Links 7/25/12

Verizon situation finally better, but I am behind. Thanks for all the advice and concern.

Locked in combat: Mother lion takes on deadly crocodile to give cubs safe swim across river Daily Mail (Chuck L). The pictures are amazing.

‘Goat man’ in Utah mountains identified as hunter AP (Valissa)

Greenland ice sheet melted at unprecedented rate during July Guardian (Chuck L)

Tough times ahead for US orchestras BBC

Europe is sleepwalking towards imminent disaster, warn top economists Ambrose Evans-Pritchard. AEP says the economists say there are only days to avert disaster (as in passing an event horizon) and I’ve heard others I find credible say the same thing. All the regions on the Mediterranean have applied for aid, including Catalonia (and this with Barcelona supposedly being in better shape than Madrid). Spain is close to being locked out of markets.

Auf wiedersehen European economy MacroBusiness

A Mental Experiment for establishing the relative mood for solving the Crisis in Europe, in Britain & in the USA Yanis Varoufakis

UK recession deepens Financial Times

Turner warns of Libor aftermath Financial Times

New York Fed Faces Questions Over Policing Wall Street New York Times

Policy Change: “Terrorists” Are Now “Insurgents” Moon of Alabama

Nearly 10% of employers to drop health benefits, survey finds Los Angeles Times

$129 million pay package for new Yahoo CEO wsws (jsmith)

The Awesome Pari Passu Hearing Anna Gelpern, Credit Slips

How a $140 bill snowballed into foreclosure MSNBC

SIGTARP: Taxpayers still exposed as AIG shrinks CDS portfolio Housing Wire

Rising Farm Prices Don’t Pack Inflation Punch of Oil WSJ Economics Blog

Death of ‘risk on, risk off’ behaviour Financial Times

Reinventing Crony Capitalism: the Context of Geithner’s Obscene Rant against Barofsky William Black, New Economic Perspectives

Matt Taibbi Blasts David Brooks: ‘Do You Know How Private Equity Works?’ Huffington Post. Twitterfight!

* * *

D – 4 and counting

lambert here:

“Sovereign is he who decides on the exception.” –Carl Schmitt

CA. Foreclosure: “[T]wo bankrupt Californian cities of Fontana and Ontario in San Bernardino County offer a bracing jolt to Washington’s passivity. Where the Obama administration has largely failed [succeeded] to ease the foreclosure crisis, the two cities recently announced plans to seize loans on ‘underwater’ homes (those valued at less than the mortgages). The two were driven to bankruptcy largely by mass foreclosures, which shut down communities and killed economic activity. In despair at banks’ reluctance to renegotiate mortgages, they plan forcibly to buy and restructure them.”

FL. New normal: “[T]he jobs picture is set to remain bleak through 2016, a team of state economists said Monday.” … Public good: “Miami-Dade County’s three main water treatment plants and 7,700 miles of pipelines are so outdated it would take an initial installment of more than $1.1 billion just to replace the ‘most deteriorated vulnerable sections’ of the system.” … Corruption: “Florida received the third-highest amount of energy-related stimulus money in the nation but ranks nearly last in the amount spent thus far on the programs, according to an audit.”

ME. Health care: “Hospitals are failing to report many cases of patients being harmed during medical treatment, even in states such as Maine where reporting is mandatory, according to a new national study. The study was an update to another Office of Inspector General report that found 27 percent of Medicare beneficiaries hospitalized in October 2008 were harmed during medical treatment.”

NY. Transparency: “ALBANY — Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s administration, already drawing attention for its focus on secrecy, has now begun editing his record as NY attorney general, sending aides to the state archives to remove key documents from public view.”

OH. Fracking: “After the teach-in, concerned citizens went inside en masse and grouped around the officials standing around. When answers to questions were inadequate, listeners held up signs that gave failing letter grades or stated [for example] ‘Follow the law’…”

PA. Voting: “The stipulation [by the plaintiffs and the state of PA (!!)] agrees, in plain language, that there has never been a known case of in-person voter fraud — the only type of voter fraud that can even possibly be deterred by such restrictions — in the history of the Keystone State, or even in other states, for that matter.” … Extractive economy: “A Pittsburgh area coke plant has agreed to pay a $1.75 million fine to settle pollution violations . The county says the operation was cited 114 times last year for excessive emissions.”

TN. Na-na-na-na, na-na-na-na: “The current promotion of [sharia law and Agenda 21] by [R] Governor Haslam and members of his administration has led the R Party of TN into a crisis of conflict.”

TX. Fracking: “Earlier this year, a study led by Dr. Charles ‘Chip’ Groat for the Energy Institute at the University of Texas at Austin made headlines for saying there was no link between fracking and groundwater contamination. Groat received more than $400,000 from a drilling company last year alone, more than double his salary at the University. And one of the shales examined in Groat’s fracking study is currently being drilled by the company.” … Drones: “[Rep. Ted Poe legislation] would require judicial warrants before an agency could use a drone, and restricts the use of drones by state or local agencies ‘except in connection with the investigation of a felony.’ The legislation also states that no ‘private personcan surveil another individual without consent.'” … Fracking: “NIOSH says [fracking sand] silica dust levels exceeded government safety standards at every fracking site they tested. Breathing silica dust can cause silicosis, an incurable lung disease, and increases the risk of lung cancer.”

VA. Land use: “The federal government and the banking system have stopped bankrolling sprawl because the federal government must cut spending or risk triggering a catastrophic fiscal crisis. With constrained finances of their own, state and local governments can no longer afford to maintain land use patterns that intensify traffic congestion and create unbearable fiscal strain.” True? … Horse race: “The Romney and Obama campaigns each now have 24 offices across the state. A poll released last week showed the two candidates tied in Virginia.” … Food: “The summer presents a challenge for the [Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia]: fewer food drives means fewer donations, but with the kids out of school for the summer, the need increases.”

WI. Recall: “State Sen. Tim Cullen, a moderate D from Janesville, broke with his party’s caucus Tuesday, saying he may become an independent over what he felt were political ‘insults’ by the Senate majority leader. Democrats will still hold a slim majority: 16-15-1.” But see One Wisconsin’s statement.

Outside baseball. Corruption: “[JACK ABRAMOFF:] Outside our capital city (and its ever-prosperous contiguous counties), the campaign contributions of special interests are rightly seen as nothing but bribes.” … Extractive economy: “[T]he current gas storage glut can recede. In fact it already has been and at an alarmingly brisk pace and there may be a confluence of other events which could hasten the process.” Also, nobody knows how long production lasts. … Drones: “Precision guided munitions and drones give you a society with perpetual asymmetric wars.” Until they aren’t. … Role of government: “A record number of Americans express skepticism about the activist role of government Obama espouses [ha ha ha]; 61% say the government is trying to do too many things that should be left to individuals and businesses. That’s the highest number since Gallup began asking the question in 1992.” … Obamacare: “A new report by the Congressional Budget Office says 3 million fewer patients than originally estimated will receive health insurance coverage as a result of the SCOTUS decision, which pulled the teeth out of the part of the law that would have induced states to significantly expand their Medicaid rolls.” Maybe Obama’s shills could finally stop talking about “universal care”? … Toponyms: “Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) is floating legislation that would name most U.S. coastal waters after former President Ronald Reagan.” … Masquerade protests: Worldwide photo roundup.

Jobs. New normal: ” If all goes as planned, the Republican-led U.S. House will vote this week on legislation to bar federal agencies from taking major regulatory action until the monthly unemployment rates drop to 6 percent or below.” See the incentives? Also, a terrible typo.

Grand Bargain™-Brand Catfood watch. “[At Politico] we’re getting the sense from operatives and key players in swing states that the fight over automatic cuts could really blow up in the months before the election.”

The trail. Legacy parties: “Over the next four months, you have a choice to make. Not just between two political parties, or even two people. It’s a choice between two very different plans for our country.” Well, four, including Jill Stein and Gary Goode. But whatever. … Media critique: “Since May 1st, R newsmakers have received more coverage on major issues than have Ds. In major print outlets, the gap is even more severe” (with handy chart). … Water: “We found a surprisingly strong and clear tendency for voters to punish the president’s party when their states were too wet or too dry.” … Undecided voters: “[B]oth sides agree [that this year there is] an unusually small number of genuinely undecided voters. ‘It’s probably, on the low end, 6%, and on the high end, 10%,’ said one top campaign operative. That’s lower than four years ago.”

Robama vs. Obomney watch. Jobs: Romney spokeshole: “President Obama believes that government creates jobs, not hard-working entrepreneurs and small-business owners.” They’re lying. White House transcript: “[OBAMA:] Government can’t replace — can’t create jobs to replace the millions that we lost in the recession.” He’s lyin. Government can and has created jobs. Gun nuts: “[BOEHNER:] The president has made clear that he is [against using this tragedy] to push for new gun laws, I agree.”

Gary Johnson. Spoiler: “Recent polling that included [Gary Johnson] showed him drawing 9% of the vote in AZ, 7% in CO and NH — and 13% in his home state of NM. All of these are key swing states [oh?]. And such numbers give Johnson the chance to be a giant killer in the 2012 race. But the question is, which giant?” … But be suspcious of early polling for third parties.

Romney. White man’s burden: “[Romney advisor:] We are part of an Anglo-Saxon heritage, and he feels that the special relationship is special. The White House didn’t fully appreciate the shared history we have.” Because Obama’s Kenyan, right?

Obama. “You didn’t build that” flap: “Obama says Mitt is ‘knowingly twisting my words.’ The defensive reaction from the Obama team is strong–a sure sign that they are concerned about the new Romney attack. This episode shows–among other things–how hard it is to craft comments that are parse-proof.” There’s ain’t no cryin’ in baseball. … Post-literacy: “Obama’s YouTube feed, established in September 2006 when he was still just a senator for Illinois, now stands at 204,048,235 views. The scale of viewing underlines the growing importance of video as a political communications tool, as well as Obama’s own personal dominance in utilising the form.”

* 46 days until the Democratic National Convention ends with a swell feed of food-like products on the floor of the Bank of America Panther Stadium, Charlotte, NC. There are 46 human chromosomes.

Antidote du jour:

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  1. fresno dan

    New York Fed Faces Questions Over Policing Wall Street New York Times

    What is kinda of astounding is that you can read for yourself what these guys were saying:
    Now, I don’t know how evil Geithner is (I suspect quite a bit) but what I used to think was indisputable is that the man simply does not know modern finance… So why was he appointed???…o yeah, the banks buy the politicians and the politicians appoint who the banks want…

    1. Bev

      About NY and NYU and a landgrab:

      CALL TO ACTION – NYUFASP releases viral video to save the Village, and the city, from the Sexton Plan!

      via NYUFASP and StandUp4NYC:

      Watch the Mogul Mike viral video right now and visit to see how you can take action!

      The City Council vote is this Wednesday July 25th and NYUFASP has prepared a media blitz called StandUp4NYC to make sure the City Council knows where we stand. Please visit to take action: sign our petition to Christine Quinn, “Like” the Mogul Mike video on Facebook, share the video with your friends, and tweet it to the world!

      Now is the time to spread the word. Please take a moment to share and comment through your social networks, and forward this email along to all your friends and family, wherever they may live. Sustainable development, student debt, and civic action are issues of global concern. For those just recently joining our fight, read our Mission Statement below to find out more…

      Onwards! And thank you for being part of the fight!

      NYUFASP & StandUp4NYC



      We, the people of New York City, are tired of having our neighborhoods destroyed by big development schemes. No matter how much we object, it makes no difference. Our elected officials are too busy pleasing the big real estate interests to work for us, their real constituents.

      This NYU expansion plan is only the latest example. It’s not about education—it’s a land grab pure and simple. Mayor “Mogul Mike” Bloomberg & City Council Speaker Christine Quinn both know it, and they’re part of it.

      The vast majority of NYU’s own faculty oppose the plan—37 departments and divisions have actually voted against it. The people of Greenwich Village overwhelmingly oppose it. Community Board #2 voted against it unanimously.

      It’s time to say that the buck stops here. No more. Not in the Village. Not anywhere.

      Stand Up for NYC. It’s now or never.

  2. fresno dan

    OK, I can’t resist this Geithner quote:

    The latest wave of credit market innovations has elicited some concerns about their implications for the stability of the financial system, concerns similar to those associated with earlier periods of rapid change in financial markets. Will the most recent credit market innovations amplify credit cycles, contributing to “excessive” lending in times of relative stability, and then magnify the contraction in credit that follows? Will they introduce greater volatility in financial markets? Will they create greater risk of systemic financial crisis?

    Geithner’s answer to the questions: Nah

    And I can’t help but point out about “nobody saw it coming” – so why did Geithner address “some concerns?”

    1. Bill the Psychologist

      I caught a snippet of an interview of Geithner on Charlie Rose last night.

      Rose said “some people are saying you were “too friendly” to the banks.”

      Geithner got all huffy and said “I find that remark offensive”!

      This is the Secy of the Treasury, being personally offended by a a perfectly honest, relevant question of national importance.

      To his credit, Rose continued to probe in his too gentlemanlyy way, but I had other things to do, so didn’t catch the outcome, except to hear Geithner tell Rose:
      Ask all those critics, what would you have done ?

      And repeatedly he said “we had no authority to”…do anything other that what they did.

    2. deeply offended

      Rose: [Barofsky] raises this question, “Was Tim Geithner too friendly to the banks uh because he knew them from his years at the New York Fed.”

      Geithner: You know, I’m deeply offended by that. I find that deeply offensive. You know, it’s the result of a urban myth, uh, significantly. A lot of people thought and wrote in publications of record that I spent my life at Goldman Sachs rather than as a public servant, which is what I’d done with my life. A lot of people thought the Federal Reserve Bank of New York was a bank — a private bank — rather than the fire station of the financial system. And people were deeply misled about the basic choices we faced and the alternatives we confronted in that context. A lot of people, including many of my critics, said we went out and gave and lost trillions of dollars of the American taxpayers’ money at that time. Deeply misleading, terribly damaging to confidence. And the cost of that has been very damaging to the President and I think damaging to the integrity of the basic effort. What, again, what we try to do is protect…

      Rose: Why do you think that’s true? Why do you think that urban myth is out there?

      Geithtner: Because it was convenient for the critics, I don’t know.

      Rose: But you have a pulpit. He has a pulpit, and…

      Geithner: But it was a clean verifiable factual thing. And not fair. Not fair to the President and not fair to me…

      This morning, Barofsky took to Twitter to criticize Geithner’s comments. Specifically, Barofsky said he never claimed that Secretary Geithner spent his life working at Goldman Sachs, and never claimed that TARP would cost U.S. taxpayers “trillions of dollars”:

      ComfortablySmug@ComfortablySmug 23 Jul 12
      Geithner says he is deeply offended by saying he was too kind to banks. Says there is an urban myth that he worked at Goldman Sachs.

      Neil Barofsky@neilbarofsky
      @ComfortablySmug right out of the play book I describe in Bailout. Faux outrage and straw men (e,g., I never said he worked at GS)

      Neil Barofsky@neilbarofsky
      It’s actually remarkably disappointing (if not surprising) that Geithner resorted to petty mischaracterizations instead of addressing issues

      1. Doug Terpstra

        Geithner’s tirade against Barofsky in William Black’s piece, “Reinventing Crony Capitalism” is even more revealing of the egomaniacal petty dictator:

        “Neil, I have been the most f**king transparent secretary of the Treasury in this country’s entire f**king history!… No one has ever made the banks disclose the type of shit that I made them disclose after the stress tests. No one! And now you’re saying that I haven’t been f**king transparent?”

        Barofsky’s assessment of the meeting: “It was the weirdest meeting of my life.”

      2. Jim

        Thanks so much, deeply offended. Classic Geithner. Classic anyone trying to defend a bureaucracy.

        I’m deeply offended.

        Accuse critics of something they have not accused you of.

        Argue that everything you have done is for the good of the people (subjects).

        Be clear that history will judge your tenure (reign) very favorably.

  3. Foppe

    Nice Link (atlantic) “The Philosophy of the Technology of the Gun”:

    To be sure, this statement is more of a slogan than well-formulated argument. But even as a shorthand expression, it captures the widely believed idea that murder is wrong and the appropriate source to blame for committing murder is the person who pulled a gun’s trigger. Indeed, the NRA’s proposition is not unusual; it aptly expresses the folk psychology that underlies moral and legal norms.

    French philosopher Bruno Latour goes far as to depict the experience of possessing a gun as one that produces a different subject: “You are different with a gun in your hand; the gun is different with you holding it. You are another subject because you hold the gun; the gun is another object because it has entered into a relationship with you.” While the idea that a gun-human combination can produce a new subject may seem extreme, it is actually an experience that people (with appropriate background assumptions) typically attest to, when responding to strong architectural configurations. When walking around such prestigious colleges as Harvard and the University of Chicago, it is easy to feel that one has suddenly become smarter. Likewise, museums and sites of religious worship can induce more than a momentary inclination towards reflection; they can allow one to view artistic and spiritual matters as a contemplative being.

    1. Dave of Maryland

      I agree completely. Let’s have more great cathedrals and more symphony concerts in them.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Likewise, when surrounded with books, one becomes more verbose.

      Likewise, when holding a checking account statement that is overflowing with extra digits, one is suddenly superior, purer and more special than one’s fellow men.

      Unfortunately, at the end, all is emptiness.

      Thus it is said, form is void and void is form.

  4. craazyman

    $129 million for the Yahoo CEO?

    I mean really. Really.

    WTF does 1 person ever do for a corporation that justifies sucking $129 million dollars out of it? Unless your Tom Brady or Tiger Woods, and have real talent.

    YOu could find 10,000 people — any of whom who could do the same damn thing — for $500,000 a year. 10,000 people could do this job.

    And you’d never know the difference. One from the other.


  5. MacCruiskeen

    “AEP says the economists say there are only days to avert disaster”

    Didn’t Warren Buffet say that a few weeks ago? Also, Soros said it too some while back, before one of the “this will solve everything” summits. And that ECB guy who got fired, I forget his name, I think he said something along those lines. The Eurozone has been days away from disaster for at least a year now.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      You missed what I wrote!

      An event horizon is when you get so close to a black hole that you never get out. You get sucked in. So that does NOT mean disaster is imminent, but is inevitable.

      The prediction is that absent a course change in the next few days, Europe goes beyond the point of no return.

  6. Jim Haygood

    Here it is … a wholly predictable event whose eventual occurrence has been discussed many times here at Nude Capitalism:

    (Reuters) – Moody’s Investors Service has changed the outlook on the provisional (P)Aaa long-term rating of the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) to negative from stable, a blow to a fund that was supposed to backstop struggling EU members.

    The ratings agency said the move followed on from its decision earlier in the week to change the outlooks for Germany, the Netherlands and Luxembourg to negative. All three are guarantors for the EFSF, with Germany holding the largest share at just over 29 percent.

    “The change in the outlook of the EFSF reflects the now negative rating outlooks on all but one of its Aaa guarantors – namely Finland,” Moody’s said in a statement.

    The EFSF is backed by guarantee commitments for a total of 780 billion euros and has a lending capacity of 440 billion euros. It is rated Aaa by Moody’s and Fitch Ratings, though Standard & Poor’s has rated it at AA+.

    EFSF’s end-2011 financial statement shows a €20 billion balance sheet. Including debt floated in the first half of 2012, it’s around €30 billion now.

    At less than a tenth of its authorized capacity, EFSF already is facing rating downgrades.

    Try to crank €30 billion up to €300 billion, and watch what happens.

    Hint: it ain’t gonna be unicorns emerging from behind rainbows bearing bags of Skittles!

    1. Foppe

      Austrian CB president and ECB council member Nowotny has today suggested that “there are arguments in favor of giving Europe’s rescue fund a banking license, reviving the debate on bolstering its firepower as leaders face the prospect of a full- scale Spanish bailout.”

  7. jim3981

    “Europe is sleepwalking towards imminent disaster”

    I’m starting to think debt is being used as a weapon by the elites to cram down the western world’s living standards. Not only that, but force us in to a corner where we will give up our sovereignty?

    The US is in so much debt, can’t the banking cabal do the same to the US whenever they choose next?

    Scary stuff.

    1. Walter Wit Man

      That’s what the whole debt scare last summer was about–conditioning us.

      And make no mistake about it–the Democrats’ role is to shock their members into accepting this.

      By all appearances the Democratic voters are so bamboozled they will do about anything their masters tell them. I really think Democratic voters have no line at all–they would willingly execute their neigbhors if Obama or Nancy Pelosi told them it was for the party.

    2. psychohistorian

      I am glad to hear that you are starting to think about the possibility of the global inherited rich using debt owing to them as the iron fist of austerity.

      Would that many others saw the same perspective.

      Then maybe we could foster real change.

      1. Susan the other

        I thought Anna Gelperin, Credit Slips today, re Pari Passu re sovereign debt, which is being argued against Argentina, is about the question of the century. However these questions go, so goes the world. And no, I didn’t follow all of the questions re equal repayment of debt required by sovereigns… but my takeaway is this: It seems reasonable to me that if a sovereign settles and somebody holds out it is that somebody’s problem. Period. otherwise everyone now arguing against Argentina could win their own downfall. Funny. And above and beyond these sovereign law questions, if you apply US corporate (elite capitalist) laws then debts are offset by varioius unexpected calamaties, expenses,deductions and depreciation.

        Of interest: Argentina said to the court: The bond trustee is the agent of the bondholders, not the agent of Argentina!!!! I like that, in view of the kleptocratic nature of bondholders and their oh-so-legally-flexible trusts. And the under-the-table nature of the “laws” of debt that apply.

    3. Lambert Strether

      “Can’t the banking cabal do the same to the US whenever they choose next?”

      Simple answers to simple questions: Yes.

      And it looks like they’re moving it up from the lame duck to the election.

  8. jsmith

    Yves, I’m glad you enjoyed the Mayer article. I thought the author did a really nice job of juxtaposing Mayer’s compensation with figures depicting the financial straits of the country at large.

    Regarding the EU:

    “They claimed the system could be stabilised immediately by creating a lender of last resort to back-stop the bond markets, either by mobilising the ECB or by giving the eurozone bail-out fund (ESM) a banking licence to borrow from the ECB.”

    Of course, one bank to rule them all.

    Gee, this whole turn of events sure sounds like Iraq and Afghanistan, don’t it?

    First, they go in an destroy everything, steal, kill, loot – i.e., create a crisis.

    Next, as the situation they are in charge of threatens to spiral out of control, why, OF COURSE, the US/NATO have to stay, construct bases, subdue the locals because it would be ARMAGEDDON (OH NOEZ!) if they didn’t. – i.e., provide the solution.

    When all is said and done, the elite are left with even MORE control than they had at the beginning and the punditry will propagandize the commoners so that they thank our selfless masters for their wisdom and timely action – i.e., consolidate their gains/preserve the new status quo.

    Analogously, the authors of the EU doomsday article do miss the whole illegal/crime/fraud thing just as do the propagandist concerning the WOT.

    Hey, who cares if this whole sh*tstorm began illegally, we’ve gotta fix this mutha before it BLOWS!!!!

    Forward, not back, peons!!!!

    1. ambrit

      Dear jsmith;
      It’s SUCK sweetheart, SUCK! BLOW is a figure of speech! (Now at least we know what ol’ Ross Perot meant when he cautioned us about that Giant Sucking Sound.)

  9. Cassandro

    Kudos on the Carl Schmitt quote. He really needs to be more widely read, outside of the usual audience of poli theory wonks and closeted fascist-lovers. His “Crisis of Parliamentary Democracy” is scary when read with an eye to Stephen Harper’s reign in Canada.

      1. Cassandro

        Stealing a page from Hobbes (the frontispiece from Leviathan, to be exact). Except the leader of his Leviathan was primarily concerned with the public good.

        (Hobbes is another author who needs to be read more and quoted less, given how most citations of Hobbes tend to suggest the opposite of his stated values).

  10. Walter Wit Man

    Wait a second. Ten percent of employers will drop health care!

    Bbbbbbbut what about Obamacare?

    I guess Obamacare is so sweet employers are using it as an excuse to drop people?

    “Oh, don’t worry, you’re responsible for buying health insurance now but since you make below $20,000 a year we’re sure you’re going to be treated well under Obamacare. He’s got this.

    1. Valissa

      3 Million Fewer May Be Insured Due to Ruling, Study Predicts
      The court said, in effect, that a large expansion of Medicaid envisioned under the 2010 law was a state option, not a requirement. As a result, the budget office said, it now predicts that six million fewer people will be insured by Medicaid, the federal-state program for low-income people. But half of them, it said, will probably gain private insurance coverage through health insurance exchanges to be established in all states. On balance, the budget office said in a new report, “about 3 million more people will be uninsured’’ in 2022. With the increase in the number of uninsured, the budget office lowered its estimate of costs to the federal government.

      1. Walter Wit Man

        Thanks for connecting the dots Valissa. Good find.

        I bet more than 6 million people will be effected (how many depend on Texas’ decision alone?).

        Obamacare is looking worse and worse. They are now admitting (quietly) that 6 million fewer people will get Medicaid than these fink Democrats promised! I thought the Medicaid expansion was the main selling point to Democrats, and now its being severely cut back. And even if 3 million of the 6 million really end up on these exchanges (don’t hold your breath–or get sick), I bet it’s a worse deal than Medicaid.

        And look how Obamacare spends money for health care (from the NYTimes article):

        “The report says the insurance coverage provisions of the new law will cost the government $1.7 trillion from 2012 to 2022. That includes $642 billion for Medicaid, $1 trillion for subsidies and $23 billion of tax credits to help small employers buy insurance.”

        That’s the vast majority of money going to health insurance subsidies.

        And premiums for everyone go up 2%, even though they are getting massive subsidies. I’m sure that’s low and doesn’t take into account the fewer services will will get (not to mention higher out of pocket for Medicare/Medicaid and worse services).

        So all that money to bail out insurance companies will result in 30 million out of 55 million “getting” health care insurance or Medicaid (I’m guessing most of the these are dues paying insurance victims).

        And then millions of these 30 million people that will now have health insurance will be forced to pay something they can’t afford. Many will probably go broke.

        Those 25 million plus that remain uninsured will be fined by the government and out of luck. I’ll be watching to see if this number creeps above 30 million while Obamacare’s lucky ducks remain under 30 million–in other words, Obamacare won’t even solve half our problems and makes the whole system more fragile.

        This is the best health care system Democratic politicians could come up with . . . and guess what? It just so happens to be exactly what Blue Cross and Mitt Romney want!

        1. Valissa

          Actually it’s the best healthcare system the lobbyists from the various healthcare related industrues could come up with. Remember when they were working on this bill and a big news article came out on how the lobbyists were writing up proposals for what they wanted in the bill translated into both Dem-speak and Repub-speak so the congress members could pretend it was what THEIR party wanted?

          Was recently chatting with a friend of ours who is a long time professional tour guide in Boston. He told us that he pays the penalty every year rather than pay health insurance premiums. He’s in his late 50’s and very healthy and doesn’t want to shell out all the monthly dough for insurance which will actually cover very little for him. He says it’s cheaper for him to pay out of pocket for his healthcare as needed AND pay the penalty for not having insurance. I’m guessing lots of independent contractors and small business people will end up doing this. After all, the lobbyists are making sure it’s the large corporations which benefit.

          1. Valissa

            Follow the money – Part 1

            Follow the money – Part 2

            A common sentiment

            Another common sentiment

            Pork, it’s what’s for dinner!

          2. Walter Wit Man

            I too am interested in the nuts and bolts but the press and politicians are being intentionally vague.

            My prediction is that your friend will be used as an excuse to make medical debt nondischargeable in bankruptcy (with maybe an age cutoff–debt originated before the age of 65, or 67, 70, whatever they raise Medicare to).

            The thinking will go: “you should be covered under Obamacare and therefore you shouldn’t need to file for bankruptcy. The change is needed for people who ‘game’ the system to pay the penalty and then declare bankruptcy”

            Then, when your friend gets sick at age 55, before he’s on Medicare, and has $100,000 of medical bills, he won’t be able to discharge them in bankruptcy.

            There could be some people who are 80, 90 years old who will have 15% taken out of their Social Security for education loans and 15% for past medical bills. Or more likely those people won’t be getting Social Security checks anyway because those are the current 20 and 30 year olds who will also be taking this gamble and once they fall into this trap they won’t work within the Social Security system anymore anyway.

      2. Ms G

        Valissa, thanks for the related link.

        I’m scratching my head here, though. Budget Office predicts that under Obama Care 6 million fewer will be covered by Medicaid (because it is a state “option”), yet it Budget Office assumes that half of those 6 million who won’t be getting Medicaid will be able to buy private insurance in some form or another, thus “only” 3 million additional human beings will uninsured? How does Budget Office conclude that 3 million people eligible for Medicaid are going to have the cash to go out and buy these yet to be created state-sponsored “private exchanges.”

        Please tell me that I am missing something!

        Below is the passage I’m referring to:

        “As a result, the budget office said, it now predicts that six million fewer people will be insured by Medicaid, the federal-state program for low-income people. But half of them, it said, will probably gain private insurance coverage through health insurance exchanges to be established in all states. On balance, the budget office said in a new report, “about 3 million more people will be uninsured’’ in 2022.”

        1. Valissa

          I don’t think you’re missing anything. Those assumptions are typical of policy planning number games… not much reality there. I’m sure the real world implications will be much worse. Assumptions about how many people are going to be covered or not covered in 2022 mean very little since much will happen between now and then to render them meaningless, IMO. After all, the so-called Affordable Health Care Act (a wonderfully Orwellian name) doesn’t even come into major play until 2014, and many details remain to be decided.

        2. Walter Wit Man

          And to further connect the dots . . . .

          The 10% of employers dropping health insurance was probably “unexpected” and therefore the 25 million Americans that will remain uninsured after Obamacare will probably go up. So not only did the bean counters underestimate the number that would be covered under Medicaid, they underestimated the number of people that would lose employer health care coverage.

          So I think it’s almost going to be certain that Obamacare will not even take care of half of the problem it set out to take care of (uninsured people), while exploding our costs and subsidies to this sick for-profit system.

  11. barrisj

    Top bankster sez break up the TBTFs:

    Mega Bank Creator Sandy Weill Reverses Course, Says Break ‘Em Up
    This morning Sandy Weill casually forsook all that which he once held dear by calling for the break up of big banks. Speaking on CNBC’s Squawk Box, Weill said the monsters he created should be split up and “do something that doesn’t risk taxpayer dollars.” The thud you heard around 8:30am this morning was the sound of jaws simultaneously dropping across the financial world.

    Some perspective is in order. Sandy Weill essentially created the idea of jamming together investment banks and banks providing retail and commercial banking services when he merged his Travelers Group (TRV) with Citicorp [now Citigroup (C) since 1998]. Since such a merger was forbidden by the Glass-Steagall Act. Mr. Weill persuaded then-Secretary of Treasury Bob Rubin to help push through legislation repealing the Depression era regulations.

    Timmeh sez, “I’ll look into it”…no comment.

    1. LeeAnne

      Thank you. My jaw dropped. He must be feeling the heat finally. I don’t see any acknowledgement of his complicity in raising the bar for paying people (bribing Congress) like Robert Rubin more than $100,000,000 to lobby. But I’ll have to watch CNBC -usually I don’t.

      And there’s no mention of how much was received by the sainted ex-President Gerald Ford, hired by Sandy at the same time in the same way for the same purpose on the Republican side.

      Remember Rubin testified that he knew nothing about what went on at Citi. Of course not. That’s not what lobbyists masquerading as consultants, executives and board members do. Those job descriptions are clearly BRIBERY for influence.

      1. Ms G

        Its Sandy Weil. The only “heat” he is feeling is some new strategy to come in and make another gajillion dollars “reforming” the system he made (and made a killing on).

        Neat little strategy: payoff at both ends. Never mind that his scheme involved real markets, real people, real nations, etc. Guy’s gotta make a buck somehow — and it’s his American birthright!

  12. LeeAnne

    NY. Transparency: “ALBANY — Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s administration Cuomo’s Archive as Attorney General, Self-Edited

    the bottom line

    “The dispute over the archives is the latest example of the Cuomo administration’s efforts to manage information. Officials communicate with untraceable BlackBerry messages, and Freedom of Information requests often face long delays.”

    Maybe Governor Cuomo, formerly husband of Kerry Kennedy, might enjoy listening to President John F. Kennedy’s speech on government secrecy

    NY. Transparency: “ALBANY — Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s administration Cuomo’s Archive as Attorney General, Self-Edited

    the bottom line

    “The dispute over the archives is the latest example of the Cuomo administration’s efforts to manage information. Officials communicate with untraceable BlackBerry messages, and Freedom of Information requests often face long delays.”

  13. leftover

    Re “Nearly 10% of employers to drop health benefits…
    With 9% unsure overall…

    13% of employers with 50 to 100 employees anticipate dropping coverage in the next one to three years, just 1% of employers with 1,000 to 2,499 employees and 2% of employers with at least 2,500 employees anticipate dropping coverage
    Jerry Geisel/Business Insurance

    Re the “defined contribution” employer strategy…

    Don Mcanne, M.D. of PNHP responds:

    This will be disastrous. Employees are already being stuck with higher deductibles in order to slow the rate of premium increases for the employer. With defined contribution, premiums can be contained further by limiting the benefits covered, by further increasing the out-of-pocket cost sharing of deductibles, copayments and coinsurance, by tiering cost sharing of different levels of products and services, and by further restricting the panels of approved health professionals and institutions…
    This is the disaster that is pending. Employees will not be able to afford the care that they or their families need, in spite of being nominally insured by their employers.

    Re the new CBO/JCT report:
    Every time they issue a new report, the projected costs go down, but the projected number of uninsured goes up. Where is the good news in there?
    Instead of exerting all this effort trying to determine how much this bailout of the commercial healthcare industry is going to cost us. we could be talking about how much true healthcare reform can save us.

    Republican converts supply a degree of hope…
    RH Reality Check/How I lost my fear of Universal healthcare(notice how she never says the words “Single Payer”)…and…

    Head-in-the-sand ‘solution’ is killing GOP.
    Everybody in. Nobody out.

  14. Ms G

    “Jobs” – New Normal.

    I’m going to start wearing a t-shirt that says “I’m a job creator — give me a break and a million bucks.”

    This really is a bleak milestone. 20 years of “trickle down” theory-based deregulation demonstrably proven to destroy jobs and middle class wealth and here we are in 2012 with this. Anybody in the Republican (or for that matter Obama) world notice that even Regan’s Budget Director David Stockmann (pretty much the architect of “trickle down economics”)has foresaken the policy?

      1. Ms G

        Ya fixed it for me!

        But I’m probably not going to change my mind until the Fed accepts my claim that I am a “counterparty” or a “job creator” worthy of bailing (or giving 0% loans to) in this nasty jungle that is the “American job market.”


    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Even more daunting is the fact that there are different types of job creators.

      Some, for every one job created, destroy 2 jobs through unfair competition.

      Some, for every job created, destroy 3 jobs through fair competition.

      Some create jobs without destroying any.

  15. Hugh

    A $129 million pay package for Yahoo’s new CEO should tell you everything you need to know about why Yahoo is circling the drain.

    As for Europe, having reneged so fast on all the undertakings of the last Eurosummit, it is hard to see, for me at least, what rabbit the Euro elites can pull out of the hat, what can they can produce to kick down the road this time.

    I mean what are the possibilities? The governments have screwed up so recently that it is hard to see what an emergency summit could do that was any more credible than their last effort. The ECB could mount a massive intervention but it just doesn’t seem like it is in Draghi to try. About all I am left with is the Fed. Maybe the Euro elites are hoping that the Fed will ride to their rescue. Of course, the Fed is already involved. Its dollar swaps program is a subsidy to European banks and investors since it lowers the cost of the dollars they need for their derivative businesses.

  16. aeolius

    Re: Blanck’s rant against Geithner.
    Parallel process: Black : geithner :: Geithner : Barofsky.

    I hate to rain on his parade of Monday Morning QBing but

    1.What Geithner did with his bailouts were the worst thing ever tried- except for everything else.
    Cmpare the real situation of the US today with the real situation of the Eurozone.
    Greek banks tanked Greece tanked. Spanish Banks are tanked Spain is tanked. Italian Banks are all but tanked Italy??? French Banks are very wobbly France???
    Geither supported US Banks US is ??? British banks were supported Britain is wobbly.
    Yves do you see a pattern??
    2.In what alternate universe does Mr. Black live where, after Lehman the GOP in Congress would have allowed giving US banks a haircut on the principle of the mortgages they held? Which GOP leader could you quote as giving hope for that?
    While trying to construct the past correctly may be possible, it proably takes as much effort as proving the Higgs boson. Why bother?

    Libor is real and hot and may be a real way to get to the banksters.

  17. Doug Terpstra

    William Black’s piece, “Reinventing Crony Capitalism” on Geithner’s profane tirade offers a fascinating window into the strange messianic mindset of ego-possessed financiers and the slippery slope of fraud. It’s sometimes hard to differentiate venality or malice from naïveté, but in the case of divinely-chosen moneychangers like Geithner, Bernanke, Dimon, Rubin, et al, I suppose the progression is similar to what induces frogs to voluntarily boil to death in a slowly-heated open pot. It’s is the banality of evil, not entirely conscious wickedness … at first. Their egos disconnect them from reality, convince them of their entitlement, and offer “perfectly plausible” rationalizations of the greater good created by their self-serving crimes against humanity. Thus the rationalizations of the moneygrubbers are the same as that of mad-scientists and warmongers: the creative destruction of disaster capitalism means we must destroy the village in order to save it (from the commies). Through such Shock Doctrine, America becomes a banana republic with a slave-plantation economy.

    This surely Obama’s own elitist outlook, from his all-inclusive selection of neoliberal Neocon advisors, including Rahm “effing-retarded” Emanuel (Rubin, Summers, etc.), his hands-off Ministry of Justice, his obeisance to Israel, and of course his personal supervision of the drone assassination program by direct selection of human targets. These people believe strongly in the divine right of royalty. And of course, they explicitly fear and loathe direct (“mob”) democracy.

    William Black’s ongoing public service is admirable and deeply appreciated.

    1. aeolius

      That you for that Black quote. It is the essence of this man
      It is pure psychobabble riffing from Hannah Arandt in the fantasy that he could reach her heights.
      In fact he is like the goldfish in “A Cat in a Hat”,which character I did not appreciate til now. There are those who live within their fishbowl swimming in shallow circles. And never get to participate in life at all. And this you eat up like a can of Pringles. Alas.
      Life is full of real peaople who eat and take chances but also shit and piss.
      Yes men at the top can be trapped by their ego. But I do not think Obama and Co. fit that mold. I supported Hillary and don’t really like Obama. But I do admire him in how much he lives in the real world doing what is possible. As I suggested there is no way Obama could have gotten mortgage relief from the Congress. Even Tarp with the banks behind it barely scraped through.
      Greece is a country which stood by its ideals. So are many Spanards. Take your pick

      1. Hugh

        That is all BS. The Democrats held the Presidency and controlled both houses of Congress in 2009-2010. They could have ditched the filibuster in 2009. McConnell published his whole game plan for Republicans in the Senate just a couple weeks after the 2008 election. So the answer is yes, the Democrats could have passed whatever they wanted to in 2009-2010 if they had wanted to.

        At the same time, Obama could have put the fear of God in everyone inside and outside Capitol Hill by pursuing investigations and prosecutions of Wall Streeters. These were after all the largest frauds in history. He could have nixed further mergers and acquisitions of the TBTF. He could have launched anti-trust investigations. The TARP deal gave him half the $700 billion to use at his discretion. He could have used it for relief for homeowners. No one forced him to choose hardline neoliberals like Rubin, Summers, and Geithner for his economics team. No one forced him to renominate Bernanke. He could have nationalized the banks under Prompt Corrective Action or forced them to undergo stress testing at mark to market valuations and forced them to undergo bankruptcy. He could have enforced laws already on the books, like Sarbanes-Oxley, or issued emergency rules that would have boxed in Wall Street gamblers and speculators.

        There are countless things Obama could have done as Chief Executive. Remember the Presidency is the most powerful and unilateral it has been in our country’s history.

        But more than this, Obama and the Democrats could have fought for a progressive 99% agenda, you know like conservatives fight for theirs, even if they lost on it. Obama could also have taken his case to the American people and asked them to put pressure on obstructive legislators.

        Obama did none of this. So don’t tell me that Obama did only what was possible for him to do. He did exactly what he wanted to do. It just happened that was to embrace and expand the worst and most corporatist of the Bush Administration’s policies.

  18. Chris A

    Who is this Gary Goode who’s supposedly running for president? Also, Rocky Anderson, the former mayor of SLC, is running, also a progressive who will be completely ignored by the media, but who along with Jill Stein of course deserves to be heard from. (I can dream, can’t I?)

    1. enouf

      Sure .. i like dreaming too – Here’s a rough outline i’d like to see on the ballot in November;


      [ ] Democretan – ORomney

      [ ] RepublicRat – Robama

      [ ] None of the Above

      [ ] None of the Above + Constitutional Convention

      [X] None of the Above + Constitutional Convention + EndTheFed + DeleteElectoralCollege



      [ ] YourFavoriteCritterBozoHere

      [X] None of the Above + Indictments for Treason for All Incumbents


      Anyone care to add to my dream?


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