Links 4/8/11

British sailor, 85, arrives in St. Maarten after crossing Atlantic with friends aboard raft Washington Post (hat tip reader furzy mouse)

Newark Mayor Wants To Build Patrick’s Place In Honor Of Starved Dog (Video) Care2 (hat tip reader furzy mouse)

Georgian woman cuts off web access to whole of Armenia Guardian (hat tip Buzz Potamkin)

The Great Libyan Distraction Immanuel Wallerstein (hat tip reader Paul T, who also provided this related piece: Samir Amin Speaking About the Egyptian Revolution Axis of Logic)

The NYT Continues Its War on HuffPo Felix Salmon, Columbia Journalism Review

Scott Walker is Strongly Rebuked by Milwaukee County Voters: Walker’s Candidate for His Former Job is Crushed 61% – 39% Buzzflash (hat tip reader furzy mouse)

Justices uphold foreclosure rule Columbus Dispatch

David Prosser, JoAnne Kloppenburg Face Unexpected Twist In Wisconsin Supreme Court Election Huffington Post. Not quite a done deal, then, for Kloppenburg…now it looks much more like a Prosser win.

Trichet: welcome to my great big fat Euro fiasco BBC. After the Portuguese capitulation and an ECB rate rise, a rant from Paul Mason on the evolving two-speed Europe.

European Debt Crisis Morphs Into New Phase: Mohamed El-Erian Bloomberg, h/t Felix Salmon. El-Erian decidedly more optimistic than Mason about how it goes from here for the Eurozone…

Nasty choices in a time of raising of rates FT. Meanwhile in the UK, the tightrope walk between rate rises, inflationary expectations and recession gets ever more precarious.

MMT stabilization policy — some comments & critiques Interfluidity. Steve Waldman being temperate and thoughtful on Modern Monetary Theory.

Battle Starts Over British Bank Rules The New York Times finally gets the idea that it’s worth comparing and contrasting US and UK regulatory approaches.

Bob Diamond on Charlie Rose Barclays’ boss showing his face in the States, via a cozy half hour with Charlie. The US might see more of him if he doesn’t like the IBC report, which is out on Monday. Amusing to see the extravagant way he defers to the Independence of the Banking Commission (NC has had a few posts about his very aggressive, only-just-behind-the-scenes lobbying).

Political Animal At Washington Washington Monthly on the shutdown. Hat tip furzy mouse.

What Actually Happens When the Government Shuts Down (And Other Things You Don’t Know About the Budget Fight) New Deal 2.0. A veteran of the last shutdown tries to give an idea of what they’re like.

David Cameron’s Gift of War and Racism, to Them and Us Truthout, hat tip furzy mouse. A kicking for post-imperialist UK Prime Minister David Cameron

Quantico Blocks Official Visits by UN, Amnesty, and Rep. Kucinich to Bradley Manning FireDogLake, hat tip furzy mouse. The US getting more like Burma, except with prisons, not just house arrest.

Antidote du jour:

Screen shot 2011-04-08 at 3.43.22 AM

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  1. Jim Haygood

    Steve Waldman (‘MMT stabilization policy’):

    A government that wishes to be solvent should first and foremost interact with the polity in a manner that promotes productivity.

    Let’s consider three examples:

    1. The internet, originally an ARPA/DARPA project to develop a fault-tolerant communication network, is so productivity-enhancing that it’s gone global in a couple of decades.

    2. The former Cold War, now morphed into the Global War on Terror, imposes vast costs for maintaining a worldwide military empire that doesn’t pay for itself.

    3. Social benefit programs (such as Soc Sec and Medicare) are not properly reserved, invest in low return assets (fixed income only), and incorporate a Ponzi aspect which depends on ever-expanding participation.

    One out of three ain’t bad, I guess. But the public sector has serious structural productivity problems, which have led to its solvency problem. Not only is fiat credit expansion (at root, a mechanism of war finance) irrelevant to fixing them, it’s actually being used as a crutch to avoid fixing them.

    Thus I assert that with perverse incentives to keep on printing (e.g., QE2) in good times and bad, this doomsday machine is incapable of self-correction. It’s headed for a crack-up. Crude’s at $112 and Bozo Ben’s still spewing POMOs: SNAFU.

  2. DownSouth

    Re: “Samir Amin Speaking About the Egyptian Revolution”

    Samir Amin said:

    Sadat and Mubarak worked more on the dismantling of the productive system of Egypt, for which they substituted a completely inconsistent system, based entirely on the search for profitability. The supposedly high Egyptian growth rates, proclaimed and lauded over the last thirty years by the World Bank, have no meaning. It is smoke and mirrors. Growth in Egypt is highly vulnerable, dependent on the external market and on the flow of oil capital from the rich Gulf countries. With the crisis in the global economy, this vulnerability was manifested by a sudden running out of steam. This slowdown was accompanied by an incredible rise in inequality and unemployment, which has affected a majority of young people.

    That, in a nutshell, describes neoliberalism. It involves exchanging a productive economy for a ponzi economy, and when the ponzi economy implodes, using violence to concentrate the remains of any productive economy into the hands of a select few.

    It’s a toxic mix of von Mises, Hayek, Friedman and Rand. It is dictatorship, capitalist style. When implemented, the outcome is always the same—-social and economic mayhem. We’ve observed these same results over and over and over again, from Argentina to Russia to Egypt and many places in between.

    Boiling neoliberalism down to its essence, it represents the triumph of the interest of the individual—–an elect individual, akin to Luther’s God’s elect, but in this case the individual self-elects—-over the interest of the group.

    Using any traditional standard of evil, this fits the definition perfectly.

    1. Lidia

      DownSouth I agree, though it doesn’t take a dictatorship to dismantle production. Where I live, in Italy (where food production is supposedly revered and enshrined in the cultural DNA of the populace) I see an increasing “hollowing-out”, as banksters and other obscenely-rich people buy up the landscape for either a romantic backdrop, or to cement it over with empty poured-concrete shitboxes with borrowed funds on spec. Someone with actual ownership of real land and real cows experiences a “poverty” that forces them to sell out to interests with “money”, whose “money” does not even exist!!

      This is a world-wide phenomenon.

      And frankly, if there were no money, the process I describe would be impossible: no person in their right mind would trade productive farmland and cows for an empty concrete box.

      1. Diego Méndez

        There are very few food products which can be grown economically in Europe. In the case of my country, Spain, most food production would disappear overnight if markets were opened to non-EU imports and subsidies were eliminated.

        But for some citrical products in the East (oranges, lemons, etc.) and some Spanish specialties (wine, olive oil, ham, strawberries and seafood), food production would vanish.

        That would leave up lots of space to build high-tech factories :)

    2. Diego Méndez


      productive industries, both in South America and more developed areas, have been hollowed out not by free market, but because of the Chinese Communist Party’s policies of social dumping, extreme currency market intervention and the West’s consent about it.

      Of those three reasons, you can only charge neo-liberalism with one: the West’s consent.

      I think we’ll see a reversal of fortunes between the West (including Latin America) and China in the near term. People are about to revolt in the US and Europe, and, even if they wouldn’t, China’s policies can’t be economically sustained for longer (inflation, losses on dollar reserves, no more export growth, etc.).

  3. Eureka Springs

    I just can’t convince myself to delve further into the tit-for-tat currency blame game… when clearly ponzi scheming criminals have and always will run amok when no fear of prosecution or a noose exists. The type of currency doesn’t change the seduction of the ponzi, imo.

    Of course I just watched Inside Job last night. A fine flick even for those who know its tale.

  4. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Two antidote-du-jour squirrels guillotined for the price of one: efficiency and improved productivity – the Holy Grail of all economic quests.

    Unfortunately, the executioner probably didn’t paid more. The extra profit went to his corporate bosses at Golden Guillotine Inc. In fact, he was probably replaced by an eager alien more desperate to cooperate.

  5. scraping_by

    re: Wisconsin

    “Not quite a done deal, then, for Kloppenburg…now it looks much more like a Prosser win.”

    It actually looks like a Republican steal. The “gee I found enough votes to make my party the winner.” wheeze is brazen enough nobody supports it, they just shake their head and get out of the way.

    Actually, a margin of 250 votes in an electorate of 1.5 million votes cast points to serious, almost playful election fraud. Most of America, Wisconsin and Minnesota especially, has achieved the political level of Jim Crow Dixie. The reason there’s such a large disconnect between what people want and what their government gives them isn’t ignorance or weakness. it’s fraud.

    However, the outcome of Wisconsin elections is now reviewed by a half dozen retired judges. Appointed in a manner to keep the party in power the party in power. Talking nonpartisan and acting (so far) according to the party line. Huffington Post noted several red flags in Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus’s behavior, so far, with not a peep from the GAB. Surprise.

    This is another blow to the Democrats vs.Republicans narrative. If public office holders are all determined by the officials, who provably work for the elite, then the two parties are the Bought and the Irrelevant.

  6. gil mendozza zuntzes

    hum… hum… Yes! the Sinister,Swindler & Lier, Barack Obama… late last night has done an unbelievable job; Just like the MAFIA!!! transacting business between midnight and 3:am Friday… He told his Jackals… act like growups; that we got a Deal and to the… Naive,Poor,Humble,Gullible,Stupid,Crazy American’s…that they are Idiotic hard working thumb suckers!

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