Links 11/16/11

Today is American Censorship Day!

Skilled Readers Rely on Their Brain’s “Visual Dictionary” to Recognize Words Georgetown University Medical Center

DOJ: Lying on needs to be a crime CNET (hat tip reader 1SK)

UK urged to prevent vulture funds preying on world’s poorest countries Guardian (hat tip reader May S)

The Tipping Point: Time to Call the ECB Deutsche Bank. But they aren’t answering: Germany’s Central Bank against the World Der Spiegel (hat tip reader Swedish Lex). Weidmann is completely out of touch.

Europe must not allow Rome to burn Martin Wolf, Financial Times. Wolf is now talking about an Italian default.

Turmoil Spreads in Europe Wall Street Journal. Funny, Italian yields are down this AM.

Thin Ice Bruce Krasting.

UBS, Credit Suisse Should Be Broken Up: Kurer Bloomberg

Can the US consumer carry us all? MacroBusiness

Chinese TV Host Says Regime Nearly Bankrupt Epoch Times (hat tip reader furzy mouse)

Student loan default rates surging largely due to for-profit college expansion My Budget (hat tip reader May S)

Seattle City Council Unanimously Supports Occupy Movement and Votes to Stand Up to Big Banks George Washington

Occupy and anarchism’s gift of democracy David Graeber, Guardian. I’m not a fan of anarchy, but it is a point of view represented in OWS.

Occupy Wall Street: police violence reveals a corrupt system Guardian (hat tip reader May S)

This Adorable Dog Was Pepper-Sprayed By Cops At Zuccotti Park Today Gothamist (hat tip reader Martha R)

Anti-capitalist? Too simple. Occupy can be the catalyst for a radical rethink Guardian (hat tip reader May S)

Paramilitary Policing From Seattle to Occupy Wall Street The Nation (hat tip reader May S)

North Dakota Oil Boom Raises Rents, Pushing Seniors Out Huffington Post (hat tip reader Carol B)

Big banks binge on Bush- Obama ‘venture socialism’ Washington Examiner

Winnebago County recorder still finds instances of ‘robo-signing’ Rockford Register Star (hat tip Lisa Epstein)

AIG Resists Concessions to Banks for Obama Refinancing Plan Bloomberg

Purgatory for MF Global Customers Wall Street Journal

Antidote du jour:

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    1. Jim

      Regarding OWS and the ECB.

      Isn’t there some cognitive dissonance in NK readers who support both OWS and who want the ECB to violate the law by buying an unlimited amount of Italian debt?

      OWS opposes the bank bailouts, but that’s precisely what the ECB would accomplish via its bond buying program.

      Some of you may argue that so much more is at stake. But didn’t Bush say that the bank bailouts saved the American public from a depression?

      We can’t have it both ways.

      1. Anon

        Can’t speak for the rest of NC contributors, but my preferred option would be a debt jubilee, as has already been discussed extensively, both here and elsewhere:

        If there were a People’s Debt Jubilee, where BOTH the Greek and the German people refused to pay the private debts of insolvent German banks, then those German banks would die, true enough. But would the German people be worse off than they will be if they continue, along side the Greeks, to bail out those banks? I don’t think we know the answer for sure. BUT we do have two-and-a-half years of evidence that diverting public money from real investment in productive employment has not created a sustainable recovery. Our present “austerity to pay the banker’s debts” policy is impoverishing us all. [emphasis added] It has set the hands erasing each other. Whereas public money spent on investing in real growth and employment, instead of stuffing the bonus pot for a few thousand bankers, would set the hands drawing each other again and stop them from erasing each other.

        1. Maju

          Too intelligent and democratic to be adopted: their mantra, from Goldman Sachs to Berlin is that “they must pay”.

          No matter what. I feel immersed in The Merchant of Venice (regardless of the ethnicity of the usurers): if not gold then blood, seems to be what matters.

          Of course a lot of powerful parquet-lords would lose a lot of money (and hence power) if they accept anything of the like. We the People can live without banks (or with public/social banking) but the leeches of this World can’t. That’s why they will only concede on pain of death.

          A revolution is extremely necessary.

      2. YankeeFrank

        Well, we can if actually reform the system. But given that reform is not currently possible, I’m with you — watch it all fall apart, then hopefully when the current crop of fascists are discredited, something better can arise.

  1. Richard Kline

    The Seattle City Council has historically been pretty good, and this endorsement may be of practical aid in the mid-term, surely in the long-term. LA City Council has also been pretty supportive. The elite are _not_ uniformly against the citizenry, and the more we of the 99% stand up the more those in governance will step back or come over, by ones and twos but the beginning of a shift in morale and moral authority is more important than the scale alone implies.

  2. Richard Kline

    David Graeber: “[The Occupiers refuse] to recognise the legitimacy of the existing political authorities by making demands of them . . .” This is the essential action in the Occupations, and one that I think it’s hard for most of ust to grasp.

    The Occupations are, explicitly, a _denial_ of the legitmacy of present authorities because those authorities fail to act in the public interest. One can talk about specific solutions, or specific institutions when the time and means for those come, but folks, we aren’t there. The oligarchies control the operation of all major institutions of the central government, and both political parties, and the media. NO ONE is running for any of us in the upcoming election cycle, my friends: every candidate is auditioning for the 1%, and whoever is chose will serve only them (which is why they’re all clowns, because their only function is to makee-happy). I’m not exaggerating. And we will get no justice and no reform out of that matrix. It is the _illegitimacy of that structure of power_ that the occupations challenge by refusing to privilige it by begging if for redress, by soliciting permission from that structure for this or that act, and so on.

    Social change is very much constituted on who has legitimacy. Nonviolent self-organization above all strikes at the legitimacy of official power, long before it strikes at the efficacy of that power. What we see in the struggle at Liberty Square is the microcosm of American society, where authorities who do nothing, absolutely NOTHING for the citizens except steal our goods, take our money, and jail us, and all that on contemptibly spurious grounds a five-year-old wouldn’t believe, demonstrate their complete lack of legitimacy.

    And this is why the Occupations are, in fact, a tremendous threat to the power structure and the 1% behind it; they are right to see it as a threat. Because once the legitimacy of corrupted authority fails, the multiplier effect of their clubs and their wallets losses its mass. Citizens stop responding to by reflex to ‘legitimate authority’ once that legitimacy is gone. Well in the struggle for legitimacy, the authorities lost big yesterday. That’s the ‘jiu jitstu’ of nonviolence.

    1. lambert strether

      The battle, IMNSHO, is whether the Occupations can scale out horizontally faster than the powers that be can crush — and more importantly, discredit — the existing ones. Strength in numbers. Onesies and twosies, sure, but there are lots and lots of onesies and twosies to be had right now. Quan’s lawyer resigning is like an Al Ahram broadcaster resigning.

    2. Cal

      Wasn’t there an appropriate one liner that described what
      to do in a situation like this?

      “No taxation without representation”.

      What would happen if all the people in OWS and their
      supporters refused to file come April?

      How would we fund paying the interest on the national
      debt? That could mess everything up for our common good.
      Just sayin’.

    3. LeonovaBalletRusse

      Richard, dead right. Those who have sworn the Oath of Office to *protect, preserve, and defend the Constitution of The United States of America*, whose election to Congress requires them to represent the People of their respective States, and whose election to the Executive Office requires them (President, Vice-President)to represent the interests of the People of the United States of America are *illegitimate representatives* who betray the People and violate their Oaths of Office. *Illegitimate* ipso facto, they are our *Bastard Government*
      serving *foreign powers* — i.e. powers *foreign* to the interests of the People of the U.S.A.: corporate lobbyists and *top-out-of-sight* despots who rule their paid *Agents of a Foreign Power* in Office together with their unelected Congressional *staff* prey, in ALL THREE branches of U.S. government: our *Bastard Government*.

    4. aletheia33

      “And this is why the Occupations are, in fact, a tremendous threat to the power structure and the 1% behind it; they are right to see it as a threat.”

      @richard kline

      for this reason, i hope to see the physical Occupations continue on the ground. maybe shifts are a good idea, but i hope they do not decide to “relocate” away from the physical public squares of the big cities.

      the attraction of homeless and mentally ill to these spaces is a challenge but if handled intelligently can become part of the message, as seems to be happening in some Occupations.

      the issue of holding actual ground to my mind is not peripheral but central. it is hard to explain perhaps to many people; nonetheless, many other people do seem to “get it” pretty quickly. if we can’t take possession of our own public space in the way we see fit, wither has gone our 1st amendment? people do grasp this issue, and a little more explanation can bring it home.

      the more rough the expulsions from that space, the more people will have to think about the meaning of public space and how much of it is left for the exercise of the 1st amendment, which i do think many americans still hold sacred.

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        Richard Kline, it has oft been said that *America* is an idea. If this be so, let OWS become the grander *idea whose time has come* – still in workout phase, but clearly getting to the fundamental level of self-governance. This is the threat to the 1%: the sleeping giant awakens.

  3. Andrew

    Ah….Glasshopper sees bald head on wide shoulders. Use strength of opponent to slap his own behind.

    Dazzle nimwits with slick ninja moves.

  4. rjs

    Can the US consumer carry us all?

    october’s retail sales upside was almost all the new iphone & gasoline, which was up more than 19% YoY…

  5. Francois T

    “Can the US consumer carry us all?”

    Sure! Cram down the mortgages deep in banks’ throats and see how much we shall carry the world.

    Alas, Brotha Obysmal and Timmy Gangster don’t want to inconvenience The Profiteers.

  6. Pat

    I’m sorry to be a pessimist, but it looks like the System, the Establishment, has won, yet again. And not only has It prevailed, It has cruelly stomped out hope after holding out the possibility of reform and democracy — the national referendum in Greece, and OWS.
    This reminds me of a quote from the Terminator movies: “Listen, and understand. That terminator is out there. It can’t be bargained with. It can’t be reasoned with. It doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are dead.”
    The OWS protest movement was too late anyways, and the Establishment knows that. The money has already been stolen and can’t be retrieved. Where did it go? Into the pockets of a variety of people: most of all, officers and employees of the Big Brokers and banks, but also to anyone who sold a house during the bubble years, corporate officers and directors for nearly all publicly traded companies from 2003-present, defense contractors, fund managers, hedge fund managers, big investors in stocks and bonds and commodities, and miscellaneous helpers of all of the above.
    The only way to get the money back would be to impose a retroactive tax on money made in the years 2003-present, but that can never happen because retroactive taxes are impermissible.
    The US government has already backstopped some $15-20 trillion of liability, which means that all that debt is dumped on the populace, to be paid for cuts to SS and Medicare. The backstopping can’t be undone at this point.
    Even if Glass Steagal was undone, if the Big Banks were broken up, if top salaries were reduced, if criminal prosecutions were launched, if taxes on the super-rich were increased, and so on, that would not solve the problem.
    What is needed is something like a 50% reduction in defense spending, or cutting the price of oil in half (for instance, by seizing the oil fields in Iraq), but, again, this would be too radical for the Establishment to accept.
    The only way to deprive the super-rich of their money would be to totally crash the system, if stock markets and real estate prices were to fall by half, but even if that happened the rest of the population would feel much of the pain, since tax revenue and pension fund returns would fall dramatically and unemployment would go way up.

      1. Dave of Maryland

        MONEY represents WORK.

        Working people have had their money stolen. So it’s gone and that’s it.

        Go to work today and keep what you earn and you immediately start to recover. Makes no difference what the past was. Which I think is what Iceland was all about, or what it tried to be all about.

        Make banks an option. Workers don’t need them. Never did.

        1. RanDomino

          Where has that work gone? You don’t just go to work, do nothing, and get a paycheck, I assume. Most people produce something. The stolen wealth is in the form of foreclosed houses, empty business buildings, mansions, luxury cars, yachts… *stuff*.

      2. LeonovaBalletRusse

        “For Veblen, the Great War offered the opportunity to rid the West of its chief ill: the dynastic spirit, of whic, he claimed, Germany was imbued to a pathological degree.
        “Veblen insisted that with Germany’s dynastic spirti, whose proneness to mischief was compounded by its extreme unpredictable fanatical excrescences, no compromise was possible. …”[83]
        “The levers of command of a modern democracy are not operated from its ministries, but from its financial network. The financial strength of a capitalist regime is crushed the minute its portfolio of securities–bonds, stocks, debentures, and cash and all like titles of ownership–are passed into foreign hands. Such critical confiscation, which would have sapped the tenure of the German absentee owners, was never effected under the terms of the Treaty, and deliberately so. Thus the nature of Versailles’ diplomatic contrivances revealed that ‘the statesmen of the victorious Powers have taken sides with the war-guilty absentee owners of Germany against their underlying population.'[Veblen quoted]” [86]
        FROM: “CONJURING HITLER: How Britain and America Made the Third Reich” by Guido Giacomo Preparata (2005, Pluto Press, Ann Arbor, Michigan). BOOK must be studied_in entirety_and applied to Global Reich IV machinations through 2011.

        “Deja vu all over again.” What to do?

    1. Cal

      How about President Kucinich issues executive order to
      make the U.S. Treasury the only issuer of Greenbacks
      that are tied to U.S. manufacturing production and
      real services?

      All tax dollars are to be spent on U.S.
      manufactured products only.

      All troops withdrawn from abroad, used to kick all illegal aliens out of the country with their U.S. born children
      who can either
      A. return to and enjoy the magnificent culture that their parents hold onto and promote or
      Be given up for adoption here.

      It’s never too late, the problem is that the later it gets, the more serious the reforms that are needed.

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        Cal, might Kucinich so decree, only to be assassinated? History shows … How to circumvent this *rinse repeat*?

    2. Lew Glendenning

      Complexity in financial matters is an advantage to professionals in finance.

      So, among many other things, we need to simplify money. We need a Constitutional amendment that says the gov can have nothing to do with coinage and that it must only accept or pay in grams of gold.

      At the moment, a hedge is 2 pieces : a bet on the value of the commodity and a bet on the value of the currency that denominates the value of the commodity.

      If the entire world went back to gold, not a gold standard, gold, there would be a lot less for banks to do.

  7. Brian

    Every story today is about the panic that comes when one realizes the cover is bare, the pantry is empty, and the people are starving.
    Fiction is a pastime, not a lifestyle.

    1. Jeff

      You young ‘uns don’t know the idioms of our English language.

      It’s CUP Board, pronounced “cubburd”…It was a place where cups were stored along with victuals or vittles also known as food…

      The pantry was a place where bread or “pane” was stored. It’s interchangeable with cupboard.

      Also, you say “He’s a good man” or “She’s a good woman”

      not “he/she’s a good person” Unless of course you are unsure of their gender…it’s hard to tell sometimes.

      1. Rex

        The mangled nursery rhyme phrase was a little grating but, to me, more troubling is that the closing cryptic statement seems to imply a critique that makes no sense.

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      Only Thorstein Veblen dared to depict in words the *heart of darkness* starkly. Apply the lessons today of Veblen then, via the brilliant, dense, no-bull: “CONJURING HITLER: How Britain and America made the Third Reich” by the incomparable scholar Guido Giacomo Preparata (2005).

      Consult Goetz Aly: “HITLER’S BENEFICIARIES” vis-a-vis Naomi Klein: “THE SHOCK DOCTRINE” and Antonia Juhasz: “THE BUSH AGENDA” within the *frame* of Holy Roman Reich III-IV, 1911-2011. Know that the Victorian Reich is an integral part of this frame. Xref Bush-backed Bill Clinton’s bible: Carroll Quigley’s “THE ANGLO-AMERICAN ESTABLISHMENT” and recall influence of the Rhodes Trust in *academia*, Milner Round Table in *business*, Russell-YALE-Bones-CIA, Nazi-facilitator Bush Dynasty, Republican-Confederacy “NOBILITY and Analogous Traditional Elites in the Allocutions of Pius XII (1993, York PA [Pennsylvania! Roman Catholic White Male & eerie homosexual stronghold (UPenn under Hackney, PennState).

      Reich Neo-Feudalism of Global *NOBILITY* facilitated by supranational *Corporate* and *Defense/Security* armies/henchmen, *trickling down* crumbs of *employment* for *hoi polloi*. See: “THE THREE ORDERS: Feudal Society Imagined” by Georges Duby for *How It Works* now as then. N.B. Georgetown Jesuit fix on *teaching* U.S. foreign policy in *D.C.* and providing waves of fixed *diplomats*.

      It’s the *sinister* agenda of *top-out-of-sight*.

  8. Lyle

    Re the North Dakota oil boom and rents. It happens in every boom, right now happening in the Eagle Ford area south of San Antonio, also happened during the Austin Chalk boom in the 1980s in Central Texas. When demand for housing doubles rapidly, the in elasticity of the housing market shows upm it can not expand fast enough for the demand, since building codes prevent it. Actually if the building codes allowed container based homes things could adjust more rapidly depending on the state of the utility infrastructure. Essentially you build a rapid dorm for unaccompanied workers, and multiple units for families. Actually these would be an advantage as they could move as the boom moves around.

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      This is slavery by any other name. The *units* are C21 *slave shacks*. Same rentier DNA, same game.

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      The Daily Bell appears to be a NeoConLib mouthpiece in disguise. For their *Sinister Agenda* across the board, see the exquisite grounded, comprehensive, study of Guido Giacomo Preparata (author also of “CONJURING HITLER”): “THE IDEOLOGY OF TYRANNY: Bataille, foucault, and the Postmodern Corruption of Political Dissent” (2007, Palgrave Macmillian, New York)–especially Chapter 8: “The Tomb Raiders of the Postmodern Right: Junger’s Anarch, the Neocon, and the Bogus Hermeneutics of Leo Strauss.”

      Apparently, the NC Commentariat can sustain the scope of such vast arguments, leaving such as The Daily Bell to those scratching the surface because they lack the vital linguistic apprehension to do otherwise, or else they are paid to produce what they proffer. The Master Class purpose with the Internet is to dilute the meaning of words unto extinction. NC lifted the bar: to write clearly is to think clearly. We thank Yves for plain speech coupled with erudition. May Catherine Austin Fitts join Bill Black and others here to keep the standard for sense and clarity high.

  9. Cian

    Yves, the Epoch Times is a Falun Gong operation and is such is basically a propoganda mouthpiece. Think the Washington Times, or Weekly Standard.

    1. Tony

      Falun Gong is a cult insofar that it represents a challenge and a threat to the authority of the Chinese government– an organization that does indeed need to be challenged. They do have an ideological viewpoint to peddle, but then again so does any other media outlet.

      1. Maju

        Falung Gong is a destructive cult like Scientology, the Moonies, Jehova Witnesses, the Opus Dai or Al Qaeda (just to mention a few). They have zero credibility.

  10. Jesse

    As a word of caution The Epoch Times is the house newspaper of the Falun Gong. They have a definite point of view in the news.

    That is not to say that the China article was wrong. I have long felt that China is a bubble enabled in the 1990’s by the US Administrations and their corporate interests. But let’s just say that it is not coming from an unbiased source.

  11. Sock Puppet

    Anarchism, democracy, republic: the US is republic, not a democracy. TPTB have rebranded an oligarchic republic as a democracy, and true democracy as anarchy. OWS have shown us the way. Delegitimize these institutions by refusing to do business with them. Work, shop, volunteer and invest locally, use cash where possible, get involved in your own community. Don’t wait for change. Be the change you want to see (Gandhi ).

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It’s my understanding that the Gandhists believe that everyone is a Gandhi, like the Buddhists believe everyone can be a Buddha. Zazen is the way to recover/realize our own Buddha nature.

      Still, I should point out that before you can think about taking care of the world, you take care of yourself first, which means, you do not abuse your own body by going on a hunger strike.

      Moreover, while no one has attempted it yet in a political setting (as far as I know), eating -binge strikes are just as abusive as hunger strikes.

      Your body is your temple. It’s sacred. Take good care of it and apply that to the world as well.

  12. Walter Wit Man

    This is an even better link to a Guardian column. Here’s a frightening portion:

    “Occupy protesters should make themselves familiar with the USA Patriot Act. Section 802 expanded the definition of domestic terrorism to include persons who engage in acts of civil disobedience to coerce or affect the conduct of government by intimidation of the civilian population. Furthermore, the US Department of Defence training manuals, until an amendment in 2009, equated protest with “low-level terrorism”. Although the DoD changed the wording two years ago, human rights lawyers and activists have lingering concerns about whether the sentiment and intent has caught up with the change.”

    You got that all you Martin Luther King wannabes? You’re engaging in intimidation of the government by breaking laws and engaging in civil disobedience. You’re a terrorist in addition to an illegal camper!

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      Reagan’s “REX 84” and George W. Bush’s The P.A.T.R.I.O.T [yes, an acronym] Act paved the way for the chosen despot of the U.S.A. just as the “Enabling Act” paved the way for Hitler’s rule. Just waiting for the *right* charismatic candidate.

  13. Maju

    Surely there are other matters of interest among those links but the Chinese collapse estimates, specially for the freshness of being issued at a closed doors conference, are really impressive. IF the real GDP is falling by c. 10% instead of growing 9%, then the People’s Republic (or what is left of it in any case) has a big problem.

    And with them, the World. By comparison Europe’s problems can be seen as peccata minuta (minor matters). China is now the second economy by GDP on Earth and incorporates 1/6 of all human beings.

  14. paper mac

    “I’m not a fan of anarchy”

    No? You prefer coercive hierarchy, do you? Or are you conflating acephaly with chaos?

  15. LeonovaBalletRusse

    Excellent, clearly conveyed, insights abound in Ha-Joon Chang’s “Anti-capitalist? Too simple. Occupy can be the catalyst for a radical rethink” @ dated 15 Nov 2011, cross-referenced in LINKS today. The comments are keen too.

    This perspective illustrates how simple-minded the *American* view of *capitalism* is, which has led to summary exploitation of the People, esp. due to the *football-and-military-uber-alles* mentality for the masses, in tandem with the ignorance propaganda by the *mass media* including *computer games* and *movies* that appeal to juvenile hormones and mindsets. The U.S.A. has been dumbed down completely, and this was the purpose of “free” T.V.(in exchange for commercial advertisements increased in number and frequency by Boss Reagan). The object: tyranny by the 1%, imposed by their shills.

  16. LeonovaBalletRusse

    The George Washington blog, referenced above, shows that the Seattle Leaders have seized the brass ring on the merry-go-round of *late stage capitalism*. If “the world belongs to the bold” then Seattle is saying: “Here’s how.” Seattle is the bed-rock of radical change in U.S. “capitalism” and U.S. “democracy”/”republic”. The People’s buck stops here.

    Should the United States Congress be re-located to Seattle? Will a completely new government *of/by/for the People* rise from the ashes of GlobalReichIVFeudalism in Seattle? “We the People” must seize the day right now.

  17. Hugh

    Weidmann is not out of touch. He is simply doing the bidding of one group of kleptocrats –as is Der Spiegel given the fawning tone of the article.

    1. Maju

      Technically he has enough support in Parliament: he can’t become PM or form a government without Parliament approval. However at this moment I do not know which supports he has, if any at all.

      It is notable in any case that he, like his mentor Mario Draghi (ECB boss at the moment), are Goldman Sachs men. Specially as Goldman is perceived by many being one of the main actors acting against the euro. The IMF/Goldman takeover of the ECB, Italy and Greece looks very much worrisome.

      Pepe Escobar writes at Asia Times Online denouncing the “gang of eight” that rules Europe in the name of the God of Markets. This de facto directorate can be synthesized as Draghi (ECB/Goldman), Merkel (German bourgeoisie), Sarkozy (French bourgeoisie) and Lagarde (IMF/Sarko/Baker & McKenzie). The other four seem less important to me.

      Sarko is extremely strong, no matter that Escobar sees more the “cojones” of Merkel, Sarko seems the boss to me in fact (same re. Libya, which hurt Italy a lot, IMF power-mongering, etc.)

  18. cy79

    Euro’s “mysterious” stability

    …the euro still attracts more than quarter of the $10 trillion hard cash reserves held by China and others….
    Does the stable euro exchange rate reveal some deep-seated confidence in the currency’s long-term survival…?

    The most basic measure of the Euro Zone’s foreign financing needs gives the best inkling to stability of the currency. The region’s current account is basically in balance, in the red by less than 0.5% of the bloc’s annual output. The United States had a current account deficit last year of almost four percent of GDP. So, while Washington needs more than $10 billion a month of new overseas money just to balance the books, the euro zone is basically self financing….

    …what happened at the height of the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy in 2008…the dollar surged even though the epicentre of the crunch was in the U.S. mortgage market and dramatic policy easing followed from the Federal Reserve and Treasury. Only part of that was due to global demand for a liquid “safe-haven” in U.S. Treasury securities. It was also due to the nature of dollar financing worldwide.
    European banks held trillions of dollars in U.S. assets, many distressed mortgage-related assets, funded with much shorter-term dollar borrowings. The crux came as they were forced to write down their value even though they had to keep funding them fully to maturity.
    That left banks with structurally short dollar positions that required one-off purchases to close out, fuelling a dollar exchange rate surge.

    Now, concern about writedowns centres on euro government assets like Greece and any safe-haven demand for funds fleeing peripheral euro zone sovereigns is being satisfied largely by German government bonds, with no net exchange rate implications.

    1. Maju

      If markets worked, what is as much a myth as that Santa guy, the euro should have collapsed by now… but that would be too good for Europeans, which would not anymore be able to afford buying much but would at least be able to export some.

      But all the other relevant currencies which are dollar-pegged explicitly or not have collapsed, so the euro (and related currencies like the Swiss franc) are the only hard currencies around.

      Also IF the euro would collapse, then Merkozy would lose their killer grapple on Greece, Italy and Spain. So they won’t let it happen: it is too good a neocolonialist tool in fact.

  19. Maximilien

    Re: Lying on

    Dear DOJ:

    Before you go hacking my account using your Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), I’m gonna come clean. I stated on that “I am the world’s greatest lover”.

    This is not true and I admit it. Reports I’ve received suggest that I am merely in the top ten of the world’s best lovers.

    However, I am still willing to plead guilty to a charge of Computer Fraud.

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