Links 10/22/10


  1. Richard Kline

    Unassuming herbivore: “It was just a simple burrow; one entrance, good drainage, bitty little plot. But see, this goom on my bowling team said if I did a re-fi I could afford an electric whisker-straightener and have a pisspot of cash to take a flyer on these carrot shres I’ve had an eye on. So he laid out the papers and I just signed. And I’ll admit, it’s been a wild ride, but I’m in the black with some upside on the carrots. But now, there’s all these men with guns and dogs and judges about the spread so I can’t get near it, and my neighbors are saying I’m forecolsed on. I’ve got a hearing with the judge tomorrow, but he’s got a lot more teeth than I do, and I don’t have a good feeling in my furry belly on this thing. So anybody out there got any advice for me? Fight or flight: what’s my play?”

    1. propertius

      King Arthur: You got us all worked up!
      Tim: Well, that’s no ordinary rabbit.
      King Arthur: Ohh.
      Tim: That’s the most foul, cruel, and bad-tempered rodent you ever set eyes on!
      Sir Robin: You tit! I soiled my armor I was so scared!
      Tim: Look, that rabbit’s got a vicious streak a mile wide! It’s a killer!
      Sir Galahad: Get stuffed!
      Tim: He’ll do you up a treat, mate.
      Sir Galahad: Oh, yeah?
      Sir Robin: You manky Scots git!
      Tim: I’m warning you!
      Sir Robin: What’s he do? Nibble your bum?
      Tim: He’s got huge, sharp… er… He can leap about. Look at the bones!

  2. Ina Deaver

    Wow – can you believe that the WSJ article was biased towards employers checking the credit of all potential employees? I am shocked, shocked I tell you. Not.

  3. skippy

    Re Ed Harrison:

    And the GOLD goes to Australia aussie aussie oi oi.

    Yes lots of crazy loans are starting to default around here, some people even downsizing, some whisper behind my back…hes the one that passed out all those Yves Smith books…um…maybe I should have read it sooner.

    Skippy…Ohhh the cries of Doom and Gloom Sayer…why do people always pick the sunny news over incoming storm idk.

  4. NS

    I want the bunny. Really I do.

    @Ina Deaver-wait until Goggle begins to store all Medical Records. Imagine the profits of selling the data on super/mega information mining. Imagine the opaque market for large corporation to review personal info like this to assess the risk of health care costs and productivity when applying for work. Plausible denialbility for discrimination claims, no one will know except those that profit from it. Maybe there will even be a health score like credit score created..I wouldn’t be surprised. Then PRAY you or your child doesn’t lose to the genetic crap shoot of an illness which is not preventable by your diet and habits.

    Imagine your resume in the hands of HR employee who then goes online to look at your Facebook acct and Twitter acct to see what you do and say in your private life as a means to determine considering you for a job. That is happening right now. Do you have your life online? Do you shop online, do you use a debit or credit card online? Do you search for things that could be interpreted as a negative?

    Nothing shared on the internet is safe, nothing, ever. Now it has more profound personal implications than anytime in the past. It will become more abusive as entire opaque markets can be built around our private lives, conversations, friends, our fears, our human failings and our aging with all the imperfections that encompasses.

    All of these will be used to determine everything from your ability to get work, get credit and its costs, bank accounts and relative fees, health care and its costs to you, your 401K and distribution plan, savings.

    Did you buy a kit-kat bar, 2 points off and a higher co-pay. Did you have a car accident with a lasting injury? A party who might sue you, even if it wasn’t your fault, will look you up to see if you might have a drinking problem or drug problem or partied when you were 19 to use against you. Then watch as your health care costs triple and your ability to get work thereafter is more challenging.

    Welcome to “A Brave New World”. We’re all merely commodities unworthy of considerations otherwise. Good Luck because that is what everyone will need to conform in this new world.

  5. attempter

    Re the Bloomberg piece:

    This made me laugh:

    “The Treasury is very aware that they can’t push too hard on this because if you do push too hard it might put the companies in negative capital again,” says Paul J. Miller, an analyst at FRB Capital Markets in Arlington, Virginia. “There’s a lot of regulatory forbearance going on.”

    They’re already engaging in government-approved accounting fraud to pretend the banks aren’t insolvent and enable fraudulent “profit” reporting and “bonus” looting.

    The piece parrots this fraud, and then says if Treasury doesn’t start forbearing, this event might quell the “recovery”, wipe out the “profits”, and render the banks zombies again.

    What it really means is that even though we already knew the banks are insolvent, it’s actually far worse than we thought. The undead are much closer to just plain dead.

    The administration’s really in a pickle here, now that the task of the Bailout just got so much tougher. How are they going to be able to keep propping up these things? QE2’s not going to be enough. When they finally capitulate and let the bubble deflate once and for all, they’re going to have to try to socialize all the losses on all the MBS and the underwater loans.

    Meanwhile a wonk advocates this:

    Meanwhile, to discourage people from sitting tight in homes while foreclosure proceedings drag on, she would have the government tax the benefit of living in the home rent-free.

    Here I think we can get help from the tea partiers. We have to be ready to present a united front to reject and demonize any attempted tax which would then be conveyed to the banks.


    Aside from ignoring banks’ bad debts, the federal government hasn’t done much to fix the crisis.

    ought to be a generic observation automatically inserted into every article on any bank-related subject.

    1. tyaresun

      There is so much spin in that Bloomberg article that I thought that Yves would love to shred it piece by piece. Alas, I have to wait for another spin article for that to happen.

    2. Francois T

      What never ceases to amaze me is the disproportionate obsession a lots of cats in the US seem to have with the specter of the deadbeat getting ANY break whatsoever, while working very hard to minimize systematic law-raping behaviors from the financial korporations.

      Is this an American cultural trait shared by a large swat of the population? Or a phenomenon restricted to a certain punditocracy? I can’t help noting that even ASOLs (Administration Senior OfficiaLs) are guilty of this discrimination.

      1. Chris

        Oh no, plenty of normal working-class folks have bought into these lies being floated as news. There is a huge apparatus here dedicated to disseminating this crap all day everyday, most of it on talk radio.

  6. DownSouth

    Re: “The Young, the Old, the Unemployed Mike Konczal, New Deal 2.0”

    What jumps out at me when I look at this data?

    That those with less than a high school diploma are the least impacted.

    The definition of job creation in America these days seems to be to eliminate one high-paying job and replace it with three low-paying jobs.

    Way to go America. Keep those jobs flipping hamburgers at McDonalds coming.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Extending retirement ages will only keep older workers employed on jobs that could go to the young.

      They should mandate that everyone retires at 40 – that would open up so many jobs you wouldn’t believe.

      Unemployment problem solved!

      Of course, you have to reform pension first.

      And the ‘real’ unemployment rate would include those who didn’t want to retire but was forced to – which could be already a substantial number now but would be an even bigger number if people are forced to retired ealier and with less pension.

    2. Doug Terpstra

      I think you meant to say “‘manufacturing’ hamburgers”.

      “…in an attempt to skew the dismal statistics on manufacturing jobs, President Bush proposed in his annual economic message to the Congress that cooking hamburgers, notoriously one of the lowest-paying of jobs, be henceforward defined as a ‘manufacturing’ job.” (2004)

      Had this not caused so much milk to be involuntarily snorted at high velocity from so many nostrils, and guffawed by so many comedians, Obama would probably continue that same policy as well.

  7. i on the ball patriot

    The Scamerican Governemnt is ALREADY stripping you of internet privacy, they are well into it …

    Excerpt …

    “The “Cyberwar” Is Over and the National Security Agency Has Won
    A “Memorandum of Agreement” struck last week between the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the National Security Agency (NSA) promises to increase Pentagon control over America’s telecommunications and electronic infrastructure.

    It’s all in the interest of “cybersecurity” of course, or so we’ve been told, since much of the Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative (CNCI) driving administration policy is a closely-held state secret.

    Authority granted the über spy shop by the Bush and Obama administrations was handed to NSA by the still-classified National Security Presidential Directive 54, Homeland Security Presidential Directive 23 (NSPD 54/HSPD 23) in 2008 by then-President Bush.

    The Agreement follows closely on the heels of reports last week by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) that DHS has been tracking people online and that the agency even established a “Social Networking Monitoring Center” to do so.

    Documents obtained by EFF through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, revealed that the agency has been vacuuming-up “items of interest,” systematically monitoring “citizenship petitioners” and analyzing “online public communication.”

    More here …

    Deception is the strongest political force on the planet.

  8. Francois T

    Re: Joseph Lent

    For policy makers, the dilemma is this: Enormous losses will cause problems wherever they end up. They could further harm Fannie and Freddie, which insure the vast majority of the nation’s mortgages and have already received almost $150 billion in taxpayer support. Or, if Fannie and Freddie succeed in pushing the burden back to the banks, the losses could cripple some of the major institutions that have just emerged from a government bailout.

    I don’t recall reading a better argument against the big banks bailout. Now, the government is not a referee, which we do need more than ever, but an interested party that stands to lose big if things go wrong.

    The govermin-korporation fusion was then completed; The Borg has been fully functional since then.

  9. tyaresun

    The main reason not to worry too much about the US govt reducing our privacy is that their policies and procedures are even more screwed up than the banks and loan servicers.

  10. jbmoore

    The Bloomberg article about China hijacking Internet traffic is a farce. Military networks are separate from the civilian Internet. They have their own backbones and routers and are supposed to be entirely separate entities. If the milnet traffic is not separate from the civnet traffic then someone in the military goofed badly. Except for the Wikileaks data breach, theft of military information has involved systems that essentially bridged both networks, or were exclusively on the civilian network that contained sensitive information that shouldn’t have been on those systems.

    1. tyaresun

      Are you saying that when the Navy folks in Norfolk communicate with San Diego, the data flows on a purely military network?

      1. renting_hell

        Yes he is, and yes it does.
        Mainly. Most of the time. Depending on what you mean by ‘communicate.’

    2. Externality

      The military’s purported dependence on civilian communications infrastructure, if true, is the result of its deliberately eliminating much of its hardened communications system. (It was seen as too expensive in the age of packet-switched fiber optic communications.) Hardened communication bunkers, repeater stations, and other C3 infrastructure that was built at enormous expense during the Cold War are now for sale on the Internet.

    3. Externality

      Did anyone think that the oligarchs would not tire of the peasantry being able to bypass the corporate media? The media and Hollywood manufacture consent for a small number of corporations and demographic groups that are, shall we say, overrepresented, in their influence. The Internet makes it harder for these groups to control the national conversation. The robo-notary bill that Obama pocket-vetoed would have passed without notice but for the Internet.

      For the past two years the NY and DC elites have created pretext after pretext to limit or eliminate privacy and free speech on the Internet. Senator Lieberman, for example, has used China and al-Qaada as justification for his efforts to increase Internet surveillance, bar American citizens from the Internet without due process, shut down websites, and allow the president to summarily shut down the Internet. Other groups have wanted to do the same to protect intellectual property, block “enemy” or “Chinese” “propaganda,” stop sex crimes, stop “cyber-bullying,” etc.

  11. EmilianoZ

    Andy Xie’s incendiary post about the coming currency war:

    “Rich people everywhere are buying gold for a little peace of mind, not just the Chinese. They are literally trucking it by the ton or two home. When currency values vanish in a QE melee, at least the rich have the gold to stay rich.”

    “The U.S. is by far the biggest source of uncertainty and the initiator of the QE war. Its elite created the biggest financial bubble since 1929, even removing regulations designed to prevent it, and left the U.S. economy in shambles after its burst. The same people want to find a quick cure to hold onto their power. Unfortunately, there is no quick cure.”

    “I think China’s currency is overvalued. China’s money supply has exploded in the past decade, rising from 12 to 70 trillion yuan. No currency has not experienced depreciation after a such a prolonged bout of money growth. China’s industry has risen tremendously to justify part of the growth. But, a massive amount is in the overvalued property market. When it normalizes, the money flows out and the currency depreciation pressure happens. We should see this within two years.”

    “Most major economies will do something to keep their currencies down. That is checkmate for the U.S. Without devaluation benefits on rising exports, QE just leads to inflation, first through rising oil prices. The American people are suffering from declining housing prices and high unemployment. If the gasoline price doubles from here, the country may not be stable.”

    “The same people who caused the last crisis are still in charge. They’ll get us into another. Iceland is taking its ex-prime minister to court for causing the banking crisis. Worse fates await the people who are causing the next crisis. China used to chop off the heads of its failing ministers at the capital’s vegetable market. Maybe we should bring back the practice and globalize it.”

  12. Pepe

    Starting in January, when the statute goes into effect, it will be illegal in Illinois for employers to run credit checks on prospective employees (unless it’s a bona fide occupational qualification, such as having access to cash)

    1. EmilianoZ

      If he finds out you’ve been squealing behind his back, he will kill you. Take down that post!

  13. EmilianoZ

    Excerpt of Matt Taibbi’s new book on Rolling Stone:

    The excerpt is mainly about the sale of US infrastructure to Middle Eastern sovereign wealth funds. Those funds’ money comes of course from oil. In return they pour money into hedge funds that speculate on oil. You see the virtuous circle. The excerpt also reviews the Chicago parking meter deal and how lousy it was for Chicagoans. No more free parking on weekends and holidays.

  14. dearieme

    “undermining foreign perceptions of the fairness of the US judicial system”: my impression is that many business people just take it as axiomatic that the US judicial system is substantially biased. But I’ll grant that my sample is small.

  15. Sundog

    The Wikileaks Iraq release is out.

    Attackerman is on the case; I recommend keeping an eye on Wired’s Danger Room blog for stuff other media overlooks or overplays.

    I also want to point at two pieces on the war in Mexico.

    William Finnegan, “In the Name of the Law”

    Alma Guillermoprieto, “The Murderers of Mexico”

    To me it seems there are interesting parallels and discontinuities between Iraq, Afghanistan, Mexico and recent excesses of US financial elites.

  16. Doug Terpstra

    Great post, Yves. Br’er Obama’s briar patch strategy seems to be on track. He’ll have plenty of thorny cover to do the banks’ bidding, including something Bush this week told the Chicago Tribune was his greatest failure—not privatizing Social Security. Just as Clinton achieved some of the worst deregulation and trade deals, Obama, can do far more damage than any GOP president. This is why we were warned about wolves in sheep’s clothing.

    What makes the foreclosure fraud ‘interesting’ is how broadly it infects the upper food chain. It seems more damaging to market confidence at scale and not easy to just throw money at it. Certainly, taxpayers will be reamed through some sort of “resolution”, but it shreds more of the “free” market veil of legitimacy, exposing the reality of fascism to more critical population. The rug is already too lumpy.

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