak for itself.

        As will history, and pretty soon. I’ll certainly do all I can with my little peasant voice to turn their gangster mandate into their Stamp Act.

        (Notice I didn’t say “your”, Shargash, though I strongly suspect you’re a supporter of it though unwilling to say so. I’ll happily say “your” if you do so stand up to be counted for it.)

      4. Jesse

        that was not an ‘ad hominem’ attack.

        An ad hominem attack is a personal attack which UNDERMINES the other person’s argument, that is, it takes the argument to the man, rather than to the issue.

        I have several examples that I was thinking of using to help shargash understand the difference, but I am afraid that they might strain the basis of propriety.

        Suffice to say that a faux political correctness and politeness is often the first refuge of a venal soundrel, to deflect the conversation from the matter at hand. The second of course is to ‘gin up a Congressional committee to study the problem and hold hearings.

    3. Maxwell Smart, Agent 86

      >> Their vileness is infinite.

      If only they had used their genius for niceness, instead of evil.

    4. KFritz

      Obama is not a popular headliner in these parts, but are you possibly, conceivably implying that we, the American people, could expect better treatment fr/ the Republican Party of 2010? In the matter of healthcare or anything else?

      1. attempter

        No, but both kleptocratic parties must perish. That means one of them must perish first. The Democrats are clearly the weak link, since they’ve once and for all driven away both the money and their base.

        Is it running a big risk to “put the Republicans back in power”, temporarily, until new parties can arise? Absolutely.

        But it’s a risk that must be run, otherwise our permanent enslavement is guaranteed, because neither existing party will ever again be anything other than a slave-overseer party.

        1. KFritz

          High risk strategy. The central problem of US politics is the system of campaign finance and the Supreme Court’s ruling that campaign finance = free speech. With the Dem’s in charge there’s very little chance this will change. With the Rep’s in charge there’s no chance. What then?

          1. attempter

            There’s zero chance it’ll change under either kleptocratic party. I’m sorry, but the delusion that somehow the Dems can ever be redeemed is perhaps the biggest part of the problem.

            My point is, there’s zero chance for anything to ever be done short of total collapse of the system on its own unless everyone who has a shred of citizen consciousness renounces BOTH parties and builds new ones.

        2. wunsacon

          >> The Democrats are clearly the weak link, since they’ve once and for all driven away both the money and their base.

          “Once and for all”? The GOP said that about the Dems in 2004. Then, the Dems came roaring back. And the GOP seems poised to do the same.

          1. attempter

            There’s no comparison. In 2004 it was still possible to think the problem was one cowardly, incompetent campaigner.

            Today the Dems have been in complete control of Congress for 3.5 years and held the executive for 1.5.

            Today it’s not possible for a rational person accessible by the evidence to believe the Dems are anything but a criminal gang just as bad as the Reps, identical except in a few cosmetic details. (And even those details are mostly being effaced.)

            By 2008 support for Bush reached the absolute dregs, the 20% true fascist core. In 2010 we’ll see what are the liberal fascist dregs.

            So the only question is, how many people beyond these dregs are still terminally brainwashed enough that they’re simply incapable of recognizing reality or acting upon it. You seem to think that number will be high enough that we’re truly doomed. The odds are you’re right.

            But our only hope is that it’s not so high. At any rate, anyone who wants to seize whatever slight chance is left of redeeming America has to seek the final destruction of the Dem party as a step toward opening up the political space for new movements and parties.

            Needless to say, anyone actually committed to either criminal party after all that’s gone down in the last two years is by now an avowed criminal himself.

  2. Conor

    I’m sure readers of this blog are aware of that odious new immigration law in Arizona. I thought this article provides a really interesting perspective on the matter; and a great example of the unintended consequences of the “good” intentions of that silly governor of Arizona.


    Another great example of this is AAAHnold Schwarzenegger forcing state workers to take three unpaid days “California risk[s] billions of dollars in fines and penalties”.,0,94299.story

    I know that the Demoncrats are no great shakes (even though I am one *cringe*), but it seems to be a special gift of the Reptilapublicans to exercise penny-wise-pound-foolish thinking at its penultimate worst… *sight*

  3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    If austerity is not the only option, nor is more debt.

    We are caught between the austerians (nice neologism to whomever came up with that) and the debtists (or debt-fascists, debt-fetishists, but not defeatists…or maybe).

    1. Conor

      Caught between a rock and a hard place – huh?

      But, what does it take? How many oil spills do we need until we figure out that we need to adopt public transportation and bicycles inside compact and livable cities? Hey, how about leaving the open spaces to the widdle aminals and planties, OK!?

      But seriously, maybe it takes a good kick in the shins to motivate us to start really using our brains. Americans are pretty much all a bunch “junkies” of one form or another – time to go cold-turkey.

      Quit frankly, with about at least one billion people going to bed hungry, I just can’t give too much of a rats ass to a bunch of gringos going “wuaaaa, boo-hoo-hoo-hoo”. We’ve made our bed and now it’s time to sleep in it.

      Ok, ok, ok… I take some of that back. *whew!* Right now I’m reading Charles Bowden’s book (when I’m not flying around the internet), Murder City: Ciudad Juarez and The Global Economy’s New Killing Fields… Wow! This has been one of the hardest books to read in awhile.

      Anyway, sometimes a crisis has a way of bringing the best out in people.

      P.S. On another not-so-related-matter: Think global warming means rising sea levels, just wait until we start having genocidal heat waves… Another little thing I’ve been reading about lately.

  4. Doc Holiday

    Sierra Club director ‘outraged’ that oiled bird waited hours to be rescued

    Miller said he became “outraged” and “unhinged” when he discovered that four oiled pelicans were reported oiled on Ship Island on Thursday. On Friday, the birds remained there, he said.

    By Friday afternoon, there were up to 40 oiled pelicans on the island.

    “It was very disturbing,” Miller said, noting it was Saturday before the birds were collected. “They’ve got a pretty small window once they get oiled.”

    The Sierra Club’s biggest concern, Miller said, is that the barrier islands will fall victim to an “out-of-sight, out-of-mind situation” as oil gushing from the Deepwater Horizon well continues to wash up all over the Gulf Coast.

  5. michel

    I continue, and surely cannot be alone, to find this discussion about austerity completely baffling.

    In the UK, they are supposed to be in the grip of ferocious austerity. Yet you can find no-one who is terribly upset about it or even much affected by it. Every so often you find someone objecting that their school is not going to be renovated as promised, but even that does not happen often.

    Most of the allegedly swingeing cuts in the budget are scheduled to take effect several years out.

    One cannot avoid the feeling that this is all in the very early stages. People are not yet getting in the least serious about austerity. Someone said to me today in the UK, we know what austerity really is, and this is not it, austerity was post WWII when they rationed potatoes. That was austerity. This is play acting.

  6. Max

    I am very disappointed that there is a large and intrusive Armed Forces advertisement at the top of this page today. These kind of military promotional montages with clips of fighter jets, guns, and explosions really make me cringe. I think I even caught a shot of a Predator Drone in there somewhere…. lovely.

  7. kevinearick

    Vortex Programming, Compilation, & Operation

    Think of it like a ten-speed bike, that’s ultimately going to be a hundred-speed bike. A digital economy is a gear. America has been gliding downhill in 10th gear for a long, long time, passing all the up-hills, and naturally it finds itself with no option but a long, steep climb. Gears 1-9 no longer function, so it’s throwing off all the weight it can. First gear is the one it needs, and that’s the first one it throws away, as it focuses on getting the chain onto gear 9.

    The looking glasses are ramps to bridges between the circles. You want a portfolio of ramp and bridge angles at different distances between the circles, so the symbiotic relativity circuit is adjustable as required, some of which are going to jump circles, so you can adjust all dimensions of the vortex. You need the looking glasses so the 10 speed doesn’t slip gears. Gear 1 lowers LRA for gear 2. Depending on the application, the operator wants to be able to adjust ramp, which means that a particular set of gotos will be compiled. Part of the problem is operator error, failing to exercise the vortex symbiotically with planetary evolution, and part of the problem is programming error, not providing access to the required vortex when the decision needs to be made.

    When they hit the hill, they popped the chain, and turned around. Now, they are skating the U, spinning the crank, extending and pretending, consuming the pensions in both directions. The multinationals and their governments face prisoner’s dilemma, implemented by a slaughterhouse parse, with an army of university experts at their disposal. That’s just the s—- show.

    A bank cannot exist if it cannot lend, and if the vortex is adjustable, it will not matter when the bank enters. The looking glass is an adjustable, two-gap mechanism, waiting for a clearing price. The first gap is cleared on agreement. The second gap is cleared on proof of intent.

    Take a look at pension accounts vs the absolute value of stock market movements. Take a look at unfunded pension liabilities, government subsidy preferences for corporations, corporate cash stock, and the global best practices holding it all together. Finally, observe the university graduate program (pick a political poison, read and regurgitate, and do a comparative study).

  8. kingbadger

    you can probably connect the rest of the dots.

    Erm, not really. A bank’s gold reserves being listed as the reserves of a country that can’t be named? I don’t get it. Sounds like spycraft.

    1. EmilianoZ

      On the same subject, from The Atlantic: “Images BP Doesn’t Want You to See”.

      Julie Dermansky: “As a writer and photographer covering the oil spill in the Gulf, I’ve been frustrated by the well-documented efforts by BP and the U.S. Government to limit media access to the damage. The restrictions tightened last week, when the Coast Guard announced rules that prevent the public–including news photographers and reporters–from coming within 20 meters (about 65 feet) of any response vessels or booms on the water or beaches. Violate the “safety zone” rule and you can be slapped with a $40,000 fine and prosecuted under a Class D felony.”

  9. Sean

    Is it a way to stop gold hording by European individuals sucking cash liquidity out of the market by swapping the gold back into cash for the commercial banks..?? but this would reply of the bulk of the hoarded gold being held in unallocated accounts… I’m also wondering whether the BIS Gold swap could really be about creating a liquidity pool for settlement of “physical” gold cover potential momentary dislocations in the market… ??

    I keep thinking of the many billions of hoarded Deutschemark notes (in and outside Germany & Europe) that needed to be converted into USD during the advent of the Euro physical currency. The capacity of individuals, particularly Europeans, to hoard can be staggering.

  10. Erich Riesenberg

    Atlanta Fed Ridicules Michael Burry, Embraces John Paulson on Subprime Short Trade

    This article claims Burry et al got lucky, while Paulson was smart.

    One specific point, the Fed claims Burry did not understand the importance of house pricing trends to the success of his trade, but that seems plainly wrong.

    And, it seems Paulson discovered the trade after Burry and helped the create the very securities he shorted. Weird for the Fed to embrace that second point.

    Also, the article ignores that this was a low cost, long term trade with limited downside.

  11. Sundog

    Felix Salmon posted some interesting charts from CoreLogic on jumbo jingle mail.

    The story he spins is plausible, but equally so would be imagining a geeky engineer who used the home ATM to buy toys and now, looking at how the financial world is behaving and being treated, says “Screw this.”

    Der Speigel has a very entertaining piece on (performance artist? writer? philosopher? provocateur?) Slavoj Zizek.

    Philipp Oehmke, “Welcome to the Slavoj Zizek Show”,1518,705164,00.html

    Zizek recently spoke at LSE; video and audio are available at this link. For a smaller yet very hearty dose, try the 10-minute YouTube video.

  12. michel

    Why do we think its the rich who are defaulting? It might be a better account of the evidence offered to say that large value mortgages, whether they were taken out by the rich or not, are defaulting.

    What is not being shown is that people with large assets and large incomes are defaulting preferentially. Its people with large mortgages, but the state of their net financial worth is not clear.

    The problem of the decade was that almost anyone who could fog a mirror could take out one of these mortgages. You did not have to be rich, and most were not. In the end, they were bound to default and are now doing so.

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