Links 11/15/11

Japan farms radioactivity fears BBC

Was Napster the day the music died? VoxEU

Latin America better prepared to weather a slowdown in global economy McClatchy

Greece Keeping Euro Is Only Choice: Papademos Bloomberg. And Mexico kept insisting it would defend its currency peg right up to the eve when it threw in the towel in 1994.

Greek conservatives stance threatens bailout Irish Times (hat tip reader Aquifer)

Europe prepares for breakup MacroBusiness

Jump in Italian and Spanish yields spooks stocks Financial Times. Yields on bunds are also up.

WOW: Europe Is Really Getting Slammed Today Clusterstock

Sending a Harsh Message, U.S. Issues First Fine for Tarmac Delays New York Times

60 Minutes: Congressional Insider Trading Credit Writedowns

Ireland and Greece: Blackjacked by the Banks CounterPunch (hat tip reader 1 SK)

Occupy Wall Street: New York police clear protest camp BBC. This is pretty sympathetic coverage.

Police Sweep Protest From Zuccotti Park New York Times. Lead front page story, 70 arrested. At least the first of the image series is a policeman with his teeth bared (!) roughing up a protestor. So the police efforts to sanitize the coverage were not 100% effective.

Blue Cross CEO Discusses Health Care Business C-SPAN (hat tip reader Skippy). Mike check!

Quan adviser Dan Siegel quits over Occupy Oakland SF Gate (hat tip reader Aquifer)

In foreclosure-plagued Vegas, empty homes go to pot Los Angeles Times

Corker proposes alternative to MERS Housing Wire (hat tip reader Lisa Epstein) Text of the bill is here. The MERS section is thin.

Paulson cuts gold ETF holding Financial Times

Bank Excuses on Foreclosure Growing Stale New York Times. This is a gratifying read.

Big Banks Turn Unemployment Benefits Into a Profit Center Dave Dayen, FireDogLake

Marketocracy Barry Ritholtz (hat tip April Charney)

Antidote du jour. Richard Smith’s boy kitten, Fisher (he has a girl too, Minsky, from the same litter); pic by Uschileins Töchterlein:

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    1. ambrit

      Wonderful! My Dad worked for AID in South America and the Carribean during the ‘Go Go Years.’ Too much of what the ‘Hit Man’ talked about on the video, we heard from Dad when he would be home from ‘the field.’ It worked for the fat cats back then, but is breaking down now that America has tried her own ‘Imperial Overreach.’ Interesting times ahead.

  1. ep3

    Yves, can u post a photo of richard’s minsky?
    I have a female that looks just like Fisher, with the same evil look.

  2. Valissa

    Marketocracy? No it’s Kleptocracy… the name on the game board is:

    Helicopter Ben’s Wall Street KLEPTOCRACY

    Thanks for the link, but using the word Marketocracy waters it down and is inaccurate. At The Big Picture this graphic is part of Monday’s AM reads and carries no label. As Hugh always points out, for some reason there is a reluctance to use the word kleptocracy by economists and financial analysts.

  3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    At Marketwatch, there is a story about IMF asking China to help Europe.

    At the same time, there is another story about China banking system deemed vulnerable by IMF.

    Maybe Europe should help China. What do you think, IMF?

    1. rjs

      Oakland Mayor Jean Quan Admits Cities Coordinated Crackdown on Occupy Movement

      Embattled Oakland Mayor Jean Quan, speaking in an interview with the BBC (excerpted on The Takeaway radio program–audio of Quan starts at the 5:30 mark), casually mentioned that she was on a conference call with leaders of 18 US cities shortly before a wave of raids broke up Occupy Wall Street encampments across the country. “I was recently on a conference call with 18 cities across the country who had the same situation. . .

  4. Susan the other

    Blue Cross/Shield Discusses Health Care. Thank you Skippy. It enjoyed the whole thing. Mr. Serota was articulate and I felt he was honestly looking at the hard facts. My only objection to his analysis is that he thinks we have at least a 5 year, and maybe a 10 year, horizon, at the end of which we must have our health care act together. But we do not have 5 years. Medical care is bankrupting citizens all across the country as he speaks. I could have asked him some conflict of interest questions – like the profit incentive which is baked into both the insurance industry and the delivery system. I personally think that needs to be removed and that is why I am for single payer. Benevolent corporations could benevolent themselves right out of the market.

    Clearly everyone from the shareholders to the corporate management can see that national health care requires everyone to participate. I do not think the corporations can achieve this. I think only government/single payer can.

    And I’d just like to add that I really love my pissed off sisters. “But I need to get my purse!” That was wonderful and also delightfully Monty Python.

    1. Aquifer

      I, too, would like to thank Skippy for this link. I sent in a link to another article that covered this event, but mine only included a snippet of the 99% protest, this one is much better!

      I, however, am not so “charitable” re Mr. Sirota’s remarks. There is so much to say, but i won’t “burden” folks here with all of it. I am a retired healthcare professional and have watched this system deteriorate in so many ways over the 2+ decades I was working in hospitals. Mr. Sirota left the impression that it was the private insurers’ participation that “improved” the system in the ways he mentioned. Baloney! In fact, i do believe that it was these insurers participation that is responsible for much of the mess we are in.

      Market based healthcare is a contradiction terms. It is market based medicine that, IMO, is the problem. His continued use and defense of the term “market” in his discussion says it all, as does his co-sponsorship of this event with the notorious Chamber of Commerce.

      Mr. Sirota and his ilk are, understandably, nervous as it is becoming more and more clear that they are a big part of the problem and there is a growing swell of support for single payer or “Improved Medicare for All”.

      His description of Europe as having a different “culture” re healthcare was telling – yup, in Europe they believe that healthcare is a fundamental right and is something any truly civilized society should provide for all its folks. Our culture is a pay-to-play one. Healthcare is ill served in such a “culture”. He let the cat out of the bag when he touted the UKs contribution to improving health outcomes. If the NHS can do it, what do we need guys like him for?

      I also loved the tenacity of the 99%ers. That first lady was a riot – it finally took 2 guys to “escort” her out! If all the 99%ers demonstrate her level of fierceness we may actually get somewhere!

      1. Sock Puppet

        Thanks Skippy. Question for Mr Sirota – how is health care funded in Japan, Greece, the UK and Chile?

  5. Susan the other

    On “Bank Excuses on Foreclosure Going Stale” Very good read. This fight is so frustrating for everyone. I blame Obama. If he had convictions he would have the courage of his convictions.

  6. Susan the other

    Thinking about OWS. The protestors are our feet and mouths on the ground. We are their tsunami of indignation. Only they can hold us back.

  7. Jeff

    Blue Cross video sure snuck up on me…that’s great.
    Here’s a font check to go with it:

    ANNUAL COMPENSATION (2006 and 2007):
    -Ronald A. Williams, Chair/ CEO, Aetna Inc., $23,045,834
    -H. Edward Hanway, Chair/ CEO, Cigna Corp, $30.16 million
    – David B. Snow, Jr, Chair/ CEO, Medco Health, $21.76 million
    – Michael B. MCallister, CEO, Humana Inc, $20.06 million
    – Stephen J. Hemsley, CEO, UnitedHealth Group, $13,164,529
    – Angela F. Braly, President/ CEO, Wellpoint, $9,094,771
    -Dale B. Wolf, CEO, Coventry Health Care, $20.86 million
    -Jay M. Gellert, President/ CEO, Health Net, $16.65 million
    -William C. Van Faasen, Chairman, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, $3 million plus $16.4 million in retirement benefits
    -Charlie Baker, President/ CEO, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, $1.5 million
    -James Roosevelt, Jr., CEO, Tufts Associated Health Plans, $1.3 million
    – Cleve L. Killingsworth, President/CEO Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, $3.6 million
    – Raymond McCaskey, CEO, Health Care Service Corp (Blue Cross Blue Shield), $10.3 million
    – Daniel P. McCartney, CEO, Healthcare Services Group, Inc, $ 1,061,513
    – Daniel Loepp, CEO, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, $1,657,555
    – Todd S. Farha, CEO, WellCare Health Plans, $5,270,825
    – Michael F. Neidorff, CEO, Centene Corp, $8,750,751
    – Daniel Loepp, CEO, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, $1,657,555
    -Todd S. Farha, CEO, WellCare Health Plans, $5,270,825
    – Michael F. Neidorff, CEO, Centene Corp, $8,750,751

    Imagine how much denial of service they have to muster to pay for all this?

    1. UnitedHealth Group ” $ 4.654 BILLION. UnitedHealth Group owns Oxford, PacifiCare, IBA, AmeriChoice, Evercare, Ovations, MAMSI and Ingenix, a healthcare data company
    2. WellPoint ” $ 3.345 BILLION. Wellpoint owns BLUES across the US, including Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Wisconsin, Empire HealthChoice Assurance, Healthy Alliance, and many others
    3. Aetna Inc. ” $ 1.831 BILLION
    4. CIGNA Corp ” $ 1.115 BILLION
    5. Humana Inc. ” $ 834 million
    6. Coventry Health Care ” $626 million. Coventry owns Altius, Carelink, Group Health Plan, HealthAmerica, OmniCare, WellPath, others

    1. Aquifer

      Yup, making a profit off sick people. Providers need to get their acts together as well. No healthcare professional should have a financial stake in facilities or products that they use, nor, IMO, should they be paid for ordering more tests, only for their skills.

      This, i am sure, comes as no surprise:

      Gutting Medicare, as the Super Committee seems intent on doing, is going in the wrong direction, but i am sure it makes Mr. Sirota smile.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I don’t see on the list any CEO making $400,000/year. Maybe some do, but it seems not worthy of being listed here.

      When I read ‘tax the rich,’ something like a CEO making $20 million/year comes to mind, not some family making $400,000/yr.

      Better yet, tax wealth.

      When you already have a billion dollars, the best way to preserve your share of the world’s resources is to prevent more future billionaires (price is just a way to allocate resources so, your wealth represents your share).

      And a billionaire would naturally favor ‘taxing the rich’ by taxing income, and not wealth.

      It’s like an arms treaty freezing future production when you already have enough to blow the world over 1,000 times and there is nothing in it about reducing that threat.

      So taxing income, instead of wealth, just freezes the status quo.

      Remember, this year’s income, net of spending, becomes next year’s wealth.

      1. psychohistorian

        And hence my global inherited rich characterization.

        The kids out protesting on the streets are waking up to the fact of private property in their world and how they will never own anything and will only be Rentiers under the current arrangement…they don’t have much to lose, do they?

    3. LeonovaBalletRusse

      “Health care conglomerates” and Third Party Administrators were the ruin of health care in New Orleans from the early 1980’s. There were M&A’s to make it worse. It was all for profit of those outside the healthcare system formerly, when M.D.’s were in charge of hospital policy. This was the same *extraction capitalism* that we have seen across the board. One of the first results of this scam was that great nurses retired en masse, getting out while the getting was good. Staff was *downsized* to the bare minimum to squeeze profits up to the CEO’s in *Hospital Administration*. RICO.

  8. Sock Puppet

    Blues: I am switching from a blue to a member owned non-profit cooperative. I’m lucky to have moved to a state where such a thing exists.
    Note: all the countries ahead of the US in life expectancy have single payer health care. All are paying a much lower percentage of GDP. Just saying.

  9. CaitlinO

    Mayor Quan in Oakland has now lost two of her top officials in about 30 hours:

    Oakland Deputy Mayor Sharon Cornu resigned Monday in the wake of the shut down of the encampment in Frank Ogawa Plaza outside City Hall, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. Cornu was not specific in explaining why she stepped down from the post, and did not site the Occupy Oakland protests as factoring into her decision.

    Just a few hours earlier, Mayor Jean Quan’s legal adviser, Dan Siegel, announced his resignation on Twitter, according to the Washington Post. Siegel posted to his account, “Support Occupy Oakland, not the 1% and its government facilitators.”

  10. reslez

    Re: WOW: Europe Is Really Getting Slammed Today

    First the bond vigilantes came for the Greeks, and I didn’t speak out because it’s convenient to believe Greeks are lazy, make huge salaries and retire at age 50.

    Then the bond vigilantes came for the Italians, and I didn’t speak out because Italian government is messy and I hate Berlusconi.

    Then the bond vigilantes came for the French, and I didn’t speak out because I don’t happen to be French.

    Then the bond vigilantes came for the Austrians, and I started to wonder if there was some sort of pattern.

    Then the bond vigilantes came for the Germans, and the ECB dropped the hammer.

  11. liberal

    Richard Smith’s boy kitten…

    To quote The Onion: “Kitten thinks of nothing but murder all day.”

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