Links 10/16/10

Readers may recall I mentioned that this week and early next were jammed for me, so some of these links are to items earlier in the week that I consider important. (And thanks to Marshall Auerback, Ed Harrison, Richard Smith, and for their considerable help).

Fibre optic cables’ data capacity may soon be reached BBC

Stuxnet Questions and Answers f-secure (hat tip Richard Smith). This is from a couple of weeks ago, but is pretty cool.

Government by search engine Christopher Caldwell, Financial Times

The Effects of Unbalanced Trade Another Amateur Economist. From earlier this year, but a nice synopsis.

Currency row simmers as US delays long-awaited China report Telegraph. Quelle surprise! The report is being kicked back to after the midterm elections.

Only the Weak Survive Nouriel Roubini, Project Syndicate (hat tip Mark Thoma)

Japan Scrambles for Rare Earth Wall Street Journal

China’s Rare-Earth Monopoly MIT Technology Review

Why Is It So Acceptable to Lie to Cut Social Security Benefits? Dean Baker

A Look at How Unregulated Servicers Are, and the Consequences for Leaving this Crisis Mike Konczal. His “Foreclosure for Dummies” series got a lot of well deserved attention.

Bank of America Announces That It Has Discovered Some Trivial Technical Problems With a Small Number of its Mortgages Matt G, The Big Picture. An exercise in extreme satire.

Angelo Mozilo, other former Countrywide execs settle fraud charges Los Angeles Times. Maybe that extreme satire is not so extreme after all.

For Halloween, I’m going as a MERS Vice-President Self-Evident

The Daily Caller vs the banks Felix Salmon

Bankruptcy attorney on robo-signing fraud and mortgage mod litigation Ed Harrison

Foreclosure Mess Draws in the Lawyers Who Handled Them New York Times. I hate to sound petty, and it probably does not reflect well on me to kvetch, but this sort of thing is annoying. The Times mentions the litigation against Lender Processing Services and Prommis Solutions, a story we broke on this blog. It’s a virtual certainty the Times picked up that tidbit from us. Any credit? Or maybe a quid pro quo, like occasionally quoting us in other stories? Nope. Readers who concur with our assessment are encouraged to pester the powers that be at the Times.

Where’s the Note? Did the Big Banks Lose Your Mortgage? A consumer tool that has gone viral.

Antidote du jour (hat tip reader IF):


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  1. i on the ball patriot

    They get their news,
    From the New York Slimes
    That’s why they ain’t,
    Got two thin dimes,

    And they’re misinformed,
    And their broke as shit,
    Cause the New York Slimes,
    Is corporate spit,

    If they’re quoting you,
    In The New York Slimes,
    You appear complicit,
    In ‘The Slimes’ crimes,

    When I read you wanted,
    To be so tainted,
    I could not believe,
    I almost fainted,

    Forget The Slimes,
    Pat On the Head,
    Vie for mention,
    Elsewhere instead …

    Excerpt …

    “Alas for Christine, even as she was trying to winch herself off the shoals of national ridicule, the University of Indiana released some of the results of a huge new survey of America’s sex habits. O’Donnell’s strictures on masturbation as wrong (because it’s an expression of lust largely conducted outside the passionate physical conjunction of married partners of differing gender) are, as amusingly discussed by JoAnn Wypijewski in a recent Nation piece, out of step with national preferences.

    Culled from detailed responses from 5,865 Americans between the ages of 14 and 94 the university surveyors disclose in the October issue of the The Journal of Sexual Medicine that among people 70 or older 80 percent of men and 58 percent of women have masturbated solo over a lifetime. Among people aged 25 to 29, rates peak at 94 percent among men and 84 percent among women. Worse news yet for Christine: Masturbating with a partner is becoming increasingly popular.

    So the question is not whether the American people deserve Christine; it’s whether Christine, deserves this nation of wankers.”

    Deception is the strongest political force on the planet.

    1. i on the ball patriot

      Good read! Stuxnet, some thoughts …

      • The Israeli/Jewish oppression in Iran connections are suspect in interpretation and meaningless in and of themselves without knowing who produced stuxnet. 9th of May, 1979, was also the date that the US and USSR signed the salt treaty. So what … CIA maybe …? Conspiracy bait?

      • Stuxnet is most amazing for its complexity pointing to a “significant resources to develop” source. Who is the heavy hitter?

      • Digital worms are a way of life in the present technological age and they will be used by the PTB to rationalize genuine public safety measures or oppressive control. Good vaccines or bullshit vaccines, you have to stay vigilant.

      • You pretty much have to assume you are subject to worm attack 24/7 similar to being subject to unseen flu virus. Worms are a real trust killer!

      Another more current take here from Cisco’s John Stewart …

      Deception is the strongest political force on the planet.

  2. Ina Deaver

    Wow – I would not want to butt heads with that. Oddly fitting for the links.

    Remember that the younguns these days think that ideas (leads included) are just out in the ether, and they don’t need to worry with attribution. I’m pretty sure that I’ve read links about this very problem. Good luck getting the whippers at the NYT to acknowledge that they are reliant on a world of hard working, talented people whose efforts they cannibalize, uh, build on.

  3. rd

    The article about Mozilo’s settlement highlights why it is critical to have criminal charges. BoA/Countrywide and their insurers are covering 2/3 of his fine under his employment contract.

    It is the height of insanity to indemnify the individuals who played a key role in the attempted collapse of the Western financial system. Only personal fittings for orange jumpsuits that they will wear for 5 years or more will dissuade these people from doing illegal, unethical, and immoral activities if their companies that they helped tank pay their fines.

  4. rd

    The whole debate about Social Security is highly annoying. As far as I can tell, it is one of the few government programs that is actually close to solvency and functions as intended. The horror stories that are used to discredit Social Security are usually using timelines of 50 to 75 years.

    Are you kidding me? We are unable to predict anything with any degree of certainty much beyond a handful of years. 75 years ago was 1935. The concept of nuclear fission had not been developed yet. WW II had not occurred. Communism was still pretty much isolated to Russia, so we still had to go through the rise and fall of the Iron Curtain as well as Mao. The US was still in the depths of the Great Depression.

    Social Security needs a handful of small tweaks.

    Medicare, on the other had, has serious financial issues that will emerge in the next decade or so. Public pension plans for federal, state, and local workers need huge reworking. Military spending is bloated. Agricultural subsidies are counter-productive and bloated. We have enormous hidden subsidies and guarantees to the financial sector.

    These are the real issues that are crushing our fiscal system. Social Security is a red herring being trotted out by extreme right-wing propagandists.

    1. Chris

      This whole push for privatization is to give all that money to the Wall St. cartel, further enriching themselves at the expense of the population. I’m also starting to think that the “less government/no government/no regulations” crowd just want free license to rip people off ad infinitum.

  5. Glen

    Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago sues B of A, others:

    Looks like the other BIG shoe is dropping. Owners of AAA rated crap want their money back. Who can blame them.

    TheDC OP-ED: One nation, under fraud:

    Article with many more stories of bank fraud and foreclosure craziness. Here’s a good one, Wells Fargo sues itself, and retains law firms for both sides:

    “Wells Fargo wanted to foreclose on a condo unit which had multiple mortgages attached to it. Wells Fargo also owned one of those second mortgages. So Wells Fargo spent money to hire a law firm and file suit against the irresponsible lenders at Wells Fargo. Then, Wells Fargo spent money to hire a different law firm in an understandable effort to defend Wells Fargo from the vicious legal attack coming from Wells Fargo. The second law firm even prepared a legal statement for Wells Fargo which called into question the dubious claims being made by Wells Fargo. Sadly, Wells Fargo won the case, crushing the hopes of Wells Fargo.”

    So as far as I can tell from that example, big banks are certainly not efficent even compared to big government. Well, except that the bosses of TBTF banks take home hundreds of millions even as thier firms go broke.

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