Links 5/16/12

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Fawns use ‘escape plan’ to evade predators BBC

Mysterious illness strikes hundreds of flight attendants, causes rashes and hair loss – are ‘toxic uniforms’ really to blame or is it Fukushima? Natural News (furzy mouse). The piece is a bit histrionic, but that does not mean this is not a possibility.

Ahead of I.P.O., G.M. to Quit Advertising on Facebook New York Times. What do you want to bet GM used the IPO (as well as the extant doubts about the ad model) to negotiate for better ad rates and Facebook refused to budge?

“France’s Hollande’s plane struck by lightning en route to Germany” Climateer Investing (Scott)

‘It’s a witch hunt’: Rebekah Brooks comes out fighting Telegraph (Anon)

Merkel and Hollande spell out Greek fear Financial Times. “We want to you to stay in the euro, and we still want to break you on the rack.” How inviting is that?

Weisbrot and Krugman are Wrong: Greece cannot pull off an Argentina Yanis Varoufakis

Italy’s banks shaken as economic slump deepens Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph

Europe’s growth gulf MacroBusiness

ECB’s dilemma on the euro rescue Gene Frieda, Financial Times. This is important. The reason the Fed still maintains it could not have rescued Lehman was that Lehman didn’t have good enough collateral to pledge.

Greek President Told Banks Anxious as Deposits Pulled Bloomberg

Wenzou’s debt deflation MacroBusiness

Turkey’s Attack on Civilians Tied to U.S. Military Drone Wall Street Journal

Corn on MSNBC: Romney Takes a Lead in the Polls Mother Jones. Is this why the Feds are going after JPM with such uncharacteristic speed?

Republican Party suckles at the breast of Big Business Los Angeles Times

The Main Point Peter Dorman, Econospeak (Aquifer)

Standing up to Jamie Dimon: Is it SAFE? Jerry Epstein (Triple Crisis)

The dogma of ‘credibility’ endangers stability John Kay, Financial Times

Credit event of the year…(drumroll) FT Alphaville

U.S. Said to Start Probe of $2 Billion JPMorgan Loss Bloomberg. Why is the word “criminal” not in this headline?

F.B.I. Inquiry Adds to JPMorgan’s Woes New York Times

Flawed Dimon Eliot Spitzer, Slate (Jesse)

Obama has assets in JPMorgan accounts: White House Reuters (Joe Costello)

Hedging and Proprietary Trading Adam Levitin, Credit Slips

US bank CDS hit fresh 2012 highs Financial Times. So much for the US not being exposed to a Euromeltdown.

Needy States Use Housing Aid Cash to Plug Budgets New York Times. Dave Dayen wrote about this IIRC over two months ago.

Wells Fargo Has Blood on Its Hands: Desperate Man Commits Suicide After Shocking Foreclosure Mistreatment Alternet (furzy mouse)

Accidentally Released – and Incredibly Embarrassing – Documents Show How Goldman et al Engaged in ‘Naked Short Selling’ Matt Taibbi (Matt S). You have to read this. Pretty much proves the worst of what the public believes about Goldman.

* * *
D – 115 and counting. *

It would be irresponsible not to speculate. –Peggy Noonan

NATO Summit. Guides: from OccupyChicago (PDF) and Occupy Peace. Coverage and media: Mainstream wrap-up. TimCast (independent video streamer). Guardian live blog. Inflammatory headline watch: Chicago braces for violence at NATO summit

Participants: The NATO guest list is rawther long and includes every shade of left opinion — including OccupyChicago. And the ClownBloq (avec entartistes?). For unaffiliated out-of-towners, organizing bus travel fraught (true for Occupy DC also).

Legalities: NATO could be the first public test of H.R. 347 “restrictive zones” (a la Zucotti Park “frozen zone”).

Authorities: DHS leads NATO security through Secret Service and Federal Protective Services divisions, working with the CPD (12,500 strong). (What was “shocking” six months ago is normal now.) Northern Command Gen. Jacoby reminds the troops (3000) they may not “solicit prostitutes.” Philly PD sends 67 officers to assist. (Oh great. But shows independent streamers are important.) interestingly, Charlotte, too. (Historically, forces from multiple jurisdictions face chain-of-command and communications issues, risking violence.)

Police tactics: A field guide for NATO. Kettling is costly! CPD chief McCarthy will control deployments of tear gas, bean bags, etc. “We’re going to take people who are committing crimes out of those crowds.”

Gear: For NATO, $1 million. Including LRAD sound cannons. “This is simply a risk management tool.”

Venues: NATO Summit itself is in McCormick Place (map). Protest stage, sound system permitted near venue (map). “NATO summit visitors promise to continue Chicago’s record tourism numbers.”

Occupy. Polling data on Occupy. Note NY vs. Oakland. Citizen journalist arrested during OWS march fights city and wins.

Green Party. Stein, with 50% of delegates won, claims mantle of presumptive nominee, crowd sources VP. After appeal, PA Democrats allowed to seize $56,928 from Nader campaign after Nader’s 2004 candidate petition ruled invalid and court costs were levied against the campaign.

WI (swing state). DNC offers support in every form but money. Barret blasts Walker’s criminal defense fund, connected to a secret probe of his associates. Yeah, “known unknowns”, campaign fodder, poor choice of companions, yadda yadda yadda, but “felony child enticement”?! Also, “massive [human] waste violation”. Also, too, jobs. Not.

CO (Swing State). 47,000 active oil and gas wells in CO and 17 inspectors (hat tip MR).

IA (Swing State). Gov. Branstad insists he’s ‘way ahead’ of job creation goal; state data suggests otherwise (hat tip TTH).

Inside Baseball. Everybody’s building models: Ezra Klein; WaPo; Nate Silver. Americans Elect “failed to generate interest in possible campaigns from Sens. Joe Lieberman and Lamar Alexander.” Nobody could have predicted. Schadenfreude from Krugman, and a whole gallery of very serious people who were wrong. And why not nominate The One True Wanker of The Decade?

Ron Paul. Paul’s campaign chair: “premature” to discuss Romney endorsement. “The most passive-aggressive political maneuver in modern political history.” Paul backers fail to win OK convention. Paulistas en regalia.

Romney. Romney pivots to ZOMG! Teh Debt!!! in IA barnburner: “A prairie fire of debt is sweeping across Iowa and our nation, and every day we fail to act, that fire gets closer to the homes and children we love.” In unrelated incident, Romney Veeps audition on same theme at Pete Petersen’s Catfood Conference.

Obama. The First Family has between $500,001 and $1,000,000 in a “JP Morgan Chase Private Client Asset Management Checking Account.” Have they never heard of “Move Your Money”? Why not avoid the FBI taint? Obama campaign releases “blistering” anti-Romney Bain Capital ad while raising $2 million at fundraiser held by Tony James, President of Blackstone Group. On the very same day. Pierce comments: “The problem is that the president goes around the country undermining the strategy by cozying up to the people who are in the same business as Romney is.” Obama will win in November, Americans predict.

* 115 days ’til the Democratic National Convention ends with funeral baked meats on the floor of Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC. Because 115 has an odd number of 1s in its binary representation, it is sometimes called an “odious number.”

READERS: Again, here are the swing states: AZ, CO, FL, IA, MI, NV, NH, NM, NC, OH, PA, VA and WI. I’m very interested in any local or state links you can send me from those states; original reporting, not wire services stuff. Now I have help with CO thanks to MR, and Iowa thanks to TTH but there are more!

* * *

Antidote du jour:

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  1. Delusional economics

    What’s that skip ?

    The captains caught under the helicopter that just crashed in the field and you want me to rescue him…. But I need to bring the special tool that can both lift the helicopter and set his broken collar bone.

    Ok, skip .. No worries. Anything else?

    The helicopters is leaking jet fuel and we need to siphon it off using a mix of eucalyptus leaves and blue tongue lizard spittle.

    Ok Skip lets go…

    Sorry Yves, couldn’t resist..

    1. skippy

      Truly…. a womb with a view…

      Skippy… presented in order of importance….

      Skippy Versus The Devil

      Skippy and the Bank Robbery
      Skippy and the Nuclear Derivitive Bomb

      Now for something totaly differant…

      Ernest thinks Stevie is a Nazi, parody of Thomas the Tank lore.

      1. anne

        Sorry Skip
        It ain’t a “womb with a view” it is actually a pouch for breastfeeding.
        KYM = ‘know your marsupial’ and also your anatomy of the female – wombs are inside, breasts are not.
        Cheers from the rural Aussie chick.

        1. skippy

          Yeah I know that, still one can have a wee bit of license, can’t they?

          Skippy… When the wife was young on the property, they had joey[s in burlap bags hung from the kitchen back door. Released when old enough, you know the story…eh.

          PS. Love taking out of country Travers to the local wildlife park on slow days. Give them a small bag of pellets and stick them inside a mob of hungry Roos… snicker.

  2. Roger Bigod

    It’s early in the day but the most depressing story prize can be awarded to this story about for-profit prisons on the bayou.

    1. LeeAnne

      yes, it brings up a lot of questions. buy, sell or hold.

      ties in with the more than 200,000 per year stop and search in New York City. Makes me ask the question: what percentage of these people are imprisoned -and, what are the numbers targeted -and the projected income per prisoner over a lifetime? -you know -like long term customer returns.
      Its probably easier to imprison a person of color -lower income bracket -unaffordable legal defense unless well connected with the right dealers.

      How many persons must the po lice stop and search; what are their quotas per year to arrest, convict and imprison for a guaranteed profit? what’s the break even number? the profit margin goals? stuff like that. What’s the income from vending machines? All that good corn syrup laced stuff.

      And the food. The quality must be great, right? With all that cheap labor -a creative enterprise. Like garden fresh vegetables grown on the grounds of the premises. Certainly not the corn syrup laden grabage dished out in plastic to civilians condemned to record breaking diabetes numbers.

  3. Jim Haygood

    U.S. stock indexes have roughly doubled since their recession low in March 2009. By contrast, Spain’s IBEX-35 index has fallen below its March 2009 level. Link to Yahoo Finance chart:

    Today Spain’s IBEX index is off 58% from its 2007 high. If this were happening in the U.S., the sky would be darkened by hundred-dollar bills dropping from the Federal Reserve’s helicopters.

  4. financial matters

    F.B.I. Inquiry Adds to JPMorgan’s Woes New York Times

    “”The inquiry, which is being led by the F.B.I.’s New York office, will in part scrutinize JPMorgan’s accounting practices and public disclosures about the trades that prompted the loss, the people briefed on the matter said.””

    This is a big undertaking but I think the FBI has the talent if there is the political will behind it.

    Most informed investors feel they cannot evaluate the big banks because of opaque and misleading accounting and public disclosures. This is not the way to run a trustworthy stock market and leads to insider trading.

    This would be a huge mess to unwind with banks using multiple off the balance sheet vehicles and taking advantage of off-shore (City of London etc) regulatory arbitration. But tackling the multiple criminal activities of the US banking system would seem worth the effort. The cascading real losses being realized by these banks (as their management continues with their high compensation, ie 23 million for Jamie Dimon) seems to be driving these investigations.

    1. Marley

      Nothing will happen… no one will be prosecuted. Tim “Fox In The Hen House” Geithner and Eric “Mr. Inaction” Holder will see to that.

      Keep Calm and Whatever…

      1. just me

        omg! Thunderstruck! World needs Eric Holder Inaction Figure! There must be one already, maybe?

        I imagebingged and it resolved to “eric holder in action figure” with a whole two photo results, one of which eric’s thinking thinking…, the other of which he isn’t in.

        too funny ~ :-)

    2. EH

      If the Feds wanted it to be an effective investigation, they wouldn’t have announced it. Something about this story smells like “shut down the journalists.” You know, the old “can’t talk, investigation ongoing.”

    3. ftm

      This investigation is very odd. I can only assume this is Dimon trying to pin the blame on some hapless underling for maybe divulging JPM’s position to others in the market or some other absurd charge that might provide an excuse for the bad trading.

      This would be akin to GS’s attempt to prosecute a programmer for taking the open source code he used when working for GS.

  5. Tertium Squid

    Goldman naked shorting

    I used to work for Patrick Byrne, the big boss at the big O, is kind of evil and definitely crazy, but he’s certainly sincere about his desire to tilt windmills with the vampire squid.

    So sincere, in fact, that the joke is that is actually a lawsuit mill that runs an internet retail business on the side.

  6. Dan

    Can’t say I’m surprised by GM’s move away from facebook. It may be a negotiating ploy, but my own experience with facebook (and linkedin) advertising is that they are not worthwhile. Last year we concluded that our own homegrown social media efforts bear some fruit, but the ads were a waste of time, at least to that point.

    I’ve been listening carefully since then to hear that someone has discovered signs of life so we could hop back in with a better approach, but I have yet to hear it. It’s one of the reasons I’m so interested to watch the Facebook IPO, since from where I sit there’s just no business there to justify an investment.

  7. Eureka Springs

    Chicago, DHS, NATO, Thanks for all the links … What a neoliberal horror show! The convention t-shirt logo should be a meat grinder. Bunch of paranoid freaks, or chickens coming home to roost? If I were a resident I would leave town in protest or get arrested in protest. But protest we must!

    1. Up the Ante

      NATO, .. and Pakistan. Business with the enemy and ‘the Annihilates’ will forgive & forget ??

      No price is too high to get those Paki supply routes reopened.

      1. Paul Tioxon

        Yes, an infrastructure investment with no real return in a town with government as its only business. Now, the gov is sending a general to do a man’s business, since a bond lawyer failed.

        State receiver wants probes in Harrisburg bond deals

        It looks like a cover up with the only stooge capable of keeping his mouth shut is someone socialized by a lifetime of blind obedience.

  8. financial matters

    Accidentally Released – and Incredibly Embarrassing – Documents Show How Goldman et al Engaged in ‘Naked Short Selling’ Matt Taibbi (Matt S). You have to read this. Pretty much proves the worst of what the public believes about Goldman.

    Also has a good discussion on the difference between short-selling and naked short-selling

    “”A quick primer on what naked short selling is. First of all, short selling, which is a completely legal and even beneficial activity, is when an investor bets that the value of a stock will decline. You do this by first borrowing and then selling the stock at its current price, then returning the stock to your original lender after the price has gone down. You then earn a profit on the difference between the original price and the new, lower price.

    What matters here is the technical issue of how you borrow the stock. Typically, if you’re a hedge fund and you want to short a company, you go to some big-shot investment bank like Goldman or Morgan Stanley and place the order. They then go out into the world, find the shares of the stock you want to short, borrow them for you, then physically settle the trade later.

    But sometimes it’s not easy to find those shares to borrow. Sometimes the shares are controlled by investors who might have no interest in lending them out. Sometimes there’s such scarcity of borrowable shares that banks/brokers like Goldman have to pay a fee just to borrow the stock.

    These hard-to-borrow stocks, stocks that cost money to borrow, are called negative rebate stocks. In some cases, these negative rebate stocks cost so much just to borrow that a short-seller would need to see a real price drop of 35 percent in the stock just to break even. So how do you short a stock when you can’t find shares to borrow? Well, one solution is, you don’t even bother to borrow them. And then, when the trade is done, you don’t bother to deliver them. You just do the trade anyway without physically locating the stock.””

    1. F. Beard

      I suppose the naked short sellers assume that in a pinch that they will be able to acquire the shares or at least get enough of the buyers to settle for cash. But suppose they can’t? Could a huge company like JPM be forfeit for failure to deliver a single share? If “contracts are sacred”, isn’t that the only logical conclusion?

      1. financial matters

        Karl Denninger had a related comment:

        ‘as the capital calls from Greece giving the finger will exceed $500 billion — and nobody has it.’

        and this, haven’t seen part 2 yet..

        The Curious Case Of Liquidity Traps And Missing Collateral – Part 1 Claus Vistesen, Credit Writedowns,

        Musical chairs comes to mind…

  9. jsmith

    Gee, here’s an idea, NATO murderers.

    Instead of forcing all of the rest of to fork over millions of dollars to protect your sorry asses from “scary, scary” terrorists threats and shutting down the cities WE effin’ live in, why don’t you just stop murdering innocent people and stealing their sh*t?

    I mean, could it really be that simple?

    It really says something about the state of our “democracy” when “our” leaders have to hide behind their police goons and crowd control weapons to just have a meeting.

    I’d really love to see a breakdown of how much more it would cost for security if these murderous fools were meeting in Kabul instead of Chicago.

    I bet there’d be almost no difference and that’s saying something about how effed up the whole situation is.

    And to Mayor Emmanuel:

    It’s the West Side NOT the West Bank, MF’er!

    1. Bakasone

      The Blockupy protests have started in Frankfurt, Germany. More than 40000 people from all over Europe are expected to take part. All demonstrations and other activities have been prohibited by court order. More information here:

      The Occupy camp right in front of the ECB building has been cleared this morning. Pictures are here:

    2. LeeAnne

      its much like Bloomberg shutting down the entire public transportation system of New York City -buses and subways- because of a severe weather threat; unprecented in this city. And I had personally experienced a severe storm in Manhattan just a couple of years before that had cut a swath of downed trees and shrubbery through Central Park from the East River to the Hudson. No casualties. It was scary to be on a bus trying to get crosstown while the storm raged -like being on a ship at sea with the rain coming down in torrents against the windshield and the bus having to detour around the Central Park.

      When Bloomberg called for his total shut down of public transportation, unless you had money for a taxi or private car, no one could travel. Shelters for evacuation purposes were a mess, etc. Has anyone done a report on it? Of course not. As a matter of fact, there was an official threat by Bloomberg personally, the poster child for this militaristic regime, against staying in your home if in a designated ‘evacuation’ area, downtown, and one report of a home on Long Island being visited by authorities who reportedly demanded they get tatoos to guarantee their ID for authorities should they perish as a result of the storm.

      So, you get an idea of what’s in store should there be any excuse for total control of the population anywhere in America -land of the free and the brave.

      Surely, a test run for total civilian control on command by authorities -any authorities. The same applies to Chicago. And not a peep from New Yorkers -so used to their ‘threat’ posture -apparently already totally indoctrinated and subdued.

      Apologists for Bloomberg’s royal edict point to the extreme damage in the suburbs from the storm. That’s always been. The difference, compared to the protection of tall granite buildings in the city, will always be.

      These authorities are really on a roll. Better get cracking doing something about this.

        1. Ms G

          Bloomberg has turned New York City into the DHS’ favorite test-site for every operation and system they’ve concocted to effect total control. We who live here know that really well. And boy does he relish the role. He’s lined up Quinn to be his next-in-line pupppet. Watch out.

        2. LeeAnne

          Lambert, thanks for that link. I wish I had seen it at the time; I didn’t see or hear a word of criticism.

          So, how did those Germans live and stay on during the Nazi era as the conditions for atrocities, control and betrayal of citizens by their government developed?

          Suppression of the press, its been said, was a necessary, if not sufficient, factor.

    3. Jim Haygood

      ‘Why don’t you [NATO] just stop murdering innocent people and stealing their sh*t?’ — jsmith

      Here’s an even better idea. Since NATO’s reason for existence — the Warsaw Pact — closed down 20 years ago,

      ‘Why don’t you just declare victory, close up shop, and go the hell home before you accident-prone blunderers step in some more lethal dog doo?’

  10. EmilianoZ

    France is worried about the budding special relationship between Germany and China.

    François Hollande has named China as the enemy (“Ils trichent sur tout”):

    But his desire to confront China could be thwarted by Germany’s special relationship with China (“Il y a actuellement une sorte de symbiose entre les économies allemande et chinoise ; alors que la Chine a des besoins en nouvelles technologies, l’Allemagne doit trouver de nouveaux marchés”):

    There are signs that Germany has been singled out by the Chinese while the rest of Europe is snubbed:

    “Lorsque le président Hu Jintao reçoit la chancelière Angela Merkel à Pékin, il pense avoir en face de lui la patronne de l’Europe.”

    “Lors d’une récente visite à Pékin, un officiel chinois nous fit cette remarque : “Si vous voulez obtenir quelque chose de Bruxelles, adressez-vous à Berlin”.”

    China was pleased when Germany abstained from voting on a UN resolution about the use of force against Libya:

    “Les Chinois ont favorablement accueilli l’abstention de l’Allemagne sur l’utilisation de forces armées en Libye lors du vote du Conseil de sécurité des Nations Unies en mars dernier.”

  11. Peter

    From The New York Law Journal Yesterday, “AG, US Attorneys Headline White Collar Crime Institute.

    This from Schneiderman raised the eyebrows:

    “Noting his role as co-chair of President Barack Obama’s mortgage-fraud task force, he said that he was “very pro-Wall Street” and had represented some financial services firms in private practice.

    “He said that the majority of people working in the financial industry are honest, but added that the “ability to tell people that and not have people scoff has been damaged” by ongoing scandals.”

    Ya think, Eric? Perhaps he was just playing to his crowd, but still not what you want to hear coming from the man who was supposed to finally take on the financial insdustry. I knew that the Mortgage Fraud Task Force was a sham, but “very pro-Wall Street”? C’mon.

    1. Up the Ante

      He has been ‘flipped’, and those that engage in ‘flipping’ are not complaining.

      There ‘ya go.

    2. just me

      I really, really, REALLY think someone should be selling Mortgage Fraud Taskforce Inaction Figures (see upthread for Eric Holder Inaction Figure). There can’t be that many of them.

  12. Dean

    Call me skeptical on thr FBI investigation of JPMChase.

    Cynically speaking, I see this preliminary probe as a way to clamp down on the information flow. (What attorney in their right mind would let their client take public questions or make public statements on the matter when the FBI is sniffing around?) If there’s one phrase heard before or during an investigation it’s “I can’t comment on that due to an ongoing or pending investigation”.

    TPTB use this tactic to prevent further damaging releases of information (while maintaining the appearance of ‘doing something’ until enough time has passed and the crowd’s attention is refocused on more…shall we say…benign divide and conquer (left and right) issues.

    1. LeeAnne

      your’s is the best explanation. The crimes will continue unpunished -but not unremarked until the ‘net is turned off. That’s in the works. They just cannot withstand the level of public education going on here.

      The FBI is said to come stumbling around only when requested or special ordered -by TPTB -that would be Jamie himself.

      1. LeeAnne

        :) yeh, and I voted for Obama -downhill ever since politically speaking. What could be worse than Bush and his party -9/11, the generals, Rumsfeld/Cheney and Iraq -Chertoff and Katrina -and those stinky trailors for evacuees. Where are they now?

        Personalities in the presidency do not matter. That’s the lesson learned. Its all about policy and budgets. Drug policy was established with a SCOTUS opinion in 1922 that gave Treasury dictatorial powers over drug categorization, penalties and enforcement after fighting for it in the courts for more than a decade. Who was president? It doesn’t matter. Its the decision that changed the course of American life -that rules it, in fact, backed by the puritanical instincts that areside in the hearts of Americans who can tolerate tyrannical power over ‘the other’ in favor of punishment over health care -to the tune of the largest number of prison inmates in the world and the police state that could not have evolved without the ‘drug’ laws and the UN –oh, there I go again.

  13. Schofield

    Why is money being taken by this web site to dump Sherrod Brown one of the more Progressive Democrat politicians?

    1. jsmith

      Somewhat related:

      Yesterday, someone told me that one of the latest conspiracy theories was that Angelina Jolie was an arms smuggler. Interest piqued, I researched and ran across this from last year which was news to me:

      “Hollywood producer was an Israeli nuclear agent'”

      “According to a new biography, Arnon Milchan, close friend of Israeli prime ministers and Hollywood stars, was recruited by Shimon Peres to purchase equipment for Israel’s alleged nuclear program.”

      Nice, huh?

      Here’s a list of the many, many movies Mr. Milchan’s produced. Don’t worry, he’s still enjoying life in the U.S. that great patriot, he.

      Oh, but don’t worry, stealing American nuclear secrets and selling the technology is not a crime if you’re an Israeli.

      Unbreakable bond, doncha know!!

  14. Lambert Strether

    For the Obama Worse than Bush files, this on Obama’s new Yemen policy, Greenwald quoting WaPo:

    President Obama plans to issue an executive order Wednesday giving the Treasury Department authority to freeze the U.S.-based assets of anyone who “obstructs” implementation of the administration-backed political transition in Yemen.

    The unusual order, which administration officials said also targets U.S. citizens who engage in activity deemed to threaten Yemen’s security or political stability, is the first issued for Yemen that does not directly relate to counterterrorism.

    Unlike similar measures authorizing terrorist designations and sanctions, the new order does not include a list of names or organizations already determined to be in violation. Instead, one official said, it is designed as a “deterrent” to “make clear to those who are even thinking of spoiling the transition” to think again. . . .

    Thought crime?!

    1. barrisj

      Of course Herr Oberfuherer Obama’s diktat has nothing at all to do with this item from yet another front:

      Yemeni army kills 29 al-Qaida fighters
      SANAA, Yemen (AP) — Government troops and warplanes pounded al-Qaida positions in southern Yemen on Wednesday, killing at least 29 militants as part of a ramped up campaign against the group, military officials said.

      Al-Qaida-linked fighters have taken over a swath of territory and several towns in the south, including the Abyan provincial capital of Zinjibar, in the past year, pushing out government forces and setting up their own rule. In recent weeks, the army has launched a concerted effort to dislodge the militants from their strongholds — and is closely coordinating with U.S. troops who are helping guide the operations from inside Yemen.
      The fighting is part of a four-front offensive the military began Tuesday, using warplanes and heavy artillery to clear the way for an assault by ground troops on towns where al-Qaida fighters are either operating or in control. For the first time, Yemen’s army is receiving direct help from U.S. troops, who are operating from a desert air base near the main battle zones to help coordinate assaults and airstrikes, according to Yemeni officials.

      The officials said it was the most direct American involvement yet in the country’s expanding campaign against al-Qaida’s branch in Yemen, which has been blamed for directing a string of unsuccessful bomb plots on U.S. soil from its hideouts in the impoverished country at the tip of the Arabian Peninsula.
      The fighting in Abyan, particularly around the town of Jaar, has resulted in scores of civilian casualties, the International Committee of the Red Cross said Wednesday. It did not provide numbers.

      “We are extremely concerned about the increasing number of casualties and about allegations of airstrikes in civilian locations,” said Eric Marclay, the head of the ICRC delegation in Yemen.

      The ICRC called on all parties to distinguish between civilians and fighters, and protect health care workers operating in the areas.

      In the last three months, the ICRC said it tended to around 100,000 internally displaced people and residents in Abyan, providing them with food and other material.

      No doubt anyone contributing to Red Cross activities in Yemen will place oneself at risk for “material support of terrorism” or the like. Obama now has extended the Cheney Doctrine of the Unitary Executive to unparalled levels of constitutional subversion, with nobody even noticing…or even caring.

  15. Schofield

    Rebekah Brooks comes out spinning that she’s not a witch running interference on democracy for Rupert Murdoch but really the reincartion of the Virgin Mary or the Sugar Plum Fairy or some other mental eye candy. Don’t believe her journalist trained hype!

  16. Marley

    RE: Greek Default/Exit

    Part of me wants to look at Yanis’ work and give it some measure of credence – certainly appears that a lot of care and effort went into it – but then I get to lines like this:
    “The Greek state, let me remind you, is quite close to a primary surplus. With judicious top-down reductions (in) wages and pensions, plus the issue of tax-bonds, the Greek public sector could finance itself for the foreseeable future.”
    … and I say why bother? Why is it so worth it to keep this worthless idea of of a non-sovereign currency going? Especially when the mechanisms to perpetuate the charade are things like wage deflation, loss of the elderly’s social safety net and oh yeah, issuing more debt you’ll be less able to service. Can’t.Do.It.

  17. bob


    Good story. Why did overstock settle out of court? Byrne vs. GS, hard to pick a favorite in that race.

    But, if overstock knew any of that info, why would they settle, with the compulsary NDA attached. What else is in there that Byrne doesn’t want made public?

      1. Tertium Squid

        Refile? Heavens yes. Byrne cares about this 10x more than he cares about running an internet retailer.

        When I worked for the big O, every quarterly rank-and-file “how we’re doing” standup meeting devoted significant time to these lawsuits, which is peculiar since they should have affected the operations of the company hardly at all.

        Here’s Byrne’s exultations about the most recent development:

  18. maude

    Since I was a complainer yesterday, I will say today that I like the ‘horse race’ links much better. I actually perused them and found some interesting stuff. I have no problem with links/comments bashing candidates for their action or non-action as they all have HUGE problems, but the naming convention was my beef. Thank you for the change.

  19. kevinearick

    they couldn’t increase the tax base with all that stimulus, and these tax increases are targeted at…you guessed it, PENSIONS. And what does that mean to the ponzi markets…

    Government you can believe in, of, by, and for government.

    Watch out, they can also make the price of Gold any number they want…Do you have a local market?

  20. p78

    Why is this permissible?
    Bet on Greek Bonds Paid Off for ‘Vulture Fund’
    “When Greece announced on Tuesday that it had made a 436 million-euro bond payment, almost 90 percent is said to have been delivered to the coffers of Dart Management, a secretive investment fund based in the Cayman Islands, Landon Thomas Jr. writes in The New York Times. Dart is one of the best known of the so-called vulture funds, which have a track record of buying the distressed bonds of nearly bankrupt countries – and if they do not get paid, suing the governments for the money. Dart and another big vulture fund, Elliott Associates, perfected that strategy during the various Latin American debt crises in years past.”

  21. charles 2

    Re “Mysterious illness” : essentially, the article says that as no cause has been found for the disease, it is probable that it is Fukushima. This reasoning is so sloppy that I am embarrassed to see you endorsing it. Well, one could say it is still a progress compared to gathering defenseless single women and burn them…

    Re “Greece is not Argentina” : very true, it is going to be Ukraine, with EU in the role of the USSR and the Euro in the role of the rouble.

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