Links 9/27/11

Frog killer immune genes revealed BBC

Big audit firms face Brussels onslaught Financial Times. Another example of Europeans being more bloody minded than we are. We accept the Big Four as Too Big to Fail. They want to do something about it.

Waiting on European Bailout Solutions, When European Policies Prevent Them Dave Dayen, FireDogLake

A few thoughts on economic nationalism Ed Harrison

Can China save us again? MacroBusiness

China to suspend some US military ties Financial Times

News Corp. Marketer Used Mafia Lessons to Instill Fear, Respect Bloomberg (hat tip Buzz Potamkin)

Obama Has an Everyone Problem Jon Walker, FireDogLake

The Name of NYPD Brutality: Anthony Bologna Marcy Wheeler (hat tip reader Jeremy B).There seems to be a class difference between white collar and blue collar cops. It was a white collar cop that maced the women. OccupyWallStreet claims about 100 blue collar cops failed to show up to work today in protest.

The Occupied Turn Occupiers David Swanson

Why I Was Maced at the Wall Street Protests Boston Review

Senate votes to avert US funding shutdown Financial Times

A voice of reason amid the madness Aljazeera (hat tip reader Carol B)

Maxine Waters (D-CA) Not Amused by Obama’s Badgering Blue Texan, FireDogLake (hat tip reader Carol B)

Washington’s long con Moe Tkacik, Reuters

Slump Alters Jobless Map in U.S., With South Hit Hard New York Times

The long bond does the limbo Steve Waldman

Deloitte sued for $7.6B over mortgage fraud CBS (hat tip reader Ted L)

Freddie Mac Loan Deal Defective, Report Says New York Times. Freddie was afraid of disrupting its relationship with BofA. Lovely.

Politico Shows Maximum Ignorance in Foreclosure Fraud Settlement Story Dave Dayen, FireDogLake. Agreed, I had a post underway on this topic and didn’t finish it on a timely basis.

Why we work too much MacroBusiness

Will Robots Steal Your Job? Slate

Antidote du jour. Per Mark Ames: “The parrot is like an old-style American Ben Franklin, and the crow is a classic hedge fund Ray Dalio type.”

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  1. ambrit

    Just watched the Occupy Wall Street video. This kind of behaviour by the agents of the State is a sure sign of a coming collapse of the social contract. How it plays out depends to a large extent on how organized the opposition to the business as usual crowd is. This situation can go any way at all. Flagrant brutality against your own populace is a classic no win strategy. Those policemen were lucky there weren’t some real Anarchists in that crowd. Or was that the point? The Occupy Wall Street people had better watch out for agents provocateuers mixing into their marches. The elites are quite capable of that to justify a ‘crack down’ later.
    As my wife commented when I mentioned the Occupy Wall Street movement to her, “They aren’t being carried on the T.V. I wonder what else we don’t know about.”

    1. BondsOfSteel

      15 Tea Party people on the national mall draw 12 journalist, and a day of coverage on cable news channels.

      A thousand wall street protesters and I only see reports in social media / blogs :(

      1. abprosper

        That ones easy, the Tea party is part of same “big think:” the media understands and sometimes inadvertently , sometimes on purpose a tool of the corporate interests the Media serves. As they understand it and it appears to be an opposition party, though is not is well worth strengthening.

        Actual protesters who want policies that threaten the power base and status quo need to be marginalized.

  2. why we work too much

    Basically because we want more crap. If you don’t buy into the consumerism crap – you have a nice life! Set your limit, don’t go above it and start to smell the roses. ……………..But NOOOOO! .. most people want more and more and get into debt more and more. Why? Because they deserve it. So this so called “middle class” deserve it. They want to live the high life on credit, but they are still slaves. Want to invest to make it? yeah right – you will be working forever. So now with your health problems, combined with your debt – you are living the horror dream.

    Gen X and Y – go for it – be smart, travel, change jobs and have an “who cares” attitude. Work to live – not live to work. Smell the roses and love life .. as they always say “nobody wants on their epitaph – I wish I had of worked harder”

    1. ambrit

      Dear why;
      Good for you! Sounds like one of the old Beat Generation.
      I just finished re-reading some Jack Kerouac. The vibes feel similar, but the supporting society is way diferent. See you ‘On the Road!’

      1. why we work too much

        Didn’t go on the cocaine that Keraouc did .. I just don’t buy into this whole “greed is good” mantra. And how much crap can you have??? I have lots of it .. but all of it is recycled. Live in the boonies, study, read and boy – do I smell the roses!! well actually orange blossoms at the moment – awesome!!

      2. Cynthia

        Speaking of the Beat Generation, Lisa Randall’s latest popular book about quantum gravity as it relates to extra dimensions is named after Bob Dylan’s “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door”:

        But since there’s very little that’s cosmic or mystical about Dylan’s “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door,” I think that she could’ve gotten a lot more mileage out of her book had she named it after Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway To Heaven”:

        Bob Dylan is great at writing songs, but he can’t sing worth a flip. Nor does his music contain any great guitar licks. By contrast, Robert Plant, the lead vocalist and lyricist of Led Zeppelin, can write pretty good songs and can sing like nobody’s business. Plus he has the advantage of being able to share the stage with one of the greatest guitarists on all time: Jimmy Page. And I doubt that when Bob Dylan was still relatively young and still physically fit, he could’ve won over many fans if he performed on stage bare-chested and wearing skin-tight jeans.;~)

        1. Cynthia

          Come to think of it, Dylan’s “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” (1973) is often compared to Neil Young’s “Helpless” (1970). Here’s Neil Young performing this song on stage with the great guitarist and songwriter Robbie Robertson and the other founding members of “The Band” back in 1976 (Take note that the high-pitched female vocalist in the background, who only appears as a silhouette, is none other than Joni Mitchell — pretty cool, uh?):

          Needless to say, “Helpless” would make an awfully bad title for any book, especially a book about quantum gravity as it relates to extra dimensions. But I still think that the book could benefit by having some of these lyrics incorporated into it:

          Blue, blue windows behind the stars
          Yellow moon on the rise
          Big birds flying across the sky
          Throwing shadows on our eyes

          Even though Bob Dylan is widely regarded as a better song writer than Neil Young, I still prefer listening to Neil Young’s music, not only because he can sing and play the guitar better than Bob Dylan, but also because he puts a lot more heart and soul into his music. Bob Dylan is too standoffish for my taste.

          1. curlydan

            There are great guitar licks on many Dylan albums–just not by Dylan. Listen to Highway 61 Revisited where Mike Bloomfield cranks it “to 11” on most tracks. Or Live 1966 where Robbie Robertson does great guitar work, and Robertson is good although more restrained on Planet Waves, too.

            Dylan’s singing or something like it might be laughed off of an American Idol stage, but it can be great, and virtually no one can emote as well as he can–1996’s Time Out of Mind is a great example.

            I will agree that a lot of his music can be stand-offish, but that’s kind of his MO.

          2. David

            You ask for Talent, Lyrics, Guitar skills?

            His name is Roy Zimmerman.

            “Socialist!” by Roy Zimmerman

            “Vote Republican” by Roy Zimmerman

            “Saddam Shame” by Roy Zimmerman

            “Buddy, Can You Spare a Trillion Dollars?” by Roy Zimmerman

            “Dear Number 1036924053887” by Roy Zimmerman

            “Psychedelic Relic” by Roy Zimmerman

            and for raw skills, no agitprop:
            “What If the Beatles Were Irish?” by Roy Zimmerman

          3. Cynthia


            At least that Zimmerman didn’t change his name in order to boost record sales. The same thing can’t be said about the other Zimmerman mentioned here.;~)

          4. Rex

            Cynthia said, “Here’s Neil Young performing this song on stage with the great guitarist and songwriter Robbie Robertson and the other founding members of “The Band” back in 1976 (Take note that the high-pitched female vocalist in the background, who only appears as a silhouette, is none other than Joni Mitchell — pretty cool, uh?)”

            The Neil Young clip is from the documentary “The Last Waltz”, supposedly the Band’s swansong, Filmed by Martin Scorsese in 1976. A great DVD for anyone who wants to see a killer concert related to music of the 60’s-70’s. Dylan was also in the film as were many other greats of the time, including Joni who came out from behind the curtain later. See…

            As I recall, Dylan had a lot to do with having the Band become popular — the first I remember was “Music from Big Pink” where the band played with Dylan at his NY upstate home, the poor quality tapes were released in the early 70’s. Dylan hung in this NY place after his motorcycle crash. The Band was Dylan’s backup band for some of his tours.

            Dylan certainly had a lot to do with driving the youth zeitgeist of the 60’s and 70’s. We could use a voice like that now.

        2. Jim Haygood

          Cynthia — Love that Led Zep live DVD — the one with the blue & orange cover.

          Wanna come over and watch it? I’ll fire up Da Bong …

        3. Cynthia


          If you’re a fan of Robbie Robertson, you’ll probably enjoy watching him and other founding members of “The Band” perform ” The Weight” and “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down”, which he wrote back in 1968 and 1969, respectively:

          The versions of these songs were featured in the documentary film about the concert, “The Last Waltz”, which took place at Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco back in 1976. What makes “The Band” especially unique, at least to me it does, is that its drummer, Levon Helm, doubles as its lead singer. You’d be hard pressed to find any band in the history of rock that has its drummer also preform as its lead singer. And if you didn’t already know, Levon Helm went on to become a film actor, which is familiar unusual, too.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        We have come a long from those ‘I don’t need others for work; I find work myself’ Neanderthal days.

    2. JTFaraday

      Yeah, some people are on the consumer grind. And it’s frequently the case that people don’t realize the way regular costs rack up–internet, cable, cell phones, etc.

      But I think I want to question that meme a little bit. The REAL reason people work too much, the reason people MUST work too much, is the high cost of housing.

      1. DragQueen Capitalism

        That’s what I’ve always thought, and the Bernank is proving us right, as he’s hell-bent on keeping that cost high and pushing it even higher. And the lower the interest rates go, the higher the price people can pay for that asset. The fact that this dynamic, when coupled with de-industrialization, leaves wage-earners’ salaries more and more incapable of keeping up with housing prices, is why the CDO/MBS scam was started in the first place. Then when you factor in the fact that the only people Corporate Human Resource dept’s’ll hire are those with college diplomas, that leave their recipients tens of thousands of dollars in debt, and you have a country and economy where even (maybe especially) the “successful” ones have nothing in their future but the ever-tightening noose of debt-slavery. Let Freedom Wring.

        1. JTFaraday

          And it’s not just mortgages, it’s rent too. They needed those no money down liars loans because no one could save for the down payment.

        2. Cynthia


          That’s why I paid off my 15 year house note in half the time. I was pretty disappointed to discover that I only saved just a little over a thousand dollars in interest by doing this, which is just a drop in the bucket compared to the enormous amount of interest I paid over the life of the loan. I suppose it’s because the bulk of the interest was front-end loaded in the first half of the loan.

          But whatever the reason may be, not having a house note has given me peace of mind, something that’s more valuable to me than money! There are very few things in life that you can’t put a price tag on and peace of mind is one of them.

    3. citalopram

      The last 12 years of my life I’ve spent in high-stress IT jobs. Needless to say, it’s taken a toll on me. Now that I’m unemployed it’s been nice living a low-stress life being a house husband.

      Throwing away one’s health for stuff just isn’t worth it, in my opinion. People don’t realize that stress is a killer, and it will have permanent effects on your body and mind. People should just go down to one income earner if they can, declare Chapter 7 and try to live on one income. Walk away.

    4. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Kind of like those Late Roman citizens…until Attila showed up.

      What we turtle-lane trotters need is a global rat-races control treaty…a non-proliferation of rat races agreement, so our ‘who-cares utopia’ is be menaced by a rabbit-lane loving, economic Genghis Khan.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I was thinking those who travel on the turtle lanes still have to be wary of those speeding on the rabbit lanes, in reference to Gen X and Y going off to travel, seeing the world with a care-fee attitude.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I see what you meant.

        It should be ‘is not menaced’ and not ‘is be menaced.’

        Secondly, it was a comment to supplement what ‘why we work too much’ said about Gen X and Y and not the apparent non-sequiter to your comment it appeared to be.

  3. Jim3981

    Congrats to the 100 blue collar cops protested that mace job!

    Glad to have Anthony Bologna’s name. Add that to my list of shame.

    I hope all the good people socially isolate the evil people whenever possible. Cheers to the 100’s of good people.

    I hope the good will wins out against the evil. We are coming down to the wire.

  4. Jim Haygood

    Steve Waldman:

    In one account, long rates are pinned by arbitrage to the expected path of short-rates plus a risk premium … In a second account … investors have basically been starved of new Treasury supply, and so have bid up bond prices.

    All this theorizing, but not a word about collective sentiment — the systematic tendency of investors to overreact to short-term events that will have little lasting impact on long-term returns.

    Most likely, long Treasury prices popped last week on a ‘Fed’s got our back’ notion, along with safe-haven demand in light of intensifying rumors of a Greek default. Inchoate fear is a powerful motivator to buy safe-haven securities such as Treasuries, until the jitters pass.

    Panic-motivated buyers are unlikely to know or care about arbitrage theory or the recent net supply of Treasuries — it ain’t that cerebral a process, Steve!

    FD: I have a longstanding short futures position in 30-year Treasuries, which I maintain both as a portfolio diversifier and for speculative reasons. I frequently purchase hedges against large adverse moves, which have been helpful lately.

    As the chart linked below shows, 30-year Treasury yields dropped from 3.25% just before the Fed announcement last Wednesday, to a low of 2.75% at midday Thursday:

    But as of yesterday, they were already back above 3.0% (a big move, by normal standards). Bloomberg is indicating another sharp pop in yield, to 3.09%, just before 8 a.m. this morning.

    My short position via TBT (ProShares UltraShort 20+ Year Treasury ETF) was motivated simply by fading Benny Bubbles, a clueless and scared academician central planner who is buying the top tick of a 30-year secular bull market with counterfeit funds that he prints himself in the Eccles Building basement.

    Do the opposite of stupid, and probably it will be ‘helpful,’ as Steve Waldman euphemistically describes his pornographic profits from shorting America! ;-)

    1. Jim Haygood

      To the extent that there’s any longer-term scenario to support shorting Treasuries, Ed Harrison captures it very well:

      Meanwhile, all countries which issue the vast majority of debt in their own currency (U.S, Eurozone, U.K., Switzerland, Japan) will inflate. They will print as much money as they can reasonably get away with. While the economy is in an upswing, this will create a false boom, predicated on asset price increases [except for bonds].

      Feels like that ‘false boom’ started yesterday, Ed — party time in the markets!

  5. Jim Haygood

    This just in from the Guardian’s blog:

    12.50pm: Is Alessio Rastani a hoax? We blogged earlier about how his appearance on BBC News 24 has gone viral, with hundreds of thousands of people amazed by the stock market trader’s callous candour.

    Now Twitter and Facebook are abuzz with speculation that it’s all a set-up, and that Rastani is actually one of the Yes Men (who famously fooled the BBC in 2007 by impersonating a Dow Chemicals spokesman, promising massive compensation following the Bhopal disaster.)

    Rastani certainly looked genuine this morning – his Facebook page (now filling up with largely derogatory comments) appears to show him trading, and holding coaching sessions. His main website,, has been offline all day, so it’s been tricky to get in touch with him.

    That site was registered in February 2010, so if it’s a hoax it’s a damn good one.

    The doubts have been creeping in at the BBC though, judging by ace business editor Robert Peston’s twitter feed over the last 30 minutes.


    @peston: This trader who was on BBC News y’day is a must watch, if you want to understand the euro crisis & how markets work


    @Peston: People telling me trader isn’t genuine. Am trying to find out how BBC got him & who he is. But he says what traders say privately to me


    @Peston: @dsquareddigest says BBC (& I) may have been hoaxed by YesMen. If so, it is a brilliant hoax.

    On the other hand!

    @Peston: We spoke to the trader again this morning, & as far as we can tell he is a genuine independent trader, not a member of YesMen


    We are Goldman nSachs, and we approved this video!

    See yaz …

  6. M.InTheCity

    Re: Washington’s Long Con
    That was an excellent piece which makes me think I should get the Suskind book. I had read somewhere that Summers comes out looking good in the book, but it sounds like that is far from the case. What I found interesting as well, was the mention that the administration is a hotbed of sexism. I had been kind of hoping that it was better than 15 years ago when I was in DC, but obviously that’s not the case.

  7. Steve Hammer

    HFT Alert software pulls back the curtain on High Frequency trading


    Santa Barbara, California, September 27, 2011–HCMI announced today the release of HFT Alert, real time software designed to detect high frequency and algorithmic trading systems. The subscription based service offers HFT Alert Lite, HFT Alert and HFT Alert Pro starting at $25 a month.

    More and more, trading is being dominated by algorithmic systems that now account for nearly 70% of daily volume. Many of these systems provide the liquidity that is essential for a functioning market. But some of these algorithms are designed to increase volatility and use their speed advantage in trading. This is why monitoring for algorithmic activity is now so important.

    HFT Alert identifies when HFT and algorithmic systems trading systems are running and what stocks are being affected. Features include symbol lists, configurable audio and color alarms, graphs display levels of activity across all exchanges.

    “Investors, portfolio managers and traders alike will benefit from knowing when prices are being manipulated or influenced by these high speed systems” says HCMI’s Steve Hammer. “When you see a stock being pushed around and watch the displays on HFT Alert, you realize that a great deal of the intraday volatility may be caused by these systems.”

    About HCMI
    Located in Santa Barbara, Ca., HCMI develops market related software and analytic systems. HFT Alert technology by Nanex LLC, Winnetka, Ill. Visit for more information.

  8. optimader

    the birds have more sense that the mouthbreathers that took out home equity loans to buy depreciating durable goods… just say’in

  9. Hugh

    I found the Long Con article to be another example of revolving villains. Geithner gets Villain Number One status and this allows everyone else to look better in comparison. Some like “long suffering” Romer even come out looking good. Largely absent from the proceedings is Obama.

    I just don’t think MSM figures get it. I don’t think Suskind gets it. Just because there is a lot of infighting doesn’t mean that there were good guys and bad guys fighting it out. In my view, they were all bad guys and trying to find the least bad guy in the bunch is an essentially pointless exercise. And just because some kleptocratic corporatist officials and CEOs occasionally say something that sounds sane doesn’t make them sane or decriminalize the rest of their behavior.

    Reading the article I couldn’t help think that it was itself part of the long con.

    1. ambrit

      Dear Accelerant;
      Not such a bad thing to do. It shows you to have your priorities in order, and a strong self worth. Go for it!

      1. ambrit

        Sir; No, probably everything related to him that crosses the Internet will self-destruct. Imagine not being able to access your bank account, mobile phone, computer at work. His life is going to be H—. Well, that’s the price you pay for being a big strong authority figure I guess.

  10. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    China again.

    Didn’t the Sage say, ‘he who falls last, falls hardest?’

    It makes sense, as the ability to admit defeat (in order to move onto the next phase) is greatly under-appreciated.

    It could be that it’s too yin for those who have too much yan.

    1. Valissa

      Confucius say: Man who jump off cliff, jump to conclusion!

      Confucius say: Man who sit on tack get point!

      Confucius say: Man with one chopstick go hungry.

      Confucius say: Man who stand on toilet is high on pot.

      [note: the above are all joke sayings, not traditional ones… the traditional ones go more like this…]

      By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest. – Confucius

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Children can only learn by the third way.

        That’s why kids cry a lot and why all of we start this learning career we call life crying.

      2. ambrit

        I believe the Master was heard to say:
        “The brevity of wit is essence.”
        “Uneasy the man who stands the throne.”
        “A journey of a thousand li starts with one crime.”
        “Beware those who say, ‘It is the mandate of Heaven!’ for if it were so, exhortation would not be necessary.”
        “The wise man seeks shelter from the coming storm. The fool plays out in it.”
        “The wise woman teaches with humour.”

  11. Jim3981

    TO the occupy wall street movement…. Hope you protest outside the media next for refusing to cover news accurately, truthfully, or just plain refusing to cover news.

    The media is the only way to some sort of balance in a REAL democracy( not the tyranny we live in now).

    The anger is good, but needs to be directed at the root cause of the problem.

    The media is probably closer to the heart of the problem than the bankers as a group. Even though, there are some really bad bankers who knew exactly what they were doing when the unleashed those derivatives! And knew what they were doing when throwing the mess on the taxpayers!(to collapse the governments)

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I am curious.

      Do Republicans tend to live longer or Democrats?

      Independents? Communists? Socialists?

      This is the kind of useful information the main stream media ought to be reporting.

        1. skippy

          I thought both camps ascend (R/D), but, voters were relegated to purgatory.

          Skippy…as always its a pay to play question world, wheres the price tag….eh…Oh…if you ask, you can’t afford it…sigh.

          1. ambrit

            Dear skippy;
            Good heavens man, you’ve outdone yourself this time. A Flannery O’Conner allusion to trash the Republicrat Party! I’m still laughing. Keep up the good work.

    1. Jim

      Ironically, it’s that money that will be contributing greatly to Ratigan’s salary over the next five quarters.

      Question is, will he reject all political advertising on his show? Or better yet, will he donate all political spots?

      Until politicians are able to appear on cable and network TV for free, we will have huge money in politics.

      1. aet


        A WHY do politicians NEED all that $$$?
        It goes right to the big media companies, who “t report” the election ….

        All FCC licensed broadcast outlets ought to be required, as a condition of their licenses, to provide free-time to all registered political parties, that is, to all who have registered as candidates.

        And these outlets ought also be denied the ability to receive or give funds from any political party.

        Let them start newspapers if they want to do that – FCC regulated broadcast radio and TV ought to be properly regulated in their political broadcasting, instead of allowed to continue to fine-tune Herr Goebbels’ theories in the field.

  12. scraping_by

    “We accept the Big Four as Too Big to Fail.”

    Who’s ‘we’? Every time the question is asked of the great unwashed mass, they talk about resolution, prosecution, and bankers hanging from lampposts. How we got from that to TARP, the 50 state AG settlement, Obamacare, etc. is a sad and twisted story. Tell it often.

    It proves that democracy depends on unions, education, activism, speaking up, and people in the streets.

    1. Jim

      As flawed as democracy/govt is in the US, it’s far superior to that of Europe.

      In Germany, 75% of the electorate is against an increase in the bailout fund, let alone a fiscal union.

      One would think that Merkel would get the message.

  13. Doug Terpstra

    Freddie Mac’s settlement with BofA’s countrywide is another wicked joke paid on Freddie’s taxpayer owners.

    The $1.35 billion “settlement” with Bank of America in December was completed over the objections of a senior examiner at the agency . . . The deal between Freddie Mac and the bank resolved claims associated with 787,000 loans, some of which were repurchased by the bank, and cannot be rescinded.”

    So sucker taxpayers involuntarily “settled” for an average $1.70 per dubious Countrywide loan — less than two bucks per toxic loan. There is sure to be a hefty offset in my campaign coffers after this one. Chalk up another blatant crime.

  14. Externality

    From the Raleigh (NC) News & Observer:

    Perdue jokes about suspending Congressional elections for two years

    File this in the random-things-politicians-say file. Speaking to a Cary Rotary Club today, N.C. Gov. Bev Perdue suggested suspending Congressional elections for two years so that Congress can focus on economic recovery and not the next election.

    “I think we ought to suspend, perhaps, elections for Congress for two years and just tell them we won’t hold it against them, whatever decisions they make, to just let them help this country recover. I really hope that someone can agree with me on that,” Perdue said. “You want people who don’t worry about the next election.”

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