Links 10/10/11

Today is World Homeless Day (hat tip Lisa Epstein)

NZ races to empty oil spill ship BBC

Tip: Want to be more productive? Don’t file your email BoxFreeIt. This wasn’t obvious?

Secret Orders Target Email Wall Street Journal. The messages belonged to a Wikileaks volunteer.

China realty goes BOGOF MacroBusiness. Wow.

China Stocks Drop to Lowest Level in 2 Years Bloomberg

IMF stress tests China/Australia bust MacroBusiness

‘Time short’ for eurozone, says Cameron Financial Times. I’m not liking the sound of this. When officials start talking up a crisis, it means a Son of TARP is in the offing.

Merkel and Sarkozy set euro deadline Financial Times. This is non-news, or more accurately, an effort by the officialdom to try to signal a sense of urgency. The original deadline was the G20 meeting, November 2. I don’t see moving up a deadline by two days as being materially different, save October 31 is Trichet’s last day in office.

Eurozone quick-fix will create political monster Wolfgang Munchau, Financial Times

Dexia bank to get massive bailout BBC

Defense cost overruns: F35 vs F4 One Salient Oversight

A Warning for Barack Obama Ariel Dorfman, TomDispatch

Black voters in 2012 Jason Stanford, The Arena (hat tip Glenn H). An even bigger warning for Obama.

Charles Vieth at Canary Wharf YouTube. I almost posted this. It’s hysterical and yet sadly true too.

Banks Brace for Fallout on Earnings New York Times

Fannie and Freddie debt fuels anxiety Financial Times

Recession Officially Over, U.S. Incomes Kept Falling New York Times. Duh!

Geraldo and Fox run away from Wall Street YouTube

Republicans Scramble to Side with Wall Street over Main Street Blue Texan, FireDogLake (hat tip reader Carol B)

‘Leaderless’ Group Organizes Wall Street Journal

Wall Street and Silicon Valley James Kwak (hat tip reader Carol B)

Panic of the Plutocrats Paul Krugman, New York Times. Krugman is in particularly fine form.

Antidote du jour:

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  1. Seal

    re: A Warning for Barack Obama

    I still say the Potomac is Petraeus’s Rubicon – 2012 is the Year of the Dragon!

  2. rjs

    Occupy Wall Street: No Demand is Big Enough

    We protest not only at our exclusion from the American Dream; we protest at its bleakness. If it cannot include everyone on earth, every ecosystem and bioregion, every people and culture in its richness; if the wealth of one must be the debt of another; if it entails sweatshops and underclasses and fracking and all the rest of the ugliness our system has created, then we want none of it.

    No one deserves to live in a world built upon the degradation of human beings, forests, waters, and the rest of our living planet. Speaking to our brethren on Wall Street, no one deserves to spend their lives playing with numbers while the world burns. Ultimately, we are protesting not only on behalf of the 99% left behind, but on behalf of the 1% as well. We have no enemies. We want everyone to wake up to the beauty of what we can create.

    1. Susan the other

      Nice. There is no purpose to the system any more. It used to be (they told us in college – and with a straight face) that the purpose of the system was to perpetuate the system.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      We best avoid the word ‘demand.’

      I think words like ‘protest’ should be dropped too.

      You’re the 99%. You are in charge here. Just show your displeasure and say to the banksters, ‘You know what you did wrong. Why are you asking me?’ – especially when the stuff said or written is nothing new. They know what they did wrong.

      And just sit back and make them uncomfortable with silence.

      From someone in a powerful position, his silence is the scariest sound.

      Being the 99% is a very powerful position.

      ‘You know what you did wrong. Why are you asking?’

  3. ambrit

    Thanks for the exposure to Charles Vieth! The man is an adept at using the ‘system’ against itself. This kind of thing takes lots of courage, and he and his ‘merrie pranksters’ are showing us all what can be accomplished with just a little. The ‘Authorities’ are right to be afraid of this man. He is changing the publics’ attitude towards the system in place; laying the groundwork for subsequent change. I particularly liked the Spike Milligan meets William Blake feel to it.

  4. Pat

    Interesting summary of Eurozone debacle here, by Bob Chapman:

    “The Eurozone Crisis: Disruptions of Financial Markets Worldwide, by Bob Chapman”

    He is very pessimistic and believes that both Germany and France will leave the Euro and leave a rump Eurozone behind, because they have no choice but to act in their own interests. He says that France is preparing its own currencies and negotiating with the Chinese to sell them some banks.
    (That leads to an interesting possibility — the Euro (the “Rump Euro”) without Germany and France could plunge 50% or more, so maybe the PIIGS could be competive after all? Or would all the piggies go their own way?)

  5. Moopheus

    “Want to be more productive? Don’t file your email”

    Meh. It’s worth it to me to spend a couple of minutes filing because I only want to see stuff in my inbox I still need to deal with, and no auto-filtering is going to be able to know which is which. If I need to find an old email I’m going to use search, and it doesn’t matter where it is; the search can search the folders.

  6. JoeM

    Re: Filing e-mails

    I don’t agree with this study. Already it ignores the fact that, at least in MS/Outlook, you can set up a rule that automatically files e-mails. So, the alleged time spent filing e-mails is questionable.

    So, if your e-mails are automatically filed for you, I don’t see how it takes less time to search in a filed folder than in all e-mails. Much less clutter and extraneous ‘finds.’

    1. JoeM

      …I meant to say “it takes more time to search in a filed folder than in all e-mails,” not “it takes less time to search in a filed folder than in all e-mails”

  7. Herman Sniffles

    If it’s all about international capital flows, and if the “hot money” is losing interest in the developing world (esp. China), and if Europe stinks out loud, then could the hot money – with no place else to go – come flooding back to the US and juice the economy? And if the bad guys are bankers, and if they are getting backed – snarling and drooling – into a corner, and if the only thing they know how to do is create (and steal) money, could their final capitulative act be to flood our society with money and create a short-but-wild boom while they fly to Monte Carlo sipping large but very dry martinis?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Speaking of turkey, as far as I know, Halloween is about human ghosts.

      I wonder if there are turkey ghosts in haunted slaughterhouses?

      Vegetable ghosts? (You vegetarians know what I am talking about – these are your prematurely dead victims.)

      How about bacteria ghosts? (Here I am thinking of those bacteria you murdered this morning with your lethal mouth wash.)

  8. barrisj

    The NYT also published today an editorial denouncing several Republican state administrations for passing all matter of so-called “voter fraud” measures, which in fact mimic the Old South’s poll tax, gimmicks to make it difficult if not practically impossible for the poorer segment of US society to register to vote in a simplified manner. Those ploys fall nicely into the “protect the plutocrats” strategy that Krugman highlights in his column, and which many progressive activists decry as grossly undemocratic and clearly aimed at discouraging racial minorities from increasing their participation in the vote. Perhaps the next push will be to restrict suffrage to the propertied classes with incomes over $250K/yr.

    The Myth of Voter Fraud

  9. Hugh

    What often gets missed is that the bust of the 2007 housing bubble wiped out the wealth of African Americans. A Pew study based on 2009 data showed that the median wealth of whites was $113,149 versus $5,677 for African Americans, a wealth gap of 20 times.

    White unemployment is 8%. African American unemployment is twice that at 16%, and that’s the U-3 number. The U-6 could well be in the 30% area and overall African American disemployment could be in the 35% region.

    African Americans are heavily invested in Obama as the first African American President. Even so, his support among African Americans is eroding fast, and at some point they are going to realize that Obama has betrayed them as he has the rest of us.

    And that brings me to Ariel Dorfman, he is poetic but misses the point. Obama is not a man of good faith who perhaps compromised too much. He is a con man and an active, willing agent of the 1%.

    On a different subject, remind me again why we need the F-35. Where would it be used? Against whom? This is another example of the generals demanding a gold-plated, vastly overpriced, unnecessary bright shiny clunker of a toy just because they can, and because they and the rest of the MIC demand it as their imperial due.

    1. Mark P.

      Barry Ritholz has posted something ostensibly conventional today at Big Picture : a mass of charts of employment stats, comparing this financial crisis with past cyclical downturns back to 1945 and 1948.

      The charts provide different angles of vision on the situation and they’re worth looking at because they cumulatively render undeniable — for those who still wish to deny — the fact that this crisis isn’t some particularly sharp version of the business cycle blah blah blah.

      Ritholz — a sober, fairly conservative analyst — suggests that ‘This time it really is different.’ That the reality is, though he doesn’t put in these words, that we’re experiencing a once-in-a-lifetime breakdown of the system.

      1. Hugh

        Those are nice graphs. The employment charts and I especially like the ones showing how flat wages have been for the last 30-40 years.

      1. Hugh

        Well, that is the standard answer, but think about it. From either side of it, getting into a shooting war with such a crucial trading partner works against the core interests of both countries. Post-the next meltdown I don’t see either country having the wherewithal to pursue next generation aircraft that serve no strategic purpose. And while you could point to triggers like Taiwan or North Korea, the truth is that Taiwan has been managed without a major war for more than 60 years and China’s main interest in N.Korea is to prop up a regime whose collapse would create enormous problems for it. That is very different from going to war to “save” the N. Korean regime.

  10. alex

    re: Wall Street and Silicon Valley

    Excellent article about how funding for Silicon Valley firms and other startups has nothing to do with financial “innovation”, and in fact uses practices that have been around for centuries (literally).

    I’d like to generalize that and say that _most_ productive financial activity relies on practices that have been around for centuries. The basic structures of modern finance (banks, stock markets, insurance companies, etc.) date back to the Commercial Revolution of the 17th century (hello Dutch Republic!). Since then most of the true progress has been in regulating these institutions to keep productive practices while outlawing destructive ones. For example, the principle was established by the early 19th century that you couldn’t insure something unless you owned it or had an important financial stake of some sort. CDS’s threw that out the window and turned insurance into betting. The term “financial innovation” is an Orwellian cover for a giant step backward (except for the ATM’s – those are good).

  11. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    To FireDogLake – Why do Republicans scramble to side with Wall Street over Main Streeet?

    Wouldn’t it be sneakier to ‘pretend’ to side with Main Street over Wall Street?

    That’s how one betrays the 99%.

    1. Mark P.

      It’s a question — Republican pols would seem to be shooting themselves in the foot (or more vital parts) here.

      We all rely on ideology to relieve ourselves of the burden of thinking for ourselves. Maybe conservative culture-war reflexes are so automatic that if it even looks like lefty protesters against capitalism the ‘job creator’ neurocircuitry in Republican brains goes reflexively into overdrive.

      1. propertius

        I do find their honesty refreshing. If someone is going to mug me, I’d prefer if they had the decency not to pretend they’re doing me a favor.

  12. dbk

    Thank you for today’s antidote du jour; it reminded me of our beloved dog, whom we lost 13 months ago.

    On another note (“A Question to Readers”), I would be happy to help in any way I can except financially (no money). Please let us know what we might do in other ways to support your outstanding site.

  13. Cap'n Magic

    Fox Business: Foreclosure Settlement “Iminient”:

    Highlight text:

    “The plan is to put the final sum, which could vary from the $20 billion under discussion, into a “monetary relief fund” for mortgage borrowers, a fund that’s somewhat akin to the $20 billion BP oil spill victims’ fund for the disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The banks would give loan modifications according to government guidelines, using this money, say Citi and BofA sources.

    “But who will get the loan modifications? What are the standards? No one knows yet, and whether this will be done fairly,” says a Citi source. Another question: Not all banks committed improper mortgage practices and/or robosigning to the same degree as others. Will their payments into the fund be prorated according to guilt?

    “Good question, it doesn’t look like it — this is a political deal,” says a bank official.”

  14. Maximilien

    Re: Krugman

    Fine form? More like usual form. He bashes Wall Street (no names named), he bashes some Repub extremists, and then goes on to pimp for Warren and Obama.

    The Dems are in election gear. So, therefore, is their spokesman, Paul Krugman, who pretends to think that Dems are different from Repubs, and hopes to convince naive voters that that’s the truth.

    He is not a stupid man; he is clearly being deceitful. The man has a credibility problem. Until he unequivocally repudiates Obama and his administration, I will question the motive of everything he says or writes.

    will refuse to read him further.

    1. Maximilien

      According to that pesky sentence fragment, it also looks as if I’ll “refuse to read him further”. I guess I can live with that.

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