Links, 5/31/12

Meet the Woman Who Couldn’t Be Intimidated by Citi BusinessWeek

Rush for havens as euro fears rise FT

Pressure on Madrid to probe Bankia’s fall FT

Fracking at top of Chevron, Exxon meetings Reuters

David Einhorn: Hedge Funds Are Underweight Apple Wall Street Journal

Ford readies first set of landmark pension buyouts Reuters

Dewey’s bankruptcy: Let the rumble begin Reuters

Spain debt woes spur flight out of risk assets to U.S. bonds, dollar Reuters

Obama’s health care aid to small firms disappoints Virginia Pilot

Petition to Obama: Create a Do Not Kill List

Archdiocese paid abusive priests to leave ministry Wisconsin State Journal

Retirement: Where Corporate Executives Make the Real Big Bucks Calitics

Scott Walker Recall: White House Mistakenly Says Obama Has Not Endorsed Tom Barrett Huffington Post

Unpaid Overtime: Wage And Hour Lawsuits Have Skyrocketed In The Last Decade Huffington Post

Pelosi: Promote growth, reduce deficit USA Today (Pelosi is getting ready to cut taxes for the wealthy and ax Social Security/Medicare…)

Facing Down the Bankers New York Times

To combat dengue fever, a biotech firm unleashes genetically engineered bloodsuckers. What could possibly go wrong? Mother Jones

JPMorgan CIO Swaps Pricing Said To Differ From Bank Bloomberg

Minneapolis Police Chief on Seizing Occupy-Backed Home: We’re Done With This Job The Uptake

Bill would give single bank a $300M benefit Politico

New York Plans to Ban Sale of Big Sizes of Sugary Drinks New York Times

Divorce Hotel: Couples Check In For Weekend Getaway And Leave With Divorce Papers Huffington Post

* * *

D – 100 and counting. *

Lambert here:

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing. — Edmund “2% Less” Burke

Occupy. OccupyMaine: “What Occupy is at its core is a dialogue. It’s democracy, so it’s always a work in progress. Initially, I think the encampment was a symbol of coming together and, for better or worse, I think we did that.” “The City of Phoenix filed a motion today to dismiss charges against protestors who were arrested as part of an Occupy Wall Street related protest.” “For those who have chosen, or been forced into, a situation where they did have to face down the NYPD in court, OWS has been accumulating many victories.” Occupy Cal protesters amend Federal suit to demand $15 million. “We want this to set the precedent for every university administration, that they will not attack our right to protest for public education.” About 100 Indians of various ethnicities on Tuesday occupy Brazil’s Health Ministry in Brasilia.

Montreal. “Les pluies «exceptionnelles» se répètent à Montréal.” “Tuesday’s torrential rains and floods and Wednesday’s cleanup after the storm damage are much bigger news today than the student negotiations, the 36th consecutive demo or even the body in a bag.” “Two United Nations Special Rapporteurs have come out against Quebec’s Bill 78 [and] Montreal’s new anti-mask bylaw.” David Suzuki: “After weeks of demonstrations, clearly something more profound is going on. The protesters are forcing us to confront a crucial question: What is government for? Governing is about priorities. Students can’t help but notice they aren’t high on the list. ”

“We need a lede, protesters!”
“Education Minister Michelle Courchesne tried to play down Wednesday night student claims that negotiations to end Quebec’s 16-week tuition conflict have hit a wall and that the government is ignoring a counter-proposal by students, saying these things happen at the bargaining table.” Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois (CLASSE) “revealed that Law 78, that students demanded to be suspended, or even repealed, wasn’t for the moment part of the discussions. … The president of the FECQ, Léo Bureau-Blouin, indicated that the subject of Law 78 was “brushed by for the moment” and could be part of “discussions potentially later”. “We want people to continue to be behind us, to continue protesting every night,” [Nadeau-Dubois] said. “We have a protest planned for June 2. This weekend a family protest with pots and pans for everyone if the negotiations don’t turn the way we want them to turn.” But the pots and pans are for the students and Bill 78.

“CUTV’s on-the-ground footage has … been picked up by local, national and international news.” Importantly, CUTV is Concordia (English side). “I notice police have tweeted that there are ‘many protests in Montreal and we can only follow two.'” Safety in numbers. “When you throw stones, it reassures them, they say, look, we have to pass special laws. But when you play the pots and pans, they are afraid.” “If it happens through the magic of @ManifDating, that would be absolutely unbelievable.”

CO. “Today, the Longmont ballot issue committee of Our Health, Our Future, Our Longmont filed a notice of intent with the Longmont City Clerk to put a charter amendment on the November ballot to ban hydraulic fracturing (fracking) within Longmont city limits.” (MR)

IA. “Syngenta Crop Protection Inc. agreed last week to settle a class-action lawsuit out of court rather than go to trial over claims related to the herbicide atrazine. The settlement could help some utilities in Iowa cover the cost of removing the chemical from drinking water.”

MA. Tinpot Tyrant Watch: “But following a recent conversation with city inspectors—who informed them that the construction of a permanent [tomato growing] structure in a front yard can result in a fine of up to $300 per day if it is not dismantled—Katzoff and Hoffman are now trying to give away as many of the plants as they can.”

MI. “Muskegon Heights’s appointed Emergency Manager (EM), announced his plan to turn the school district into the first charter school district in Michigan.” “They are living lives of authenticity, right here in Grand Rapids, Michigan. They are taking a stand for believing in the legitimacy of who they are and living it out, despite a world full of hatred and discrimination.”

NC. The long-awaited [Democratic National Convention] permits are being issued after the Coalition to March on Wall Street South collected petitions with more than 1,000 names demanding that the city approve the Sept. 2 protest. … [T]he coalition still wants Charlotte to take other measures, including repealing a new ordinance that tightens security during what the city calls extraordinary events.”

NY. Poll: Cuomo approval rating 71%. Support for raising the minimum wage 79%.

PA. “Amazon is installing air conditioning in its warehouses across the U.S., including in PA, after protesters interrupted the company’s annual shareholder meeting in Seattle.” “Some frackers…. disclose all safety violations. … Exxon shareholders have to resort to trawling through Pennsylvania state statistics. “As You Sow” dug up 200 alleged violations for Exxon in the state in the past two years – among the highest rate per well of its peers.”

VA. Gov. McDonnell R “supports the use of military-style drones to help local police monitor the commonwealth.”

WI. Obama Deputy Campaign Manager Stephanie Cutter: “This is a gubernatorial race with a guy who was recalled and a challenger trying to get him out of office. It has nothing to do with President Obama.” WI election officials predict 60 to 65 percent turnout June 5. Robo text messages from Walker campaign. Stay classy! Diane Hendricks, the richest woman in Wisconsin [and Walker’s interlocutor in the “divide and conquer” donor blooper video] had a state income tax bill of zero for 2010.” “Walker DNR appointee sought to privatize trout streams.” “A secret Milwaukee County investigation that has already led to criminal charges against five people close to Gov. Scott Walker took a step forward Wednesday when a judge granted immunity to a 12th witness [Halbrooks].” WI Common Cause Exec Dir Jay Heck “described Halbrooks as a ‘Democrat pitbull’.” “Heck also said Walker’s legal defense fund suggests he is either a subject of the investigation or facing criminal changes, since these are the only conditions under which a person can form a legal defense fund under state law.’ “Business is our savior. They’ve got it all figured out. Strangely, though, they can’t seem to get anything done without the government assuming most of the risk and coughing up the initial funding for projects.” Same here. Same everywhere. “Netroots Nation will convene two days after what many activists consider the biggest election of 2012 aside from November: the Wisconsin recall.”

Inside Baseball. Mischiefs of Faction: “The true R and D parties also include allied media, think tanks, donors, Super PACs, and perhaps even bloggers.” “Networks of party officials, officeholders, major donors, activists, and others coordinate on a nominee long before voters ever enter a polling booth or a caucus location.” “No one will be shedding any tears for the anonymous billionaires whose donations helped pay for some consultant’s vacation home.” Politiwoops: Deleted tweets from politicians. Every citizen their own oppo researcher! “AP wants to get prostitutes away from its DC bureau.” PD offers to run a sting operation. By 2013 “it’s quite likely that nearly half, if not more, of all state legislators will have only two years of experience or less.” Term limits, redistricting; throw the bums out. Note to Roger Ailes: When you’ve lost Ed Morrissey… 538, in passing on Carter/Reagan vs. Obama/Romney: “[T]he recession of 1980 was extremely unusual: it was severe but also brief, ultimately persisting for only six months.” Time and chance? Or tinfoil hat time?

Romney. Shock and awe-level, Hunter Thompson-esque display of firepower by Pierce: “I’m Mitt Romney, bitches, and I’m all you got left.” Plum Line: On Jobs, if Romney applies same standard to himself that he applies to Obama, he’s a worse job creator (“surreal”). On the other hand, governors and Presidents are hardly commensurate, no? First Read: Team Romney prioritizes FL, NC, OH and VA, plus one. “Come October, if the major battlegrounds are only those first four states, then that will be very good news for Team Obama. “But if you start seeing PA or MI added to this list, then you know the worm has turned.” You’re gonna have to learn your clichés. “Donald Trump represents Donald Trump and Donald Trump’s interest in being talked about.” “Following a run of television advertisements and Web videos attacking Mr. Romney’s work at the private equity firm Bain Capital, most major polls show that the two candidates are statistically tied.” “[C]lose message coordination and consultation with lawmakers and their staff on Capitol Hill in twice-daily conference calls and sit-downs with party leaders.”

Obama. BAR on Times “Secret Kill List” story: “The difference between [Obama’s] ‘dark side’ and Cheney’s, presumably, is that Obama engages in deeper moral introspection before turning out the lights.” Ad: “Michael Dukakis Mitt Romney says he wants to do for America what he’s done for Massachusetts. America can’t afford to take that risk.” Of an Ad: “Of course, there’s Donald Trump liking an article on Mitt’s time line.” “It comes out in the wash at the end of the day in the sense that Obama is a ferocious fundraiser-in-chief.” You’re gonna have to study them, you’re gonna have to know them.

* 100 days ’til the Democratic National Convention drinks wine, and praises the gods of gold, and of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone, on the floor of the Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC. Cue the 100 days jokes!

A la prochaine fois!

And the antidote…

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About Matt Stoller

From 2011-2012, Matt was a fellow at the Roosevelt Institute. He contributed to Politico, Alternet, Salon, The Nation and Reuters, focusing on the intersection of foreclosures, the financial system, and political corruption. In 2012, he starred in “Brand X with Russell Brand” on the FX network, and was a writer and consultant for the show. He has also produced for MSNBC’s The Dylan Ratigan Show. From 2009-2010, he worked as Senior Policy Advisor for Congressman Alan Grayson. You can follow him on Twitter at @matthewstoller.


  1. jsmith

    Regarding Pelosi and the rest of the mantra-breathers:

    Promote growth, promote growth, Jesus Christ, is Frank Luntz getting a nickel for every use of this new catch phrase?!

    It’s really quite amazing that from the U.S. to Greece and everywhere in between politicians are able to remove their lips from the corporate teat long enough to say “Promote growth, promote growth!”

    Goo goo, gaa gaa.

    Let’s see:

    1) The earth and its resources are finite, so we can’t very well keep promoting growth indefinitely. Wouldn’t now when the entire system is on the brink of collapsing be a good time to start changing our philosophy?

    2) Why, it sure seems that the neoliberal “growth” philosophy really means growth for the Western elite and no one else.

    Why, some may say that said elite are – hello! – actually murdering people in foreign lands and stealing their resources so they can still “grow” – morally and spiritually as well as financially, I’m sure.

    Why, some could say that the elite are stealing resources from all but the highest socioeconomic classes in their countries of residence so that the only things growing are their egos and bank accounts.

    These f*cking people – to a man and woman – need to be jailed.

    Growth is a cute euphemism for the murder of more innocent people and/or the theft of their resources.


    1. Ed

      Taibbi is a great reporter, but he left me curious about why the SEC behaves in this way,basically goes after small firms with everything they have while leaving the big firms alone.

      One of his commentators offered an explanation that was coherent and fits the evidence:

      “When I interviewed for a job at the SEC as an attorney in the enforcement division, I was told by the SEC atorneys interviewing me that they go after the little fish because that is the most effective use of their time. There are more violations of our securities laws than the SEC can possibly prosecute, so they want to prosecute the worse cases where they can either get guilty pleas or win a summary judgment motion without a trial.

      They simply don’t have the time or manpower to go after every wrongdoer, so they go after the easiest cases to win, and leave the others alone.

      Of course, this means they don’t go after big companies or firms that will hire 100 lawyers and fight them tooth and nail over everything. They want easy wins, not tough fights.”

      It would be great if someone would produce an authoritative account of how exactly regulatory captures, though I suspect we will have to wait until a few insiders snitches. Its probably a combination of bribery and blackmail at the very top, slowly weeding out anyone competent and interested in regulation in the middle levels, and changing the internal policies of the office so it becomes literally not the job of employees in the lower levels to do any proper regulation.

      1. YesMaybe

        This might be their official line, but it’s the usual dichotomy of either (a) it’s a lie to cover up protecting the big firms or (b) it’s true which means they’re a bunch of idiots. It’s obvious that protecting investors (and, you know, homeowners, innocent bystanders, etc.) requires you to prove that no firm is safe from prosecution. This means at the very least going after _some_ firms of each type. This might be an expensive undertaking, but to declare the big firms (or any sector) exempt is sheer lunacy, unless the intention is to benefit those who commit fraud.

        As an analogy: suppose the police decided, on the ground of insufficient staffing, to focus on murder but refuse to investigate, arrest, or charge anyone for theft, burglary or robbery. Or, you know, the other way around…

      2. Mark P.

        Heh. Exactly the opposite of the philosophy of Bill Black and the regulatory crew who cleaned up the S&Ls then.

        Pathetic. It’s a facade-orientated MO at best. Bottom line, it de facto props up the revolving door, the status quo and the big dog looters and crooks. More and more people will conclude that that’s what it is meant to do.

  2. ep3

    yves, in regards to your post on Michigan.

    think of the state of michigan like a political map. on the west side of the mitten (and north of the bridge), everyone is ultra right wing (think devos, prince, etc.). but as you move east in the state, as you get to Detroit you get more liberal. to which all the republicans blame on the poor blacks, who are the largest receipenents of welfare (due to all the manufacturing base moving to mexico).

    1. Lambert Strether

      Thanks for the detail on MI. Although I’m wary of anything that says “everyone.” Some of the leftier people I know live in deeply red states, and boy, are they tough!

      What I’d really like is information on Detroit urban gardening and other “grass roots” (ugh, lawns) engineering efforts. Got any links?

      P.S. That part of the post is not Yves, but lambert. I forgot to add the tagline back in that alerted readers to that. My bad!

  3. Guy_Fawkes

    Very proud of Occupy MN….they have stood down the Mayor and the Mayor backed down. Victory!

    Homes will be occupied from coast-to-coast. So, Mayors and Sheriffs around the country will be having to decide who they will serve and who they will protect….will they protect their constituents? The people who reside within their cities??? Or will they protect the “lenders” who are stealing these homes???

  4. PQS

    Re: Woman who stood up to Citi – inspiring story WRT to the actors in it.

    WRT all the undiscovered “green slime” on the books of TBTF banks/mortgage underwriters – I’m reminded of the whole “Mad Cow” scare from a decade ago. Here in the US (world’s capital of beef consumption??), the FDA tried to tell everyone they were testing for MC and not finding anything….well, yes, if there are 5B pounds of meat and you test 1 pound and don’t find any, I suppose you can say the meat supply is safe….

  5. K Ackermann

    I hope everyone read the link Facing Down the Bankers.

    I’m going to drop Mr. Kelleher a note of support.

    Of course, in the article… the 4th paragraph from the end was written to foster just a bit of doubt about Better Markets being altruistic. I don’t care about purity – their interests align nicely with what I’d say are the interests here, and the man has the ear of the lawmakers.

  6. kevinearick

    Trust: Conspiracy 2 Wed

    What you are witnessing is a controlled die-off, running on automatic, which is the most stable way to replace an empire iteration. Measuring an economy by spending on FIRE, economic activity, is pretty damn stupid, but what do you expect from an empire run by teenagers?

    Trust increases return on decreasing risk. If you do not have trust at the root, you are certainly not going to have it at the periphery (negative quantum backlash feedback emerging from incremental positive feedback). Conspiracy is derivative. Replicating robots programmed to think alike is derivative. Women handing over basic reproductive health to physicians for selective breeding is derivative. War is derivative.

    Empires breed stupidity, decreasing return on increasing risk, promising the opposite, by borrowing from the future based upon confidence in their ability to continue breeding stupidity to infinity. That’s what they do.

    The point of the obey clause is for both parents to learn trust, in their ability to navigate the unknown together, as an example to their children, to build community. There is explicit obeyance and implicit obeyance for each to learn, surprise, surprise. Learn to walk in the shoes of another. L-I-S-T-E-N, then C-O-M-M-U-N-I-C-A-T-E. Design your community accordingly.

    Operating on the assumption of scarcity, based upon hoarding, is stupid. You have the proven bounty of the earth and the entire universe to explore, bequeathed to you by God. Only a teenager fears another teenager. Get on with life. Weaning yourself from currency is the process, not the destination.

    Like all things practical, you learn by doing, then you figure out how you did it, and then you repeat the process for confirmation, before moving forward. War is a matching game, until it isn’t. Raising children in poverty is for replicating robots, not people.

    From Poetry & Marriage

    The meaning of marriage begins in the giving of words. We cannot join ourselves to one another without giving our word. And this must be an unconditional giving, for in joining ourselves to one another we join ourselves to the unknown. We must not be misled by the procedures of experimental thought: in life, in the world, we are never given two known results to choose between, but only one result that we choose without knowing what it is.

    Form joins us to time….

    Wendell Berry

    The basis of trade, and the entire free enterprise system, is the standard marriage contract, which does not include the corporation: public, private, or non-profit, but go ahead and prove me wrong.

  7. Hugh

    Pelosi is a fine example of the benefits of labels. We know she is a liberal, even the queen of the liberals, because this is what the media is always telling us. This is very helpful because if we just looked at her policy choices we would be hard pressed to distinguish between her and John Boehner. And then how would we know who to cheer for? /s

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