Links 6/17/11

Rising water, falling journalism Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (hat tip reader Martin L)

Cheap meat, MRSA and deadly greed Johann Hari and Death wish: Routine use of vital antibiotics on farms threatens human health Independent

Greece general strike: protests in Athens – in pictures Guardian (hat tip Philip Pilkerton). Even the dogs are protesting.

The Euro system contains a serious design flaw Ed Harrison

Greek crisis threatens European decade of economic implosion Mohamed El-Erian, Financial Times

Default by Greece may start the global restructuring process Chris Whalen

Syrian army ‘cracking’ amid crackdown Aljazeera (hat tip reader furzy mouse)

US vows to ‘capture and kill’ Ayman al-Zawahiri BBC. Reader Foppe notes:

It’s almost like they’re trying to one-up Glenn Greenwald. Not even a hint any more that the killing of Osama happened because he resisted arrest. Just: “capture and kill”

Beware China’s Political Bubble Brian Barry, Bloomberg

Corrupt officials took $124bn out of China Financial Times (hat tip reader Peter J). Guess those capital controls aren’t what they are cracked up to be.

Claims of injustice spur wave of unrest in China McClatchy (hat tip Buzz Potamkin)

I’ve got to hand it to President Fuck You: He writes a good letter Lambert Strether. Do click through to the story too.

Obama as the Bernie Madoff of the Democratic Party CounterPunch (hat tip reader Carol B)

Glenn Beck Asks, “Why Would You Get a Gun?”… Then Points to Obama AlterNet (hat tip reader furzy mouse)

Ex-Spy Alleges Bush White House Sought to Discredit Juan Cole TruthOut (hat tip Philip Pilkerton)

Central banker makes housing sense! MacroBusiness

Introducing Alphachat, the FT Alphaville podcast FTAlphavile (hat tip reader bob). A nice talk with Michael Pettis, with a good summary and lots of excerpts at the site.

Obama rewarded party donors with ‘key jobs in government and millions of dollars in contracts Daily Mail (hat tip reader May S). Um, there’s a long tradition of big donors who are presentable becoming ambassadors (I know of an ex Goldmanite who was a big Clinton donor who was miffed that he was only made head of the Ex-Im Bank). So this is hardly new, but this may have been done in an explicit enough fashion so as to raise ugly questions.

Ex-Paul campaign volunteer gets probation in assault of activist (hat tip Buzz Potamkin)

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau can open without chief Politico (hat tip reader Paul Tioxon). Consistent with our post yesterday.

Case Shiller: Here Are The 15 Housing Markets That Will Fall The Most By 2012 Clusertstock (hat tip reader furzy mouse)

Revealed: How CEOs use corporate jets like their ‘personal taxis’ Daily Mail (hat tip reader May S) Wonder how much coverage this will get in the US.

Stop the banksters: Michigan county weighs foreclosure moratorium People’s World (hat tip Lisa Epstein)

Wall Street Braces for New Layoffs as Profits Wane New York Times

The appropriate use of risk models: Part I VoxEU (hat tip Richard Alford)

Antidote du jour:

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  1. babaganush

    Interesting links today (somebody pass the Prozac, please).

    Can I suggest that when there is this much depressing reading in your links you counterbalance with an antidote of equal or greater strength in uplifting spiritness. So today, for example, instead of angry screaming bird (while indicative of the mood one is in after reading) you could have an otter doing cute little human things with its hands, or similar.

    Have a great weekend.

  2. russell1200

    On the corporate taxis: the WSJ had a long piece on it – yesterday I think. They did not call them corporate taxi, at least as I recall, but they certainly implied it.

    After looking at the clip, I take Glenn Beck to be saying that you need to get your guns before the Obahama administration creates so much red tape (which was mentioned before the shot of Sustein and the Pres. pop up) that you won’t be able to get one. However, Beck does not help his case that he claims (elsewhere) that it is a camera angle issue, and he is not pointing at the President. He is obviously making a reference to the President being part of the problem.

    What I find stranger is his fixation on Cas Sustein.

  3. ex-PFC Chuck

    Off topic, but troubling.

    A few minutes ago Bloomberg TV carried a news flash that the AARP, after fierce internal debate, is backing off of their decades-old hands-off-social-security stance, and is now open to considering cuts. In other words, they’ve jumped into the veal pen, to use Jane Hamsher’s term.

    1. ex-PFC Chuck

      Several layers deep on the AARP site there’s a post headlined “Keep Social Security Strong,” but the subtitle is “Congress Shouldn’t Make Dangerous Cuts.” ( Which can mean whatever you want it to.

      1. citizendave

        I’ve found nothing so far on the AARP site, but WSJ online today confirms what you heard on Bloomberg. My impression of the WSJ piece is that it reads like science fiction, or an Onion story., as it is such a departure from the organization’s long-time stance. If the story is true, I’ll be one of those raising a stink and asking for a refund of my membership dues. Social Security cannot contribute to the deficit. If the story is true, it means John Rother, “…AARP’s long-time policy chief and a prime mover behind its change of heart…” is either suffering from early Alzheimers, or is a Republican sleeper agent recently activated by his handlers. (sub).

    1. ambrit

      Oh dearieme, haven’t you ever heard the expression, “Grab them by …?” Works at any and all ages, genders too if you insist.

  4. dearieme

    Central Banker and House Prices: it is a truth universally acknowledged that Canadians are finer, nobler people.

    1. Jim Haygood

      They also are possessed of a remarkably dry sense of humour. That’s how we know you’re kidding!

      From the article: ‘Here in Vancouver, the recovery has been even stronger, with prices up 55 per cent from their trough to a level 29 per cent above the prior peak.’

      Dearie me! Meanwhile Vancouver police blame hockey riots on ‘anarchists’ — non home owners, one suspects. Squatters, more like.

      With Beijing closing the taps on Vancouver’s Asian liquidity lifeline, it looks like a combustible mixture indeed. Got gold? ;-)

  5. Eureka Springs

    In re th maddening Obama as Madoff piece:

    ***This doesn’t mean that one doesn’t vote for a Demo thug as president or some lower position, but it means that one does so recognizing that the selection of the least dangerous mob in town is a far different matter than backing a political cause.****

    This writer, identified as a “progressive” must be a Koch paid shill. For no matter what one calls themselves if they are willing to throw all principles away for nothing in return whatsoever… why would anyone who is willing to do this be interested enough to write about or be politically active at all?

    Those who say or accept this sort of meme are as much a part of the problem as any they despise on their right.

    If you stand for one/any side of a mafia coin you are still voting for a criminally led nation.

    1. BDBlue

      You may have seen this already, but Arthur Silber has a particularly pointed takedown (although saying Arthur is pointed is always a huge understatement) here.

      1. BDBlue

        Drat. I inadvertently linked to the original horrific piece. The right link to Arthur’s takedown is here.

  6. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Injustice…corrupt officials, it seems as if the Nationalists are still in charge in China.

    Next you know, the Maoists will be fleeing to Taiwan.

  7. PQS

    Banksters and Brokers Facing Layoffs!

    “Senior executives at Goldman have concluded they need to cut 10 percent, or $1 billion, of noncompensation expenses over the next 12 months”.

    Is there a more pointed example of how the Bankster Universe operates outside the Normal Universe: compensation expenses are Off the Table. You’d think that maybe a pay cut might keep more people employed through the Giant Economic Downturn they created, but apparently they’d rather eat their own than consider THAT.

  8. Anonymous Comment

    Regarding the article about donors gaining status… this is an age-old problem.

    Part of the primary concern is that people ‘placed’ into positions outside of their ordinary experience of excellence – is dangerous. They feel entitled by their previous excellence which does not necessarily pertain to the situation at hand.

    In the worse cases of this, we find people in very important positions who do not know the full extent of where they are in the process of things, nor how to see the pink elephants that others are seeing or handle the black swans as they come… or even recognize them ahed of the curve. The sub-context can be centuries-old, the lingo can be minutes-old.

    Someone who buys a position of power [so to say], coming in as a favored-one, generally/apparently feels he/she knows all there is to know because they’ve been briefed or whatever, with an entitlement-by-the-selection kind of attitude… it seems to be common among these types. Which is prohibitive to diplomacy and effectiveness.

    What helps you succeed in the modern-rigged-business-system comes from a different part of the soul from what helps you succeed in bringing justice all around. To be a successful diplomatic solution-creator/implementor one must be able to recognize the meanining in all good-faith points of view. People who get moved ahead of their skill sets so quickly, [whether through donations or loyalty], without understanding, nor willingness to recognize that they don’t understand, and with so little mentoring to the new reality received because they don’t perceive the seriousness of the situation, they don’t ask. And if they do get told, they aren’t receptive to what’s being told.

    Just as a metaphor, or whatever. No one in particular, ladada… but the classic example that will live in infamy [although I believe it was more of a loyalty-thing] – “Heck of a job!”

    As I write that, it’s ironic once again. Heck, of course, being the PC version of hell. Hell, of course, being the place for the damned. Hmmm.

    1. ambrit

      If there aren’t, I know about forty million or so people who will soon ‘used to have belonged to AARP’ who will be amenable to throwing those who do vote to gut SS out on their ears. Someone know of a ‘Shadow AARP’ hanging around waiting to be activated?

        1. geezer

          I nominate Rand Paul (or is that Ru Paul? my alzheimers is getting the better of me today) to head it. He’s such a nice young man. I think it would be good if they could issue advisory opinions to people who read that sort of thing. Maybe it’s good for daily mention here in Naked Capitalism. I can see the first two thousand headlines now:

          1.) Obama opposes Rand Paul as senior citizen protection agency head.

          2.) Rand Paul issues retort to Obama

          3.) Republicans and Democrats bicker over the power to be held by new senior agency

          55.) Rand Paul likely nominee for Senior agency

          432.) Why won’t Obama just appoint Rand Paul already?

          1234.) Rand Paul scares the bezeejus out of Seniors Obama says

          5431.) Senior Agency bill tabled until 2027

          120384.) Why the Senior Agency bill won’t die; Rand Paul to the rescue

          137747673.) Democrats and Republicans bicker over Senior Agency approval in advance of 2060 elections. Seniors who care have already died.

  9. Hugh

    Good catch about Zawahiri. It shows that politicians and officials continue to fail to understand, and take into account, the internet. For years, they have relied on traditional media which forgets any story more than 2 weeks old. This has allowed them to say diametrically opposed things almost at will. Unfortunately for them, the internet has a much longer memory. It’s true that links stop working after a while and information that once was an easy google search away becomes a needle lost in a very large haystack, but overall memory retention on the net can be measured in months and years.

    So nowadays a lie is much more likely to be challenged and refuted using the offender’s own words, increasingly on video.

    Of course, it may be that politicians and officials simply don’t care if they get caught in a lie. That was certainly true of Cheney, who perfected this technique. For years, Cheney tied Saddam Hussein to al Qaeda and 9/11. Each time he did his claims were debunked, but he never seemed to care. He figured the lie would make a bigger initial impact than its eventual refutation. So he kept telling the lie.

  10. PQS

    Re: China’s rising unrest: Caught a documentary on HDTV ther other night about the college educated workers in China, many from poor families, who cannot get jobs that pay a living wage, even in China.

    The Chinese call them “ants” – they are workers who come to the cities seeking fortune, many fairly young and with good educations, who end up living in squalid little rooms and being paid very little compared to what they’d make in the West.

    Our Overlords would do well to pay attention, but I’m sure they won’t. They’re too busy playing golf and slapping each other high fives for everything they’ve gotten away with so far.

  11. scraping_by

    Re: AARP

    This sellout is not a surprise, nor a pivot. They did exactly the same thing with Bush’s prescription plan. Shrub himself admitted, later, the point was to push costs onto the seniors. Everyone said that from the beginning. The AARP responded by selling its own brand of drug insurance plan, one assumes for a tidy income stream.

    Nonprofits are vulnerable to capture by corporate interests. They can send people to work and take policy positions, not as part time as volunteers, but as part of their job. And of course, there’s always buying a seat on the board of directors. I think that’s what happened to the Nature Conservancy when it suddenly became pro-development.

    A whiff of the green and some people forget why they came. Or, perhaps it’s just cashing in on a brand.

  12. Glen

    President Fuck You needs to write a lot more letters if he wants to bail out the real economy and win in 2012..

  13. anon48

    I checked out the Case Shiller article about the 15 worst R/E markets- 14 of the 15 were in FLA, CA, AZ & LV with only one surprise- Ocean City, NJ.

    At the end of the slide show you could link to a report by Chris Whalen which I found interesting (if you haven’t seen it already). In it, one particular insight by Whalen may very well prove to be prescient:

    “The third stage of the banking crisis involves degradation of bank operating efficiency as restructuring accelerates, expenses rise (foreclosure costs) and lenders involuntarily become non-operating Reits.”

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