Links 11/25/11

Thanksgiving: Gabrielle Giffords serves turkey at US Air Force base Telegraph

Bottlenose dolphins’ maximum speed halved by pregnancy BBC

Massachusetts Transgender Equal Rights Bill Signed By Governor Deval Patrick Huffington Post

AT&T to take $4bn charge on troubled takeover Financial Times. As a happy T-Mobile customer, I’m pleased at this turn of events.

Egypt’s generals defy Tahrir protests over elections Guardian

Japan Consumer Prices Fall on World Slowdown Bloomberg

Euro leaders push for fiscal crackdown Financial Times.

Fear sweeps markets as Merkel rules out ECB intervention Guardian. Note we said that the Bundesbank and ECB had been clear that they were not willing to monetize. This is strikingly parallel to the runup to Lehman, where it was similarly clear that Paulson and Geithner were not willing to rescue the bank (note that we were not fans of a bailout, but if you are going to nix that, you need a realistic plan B, and a private sector bailout was proven not to be realistic).

EA BoP Guide: CA and KA – EA too Dependent on Portfolio Inflows? Rebecca Wilder, Angry Bear

Why cutting fiscal deficits is an assault on profits Martin Wolf, Financial Times. This is a straight up sectoral balances analysis, which we’ve discussed for more than a year. Good to see it getting this sort of endorsement

Goldfinger eats Congo Greg Palast

We Are the 99.9% Paul Krugman, New York Times

Van Jones and Democratic Party Operatives: You Do Not Represent the Occupy Movement Kevin Zeese

Occupy Gives Hope to Struggling Americans This Thanksgiving Firedoglake

Posters from Occupy Wall Street OccuPrint (hat tip reader rjs)

Friday’s Deals May Not Be the Best New York Times

US banks scale back mortgage collection Financial Times. Quelle surprise! As servicers are finally facing real oversight, they no longer want to be in the business.

Warren Pollock: Open Letter to the CME Jesse

It really is time to wave goodbye to ‘free’ banking Financial Times. You heard it here first.

Antidote du jour:

Bonus antidote (hat tip reader Scott). This is totally cool. Video and related article from the New Yorker:

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  1. vlade

    Re free banking. Absolutely agree – countries where banks have large fee income tend to have more stable banking sector.

    The problem is that the micro-incentives for both management and clients are set the opposite. Behaviourally. most clients prefer “free” banking (even as they get ripped off more via less visible products), and for the management fees turn banking into boring utility business, with limited up and downside.

    1. aet

      Bankers and banking should be boring.

      It suggests a corollary to that old Chinese curse which says “May you live in interesting times!” : “May you have exciting bankers!”

      1. vlade

        Sort of agree. M&A (or what used to be “investment” banking two decades ago) banking could be non-boring, but that’s more consulting than banking, really. I.e. no capital required.

        The problem in the fees is that the short term incentives for clients and management are aligned (to “free” banking).

        You could even argue that client incentive here is stronger than management, as ideally management would want fees AND opaque products to sell (sort of well funded utility with a casino on the top).

        You’ve seen the backlash to BoA’s fees – and while that was to keep the profits up at a certain level, I doubt there would be significantly less backlash even if they promised to get rid of risky stuff (but still short-term profitable) in exchange.

        1. aet

          Many I know bank using co-op organizations: so that, in a sense, any fees charged for banking services end up in their own pockets. And they wouldn’t want to set those too high or too low – after all, who would want to rip themselves off?

          1. dearieme

            I’m very happy with the free banking I receive, especially the current account (i.e. checking account) that pays 3%pa interest. Fees => exit.

    2. chogra

      Modern bank fees are almost entirely about the collection of economic rents. Competition is supposed to keep economic rent to a minimum, but one of the many things that is broken in our quasi-capitalist system is that competition is trumped by political favoritism and rent collection has gone hog wild. Banks will jack their fees as high as they can get away with and use advertising (i.e. propaganda) and governemnt influence to supress any competition that would impair their ability extract rents.

      Credit unions and co-ops (and many small banks) charge reasonable fees and have reasonable and safe business practices. I have used my credit union exclusively for >20 years and have never regretted not banking with a commercial bank. It has always boggled my mind that people continue to put money in their hands.

      Nearly every early economist, from Smith to Marx, pointed out the evils of economic rents. Keynes wanted “the euthanasia of the rentier.” But for some reason modern economics treats economic rent collection as just another form of earned income. It is not.

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        Not to mention *price fixing*–strictly forbidden in the American *free enterprise system* of yore. We haven’t had authrntic free enterprise in forty years.

      2. LeonovaBalletRusse

        It is pure parasitical income, worse than useless, a truly negative force, a disastrous *drag* on the real economy that once was, and an abuse of material and social trust.

        Ponzi scheme, shell game, fraud: all in the *rackets* with CDS *protection* schemes. Bring RICO. Bring the rope.

      3. Jessica

        Modern economics is kind to rents because it is primarily a propaganda exercise. A tool for complex management within a very narrow range of options. The complexity serves to veil the narrowness of the options.
        The economy was formerly dominated by industrial monopolies (“what’s good for GM is good for America”). What money is made in production now is made from knowledge not from things. The current IP system makes knowledge monopolies also. Both make rent collecting a natural response. I think this is why financial rentier were able to come to control of the economy so easily and without resistance from other parts of the elite.

    3. jcb

      Many people forget that the initial purpose of banks was to permit ordinary people to save money. That’s why they were granted public charters; they performed a public service and were endowed with extraordinary privileges. They were required to pay their depositors for these privileges.

      Banks really are meant to function as public utilities. The assumption that they should be treated like non-chartered businesses, free to set conditions and fees according to their own notion of profit, is misguided. It they can’t make a profit from the privileges of their charter, they have the option of dissolving and returning the charter.

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        Exactement, jcb. This was when the holding of legitimate *loan loss reserves* were de rigeuer for a bank worthy of trust. These are relics of a just system gone criminal.

    4. Tim

      The argument in the article is not applicable to every bank. Free current accounts are not always loss leaders. I know of one bank whose free current accounts are profitable. The balance on current accounts is quite stable, predictable and zero interest.

  2. Frank Shannon

    I have a basic question. My understanding from having read this blog for a while is that Banks in many cases didn’t properly under New York law convey the titles of many of the mortgages they diced up and sold. Does that mean that the investors that bought the securities can sue for their money back? If so why haven’t I heard about these lawsuits?

    1. Foppe

      I could be remembering this entirely wrongly, but I think Yves mentioned that this was because they have to prove malicious intent on each and every case, making it extremely time-consuming (and expensive — lawyers) to actually get any money back.

  3. rjs

    re: Democratic Party Operatives: You Do Not Represent the Occupy Movement

    Occupy the Democratic Party? No way! – What would happen if Occupy were to enter the Democratic Party? The Democratic Party is not a park, not a public space to be occupied. The Democratic Party exists to bind working people, the poor and small business to the program of corporations and banks. The Democratic Party is a hierarchical organisation made up of powerful politicians with strong ties to government, banks and corporations, and the military. It is financed by corporations and wealthy individuals who provide millions, though it has also proven successful in raising funds from millions of ordinary Americans. Its program is written by the politicians along lines proposed by corporate consultants. On a daily basis, year in and year out, the Democratic Party, working in the White House, the Congress and in state legislatures puts forward legislation intended to keep the capitalist system working and to serve the banks and corporations.

      1. tom allen

        That would kind of defeat the purpose of OWS, wouldn’t it?

        If OWS forms a party here in Rochester, MN, I’ll just have to form a one-man counter party, Occupy Occupy Wall Street, whose sole platform is the same as Rufus T. Firefly’s: “Whatever it is, I’m against it!” :-)

      2. MacCruiskeen

        There was a saying in geek school, if you are not part of the solution, you are part of the precipitate. Political parties are definitely part of the precipitate.

    1. Tyler

      What has the Democratic Party done for Americans that
      work in the trades, that is carpentry, plumbing, painting, landscaping? Or skilled nursing, medical assisting etc?

      Where once we made a livable wage and were
      able to raise our families by doing and creating things with our hands, we were able to demand fair wages for high quality work and were irreplaceable.

      What the Democrats have done is make us replaceable with seeming unlimited numbers of Hispanic immigrants, both legal and illegal. Now the work gets done nice and cheap and with much lower quality standards. It’s a race to the bottom of the wage scale and every Democrat who works for open borders and immigrant rights is part of the hypocrisy.

      The Hispanics’ new votes are seemingly more important than our long term support of Democrats. Any Democrat who complains about an inability to find work or to earn a living wage should consider this.

      We won’t forget the Democrats’ role in this and we certainly won’t send them any more money.

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        Tyler, this morning on “On Point” – – The topic was “When Machines Do the Work How Will Humans Make a Living?” Interviewed were two authors of: “RACE AGAINST THE MACHINE…”, who purported to “give FFFF![G.Carlin] about humanity” even as they approved of the maniacal race of the 1% to replace humans with computers: programming Engineers as Gods in the Berserk Machine. They might have been robots themselves, for all the affect they showed. Their *neuronal circuitry* is in lockstep with that of their Masters: this race to end humanity (except for plumbers for now) as we know it “MUST” continue, to profit yet more the .01%/1%.

        Will you investigate? Will you give them a piece of our mind? We want to know: WHY must this continue? Shouldn’t WE be building machines that replace THEM? Do we need them?

        Fritz Lang: “METROPOLIS”;
        Jacques Ellul: “The Technological Society;” “PROPAGANDA”;
        Geoffrey Robertson: “The Tyrannicide Brief.”

        1. Sy Krass

          We shouldn’t pick on any race, but let’s be honest, the powers that be have created an over suply of cheap labor. And we can’t forget robots have replaced many more jobs than immigrants.

        2. aet

          You posted your missive to this board using a machine, right?

          It would seem, therefore, that some technology is better than others – is acceptable and beneficial for humans to use – but who specifically is to make that call? You? Why?

          “Technology” is ontologically interesting – I’ll grant you that. For is any physical piece of tech simply “dead matter”? Or is it in some sense “alive”? It IS – or must have been – shaped or created by human beings, anyhow: for technology does not “simply exist”, like the ocean or the stars can be saaid to “simply exist”.

          Is a termite’s hive “technology”? What of a snail’s shell?

          Technology – evil? Morally wrong?

          Au contraire! It is our very use of technology which makes us human.

          Without us, technology would not – in fact it could not – exist.

          1. LeonovaBalletRusse

            The *Ghost in the Machine* is the programming engineer with autism or Asberger’s Syndrome. These are the bosses of us.

      2. K Ackermann

        That’s right… demonize the poorest of the poor.

        You really set your sights high, but those pesky Mexicans crushed your dreams, and they had help from only the democrats.

        Let me guess… a democrat took your guns away, too, and gave them to a Mexican who raped your sister at the suggestion of a foul-smelling democrat so they could force her to have an abortion while they raised her taxes, and made her go to college.

    1. Susan the other

      That’s the first I have heard/seen of Theo Jansen and his wind powered sculptures. Trust the Dutch to come up with a windmill like that! Makes me ask where is that sort of inspiration in our kulture?

      1. scraping_by

        Note that he’s been doing this for 21 years. Holland’s got a long history of government support of art and artists, often for social welfare but also culture organizations.

        All the artists I know spend most of their waking time teaching (if lucky) or working at menial jobs to support themselves, and do the art a couple hours before they go to bed. Creativity takes work and most of American’s work goes to cranking the machine.

      2. LeonovaBalletRusse

        Susan, make that *kultur*–a unique term defined in:

        Peter Viereck: “META-POLITICS: The Roots of the NAZI Mind” (New York, Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., 1941; expanded and revised edition: New York, Capricorn Books, 1961):
        Chapter I: “The ‘German Problem’: Kultur Versus Civilization; The Five Revolts.”

        See also Chapter VII: “Greenwich Village Warriors” [Munich’s Greenwich Village beer gardens]: “The Second Romantic Revolution” – “Houston Chamberlain as Hitler’s John the Baptist” – “Daemons, Fuhrers, and Boors”. From the
        last section is offered a pertinent quotation below:

        “In pursuit of both their political and their aesthetic ambitions, the Nazis have organized German aesthetess into a ‘Kultur Senate’ and a ‘Reich Chamber of Literature.’ Member of the former and 1938 President of the latter is the poet Hans Blunck. In 1938 many chief Nazi officials in all fields wrote an important joint anthology, ‘Germany Speaks,’ to present the Nazi Weltanscharuung in up-to-date from. Blunck was chosen to write the official article on Nazi ‘Kultur policy.’ His highly interesting arguments are additional evidence for the ‘Greenwhich Village warrior’ approach to the psychology of Nazi leaders.” (p. 154 of Capricorn edition).

        Have our mass markety overlords not been inculcating our People and our Warriors into the Kultur of Munich’s *beer garden* cult, the Kultur of *boutique beers*, *Belgian Monk beers*, and the overall trumping of wine by BIER? When will the moment come for “Tomorrow Belongs to Me?” – to be taught at a World Youth Congress event under the auspices of Pope Benedict XVI, of the Hitler Jugend of Bavaria, the bastion of *collegial beer drinking and imperial song*?

        1. aet

          All ideologies eat everything around them.

          Or try to.

          Culture, tech, politics – it is “all one” to ANY ideologue: it ALL (somehow) reduces down (in their own minds) to their specific and obsessive “idée fixe”: that is to say, it becomes grist for their own little particular mill: and ideologues always spend most – and usually all – of their time ceaselessly and indefatigably grinding away.

          Everything – but everything – is grist to an ideologue’s mill: for ALL such are totalitarian fanatics, in whatever age or in whosoever’s midst they may make their appearance.

          Including our own.

          1. LeonovaBalletRusse

            Quite right. It’s the *neuronal circuitry* in the minds of the obedient masses, programmed by the propaganda du jour.

          2. mansoor h. khan


            What do you propose as the way forward?

            Too many people on this blog basically are discussing thousands of years old questions?

            1) Can the screwing of 99% being done by the elite 1% be stopped?

            Answer: No! You can decrease the amount of it through struggling and caring for the truth.

            But it kinda does resolve itself eventually too much screwing by the elite leads to civilizations collapse and they get minced in their own game (eventually).


    2. LeonovaBalletRusse

      AnD they are pragmatic tech geniuses with the good of their People in mind: they have long ago replaced the *finger in the dike* with a monumental apparatus for holding back damaging high tides. New Orleans investigate their C21 moveable dikes after the unmitigated disaster of Hurricane Katrina and the Great Flood of 2005.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Every robot mother knows, to get ahead among Darwinian robots, her baby robot must study hard and get into a good robot school.

          Either that or, if you are a female robot, become a mistress of a lonely human teenager. We don’t talk about it among us humans, but I beieve that to be the key motivation for the drive to have more robots.

  4. Cal

    Re Van Jones.

    He’s a great talker and has some major speechwriters working on his behalf. Whenever I hear a great speech I remember the line from the Manchurian Candidate (original)…

    “it’s a speech that will electrify the crowd, they have
    been working on it for months and months, carefully polishing it, it will sweep him into the presidency…”

    Van Jones gave a rousing speech at the beginning of the Occupy movement which sounded great—until you listened with care and attention. There was this nugget which really stuck out as he was offering his summation for solving the injustices of the world.

    “…And another thing, we have to build a smart energy grid”

    “Smart energy grid”. What exactly does that mean and what does it have to do with social justice?

    Unless I’m mistaken Al Gore owns a large numbers of shares in Silver Springs Networks, the manufacturer –in China of course–of the smart meters.

    What it means for this activist is that Van Jones is thus endorsing forced installation of PG&E, Pacific Gas and Electric’s, “smart meters” on electric and gas meters on every home in Northern California.

    PG&E is a company that has been careless in the extreme, having lost inspection records, lied, co-opted and bought out politicians. Their carelessness destroyed a neighborhood and killed many people when a gas pipeline exploded. The have tried to legislate special laws at the California ballot box and have failed.

    Smart meters are an information harvesting device which will allow the corporation to graph, record and
    communicate to marketers a family’s electricity use real time as well as the kind of electrical device based on the signatures of the motors they contain. Soon all appliances sold will have to be remotely controlled by the meter, thus your dryer will not work in the afternoon for example.

    Special surcharges, peak pricing, radically higher rates for customers who have allowed the meters to be installed,
    instantaneous shut offs for people who fail to pay their bills or are late paying or who suffer an error: hardly part of “social justice.”

    I haven’t even mentioned the unproven safety and health affects of the meters. See this:

    I think Van Jones is a silver tongued phoney.
    Thank you for highlighting this article stating as much.

    1. K Ackermann

      Now hold on… we have a problem moving forward with alternate energy right now because of our grid.

      We absolutely do need a smart grid, and it will employ a ton of people.

      Why not investin infrastructure? I cannot think of a better investment.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I think, into every unanimity there is a monkey wrench, or something like that, and so, let me play the gadfly that takes the least travelled road even among gadflies.

        Infrastructure projects. For example, high speed rail.

        1. will it lead to more unemployed car workers? Auto mechanics? Auto insurance agents?

        2. Are they going to use import materials? If so, how will that benefit the domestic eocnomy?

        3. Will high speed rail hurt small towns it by bypasses?

        1. K Ackermann

          If it does, they will only be unemployed because a rail is successful. If it was successful, then there is a new plant building trains, and mechanics to service them, and enginerrs to design all the features and moving parts, etc.

          The automation bugbear is just that. Every worker displaced by a robot required another worker to make it happen. The increase in efficiency, in theory, is supposed to free up more capital to be applied somewhere else in the economy.

      2. tom allen

        You’re right, IMHO, though as that’s a particular interest of mine I have a bias. However, right now I’d consider that a medium-term priority, like lowering the deficit. Immediate priorities, like feeding, clothing, and housing people this winter, and pumping money back into public works and people’s pockets, come first. Long-term priorities, like eventually running a budget surplus, we can get to in 15-20 years.

      3. Jim

        Let’s have the really wealthy finance the smart grid, not the middle-class family barely making ends meet. Regrettably, there are too many Dems who want the working class to pay higher energy bills, “for the good of the environment.” These same Dems quixotically wonder why so many working-class families consider voting for the GOP.

      4. Cal

        “We absolutely do need a smart grid, and it will employ a ton of people….”

        Tens of thousands of Meter readers will be fired.
        Yes there will be a temporary spike as guys from Montana are brought in to do one time installations of the meters. Yes, lots of slaves in China will manufacture the meters and Indians will write the software to run them and to mine and analyze the data so that personalized messages and ads will appear in the email you gave with your utility account.

        Many more oncologists and nurses will get work from the kids getting leukemia from the smart meters…if their
        parents can afford corporate medical care.

        Lots of people will find their utility bills doubling and thus with less money to spend the economy will suffer further. I guess a few dog walkers, pool attendants and masseuses will get extra work from the stock holders in Silver Springs Networks?

        Don’t be fooled, like financial deregulation, “smart grids” will enrich a few at the expense of the many.

        PG&E admits flaws in “some” smart meters

        Got leukemia? You might.

  5. brian

    be careful
    its a jungle out there today
    from the LA Times

    In Porter Ranch, a woman pepper sprayed customers at a Wal-Mart in what authorities say was a deliberate attempt to get more “door buster” merchandise. In San Leandro, a Wal-Mart shopper walking to his car was shot and wounded in a suspected robbery early Friday.

    Another shooting was reported at a parking lot next to a Wal-Mart in South Carolina, also a suspected robbery attempt. Officials told WMBF-TV they believe the robbery was tied to Black Friday.

    At Porter Ranch, 20 customers, including children, were hurt in the 10:10 p.m. incident, officials said. Shoppers complained of minor skin and eye irritation and sore throats.

    “This was customer-versus-customer ‘shopping rage,'” said Los Angeles Police Lt. Abel Parga.

    The woman used the spray in more than one area of the Wal-Mart “to gain preferred access to a variety of locations in the store,” said Los Angeles Fire Capt. James Carson.

    “She was competitive shopping,” he said.

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      Why should this surprise us, when the TASER corporation built a hot market for women: purse TASERs *in case*.

      Small concealable pistols for women are all the rage.

    2. K Ackermann

      This gives me a good idea… shopping weapons.

      I’ll sell an old lady disguise and an electric scooter with what looks to be an air horn on it, but in reality is a flamethrower.

      The Fire-9000 Consumer Edition

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      A Neo-Neanderthal makes his/her own things…as much as possible.

      He or she doesn’t shop…for finished products.

  6. Tyler

    So that’s how they commercialize Thanksgiving Day?

    Soon the tradition will mutate, or metastasize, to where
    the whole fandamily goes shopping on Thanksgiving day and
    enjoys a McDonald’s Turkey nugget repast out of styrofoam to go cups provided in the merchants stores.

    Perhaps we can have wrestling matches sponsored at the doors at Midnight on Thanksgiving Day with the winner being given a five minute head start to start shopping. Womens’ division, mens’ division, even a kids free form combat?

    How about a video game called “Black Friday”. Since most Americans can’t afford to buy real stuff now, they can use their armed avatars to mercilessly blast the competition
    and get credits to “buy” electronic merchandise?

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      Tyler, this is how they change the *neuronal circuitry* of the People, to suit the nefarious ends of the 1% Reich.

      Haven’t they promoted the female owner of that commercial wrestling outfit as a suitable candidate for Federal office?

  7. Bill

    re: Goldfinger……

    These people, and the politicians who help them,
    are even more disgusting than I had thought !

  8. Antifa

    Europe got a reprieve from disaster on Thursday. Perhaps it will take a few days for it to sink in.

    The IMF opened an expanded credit window for “responsible” nations (no Greeks need apply) in need of money to stabilize their finances (Europe). The new credit window is called the Precautionary and Liquidity Line (PLL).

    Member nations can borrow five or even ten times their usual allotment right away, and the clear implication is that the IMF will do more, will do whatever it needs to do to sustain the Eurozone.

    The IMF suddenly announced a new Director and just as quickly announced she will immediately be flying to Milan to re-review Italy’s finances with Mr. Monti — this time WITHOUT the dullards from the European Central Bank or their European Financial Stability Fund tagging along, thank you very much.

    Just the IMF this time. Just the grownups, who grasp that Europe is crashing right now — not next spring or two years from now. Right now.

    Europe now has a “lender of last resort.” The role the ECB should have been playing all along has been assumed by the IMF, rather in a hurry.

    This should settle the bond markets as soon as IMF loans get arranged. Hungary and Spain are high on the list, but the window is open to everyone who isn’t from Athens.

    Emerging market nations like Brazil are eager to contribute to the IMF’s new PLL effort to keep Europe going. So is the USA. No one wants the global depression that would result from a Euro collapse or breakup.

    Germany’s first-ever failure to sell all its bonds at this week’s auction should have shaken Angela Merkel from her position that the ECB will never monetize, but we will see if she sticks to her position. There will be a proposal floated at the December 9th meeting of the ECB Council to loan lots of Euros to the IMF for them to loan to European governments. The Germans are the opposition to this plan.

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      Antifa – and this *Europe* is held together for the sake of the *City*. We still kneel before the Imperial throne. The following book written in 1932 proves that *Europe*, including *England* “doesn’t give a FFFF! about [us]” [G. Carlin]. WHY should we give a frack about them?

      Garet Garrett, “THE [A] BUBBLE THAT BROKE THE WORLD” (Boston, Little, Brown and Company, 1932) pdf at — linked to NC by “lloyd blankstein” 24Nov2011. CONNECT:

      Carroll Quigley, “THE ANGLO-AMERICAN ESTABLISHMENT” (San Pedro, CA, GSG & Associates, n.d.);

      Guido Giacomo Preparata, “CONJURING HITLER: How Britain and America made the Third Reich” (Ann Arbor, Pluto Press, 2005);

      Charles Higham, “TRADING WITH THE ENEMY: The NAZI-American Money Plot 1933-1949” (Higham,1983; New York, Barnes & Noble, 1995);

      Kevin Phillips, “AMERICAN DYNASTY: Aristocracy, Fortune, and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush” (Viking Penguin Group, USA; 2004);

      David A. Yallop, “IN GOD’S NAME: An Investigation into the Murder of Pope John Paul I” (New York, Bantam, 1984)–WITHIN FRAME of Singer’s “FUNNY MONEY” [e.g. Silverado];

      Plinio Correa de Oliveira, “NOBILITY and Analogous Traditional Elites in the Allocutions of Pius XII: A Theme Illuminating American Social History” (York, PA; The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property: “a registered name of The Foundation for a Christian Civilization, Inc., 1993);

      Guido Giacomo Preparata, “THE IDEOLOGY OF TYRANNY: Bataille, Foucault, and the Postmodern Corruption of Political Dissent” (New York, Palgrave MacMillan, 2007);

      Chris Hedges, “WAR IS A FORCE THAT GIVES US MEANING” (New York, Public Affairs, 2002);

      William D. Hartung, “PROPHETS OF WAR: Lockheed Martin and the Making of the Military-Industrial Complex” (New York, Nation Books, 2011);

      Dana Priest and William M. Arkin, “TOP SECRET AMERICA: The Rise of the New American Security State” (New York, Boston; Little, Brown and Company, 2011);

      George Soros, “THE BUBBLE OF AMERICAN SUPREMACY” (London, Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 2004); and “The Age of Fallibility: The Consequences of the War on Terror” (New York, Public Affairs, 2006);

      Chris Hedges, “AMERICAN FASCISTS: The Christian Right and the War on America” (New York, Free Press, 2007), including Umberto Eco’s “Eternal Fascism: Fourteen Ways of Looking at a Blackshirt”;

      Jeff Sharlett, “THE FAMILY: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power” (New York, HarperCollins, 2008), and “C STREET: The Fundamentalist Threat to American Democracy (New York, Boston; Little, Brown and Company, 2010);

      Matt Taibbi, “THE GREAT DERANGEMENT: A Terrifying True Story of War, Politics, & Religion at the Twilight of the American Empire” (New York, Spiegel & Grau, 2008);

      Ian Johnson, “A MOSQUE IN MUNICH: NAZIS, the CIA, and the Rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in the West (Boston, New York; Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2010);

      Michael Baigent, “RACING TOWARD ARMAGEDDON: The Three Great Religions and the Plot to End the World” (New York, HarperOne, 2009);

      Gretchen Morgenson and Joshua Rosner, “RECKLESS ENDANGERMENT: How Outsized Ambition, Greed, and Corruption Let to Economic Armageddon” (New York, Times Books, Henry Holt and Company, 2011);

      Geoffrey Robertson, “The Tyrannicide Brief: The Story of the Man Who Sent Charles I to the Scaffold” (New York, Random House, Inc., 2005); and: Geoffrey Robertson QC, “THE CASE OF THE POPE: Vatican Accountability for Human Rights Abuse” (London, Penguin Books, Ltd., 2010);

      Michael Lewis, “THE REAL PRICE OF EVERYTHING: Rediscovering the Six Classics of Economics” Edited and with an Introduction by Michael Lewis (New York, Sterling Publishing Co., Inc., 2007)– including Thorstein Veblen’s “THE THEORY OF THE LEISURE CLASS: An Economic Study of Institutions” (1899), and “Selections From ‘Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and The Madness of Crowds’ by Charles Mackay” (1952), including “LIST OF BUBBLES” and their consequences (1852)–CONNECT with the the Garrett, first on the list, above.

      Happy Hunting, “mes chers compatriotes” [Camus: “The Fall”].

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Again, gadfly here.

      I don’t believe fiscal union is the solution.

      I believe cultural union is the solution.

      Look at the former Yugoslavia. They had political, fiscal and monetary unions for decades. But no cultural union. At the end, the carnage was all the greater to make up for the long-repressed emotions.

      But cultural union takes time. A long time.

        1. Foppe

          It would probably be more constructive if you could link to some of that evidence. Yugoslavia is a subject about which it’s a bit hard to find accurate information, after all..

        2. LeonovaBalletRusse

          “AMERICAN NATIONS: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America” by Colin Woodard (New York, VIKING, 2011);

          “MORAL POLITICS: How Liberals and Conservatives Think” by George Lakoff (Chicago and London, University of Chicago Press, 2002 [1996]).

          The *Union* that never was, except from 1942-1956?

    3. Sy Krass

      So we should start to see bond markets from other continents start to fall now (after IMF plan)? Only so much good money can chase bad money before it all becomes bad money.

    4. psychohistorian

      In the interest of transparency I think one should always put (global inherited rich) in place of organizations like the IMF.

      The public continues to be hoodwinked by the layer upon layer of obfuscation that the global inherited rich do to insure that fingers never point to them.

    5. Hugh

      Question: Just how deep are the IMF’s pockets? That is how long before it exhausts its resources? The principal reason that the IMF has such a bad reputation is that its conditions for loans have always been in the worst possible interests of those to whom it lends. So if Italy accepts IMF aid at this juncture, it could be swallowing slow but completely lethal poison.

      Again as always, a backstop by itself only socializes the losses of the kleptocratic rich. Without real structural changes, it simply deepens the hole into which the 99% will fall.

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        Confessions of an IMF *economic hit man*, John Perkins, appear on You Tube continually, a contrite man telling all about *How It Works* with the IMF-CIA. He’s seeking *absolution* before he dies, I suppose. Check it out.

        “CONFESSIONS OF AN ECONOMIC HIT MAN” by John Perkins (San Francisco, Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc., 2004);

        “HOODWINKED: An Economic Hit Man Reveals Why the World Financial Markets IMPLODED–and What We Need to Do to Remake Them” (New York, Broadway Books, 2009).

    6. Maximilien


      Precautionary And Liquidity Line. Hmm…..will the IMF cast a PALL over Europe?

      Here comes the inevitable currency destruction by meddling authorities, steady as she goes, predictable as night.

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      Yes, it is depraved, and I have lived long enough to repudiate the predatory values of my Master Class ancestors of North and South. “What’s wrong with America?”

      W.E.B. Dubois, “Dark Water;”
      Toni Morrison: “SONG OF SOLOMON”;

      Theodore Dreiser, “An American Tragedy;”
      F. Scott Fitzgerald, “The Great Gatsby;”
      Robert Penn Warren, “Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce;” “All the King’s Men;”

      Woody Allen, “Crimes and Misdemeanors”;

      George Soros, “THE AGE OF FALLIBILITY: Consequences of the War on Terror.”

      There is a tragic flaw in “The American Dream.” We must relinquish it, for our own good.

  9. Ron

    Warren Pollock: Open Letter to the CM:

    Continued crying by the financial sector over MF Customer account losses with the underlying message that the future markets are in danger if CME doesn’t cough up the losses. The reality is that only 10% of MF Global customers were commercials the balance of customer accounts represent a large wave of commodity speculation that CME and FED have pushed with easy credit/leverage positions. The FED is deeply involved in the MF collapse as it appointed them a primary dealer with inside track to cheap money the sole purpose in pushing up commodity pricing or asset bubble making.

    Over leveraged future markets do not provide liquidity to commodity markets rather they offer the financial sector access to more fee’s and skimming operations backed by various financial sector journal PR firms constantly pushing average investors into greater risks with the full backing of the FED.

    1. scraping_by

      Indeed, one of the phrases you run into is “velocity based liquidity”. If the same thing was done with paper and bank accounts, it would be called “check kiting.” Dollars that exist only in the process of bookkeeping.

      As a general thing, mixing real money with money that’s just a bookkeeping entry ends in losing the real money. With a declaration of good faith, it’s in the new pockets for good. Wonder whose pockets those are…

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        Dead right. That’s why they want to eliminate paper: no evidence, and the *old laws* do not apply.

    2. aet

      Wait…since when did the Fed guarantee the CME’s liabilities?

      Or are you willfully conflating the two?

      1. aet

        On what legal basis could the Fed have refused to give MF the “primary dealer” status, if MF met the settled conditions which other “primary dealers” have met – a decision which you say grounds the Fed’s liability for MF’s collapse?

        Or do you think the Feds should choose their “primary dealers” based on whim?

        Again: since when did the Fed become the CME? Has not the CME kept itself “privately-owned, free from Government interference, and proud of it”?

        The CME is not a Department of the Federal Government, afaik – am I wrong about that?

        So….I guess I’m asking – How does a liability of the CME become a liability for the Fed? Did somebody say “Abracadabra!”?

    3. LeonovaBalletRusse

      Ron, you spose that’s why they got permission to dump the toxic waste into an FDIC-insured bank, so that We the People would pay, and pay, and pay, and pay again?

      1. Ron

        The FED seems to be busy making sure equity and commodity markets have an upwards thrust, noticed this post on The Big Picture Blog, an interesting read a bit and link: Notice that its SOP for the Fed to visit with specific equity market participants to gain insight. I rather doubt that is the single purpose rather coordination would seem to be the order of the day!

        “The story discusses private conversations that took place between Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and Nancy Lazar, an economist with International Strategy & Investment Group, Inc. The story reports that they met in Bernanke’s office on August 15th. The story goes on to suggest that Lazar then hastily alerted her clients that a modern version of “Operation Twist” was coming.

        WSJ says Lazar declined to comment. The Fed’s calendar entry confirms the meeting. So why is this meeting and report so alarming? Other meetings with Bernanke and NY Fed President Dudley were also reported. What’s the big deal?

        It is standard procedure for Fed officials to meet with market participants to gain “color” from the market. Such inquiries by the Fed are a way in which they are supposed to gain insight. Some of those meetings are conducted with a small group of participants.”

        1. Maximilien

          Ron: (from your earlier post) “Continued crying by the financial sector over MF Customer account losses with the underlying message that the future markets are in danger if CME doesn’t cough up the losses.”

          You’re seeing the trees, but you’re missing the forest. A billion dollars seems to have been stolen. Not lost, STOLEN. The chief (and only) suspects are the managers of MF Global (including one Jon Corzine).

          Hence, they and only they are responsible for restitution of the looted funds. No one else. To say anything else is simply to confuse what is a clear-cut case of theft.

          1. Ron

            These are leveraged accounts using various credit lines provided by MF Global through funding sources which was secured in part if not wholly via customer assets. MF Global was a financial sector casino and those that put cash and other assets up in order to make leveraged futures bets will be reading the fine print on all those documents they signed in order to acquire the right to make those leveraged trades. No doubt the financial entities that provided the credit to MF Global used by the future traders had inserted certain key phases about those assets if the broker in this case MF Global went BK. The money is not lost or stolen its really a question of who is going to take the losses!

  10. VietnamVet

    Five decades have come and gone but I remember the 1960’s when States were still powerful, having recently killed millions of humans from the Battle of Somme through Soviet Collectivism to the Rape of Nanking. America was the Bright Shining Light on the Hill. But, a remarkable transformation began in the 1970’s when nuclear weapons made another World War unthinkable, the Elites emasculated the State. In the USA, it explains how the theft of trillions goes unpunished or why democratic elected governments were overthrown in Greece and Italy. It goes mostly unmentioned except today with articles by Paul Krugman’s “We Are the 99.9%” and Harold Meyerson’s “When Capitalism and Democracy Clash” in the Washington Post. This process has been described as “The End of History”. It really is the end of Democracy and the destruction of the Middle Class.

    1. tom allen

      I’m glad another World War is unthinkable, or I’d be worried about the building tensions between Washington and Syria, Tehran and Moscow, and everybody with Iran and with Israel. Thank goodness Egypt isn’t on the verge of revolution while the European and US economies that support the Middle Eastern military oil dictatorships are about to collapse.

      Phew. Now I can relax. :-(

      1. aet

        YOU may not have noticed, but the world wide protests we have been witnessing are anti-war and anti-military and anti-police-crackdown in tone. Unarmed people rising against their own militaries.

        These are NOT nationalist or “race” riots clamoring for war.

        Oh, those who say “cultural differences dictate war” are all over the internet, that’s for sure: but they are not the ones on the streets all over the world.

        But I do like your fear-mongering: you’ve got style!

    2. LeonovaBalletRusse

      Vet, so right: the end of history for us, the 99%, in the style of the film: “Apocalypse Now.”

      Wasn’t it about this time that Henry Kissinger made that atrocious remark about the insignificance of soldiers sent to fight HIS wars?

      Repeat George Carlin: “They don’t give a F!!! about you, they don’t care about you AT ALL, at all, at all.” So, as a scientist at Oxford recently inquired, with regard to psychopaths, sociopaths, even affectless *autist* computer programmers and engineers desiring to replace humans they can’t control with robots, “If they don’t care about us, why should we care about them?

      Indeed, why should we? They are our mortal enemies. See what a track record of the 1% in America, the eternal *banking class*, when it comes to feathering the nests of our mortal enemies with The People’s Money:

      “THE [A] BUBBLE THAT BROKE THE WORLD” by Garet Garrett (Boston, Little, Brown and Company, [June] 1932); pdf provided by *lloyd blankstein* on this site yesterday:

      They are still doing it. Why should we care about them?

    1. aet

      IMHO, if it isn’t skillfully done and beautiful to behold, it isn’t “art” – whatever else “it” may be.

      I don’t really care how “conservative” that opinion may appear, either. It serves as my line, drawn in the sand of aesthetics! Whatever crosses it, simply ISN’T art – as far as I’m concerned.

      But I do encourage – in fact, I insist – that everyone else draw their own personal lines in this particular sand. For my judgments are my own – and I’m quite jealous of them, too.

      1. tom allen

        If you’re making the distinction between artifice (skillful construction) and beauty (aesthetic pleasure), sure, I totally agree. I don’t even know that that’s a line. More like a Venn diagram. :-)

        1. LeonovaBalletRusse

          In any event, “art” and “poetry” is whatever the marketers are paid megabucks to say it is, and advertise it as such, in order to enrich the 1% and their co-conspirators.

          Buyer beward. If you want riches and fame and you are not *one of them*, you pay with your hide and soul for the privilege of being a *winner* on their terms.

  11. aletheia33

    re: OWS: i recommend this piece by rebecca solnit; it draws together already “iconic” occupation events in telling series; associates the flowering of civil society immediately after 9/11 in nyc with today’s occupation movement; offers surprisingly apt metaphor of civil society as wronged wife expected to be faithful to abusive “partner” no matter what and just beginning to take charge of her situation; inspiring and suggestive (to this reader).

    (apparently this tomdispatch posting was the first appearance of this piece; it was also published as an op-ed in the la times.)

    “ms. civil society vs. mr. unaccountable”

    1. EmilianoZ

      Great piece by Solnit indeed! Thanks. She’s very optimistic about the future of OWS. I hope she’s right. She points out the similarity between the OWS spirit and the day after 9/11 when complete strangers started talking to each other.

      Complete strangers conversing, aint that what we is doing here at NC?

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      Great link, aletheia33. It appears that Mayor Quan represents the Spirit of Tianenmen Square, and that’s the way the 1% likes it.

  12. EmilianoZ

    The Guardian about the OWS crackdown:

    “[OWS demand] No 3 was the most clarifying: draft laws against the little-known loophole that currently allows members of Congress to pass legislation affecting Delaware-based corporations in which they themselves are investors.”

    “Indeed, we do already know that congresspeople are massively profiting from trading on non-public information they have on companies about which they are legislating – a form of insider trading that sent Martha Stewart to jail.”

    “The DHS cannot say, on its own initiative, “we are going after these scruffy hippies”. Rather, DHS is answerable up a chain of command: first, to New York Representative Peter King, head of the House homeland security subcommittee, who naturally is influenced by his fellow congressmen and women’s wishes and interests. And the DHS answers directly, above King, to the president (who was conveniently in Australia at the time). In other words, for the DHS to be on a call with mayors, the logic of its chain of command and accountability implies that congressional overseers, with the blessing of the White House, told the DHS to authorise mayors to order their police forces – pumped up with millions of dollars of hardware and training from the DHS – to make war on peaceful citizens.”

    1. tom allen

      Oh yeah, the “Delaware-based corporations”. Fortunately nobody in the Administration could be connected to them, right?

      From the Joe Biden wiki: “Biden was a sponsor of bankruptcy legislation during the 2000s, which was sought by MBNA, one of Delaware’s largest companies, and other credit card issuers.[12] Biden fought for certain amendments to the bill that would indirectly protect homeowners and forbid anti-abortion felons from using bankruptcy to discharge fines; the overall bill was vetoed by Bill Clinton in 2000 but then finally passed as the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act in 2005, with Biden supporting.[12]”

      I was fortunate enough to go through Chapter 7 in 2003. Ridding myself of the tremendous credit card debt that I ran up in my school years would be impossible now, thanks in some part to “progressive hero” Joe Biden (D-MBNA).

  13. Thomas Barton, JD

    Is it possible that the ECB knows and has known the true depth and breadth of the EU debt Colossus and has refused to play ball because if it intervenes now then the true extent of the vulnerability of German and US banks would be revealed and is it possible that the ECB knows that there is simply not enough jet thrust available in a Eurofighter Typhoon squadron to levitate 4 Airbus A380 bearing the colors of Espana, Italia, France and Germania ? Maybe the US power elites knew there was a chance to get nearly a trillion dollars if Lehman imploded with much sound and fury but how could they have gotten 2,3 or 4 trillion if they played their hand too soon ? The market is revered by many financial and social intellectuals and the market is saying that the Wednesday bond failure in Germany was a tacit acknowledgment that the EU debt Colossus is an iceberg, 20 per cent seen and 80 per cent unseen and waiting to annihilate the most ardent efforts to corral and control it. I think the ECB knows that if it intervenes then it is not endangering its legitimacy by unleashing a decades long slow growth and high inflation quagmire but rather it is sentencing it and the German and French Megabanks and Citibank and Morgan Stanley to the ultimate indignity, wholesale slaughter and collapse in the cold unblinking eye of the known and knowable public realm. I imagine they have looked at all the figures and will enter the fray when the size of the problem is coincident with its true abilities. If you have 20 million dollars from the lottery then you cant save your profligate alma mater that is facing 200 million of debt.

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