Links 6/6/12

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A Hamptons Handyman Tweets Out The Hilarious And Absurd Requests He Gets From ‘Citiots’ Every Summer Clusterstock

Lawmakers Unite to Fight FDA Cigar Regulations Roll Call (Lambert)

A search engine for social networks based on ants RD Mag (furzy mouse)

Do Solo Black Holes Roam the Universe? Science Now

Egyptians protest against Mubarak verdict in Cairo BBC

Protests Turn Into Occupations Throughout Egypt Real News Network

As Taxes Dry Up, Greece Warns of Going Broke New York Times

Spain says markets closing on it, seeks help for banks Reuters

Spain makes plea for EU aid for troubled banks Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph. I should write up something on Spain, but I’m on the verge of a jet lag induced face plant (second time I’ve had it worst going west, go figure).

Berlin and EU Weigh Greater Bank Oversight Der Spiegel

Panic has become all too rational Martin Wolf, Financial Times

What We Always Knew About Politics, But Couldn’t Prove Paul Rosenberg, Casey Research (Chris M)

Assassin-in-Chief Tom Englehardt

The Myth of the “Independent” Voter Angry Bear

Pelosi squeezes Dems for cash — asks if they are part of ‘the team’ Politco

How Phantom Accounting Is Destroying the Post Office Alternet (Aquifer)

Paycheck Fairness Act to Be Filibustered Today Dave Dayen, Firedoglake

Macro outline of causes and effects of and predictions for the global financial crisis Ed Harrison

Regulation is not a dirty word mathbabe

Austerity has never worked Guardian (Ed Harrison)

Bank staff costs take bigger share of pot Financial Times. Quelle surprise!

Western banks ‘reaping billions from Colombian cocaine trade’ Guardian

Canada’s oil production to double, industry says Metro News (lambert)

OCC Flip-Flopped on Ethics Matter, Reassigned Husband of B of A Exec American Banker (CF)

US banks moving away from wholesale funding Sober Look

Cold Water on QE3? Tim Duy versus Fed Considers More Action Amid New Recovery Doubts Wall Street Journal

Arms races and the real encumbrance problem FT Alphaville. Shorter version: the more secured transactions, the more depositors are at risk. Which is why allowing banks to put derivatives into the depositary is totally batshit.

Schneiderman Has Little “Independence” on Working Group Investigation Dave Dayen, Firedoglake

New Fannie CEO Has Bank Baggage Wall Street Journal

Did JP Morgan Violate the Volcker Rule? Lee Sheppard, Forbes. Sheppard parses the rule.

Students Pay SLM 9.25% On Exploitative Loans For College Bloomberg

Meet the JOBS Act’s Jobs-Free Companies Wall Street Journal. As foretold. And the worst is yet to come.

Only market evangelists reconcile Jekyll with Hyde John Kay, Financial Times

* * *

Lambert here:

D – 94 and counting*

“Politics ain’t beanbag.” –Finley Peter Dunne

Reader note: In this series, there are three main tracks: (1) Occupy and Occupy-like movements (e.g., Montreal), (2) State and local actions or events, especially those to do with resource extraction (e.g., fracking), and (3) electoral politics, especially the Obama vs. Romney. Most people, when they say “politics,” mean the last track: the horse race. In fact, all three tracks are “politics,” and the first two can be empowering and even joyful. Also, too, in crises, the tracks will correlate. I’m very interested in curating reliable sourcing from on the ground for occupations and state or local news; please mail me.

Montreal. Jean Charest and his big brother, Vladimir Putin: “[A minority of] Russia’s lawmakers … fought hard and long against a bill that would impose huge fines on protesters” (like Bill 78 in Qeubec; here, here, here). June 6 is casserole night. “Amir Khadir, the sole member of Quebec solidaire in the legislature, was among dozens of people rounded up in Quebec City during a night time march.” “Anarchopanda is taking his fight against Montreal’s controversial anti-mask bylaw from the streets to the courtroom.” Anarchopanda: “The panda costume allows me to do things that I couldn’t do otherwise, like hug police officers.” Anarchopanda’s lawyer: “The [anti-mask] bylaw is just really unclear to begin with. [You’re] forcing everyone to justify why they’re wearing a mask even if they have no criminal intent.” Charest’s trap: “Charest is preparing to use the same ploy [as Trudeau on Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day in ’68; provoking violence]. He refuses to come to an agreement with student leaders on tuition fees despite a 13-week strike. Law 78 has instigated a social crisis. The noise of casseroles has become a daily one. All he needs now is a riot to call voters to the polls in a re-election attempt just before the findings of the Charbonneau commission on corruption in the construction industry are revealed. Students know to avoid the trap, but how can troublemakers be prevented from taking the bait?” Education Minister Michelle Couchesne: “There are no negotiations planned. No. Absolutely not.”

It’s not the fees, it’s the debt: “Students today graduate from post secondary education with more debt (inflation adjusted) than the generations before did. … This debt is exempt from all bankruptcy laws. I could borrow 50 thousand dollars to start a business bedazzling jean jackets tomorrow and if it didn’t work out be free and clear of that debt in seven years, but if I wanted to be a scientist and things didn’t work out I’d be stuck with that liability for the rest of my life. This makes education literally the riskiest investment a person can make.” “I know some of you are scared. You have every reason to be. But we cannot let that fear win. If the fear of the police keeps us at home, they have already beaten us. Be peaceful, be joyous, be loving. Stand together and be strong. They cannot arrest us all. There is strength in numbers, and there is strength in each other.”

Occupy. Occupy Albany: Adopts “red patch” as logo: “It comes from the French phrase “carrement dans le rouge, [FB] or “squarely in the red,” referring to those crushed by debt.” Occupy Riverdale: “[Riverdale Mobile Home Community] is the site of the proposed construction of a water withdrawal site for frack operations in the Jersey Shore/Williamsport region–one of the current epicenters of the fracking universe. Aqua America/PVR bought the land from the landowner in the early Spring, and thereby commenced the evictions of the park’s residents.” Occupy Homes: “‘The neighbors have a concern. They don’t want their neighborhood to be a staging ground for protests,’ says [D Minneapolis Mayor R.T.] Rybak. Many houses dotting the area around the Cruz home have the signature red sign that reads, ‘STOP FORECLOSURES, STOP EVICTIONS.’ Many neighbors support the Cruz’s and their efforts to stay in the house.”

CO. “There are currently 22 central [evaporation ponds for oil and gas drilling] in CO, and officials say they aren’t sure which chemicals are being stored.” Tinpot Tyrant Watch: “Police in Aurora, CO., searching for suspected bank robbers stopped every car at an intersection, handcuffed all the adults and searched the cars.”

FL. “Although [Friends of the Everglades] was briefed on the broad outline of a plan to reduce pollution by phosphorous in the Everglades to acceptable levels, including promises of money from the State of Florida, Friends of the Everglades has yet to see details.”

IA. “An Iowa State University scientist found evidence that sick hens at farms owned by an Iowa egg producer were ‘almost certainly’ laying eggs contaminated with salmonella months before one of the nation’s largest outbreaks of food-borne illness came to light, newly released records show.” “Iowa City forms new plan of attack for landfill fire” which should have been out this week (TTH).

MI. Why don’t Detroit journos write about Cotter’s fraudulent ballot qualifying signatures from the district perspective?

NC. “[Charlotte] released a protest route Monday that is clear of where President Barack Obama is scheduled to speak at Bank of America Stadium but comes within two blocks of the main convention site at Time Warner Arena.”

NY. “My senior prom date had a gas well on her farm, about 100 yards across the road. … So yes, let’s pay the extractive industry folks a lot less by using less of what they’re selling. We also need to accept that it’s going to take a while…” “Banking on the long-term prospects of shale development in NY, a PA drilling company has purchased mineral rights to 160,000 acres in the Finger Lakes region from Chesapeake Energy.”

OH. “OH law requires political parties to include a disclaimer when posting information on the internet in support or opposition to a candidate or issue. A new website [here] from the OH Republican Party … lacks any type of disclaimer.”

PA. “John Perzel, an R from Philadelphia and Bill Deweese, a D from Greene, share the distinction of both having served as Speaker of the Pennsylvania State House. … Now they’re both at Camp Hill state prison, and they’re sharing the same cell.” Sweet!

WI. Pierce: “What we have here is a fight, out in the open, without nuance or euphemism, between two ideas of what self-government should look like, who it should serve, and how, and how wide the parameters of participation will be. That is serious business. It ought to be contested fiercely and to the last and without cosmetic conciliation.” Reuters head: Walker’s win smacks Wisconsin protesters who started recall.” “[I]t’s worth pondering how similar the intensity of emotions are on each side of the divide. That anger won’t be relieved after Tuesday.” Chuck Todd: “Most important result from the exit poll: the 60% who said recalls are ONLY appropriate for OFFICIAL misconduct.” Walker: $30M. Barrett: $3.9M. (“We did it with wealth.”) “Please, please, please, remain engaged, remain involved because we will continue to fight for justice and fairness in this city and this state.” (And we get?) Activist Colette Brown: “Recalling Walker is important, but it isn’t good to lose momentum by diverting all energy into the recall campaign to elect a Democrat” (dcblogger).

Inside Baseball. Thomas Edsall: “[W]e still are a nation of Republicans and Democrats.” HCR, Kaiser survey: “35% of non-white respondents believe [ObamaCare] will benefit their family. 14% believe they will be worse off ([and] 39% don’t think it will make much difference).” Whites: “18% believe the law will leave their family better off, compared to 38% who believe they will be worse off.” Full of win! HCR, WI voter, Pierce: “The problem is that, when you start handing out free health care out to teachers, that annoys me to no end. I never got free health care. My brother’s wife is a teacher and I once asked her, when I was getting my teeth worked on, what it cost her and she said, ‘Nothing.’ It should never get to that point where somebody’s getting free health care. Something’s way out of whack there.” Horse race teebee ad money: 60% in FL, VA, and OH. Top 10, largest first: FL, VA, OH, NC, CO, IA, PA, NV, NH, and MI. NSF poli sci funding: “[T]he issue isn’t whether there would be social science funding. There would be. The question is whether, given the agendas of its private funders, the research would be as publicly valuable. I do not think so.” “In Fast & Furious, Phoenix-based ATF agents used watch-and-wait tactics on cartel-linked gun purchasers and lost track of over 2,000 weapons… Two of those weapons were recovered … at the murder site of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry.” Oopsie. Atlantic’s secrets for success: “Hire smart people who aren’t jerks.” OK, explain Megan McArdle.

Robama vs. Obomney Watch. Clinton: “[Romney] would be in my opinion calamitous for our country and the world.” Romney “adopted Europe‘s economic policies.” Romney: “[W]e’re so close to economic calamity. We see what’s happening in Europe and we’re following them.” On the same day! (Everythings Jake) Romney: “What he’s very good at is finding other people to blame.” Obama blames “his predecessor, the Congress, the one percent, oil companies, and A.T.M.s. True! Obama surrogate Cutter: “They’re saying don’t hold Mitt Romney accountable for the first three years he was in office, because he inherited a bad economy. Yet these same people blame the president for job losses that occurred in January 2009, the very month he was inaugurated, and months before any of his policies took place.” Also true!

Jawbs. “[T]he new poll finds the number of Americans saying they have been hearing mostly bad news about jobs has spiked, from 38% in March to 55% currently.” “Most of the 15 states where the [American Petroleum Institute] has been holding its meetings will be important battlegrounds for the presidential election, and in three of them – OH, CO and PA – oil and gas are playing an increasingly important role in their economies. We haven’t seen the Republicans using it as a wedge issue, but I can see it becoming one,” Professor Sracic said. “Ohio is going to be very, very close and little things can mean a lot.” Keen map shows half the nation returning to past employment levels and the other half not. “Energy and farm states outperformed the nation, as did states near the nation’s capital.” Yes, a petro-state (farming being oil-driven).

Romney. “And according to the tipster who claims to have hacked [Romney’s email account] by guessing Romney’s favorite pet in response to a “security” questions, it’s still active today.” No, it couldn’t be. “Seamus”?! The emails are about ObamaRomneyCare, among other things.

Obama. Obama: “[Romney] has a theory of the economy that basically says, if I’m maximizing returns for my investors, for wealthy individuals like myself, then everybody’s going to be better off.” (Saw LaBolt try this riff out yesterday.) Capitalism? Did I not get the memo? And “maximizing returns” is wicked professorial. Clinton (Bill) says we’re in a recession: “[G]overnment spending levels … look high because there’s a recession.” Clinton says “no problem” with extending Bush tax cuts temporarily. Obama must want the money bad, to let Clinton wander off the reservation like this.

* 94 days ’til the Democratic National Convention feasts on poutine for all on the floor of the Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC. 94 is the atomic number of Plutonium.

* * *
Antidote du jour:

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  1. Leviathan

    I can’t think of a single thing we did right in the bank bailout of 2008, can you?

    The FT’s chart showing the RISE in overall employee (read: high level executive) compensation says it all. Elvis has left the building. These are no longer “capitalist” institutions at all. More like anarcho-syndicalist communes in which ALL profits get skimmed off by senior executives. AND on top of that, they no longer function at all as a dispenser of capital to actual productive enterprises that actually drive growth, produce jobs, and pay our national bills.

    UTTER and complete failure. This is what it looks like.

    1. Day 1 After WI

      I couldn’t agree more. And we must conclude that this is the result intended. Our politicians could change it in an instant if they had the least intention of serving more than the (less than) 1%. We fought WWII the first time this power-grab corporate mentality parasitized the democratic machinery, but this time….

  2. jsmith

    As concerns the study about the “meanness” of politics:

    People should be aware that humanity has always been prone to factionalism/tribalism – even for the sake of factionalism – since probably the dawn of time.

    For even the most arbitrary of reasons, humans can be made to turn against one another and it inevitably will have terrible consequences.

    Looking at the pointless and inane “red versus blue” games we play in the U.S., it would be informative to note how such “color” games nearly brought down an entire empire over 1,500 years ago.

    Originially in the Roman Empire, people would support their favorite athletic teams by wearing their team’s colors, etc. By the time of the Byzantive Empire – 6th century A.D. – only the Blues and the Greens existed. This factionalism was basically THE driving force of society and considered more important than anthing else confronting the society as a whole.

    Everyone – from the Emperor to the street thug – was either a Blue or Green.

    Eventually this spilled over into riots and the Emperor had to flee for his life.

    Only after the deaths of 10s of thousands of people was order somewhat restored so that Justinian could rebuild Constantinople including the Hagia Sophia which had been burned by the rioters.

    Something to keep in mind watching the manipulation of the American bastion of the brainwashed masses.

    Speaking of propaganda, here’s a socialist take on the waste of money the Queen’s jubilee was yesterday.

    Wouldn’t want to spend any of that money on your subjects, eh?

    1. Jim

      You say, “Something to keep in mind watching the manipulation of the American bastion of the brainwashed masses”

      What about Europe, where Eurocrats in Brussels are attempting to manipulate the masses into believing that 17 tribes (and many tribes within those 17, as in Italy and Spain) are in it together.

      The inexorable progress of mankind has been to split into more and more tribes. Why would Soros’ “small group of far sighted statesmen” believe that they could defy history?

  3. Mr. CEO

    Congratuluations, national Democratic Party and D.C. union bureaucrats! Mission accomplished. You managed to co-opt and divert a vibrant people’s movement and lead them to defeat and despair. The One Per Cent appreciates your efforts along with all the rest you’ve done over the past four years to discredit and weaken the Left.

    It was a particularly nice touch the way that President O put on his walking shoes and tweeted his support for the effort. His sense of irony and sarcasm generated a lot of giggles at the last Bilderberg get-together.

    Your reward awaits you not in heaven but in cushy jobs working for the Plutocracy.

  4. wunsacon

    >> Western banks ‘reaping billions from Colombian cocaine trade’ Guardian

    When this happens (and no one is prosecuted) or when Western banks let “rogue” dictators store assets with them, I have to wonder whether it’s “by design”. It gives the West leverage over the depositor. The West can take the assets any time it wants.

    Now, why would a drug dealer or disfavored dictator bank with us, knowing what could happen to their money? I have to suspect a quid pro quo.

  5. SubjectivObject

    re: political polarization of sentiment:

    Human entities have mammalian emotional predispositions as THE DEFAULT basis. This is practical Nature’s default for the a species because b i o l o g i c a l survival is the priority (that intellective thingy is recent and relatively untested). It is the mammalian predisposition for polarized emotional response to stimuli (especially discomfitting stimuli) that is at the basis of the socialized human’s emotional tendencies toward polarization of sentiment in relation to cogent intellectual conceptions.

    The purpose of a true spiritualization process (irrespective of denomination)is to aid an individual perform one’s own, objectiv, psychological evolution within their life time.

    Here’s where I am frustrated by the externalization of cause for regressive human sentiment to an external devil/satan. While the allegorical device may have utility for story telling at an early level of development, the individual in the cours of their maturation must finally acknowledge, be responsible for, and address that the “devil” is a manifestatiom of their own, as-received, basis nature.

    That every feasible social protocol for authentic and objective emotional/spiritual development for the individual is fragmented and crushed under the modern commercial culture gives little hope for other than the graphic and gory repeats of human history, as polarization marches on.

    1. Dude From Arkansas

      Had to give you a thumbs up on this. As I see the situation unfolding, unfortunately, I can only predict more polarization in the immediate future. We will, however, see some real change at last (if only it wasn’t going to be so horrible). And with it, plenty of opportunity for individual spiritual development.

      Once we get to the other side, good things will be able to happen again in our material world.

  6. Jim Haygood

    From Tom Englehardt’s article:

    Be assured of one thing: whichever candidate you choose at the polls in November, you aren’t just electing a president of the United States; you are also electing an assassin-in-chief. The last two presidents may not have been emperors or kings, but they are certainly one of the nightmares the founding fathers of this country warned us against.

    Americanos face a degrading choice between the MIC [Military Industrial Complex] thug Mitt ROFLney and the drone assassin Hussein Obugger, whose book-length kill list makes the Carlos the Jackal look like a boy scout armed with a pocket knife.

    If you vote Depublicrat, you’ve got blood on your hands.

  7. Tilesetter

    Add another state to the list Lambert:

    “CA” Norman Soloman, a progressive Democrat and a true
    anti war -anti Wall Street hero lost his bid
    to be House candidate by a paltry 1%.

    Norman, had you stood up for the large
    White Working Class in your district you would have won.

    Instead you followed the usual California Dream Act~Immigrants’ Rights, multiculturalista fantasies and
    now you are nowhere.

    When will someone stand up for us?

    Oh well, I guess we can always vote for the Republicans
    who will sell us out in a different manner.

  8. briansays

    from a blogger in the sf chronicle

    “”There are ample opportunities for payment assistance,” she said. “We think any sort of delay would not necessarily benefit the cities or communities in which these borrowers live.” – Wells Fargo spokewoman Vickee Adams

    You want a definition of evil, and pure avarice? There it is.

    I know two people who never missed a house payment and were strung out by Wells Fargo through FOUR so-called modifications. They were told to pay the modification arrangement for 3 months, to make sure they were able to handle the modification (even though they had never missed a mortgage payment!).

    Both of my friends were denied modifications ALL FOUR TIMES, after making their modification payments, on time.

    When they asked Wells Fargo why they were turned down, they were told “your modification does not qualify under our investor’s guidelines”. When they asked what the “guidelines” were, they were told that the guidelines were “confidential”.

    Both of my friends spent down their entire savings accounts and ended up in foreclosure. They both had families and had been recently downsized to lesser-paying jobs, thus their need for a modification. Neither friend was a home “investor”; they were just solid citizens who had hit on hard times and needed an adjustment. Nether friend asked for a reduction in their loan; all they wanted was to extend the loan out for another 10 years, to reduce their payments.

    Wells Fargo refused.

    Wells Fargo is a criminal institution, run at the top by criminals, and spoken for by glib professionals who should be forced to spend a week in a public pillory.

    I closed my Wells Fargo checking account several months ago, and urge all others to do the same. I wish wells Fargo nothing but the worst, and hope that their entire group of senior executives nothing but bad luck, for the rest of their lives.

    1. Chade

      Not only are they as you describe but they are part of the Narcodealing in America.

      They found 128 black suitcases, packed with 5.7 tons of cocaine, valued at $100 million. The stash was supposed to have been delivered from Caracas to drug traffickers in Toluca, near Mexico City, Mexican prosecutors later found. Law enforcement officials also discovered something else.
      The smugglers had bought the DC-9 with laundered funds they transferred through two of the biggest banks in the U.S.: Wachovia Corp. and Bank of America Corp., Bloomberg Markets magazine reports in its August 2010 issue.

  9. Ignacio

    It is possible to write something funny about Spain just copy-pasting statements issued lately by government members about to bail or not to bail, that is the question my friend.

  10. Hugh

    I agree with Mr CEO, the Walker recall was fatally flawed. It got channelled into a traditional Republican-Democrat contest, and as soon as that happened all the energy of the original protests went away. What voters were left with was a senseless reprise of the original election choices of Walker and Barrett.

    Well, senseless from their point of view, but there was a kind of logic behind what happened in national terms. The national Democratic party probably liked having Walker around. He was the scary Republican they could point to and use in fundraising and GOTV campaigns. At the same time, they were repelled by the populism of the original protests. They saw it as unpredictable and not something they could control. So once the recall was on, the state Democrats were not encouraged for a second to respond to that populism. And they didn’t. They went with the very candidate that voters had rejected in the original election. Voters wanted change they could believe in, and the Democrats delivered to them more of the same.

    But that was not the end of it. Walker was a cause célèbre for Republicans and outside money poured in to defend him. And the national Democratic party had no problem with that. In fact, if anything, this is what they wanted. They saw money going to Wisconsin as being diverted from other races. They in turn spent very little capital on the Wisconsin race, either in terms of money or people.

    I’m not saying that their reasoning was correct but I think Obama and the Democrats saw this as a no lose situation. It diverted a lot of Republican resources. If Walker lost, the Democrats got a cheap victory and a traditional Democrat as Governor. If Walker won, nothing really changed. They would still have him to kick around (even if the recall legitimized his tenure) and they could blame the loss on the populists and progressives.

    As usual, the real losers on Tuesday were the ordinary people of Wisconsin, but in Democratic-Republican contests, ordinary citizens are always the losers. So no change there either.

  11. Valissa

    The latest in food politics!

    Senators John Kerry and Scott Brown lead just-launched ‘Cranberry Caucus’

    Michelle Obama delivers David Letterman’s ‘Top Ten List’ [on gardening]

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