Links 9/28/10

Private water raiding threatens Angkor’s temples built on sand Guardian

India ‘faces pollination crisis’ BBC

Charges dismissed against Md. man who taped traffic stop Washington Post

Tensions Still Getting Worse, As Japan Demands Two Chinese Boats Leave Key Area Clusterstock. Hhm, this sound like posturing unless the Japanese actually do something (like a shot across the bow….) but this is more than most expected.

Regulators Call Health Claims in Pom Juice Ads Deceptive New York Times. I’m surprised the FTC has taken this long (and where is the FDA?). I’m not a lawyer, but I’ve had extensive dealings with FDA lawyers, and there seems to be a pretty simple rule: you can’t make health claims on without going through the clinical trial drill. Look at the back of any dietary supplement. They don’t make the sort of representations that POM does.

Rahm Emanuel Likely to Leave White House This Week ABC

The Left Right Paradigm is Over: Its You vs. Corporations Barry Ritholtz

Ross Douthat Claims That “Everybody Knows” Something That Is Not True Dean Baker

China’s muscle-flexing is a sign of weakness Jonathan Holslag, Financial Times

J.P. Morgan Targets WaMu Funds Wall Street Journal. This is probably as sus as it looks, but John Hempton was very much on the WaMu beat, and I think I’ll wait for him to weigh in. This deal looked like a steal for JPM, and now they are back at the trough?

Spanish spectres in the market FT Alphaville

The Van Rompuy talks force: Unambitious and Vague Eurointelligence

More Americans Expect Recovery Will Take Years WSJ Economics Blog

Where Are All the Prosecutions From the Crisis? New York Times

Morgan Stanley Said to Suspend Investment-Bank Hiring for 2010 Bloomberg

FDIC urges bank action on living wills Financial Times

Antidote du jour (hat tip reader Bob). Yes I know this has to be Photoshop, but the version I have locally is very high res, and I have to tell you it looks very real.

Picture 15

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. NS

    JPM wants their cake and eat it too. What a mind blower, this is mighty STINKY.


    The second-largest U.S. bank is one of the largest mortgage lenders and the latest to face allegations of shoddy foreclosure practices.

    In May, the Florida law firm Ice Legal P.A. deposed a JPMorgan executive who signed an affidavit supporting the New York-based bank’s claims against its client and discovered that the executive did not personally check the details of the case.

    According to a transcript, the executive Beth Ann Cottrell said she had been part of an eight-person team that signs 18,000 documents a month. Cottrell said she did not personally review the documents in the case before signing the affidavit, according to the transcript.

    A JPMorgan spokesman declined to comment.


    Oh and never mind about ARS’s, municipal bonds and JPM’s criminal behavior, bribery, anti-trust behavior in the Alabama sewage bond (and likely others) deal that bankrupted Birmingham.

    Justice? Whats that? The rule of law is only for the ‘little people’.

    1. Cynthia

      The sort of predatory practices and hegemonic schemes that the banksters have been engaging in against the American people today has been going in America long before the rise of American neoliberalism. The banksters have been wanting to completely strip the American people of our freedoms and drive us into serfdom ever since the robber-baron days of the late 19th century. And with loads of help from neoliberal bureaucrats like Alan Greenspan, Robert Rubin and Larry Summers, today’s banksters have just about accomplished their goal of turning us into their own personal debt slaves. Here’s a little slice of history. See if this sounds familiar:

      “We must go forward cautiously and consolidate each acquired position, because already the inferior social stratum of society is giving unceasing signs of agitation. Let us make use of the courts. When through the laws intervention, the common people have lost their homes, they will be more easy to control and more easy to govern, and they shall not be able to resist the strong hand of the government acting in accordance with the control of the leaders of finance”.

      American Bankers magazine 1892.

      1. Doug Terpstra

        “inferior social stratum” and “the common people” have such a resonant American ring. This reads like satire.

        I wonder if the nobleperson who wrote this took all his treasure with him when he died. I imagine he went to a place where he is eternally debased and put upon by agitated little people.

      2. craazyman

        What I find more frightening than the malevolent and unrestrained designers of the Grand Scheme — because they are relatively few in number and generally (although not always) signal themselves to the observant man like a lighthouse in the night, and therefore they can be constrained — are the drones who serve them. The latter number in the thousands for every one of the former, but the former could not succeed without their willingness to deflect, justify, rationalize and sublimate into willful denial every moral and ethical concern about their action in support of the Grand Scheme. This is the eternal problem, for which there apparently is neither an existential solution in this realm, or, usually, any kind of reward for opposition to the thousands so engaged, other than castigation until the shit hits the fan.

      3. Lidia

        I’m skeptical of that quote.

        However, I did read that in England 70% of the land is owned by 1% of the population. I wonder what that figure is like for the U.S.

  2. rjs

    if you didnt read the pollination link, go back & read it…

    The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that of the slightly more than 100 crop species that provide 90% of food supplies for 146 countries, 71 are bee-pollinated, primarily by wild bees, and a number of others are pollinated by other insects.

    1. tyaresun

      Yes let us spray even more insecticide. We do not want this human cancer to spread to other planets or the rest of the universe.

  3. attempter

    Re the seemingly dopey POM incident:

    Given the way things are going, just to give a few examples:

    I don’t think now’s the time to side with the FDA or other neoliberal enforcers where it comes to vague health claims on food (which, as the POM purveyors point out, isn’t at all the same thing as a drug).

    Not that I have any use for POM in itself; it’s typical junk food. But we need to look at things like this from a more comprehensive point of view. In this case we should classify it as free speech.

    After all, the same cadres who may sound reasonable in this particular case also want to outlaw the expression of simple facts, like how tribes have used various medicinal herbs for tens of thousands of years for various purposes.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      POM should just add a Wall Street type disclaimer like, past performance is not indicative of future results, and they should be fine.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      As I indicated, I’m not an expert, but I did come close to doing a project for a dietary supplements company. There is such a thing as truth in advertising. The rules are very clear. You don’t make health care claims for your product in advertising. You need clinical trials to do this. This is not secret knowledge. These guys just somehow thought it didn’t apply to them. They either didn’t get legal advice (unlikely given the size of the firm) or chose to ignore it.

      1. attempter

        Yes, I’m not disputing the existing legalities. And I’d agree with emphasizing this one in a hypothetical human society (as opposed to corporatized administrative zone).

        But since we should be getting away from corporate products anyway, however truthful or fraudulent their labeling, I’m thinking we should be more concerned with looming attempts to prevent us from selling and bartering things like food and medicine among ourselves as we seek to relocalize our economies.

        And even if for whatever reason people can’t start doing things right away, I ask them at least to start changing their consciousness about this stuff.

  4. Kevin de Bruxelles

    On the China / Japan spat, I think it was a mistake to see the Japanese release of the Chinese fisherman as a sign of weakness. It’s no more that than when a fisherman throws a minnow back in the lake. What interest did Japan have in keeping a fisherman? Now if it had been an intelligence ship full of spies then US agents would now be sweeping it and interrogating the crew. But that doesn’t seem to have been the case.

    As for the idea that Japan backed down over the rare earth issue that also seems a stretch. If anything, Japan has an interest in exaperating this conflict in order to try to convince other countries to start producing (whether that would ever happen is another story). Supposedly Japan has been stockpiling rare earth materials and surely has a stock of several years. The last thing Japan wants is to be dependant on a China that is rising up the global economic food chain and will soon become a direct competitor. So they could probably survive just fine the few years it would take to for other coutnries to start producing and in the end come out with a more diverse supply chain.

    But most important of all, Japan holds the military advantage in the East and South China Seas, mostly thanks to the US’ 7th Fleet. China has to keep this conflict below the level of a shooting war and Japan knows it. Maybe in Arab culture a leader can get away with the winning-by-losing-strategy employed by Saddam Hussein for example in 1991. In Chinese culture, I’m pretty sure they prefer good old fashion winning-by-winning (which they have been doing for the past twenty years), and their leaders know full well that if this conflict escalates China will most certainly lose.

  5. Francois T

    RE: Where are the prosecutions?

    Amazing how in the USA, it is always possible to prosecute an individual while it is always “a complex problem” to prosecute a corporation.

    But of course, the US is the greatest country on Earth that only means good to all and can’t do no wrong, domestic and internationally.

    Did I get the memo right, this time?

    1. Anonymous Jones

      It is simply not true that it is “always possible to prosecute an individual” in the United States.

      It is only easy to prosecute an individual in the United States *if that individual is not rich*.

      Justice is expensive and elusive. Never forget these things. The world is complex, and people with the time and resources can grind most fact-finding processes to a halt. Not to bring up old issues, but I’m reminded of a very successful SC running back who was once put on trial for murder…

  6. skippy

    Yves what the frick happend to Ambrose…End the Fed I&II etc?

    Skippy…some are *coming home*, me thinks.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Hah, you noticed, I sent a link to his latest to my buddies via e-mail and commented on him going off the deep end in his last two pieces. Too bad, some of his past commentary was pretty good.

  7. dan10400

    Re: Angkor. Go if you get the chance. Rent a bike and ride thru the temple complex to get the real experience. The place is simply amazing (been there three times while based in Thailand). If the Cambodians let this place deteriorate, it will be a real loss.

  8. EmilianoZ

    There has been 2 posts on the apathy of the left here with hundreds of comments. Nobody mentioned there will be a rally of the left this weekend in DC. This rally is supported by organizations such as the SEIU, the NAACP, the AFL-CIO, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, National Council of La Raza and other liberal groups.

    The left organizes a rally, then they don’t advertise it. Better, they undermine it with Stewart and Colbert announcing another one for later. It’s as if they didn’t want it to be successful. The left simply has a death wish.

    1. Kevin de Bruxelles

      There will be also a huge rally in Brussels tomorrow for trade unionists from across Europe. Traffic will be blocked everywhere so tomorrow will be pretty much a bike-only day. I’m going to go there with my oldest son. He will love all the firecrackers the marchers throw around.

  9. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Maybe we shouldn’t think in terms of the left right paradigm, nor you vs. corporations.

    Maybe the problem is the modern society itself.

    1. Ron

      Barry Ritholtz offers an interesting insight into modern life while focused on the political side it reflects priorities from local city/town to state and national politics which is business/corporate interests come first. Part of this reflects the University system which has cultivated a managerial society dedicated to corporate lifestyle’s and protecting its economic position. This upper crust corporate managerial group has not been impacted by the recession as other groups in the economy and may partly explain why the Obama administration has done so little in this regard.
      Modern life seems to reflect medieval society with Kings Court keeping the plums while the vast majority fight over the scraps.

      1. LeeAnne

        That’s a great comment. While I’ve been concentrating on political and behavioral economics, and I know there’s nothing TPTB do not outsource to their cronies in academe, I haven’t a clue about the size of the NGO rackets.

  10. tyaresun

    What a coincidence. I am wearing my Ankor Wat t-shirt today.

    Another coincidence? Ankor declined in the first place because of water issues.

    Recent excavations, not of the temples but of the infrastructure that made the vast city possible, are converging on a new answer. Angkor, it appears, was doomed by the very ingenuity that transformed a collection of minor fiefdoms into an empire. The civilization learned how to tame Southeast Asia’s seasonal deluges, then faded as its control of water, the most vital of resources, slipped away.

  11. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    China should know its muscle flexing is a sign of weakness – it says right there in Dao De Jing:

    In the world there is nothing more submissive and weak than water. Yet for attacking that which is hard and strong nothing can surpassit.

    This is because there is nothing that can take its place.

    That the weak overcomes the strong,
    And the submissive overcomes the hard,
    Everyone in the world knows yet no one can put this knowledge intopractice.

    Therefore the sage says,
    One who takes on himself the humiliation of the state
    Is called a ruler worthy of offering sacrifices to the gods of earthand millet.
    One who takes on himself the calamity of the state
    Is called a king worthy of dominion over the entire empire.

    Straightforward words seem paradoxical.

  12. Hugh

    POM juice is just the 21st century equivalent of snakeoil. Someone showed me an ad recently to cure headaches with magnets. Old dodges never seem to go away whether they are elixirs, gadgets, or bucket shops. They are just repackaged in shiny new wrappers and ready to go again. t all says something unfortunate about the constancy of human nature.

    1. Cynthia

      For nutritionists who make wild and outrageous claims that if you eat this or drink that, you won’t have a heart attack or you won’t get colon cancer, Ernest Rutherford would call these self-proclaimed scientists stamp collectors, but Richard Feynman would be more critical, calling them cargo cultists. And yet I would be even more critical, calling them high-paid sellouts to the food and beverage industry.

      Thinking back as a young kid in the early 1970s, you’d be hard pressed to find a single carton of yogurt on the grocery shelves. But as soon as various sorts of so-called experts in nutrition made attention-grabbing claims that if you eat yogurt every day, you’ll live to a ripe old age of 100, almost every grocer from Birmingham to Atlanta started packing their shelves with yogurt. Most people back then ate yogurt not because they thought it tasted so good, but because they believed it would give them longevity.

      Since then, the food and beverage industry have known that the best way to boost its sales, and thus rake in the dough, is to market their products as though they are silver bullets to better health and longer life. And this latest news about the health benefits of pomegranate juice turning out to be totally bogus is just another reflection of America’s insatiable appetite to sell products, even if it means lying, cheating or stealing to do it. Those in the food and beverage industry know good and well that more often than not they’ll get away with bending the truth, which means more power to them and more money in their pockets.

  13. Glen

    Obama interviewed by Rolling Stone here:

    And here’s the closing remark he had to come back to make:

    “One closing remark that I want to make: It is inexcusable for any Democrat or progressive right now to stand on the sidelines in this midterm election. There may be complaints about us not having gotten certain things done, not fast enough, making certain legislative compromises. But right now, we’ve got a choice between a Republican Party that has moved to the right of George Bush and is looking to lock in the same policies that got us into these disasters in the first place, versus an administration that, with some admitted warts, has been the most successful administration in a generation in moving progressive agendas forward.”

    The problem I have with this remark is that in the polices where a difference between Bush and Obama would make a REAL difference, there is no difference.

    The Financial Bailout
    The War on Terror

    He can go on blaming the “professional left” all he wants, but that’s just a handful of people. How in the world do a handful of people get him killed at the ballot box this November? He’s in denial that he got a huge mandate for change from the American people and we never got real change.

    1. EmilianoZ

      Of course the Republican Party moved to the right of W. The Democrats moved where W was. The Republicans had to move further to the right. They’re automatically pegged to the right of the Democrats. The corporatocrats only have to move the Democrats. The Republicans follow automatically.

      1. Glen

        Funny thing is, if you poll the American people, they have moved left. Only the MSM and the folks in DC want to believe that people move forever to the right.

        But it’s getting goofy to even use left vs. right. It was everybody that opposed the Wall St bailout and those most vocal about it were on the extreme left/right. It is the vast majority that want us out of Iraq and Afghanistan, with again, loud voices across the political spectrum.

        1. anon

          And according to toombsie’s comment (September 28, 2010 10:50 AM ET) on Glenn Greenwald’s story @ Salon (link below), conservatives in the Houston area don’t want the government to be able to easily monitor internet communications. (Query how they’d define “with ease” but it’s at least another potential point of agreement.)

          “The AM radio station in Houston that plays Glenn Beck did an online poll asking whether “you think it’s a good idea for government to be able to wiretap and monitor internet communication with ease.” 64% said no. So right-wingers are against it, I’m sure the left is even more against it.”

          NY Times story re: internet wiretap proposal

          Glenn Greenwald article @ Salon which is the source of the quote from toombsie:

          It’s a good article that discusses Obama’s “audaciously hilarious political statement” in Rolling Stone that “If we want the kind of country that respects civil rights and civil liberties, we’d better fight [for the Dems] in this election,” as well as the Obama administration’s exhortations to “stop whining” and the administration’s own whining about “Democrats griping and groaning,” (among other criticisms of Dem voters).

          It also has some decent links to others’ takes on the administration’s recent dissing of the left.

    2. Valissa

      “…versus an administration that, with some admitted warts, has been the most successful administration in a generation in moving progressive agendas forward”

      Wow, the elite Democratic Party groupthink/propaganda is quite astounding! Do they really believe their own PR? are they deluding themselves that completely? Well, we’ll see how many remaining Dems are willing to go along with the propaganda. Politics is really just a form of secular religion… believers preferred, thinkers discouraged.

    3. LeeAnne


      I am really grateful for the people like you who listen to what power is speaking to the lowly public. Its important to watch them, but I can’t stomach anymore.

      Your quote of Obama’s, hits my gut with such agitation that it is impossible to put into words. Pig comes to mind -now is that articulate?

    4. LeeAnne


      I am really grateful for people like you who listen to what power is speaking to their lowly public. It’s important to watch them, but I can’t stomach doing it anymore.

      Your quote of Obama’s hit my gut with such agitation that it is impossible to put into words. Pig comes to mind -now is that articulate?

Comments are closed.