Links 12/4/10

Poorer nations ‘need carbon cuts’ BBC

Sold for slaughter: The hundreds of Dartmoor ponies that nobody wants Daily Mail (hat tip reader May S) :-(

2 more rare red foxes confirmed in Sierra Nevada PhysOrg

Site Scrapers Find Free Money on the Web Ed Harrison

State Dept. warning prospective recruits to steer clear of Wikileaks Arabist

Breaking the News to Farash Wall Street Journal. The Journal is now resorting to “Wikileaks spy fiction” to demonize the release.

WikiLeaks cables: CIA drew up UN spying wishlist for diplomats Guardian (hat tip reader May S)

Laundry lessons – a first follow up John Hempton

Sovereign debt: In a monstrous grasp Financial Times

How to resign from the club Economist (hat tip reader Swedish Lex)

European Central Bank ‘doctrine’ has turned markets into reality shows Guardian

Spain and Ireland turn to privatisation Telegraph

Food & Water Watch Analysis Reveals Surge in Potential Privatization Deals in 2010 Common Dreams (hat tip reader May S)

Millions Bracing for Cutoff of Unemployment Checks New York Times

CEA Assessment of the the Impact of Letting UI Extensions Expire Menzie Chinn

Empire of schmucks David Rothkopf, Foreign Policy

The fiscal commission’s failure Felix Salmon. Not keen re his implicit endorsement of “fiscal responsibility” in an economy with this much slack, but a good wrap up of media mixed reactions.

Four arrested over money laundering and large-scale fraud at HBOS Ian Fraser (hat tip Richard Smith)

Investors ‘outraged’ by FSA’s refusal to release RBS report Telegraph (hat tip Richard Smith)

Motorhead beat up bankers in Christmas single Telegraph (hat tip reader Swedish Lex)

Value Sinking Fastest at Homes Priced Low to Start New York Times

Sunlight shows cracks in crisis rescue story Frank Partnoy, Financial Times

Antidote du jour. From this New York Times blog post, hat tip reader Steve S:


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    1. craazyman

      it’s almost as bad as that horse from 2 days ago. I’m still freaking out about that horse standing upright on two legs, like some vision of pagan insanity, and that weird blue. That horse wasn’t from this world and I don’t know what world it was from. I don’t want to know. If I went to sleep and then woke up in that world, I’d panic. That may be the problem, really, it may be that electric-blue-standing-horse-world is too close to the reality of this world. I thought these were supposed to be antidotes, not truths. ;)

      1. financial matters

        I’m reasurred to find out that it is indeed a marine creature, a crab. I thought it might be from the crab lice genre.

        1. Sundog

          I was disappointed to recognize it as a sea creature perceptible to the human eye; at first glance thought it might be an example of charismatic microfauna.

      2. Keenan

        RE: That Horse:

        Watch out for “Bluecifer” should your travels bring you to Denver International Airport.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It might be the Chinese mitten crab, found at the mouth of the Yangtze, that biggest source of pollution entering the Pacific.

      Saw it in the BBC ‘Wild China’ documentary.

  1. financial matters

    Great article.. Four arrested over money laundering and large-scale fraud at HBOS

    All the elements of regulatory capture, senior executives likely in the know but too happy to take the resultant bonuses, searching for a compliant auditor/accountant


    “””The report would also have been passed to the FSA. But the FSA was “outsourcing” banking oversight to the banks’ risk management departments at the time and would have treated everything in Smith’s report as gospel.”””

    1. PunchnRun

      What is different between the US and the UK which results in a fraud investigation and arrests in the UK, but oblivious disregard of so many obviously fraudulent activities here in the US? Not that it did not take an inordinately long time to take action in the UK, undoubtedly sufficient time for many of the actors to salt away the treasure in inaccessible places.

  2. sam

    If an American passes US intelligence to Russians, and the Russians pass it around their diplomatic corps for cheap laughs, and a Chinese blogger posts it on the Internet, then:

    Is the American informant a hero? a victim? both? neither?

    Who is responsible for the informant’s cover being blown? The Russians? or the Chinese blogger?

    Who is responsible for the informant being shot by the Americans? The Americans? The Russians? The Chinese blogger? or the informant?

    I think you can’t tell whether the informant is hero or traitor, based on the fact of the informing. All you know is that he informed: your opinion of that act has to depend on your opinion of informing. In any case, why should the Chinese blogger have a responsibility to keep it a secret?

    I think the Russians are responsible for the informant’s cover being blown, for sloppy tradecraft. They don’t appear to have cared enough to keep the secret, and its disingenuous of them to blame the Chinese blogger.

    You can argue that the informant had a shooting coming for informing, but in any case it’s pretty clear that the Americans are responsible for the execution. It’s their choice to carry it out.

    In no case does the blogger (who is *not Russian*) have any responsibility to keep the Russians’ intelligence sources secret for them.

    Americans (getting back to the case of Assange) seem to think that every Western citizen (whatever “Western” means) is a subject of the United States, and is morally bound to protect US interests.

    1. attempter

      Assange is trying to protect US interests (as opposed to the interests of the criminal elites) by restituting public property (our system information, all of which belongs to the people) to its rightful owners.

  3. LeeAnne

    State Dept. warning prospective recruits to steer clear of Wikileaks

    Another misleading heading on the same issue of snooping and controlling behavior totally supported by TPTB at Columbia University. This one posts the email in full. It ends the same as it begins ANONYMOUSLY

    Hi students,

    We received a call today from a SIPA alumnus who is working at the State Department. …

    In other words, To all you 7-year-old students From Office of Career Services: DON’T LOOK -you’re being watched.

    So this is a sample of what’s its like to be educated at Columbia University. The universities have gotten off easily in this whole financial/political/sociological debacle.

    Not for long, I trust.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Academia, now in the business of luring naive students into lifelong indentured servitude with loans which can’t be discharged in bankruptcy and even can be offset against Social Security benefits in old age, has become a kneecapping Mafia loan sharking operation.

      Steer clear of these upscale racketeering operations.

    2. DownSouth

      It looks like the banksters are going after Wikileaks funding. According to this AP story:

      The online payment service provider PayPal has cut off the account used by WikiLeaks to collect donations, serving another blow to the organization just as it was struggling to keep its website accessible after an American company stopped directing traffic to it.

      PayPal said in a blog posting that the move was prompted by a violation of its policy, “which states that our payment service cannot be used for any activities that encourage, promote, facilitate or instruct others to engage in illegal activity.”

      The short notice was dated Friday, and a spokeswoman for PayPal Germany on Saturday declined to elaborate and referred to the official blog posting.

      Donating money to WikiLeaks via PayPal on Saturday was not possible anymore, generating an error message saying “this recipient is currently unable to receive money.”

      PayPal is one of several ways WikiLeaks collects donations, and until now was probably the most secure and convenient way to support the organization.

      1. Sundog

        Twitter is once again turning out to be an interesting case.


        One of the lasting effects of this may be that many more people realize that just because you have an internet connection doesn’t mean you own the printing press.

        What’s really hard about this is that we perceive the web to be a public space, a place where you should be able to go and set up your soapbox and say whatever you want to say to the world. The truth is, the web is almost entirely privately held. So what happens here is that we have a normative understanding that we should treat this like public space—that you should have rights to speak, that no one should constrain your rights—but then you discover that, basically, you’re holding a political rally in a shopping mall. This is commercial speech, controlled by commercial rules.

        Lauren Kirchner, “A Q&A with Ethan Zuckerman: Why Amazon Caved, and What It Means for the Rest of Us”

    3. Sundog

      It’s been leaked that an old boy leaked not to read the leaks. Could someone please translate that to Russian?

      1. Sundog

        Это была утечка, что мальчик утечка не читать утечек.


        Thanks, Google.

        1. Sundog

          “It has been leaked that the boy did not read the leaked leaks.”

          “This is an old boy leaked leaks do not see leaks.”

          Thanks a whole bunch there Google.

  4. IF

    Yves, wait a second! Don’t you had Harvard degrees?

    At the Harvard faculty club “[m]embers happily consumed horsemeat, obtained from the racetrack at Suffolk Downs. It was so popular, chicken-fried and served with onion gravy, that it stayed on the menu until 1985.”

    A friend of mine claims it was only discontinued after a new chef was hired. When he asked the supplier who else his customers were the answer was: “Besides you just the zoo!” Supposedly that was the end of it. (Not sure if you can confirm, after all this was after you graduated.)

    IMHO it would be better if there was a secondary market for Fury in some western countries. Besides, it is delicious. And isn’t it weird that the Californian bastion of easy going will legalize pot sooner or later but has made the consumption of horse illegal? Which strange world we live in.

  5. Jim Haygood

    At the Harvard faculty club “[m]embers happily consumed horsemeat, obtained from the racetrack at Suffolk Downs. It was so popular, chicken-fried and served with onion gravy, that it stayed on the menu until 1985.”

    Huh — I thought you was making that up, but it comes straight from the horse’s mouth, so to speak:

    Seems to be a typo in the quote, though. Pretty sure the fourth word should be ‘horsesh*t’ …

  6. Jim Haygood

    Further to yesterday’s link about tiny houses, to which I commented about potential zoning complications — here’s a link to a story about a 72-year-old man in Madison County, Indiana, who’s being evicted from his travel trailer parked on his own 38 acres.

    The county’s complaint is that he’s not hooked up to utilities, such as sewer. Presumably he could simply store the trailer on his land, unoccupied. Or, he could camp out in a tent on his own land.

    But apparently his off-grid living in a little wheeled house has brought the authorities down on him, probably demanding an unobtainable ‘Certificate of Occupancy’ under the zoning and building code regs applying to mobile homes.

    A few decades ago, such microregulation would have been described as ‘Soviet.’ Now that Soviet Union is gone, though, the US seems to have acquired many of its less savory characteristics.

    ‘Your CO please, comrade!’

  7. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Investors outraged?

    A real insomniac doesn’t just worry about Peak Oil, he or she is also concerned about Peak Outrage.

    If you keep using up your outrage, pretty soon, you will have none left.

    Do we have alternatives? Where to find green, or sustainable, outrage?

  8. K Ackermann

    God bless Lemmy. It’s inspiring…

    All this hiding in the shadows, and slinking around…
    I need something more evilly profound.
    I need wholesale destruction, and worldwide suffering.
    I need vile deeds on the grandest scale.
    On my leverage and power, you’ll be impaled.
    I’ll be a banker, a broker, an economist too.
    I won’t ask for a thing, but I’ll take what I want.
    My need will be greed; I’ll bite the hands that feed me.
    Don’t sneeze your nose at me or I’ll foreclose on you easily.

    Open a 401k with me today, tomorrow you’ll pay, and the day after that.
    I’ll cry before congress and they’ll pass the hat.
    I’m doing God’s work now, I’m sorry to say.
    I left the devil at 666 Saint Gacy Way.
    You’ll come to think of him as quaint and cute.
    That you will, when I steal your loot.
    I’ll look down on you from my tower of power.
    When you look up, I’ll piss on your face.
    I’ll tell you it’s raining at 666 Saint Goldman Sachs Place.

  9. Paul Repstock

    Yves; I know WikiLeaks and all it entails is a digression from your main blog focus. However, I think you would do well to continue to give space to the story.

    As a small warning to everyone who has ever sent money to WikiLeaks; I think you can now safely assume that your contribution has now been noted by the US government. When PayPal rolls over so easily and closes WikiLeaks account, then it is a small step to hand over the records of the account. After all WikiLeaks is a ‘Criminal’ if not terrorist organization.

    Dispensing information which is not government sanctioned and authorized has become a “Criminal Activity”. God help the Land of the Free!

  10. Fractal

    I think it’s a bed bug ….

    On a grimmer note, Joe Nocera covers one horrifying anecdote of servicer-driven foreclosure fraud:

    And Gretchen covers the immorality of the Fed’s multi-scores of billions of dollars in bailouts through the PDCF, while doing bupkis for the unemployed and while the hogs at the trough (banks) have done nothing for victims of foreclosure fraud:

    1. Paul Repstock

      Why are the government people even involved in activities to prop up a market for something like these ponies? This all sets up a perfect “Non Productive” boondoggle. In the end it amounts to a huge waste of time and money, upsetting everyone, solving nothing. Had it simply been left to the market things would have settled themselves.

      I’m assuming of course that there is no subsidy involved in raising Dartmoor Ponies. Perhaps someone can better explain some aspects of this.

  11. Jack Parsons

    Julian Assange on China: Yup, the guy has a brain. The word fiscalized is opaque which might hinder the message. “Financialized” is part of it, another part is “power of the financial industry”.

  12. Jack Parsons

    As a Central Cali resident, I’m thrilled to know that red foxes have survived habitat destruction, coyotes and cougars. Like cougars and coyotes, they are very secretive and we really don’t know how many there are.

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