Links 5/28/14

Posted on by

Dear patient readers,

We hope you are not confused by our continuing to place our private equity document releases first in Recent Items. They’ll stay there today and perhaps into tomorrow, depending on traffic flow. We have given you 7 rather than the usual 5 Recent Items so as to not interfere with your normal navigation.

Asian Small-Clawed Otters Play Keyboard at the National Zoo Gawker. They are pretty good!

In Australia in the late 1800s, sitting inside a whale carcass was thought to be a cure for rheumatism QI Elves. Another Richard Smith special

Cat Litter Suspected In Leak At Nuclear Waste Dump OilPrice. You cannot make this stuff up.

Drizzle alone will not provide a path to prosperity John Kay, Financial Times

Prince Charles stirs controversy with warning over climate The Age (furzy mouse)

Motivational Interviewing Dr David Healy (furzy mouse). Wow.

Living Big Data Project Syndicate (David L). A sensible article on this topic. Except not!

Silicon Valley’s rush to back Bitcoin services rouses concerns Financial Times

Chinese await property bailout MacroBusiness

Leaders agree to review EU policies BBC

Merkel blows open race for top Brussels job Financial Times

Who is the new Hitler? Daily Mash

REVEALED: The head of Omidyar Network in India had a secret second job… Helping elect Narendra Modi Mark Ames, Pando. In case you missed it, Modi is India’s Pinochet in the making.

United Progressive Alliance-2 and Welfare Schemes Triple Crisis. Debunks conventional wisdom on the recent Indian elections.

Netanyahu, Pissed at the Pope for Praying at the Apartheid Wall, Attempts to Humiliate Francis. Twice. EdwardTeller, Firedoglake


Exxon, BP Defy White House; Extend Partnership with Russia OilPrice

Putin urges Kiev to halt offensive Financial Times

Ukraine: What Might Be The Outcome? Moon of Alabama

Ukraine Faces Hurdles in Restoring Its Farming Legacy New York Times

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Kinsley, Greenwald and Government Secrets Public Editor’s Journal, New York Times. Lambert: “Times Public Editor slaps Michael Kinsley around for his review of Greenwald’s book.” What is not as well recognized as it should be is that the Book Review section is its own little fiefdom and and is markedly more neoliberal/neocon than the rest of the NYT.

What If the Democratic Response to Snowden Is to Expand Surveillance? Marcy Wheeler. I quibble with her title. Democratic response is one thing, elite response is quite another. And we know who is really driving this bus. But please do read the piece.

‘I was trained as a spy’: Whistleblower Edward Snowden rejects says he worked undercover for the CIA and NSA in first US interview

To Get Snowden Interview, NBC News Relied on Secrecy New York Times (furzy mouse)

New Curbs Sought on the Personal Data Industry New York Times

Google could face ‘cyber courts’ in Germany over privacy rights Financial Times

Obama has the wrong answer to student loan crisis Cathy O’Neil

Madness Posing as Hyper-Rationality: OMB’s Assault on Effective Regulation Bill Black, New Economic Perspectives

Big Door Keep Revolving – Our Latest Roundup About the Blurred Lines Between the Health Care Industry and the Government Bodies that are Supposed to Regulate and Make Policy Affecting It Health Care Renewal

The Founding Fathers Guaranteed Freedom of the Press … Even For Bloggers George Washington

The Ultimate Failure of Tim Geithner Chris Whalen, National Interest

Spreads on AAA CLO tranches not budging Walter Kurtz. More reaching for risk, um, yield.

Bad Trend Breaking: Why Retail Results Are Not Better Than Expected, But Worse Than Ever! David Stockman (Wolf Richter)

FT v. Piketty (and more Piketty…)

Picketty is right about inequality MacroBusiness

Has Tyler Cowen Updated His Priors on Wealth Concentration and Inequality? Angry Bear. In case you missed it, Cowen has been on a one-man anti-Piketty crusade.


Class Warfare

Reparations and the Subprime Meltdown in the Era of Obama Bob Kuttner, American Prospect

GooBing Detroit. Google Street views of the same blocks over time. Garrett: “Kicking delinquent homeowners out when no one else wants to buy is crazy.”

Regenerating derelict Detroit to cost $2bn Financial Times. This headline give a clearer picture: Detroit Urged to Tear Down 40,000 Buildings New York Time

CATEGORISING THE POOR Frances Coppola Pieria. Today’s must read.

Antidote du jour (Lance N):


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


    1. James Levy

      Huge expenditures? They had 5 billion dollars as walking around money to buy off Ukrainian Quislings, but they can’t find 2 billion for Detroit? Gordon, I’m not attacking you, just showing how messed up our priorities are and sense of what “expensive” is. And, as I pointed out at James Howard Kunstler’s site, from what bipartisan slush fund did that 5 billion emanate? That’s one-third the NASA budget, and not an inconsequential budget line. How much is the government really spending each year, if they can find 5 billion for one covert operation? How much is going into buying off Greek, Pakistani, Spanish, Venezuelan, Indian, and god only know how many other nation’s politicos, serving military officers, and other “people of interest”? We know that Noriega was on the payroll, and I suspected Yeltsin from the start. How many others out there are subverting their countries and selling out their people via Uncle Sam’s silver?

      1. Vatch

        I’m not defending how the State Department used the money, but that $5 billion was spent over a period of more than 20 years, and it was used for multiple projects in Ukraine. Of course I agree that the “national security” behemoth wastes money on a huge scale.

        1. cwaltz

          It was spent over a decade and in the meantime we were ALSO able to find tens of millions to give to Karzai in Afghanistan as well. Then there is the 60 billion we’ve spent REBUILDING Iraq over the past decade. I have to agree with the OP, we seem to always have more than enough money to rebuild other nations while telling our own nation to live with its crumbling infrastructure and decay. It’s pretty darned warped.

    2. Banger

      For the power elite who own and operate the mainstream media, the very idea that people can find ways through cooperation and creativity to resolve difficult issues is anathema. They have to maintain the stance that anarchism (which is all about communities coming together to solve mutual problems) either cannot or does not exist anywhere.

      1. Ernesto Lyon

        There should be an Owners Day during which we celebrate and admire their managerial adroitness. What a splendid world they have brought us!

  1. craazyman

    wow I have to say, David Stockman is a rip-roaringly pretty good writer. he moves you down the page and then cracks you up with ludicrously hilarious mental pictures of financial nitwits. He doesn’t give you longwinded parargraphs full of technical nothing, or even worse, equations that the writer himself or herself doesn’t even understand (and I don’t mean Professor Piketty by the way, he’s probably right, r is certainly greater than g, it’s just self-evident from looking out the window of your head, rather than rolling your eyes back inside your head like an insane person and maniupulating equlilibriums in the dark of your mind). I may have to read Mr. Stockman’s 700 page book after all. At first I laughed at the thought of reading something that long, it sounded like a form of indescribeably odious exertion, the moment you think about starting it is the moment you surf onto Youtube and watch something by Led Zepplin. It seemed so tedious even thinking about it was exhausting. But he’s pulling me in with his energetic paragraphs and hilarious one-liners. But By the time you finish though it ‘ll be too late. Initially you think there’s a financial payoff in reading something like that. You think it’ll help you go short the market and get rich quick in the crash. Then nothing happens. And you cover. And then you sit there and you wonder “Why did I read all that if nothing happens and I lose money every time I have to cover at a loss or just watch the call option decay to zero. Over and over?” Well, now I know, because it’ll crack me up. That’s enough, when you’re losing money.

    1. craazyman

      oops, the call option is your hedge. it goes up. It’s your potential profit that decays to zero from the huge gains you had in mind shorting the “inevitable” crash! The puts decay to zero when you buy them to hedge your Gold position, and then the price crashes after the puts expire. Not that you’d make money trying this. Probably better to sell the calls and watch them decay. You might get lucky!

    2. Jim Haygood

      Not that the S&P has anything to do with gold … but is it mere coincidence that gold reached a record intraday high of $1,918 in Aug. 2011, while the S&P’s intraday record (set yesterday) is 1,913?

      In both cases, one would expect the human fascination with round numbers to pull the price up to an even 2,000. But gold never made it. On some sites (not naming any names here!), the gold claque would lynch anyone who even questioned gold’s inevitable rise to five figures, as the sum set on the giant fiat Ponzi scheme.

      There doesn’t seem to be any equivalent froth-at-the-mouth stock lynch mob. Not that I would know, not having a TV to watch the spittle-spewing clowns on CNBC. But J-Yel wants to take a run at S&P 2K, one suspects … for the greater good of all.

    3. craazyboy

      Just finished the Stockman article.

      Just like to add, the real economy can adjust to mal-adjustment. You can read some “near-future” sci-fi novels and see some possibilities. In “Flashback” by Dan Simmons, shopping malls were converted to micro-apartments. In “Ready Player One” (forgot the author), they stacked trailer homes on top of each other to make trailer high rises. You climbed a fire escape to get to your front door.

      These authors aren’t economists, and there are no economists at all in either of these books. That’s something to look forward to, anyhow.

      1. Jimmy Dean

        Funny you mention those 2 books. They are the only two books I have read half of and put away without needing to finish in the last few years. Nothing against Dan Simmons mind you, have read and loved everything else he’s written…

        1. craazyboy

          I thought Flashback was OK, but not up to Dan’s usual excellence – I’ve read everything he’s written. A lot of people were put off by Flashback because it had sort of a libertarian slant to it – but that’s anarchy for you.

          Surprised you didn’t like Ready Player One. It was light reading – but I thought entertaining.

    4. Doug Terpstra

      Stockman’s take on America’s retail apocalypse, quoting James Quinn who’s a regular Jeremiah, makes America’s future look like Detroit’s present, a derelict wasteland of squandered industry in a state of advanced decomposition beyond the salvage value of demolition. Its one dubious value is as a future-shock dystopian movie set of total urban decay. This is the coal mine canary of an empire in liquidation, Obama’s version of Reagan’s “Mourning in America”.

      1. Carla

        Hhhmmm…what on earth would make you think that America’s future will NOT look like Detroit’s present?

    5. Klassy

      Actually, I’ve usually been surprised when I see retail analysts interviewed on tv. Just listen to them. They’ll be blunt and come right out and say there is a lack of demand and it’s due to stagnant wages. down because (Maybe I keep seeing the same guy).
      I guess its like insurance companies and global warming. They’re worried and they’ve been worried for a long time. That should be all the deniers need to know.

    6. Garrett Pace

      Stockman’s article on the future of retail is interesting but neglects the online shopping angle.

      I went to the mall last week for the first time in ages, and it’s a very different place than the malls of my youth – the only things sold now are high-end, high-touch tactile items. Basically, the only things you can sell in person anymore (other than groceries) are things that users want to experience with any sense other than eyesight. Perfume, clothing, jewelry. Things that have to be tried on. You’d be a fool to buy anything else at a mall, or anywhere with brick-and-mortar-and-staff overhead.

      The even more thought provoking question is why this enormous run-up in retail space when technology is as big a threat as economic factors, and a much more obvious one.

      I’m sure all the stuff in the article is true, about debt and jobs etc. But the true retail apocalypse will start only when ebaymazon is really suffering.

      1. PWC, Raleigh

        True, true — the physical retail experience is less well-attended by actual persons (or shopper traffic counts, as referenced in Stockman’s item).

        Also too, remain aware of the depressing effects of the Crapification of Everything (an ongoing theme so accurately tagged here on Naked Capitalism). Why bother wasting one’s time and gas money sorting through mostly Crapified Crap?

        1. jrs

          Yes if you can manage to find anything that’s not crap it’s probably online. The better stuff can be found with some looking online when it exists. The stuff in the stores tends to be mostly crap.

    7. barrisj

      Well, the whole bidness of the “death of the malls” has been better covered and for a much longer period of time by the irrepressible Jim Kunstler, and the notion of “cheap credit…and cheap fuel” as the chief promoter of mall shopping has been a Kunstler talking-point for ages.

  2. rich

    Video of the Day – The Religion of Consumerism

    The notion of consumerism as the religion of the United States is nothing new. That said, Warren Pollock did an excellent job explaining just how corrosive this mindset can be to a society. I was particularly taken by the notion that since the vast majority of people define themselves almost entirely by their level of consumption, or by some desired level of future consumption, their consciousness becomes easily controlled and their worldview easily managed and molded. They simply cannot seen life in any other context and so they become trapped within a very sick and twisted form of human existence.

    I’ve seen several of Warren’s videos in the past, but this is the first one I’ve shared. I know you’ll enjoy.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      And it’s pervasive!

      Retail results are not (even after correction) worse than ever — they are just less or smaller than ever.

      But less is not worse.

      The implication here is that higher or bigger retail results are…BETTER!!!!

      And to make sure your consumer brain is clean, they constantly wash it…and wash it…and wash it.

    2. Carla

      Well, I don’t know how you “saw” it because it’s not a video. It’s an audio-cast.

  3. abynormal

    re: Categorizing the Poor…concise reminder of how our present will unfold
    let’s bring this baby to the present

    [Homeless] Employment[64]
    44% report having worked in the past week.
    13% have regular jobs.
    50% receive less than $300 per month as income.
    70% work on street corners, pan-handling or prostituting themselves.
    Additionally, a 2010 longitudinal study of homeless men conducted in Birmingham, Alabama found that most of them earned ninety dollars a week on average while working thirty hours a week on average.[65]

    Since the housing market fall out there has been a rise in the number of homeless students. NAEHCY or the National Association for the Education of Homeless for Children and Youth, has reported a 99% increase in homeless students within a three-month period (San Diego).[69]

    Various laws have both directly and indirectly criminalized the homeless[80] and people attempting to feed homeless people outdoors.[81]

    In 2014, the United Nations Human Rights Committee criticized the United States for the criminalization of homelessness, noting that such “cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment” is in violation of international human rights treaty obligations.[82][83][84][85]

    The Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism (CSHE) at California State University, San Bernardino in conjunction with the NCH found that 155 homeless people were killed by non-homeless people in “hate killings”, while 76 people were killed in all the other traditional hate crime homicide categories such as race and religion, combined.[92]

    On March 18, 2013, the New York City Department of Homeless Services reported that the sheltered homeless population consisted of:[154]

    27,844 adults
    20,627 children
    48,471 total individuals

    According to the Coalition for the Homeless, the homeless population of New York rose to an all-time high in 2011. A reported 113,552 people slept in the city’s emergency shelters last year, including over 40,000 children; marking an 8 percent increase from the previous year and a 37 percent increase from 2002. There was also a rise in the number of families relying on shelters, approximately 29,000. That is an increase of 80% from 2002.

    “There is no Them. There are only facets of Us.”

    1. Eclair

      Thanks for putting together those horrifying “numbers,” Aby. We have to remember that each one represents a person … and when it is a tiny person, whose start in life is so grim, I despair for the future of our society.

      I have a young friend who works at SOX, a drop-in center for homeless teens in downtown Denver. He cooks lunch everyday …. for 30 to 60 young people.

      At the Denver Catholic Worker House, the “family guest room” currently houses a family of five – mom, dad and three babies, age three and under. The two-year old is autistic.

      The “couples guest room” will soon become a second family room, when mom-to-be delivers in early July. A donated crib, filled with little pink “onesies” and boxes of diapers, gifts from Sunday’s baby shower, now occupies one corner of tiny room.

      I’ve stopped asking why homelessness exists in the wealthiest society on earth and, each day, do the small bit that I can manage, to make one person’s day more bearable … and to toss a little more grit into the Machine before it grinds us all to dust.

      And, to all of you NC readers and commenters out there who are doing the same … thanks!

      1. abynormal

        Hat Tip for all your hard work Eclair. Unfortunately, working while caring for elders and/or children, friends and extended families doesn’t leave much extra time helping those in the most need. who can standby while a child is in school and starving too? the apt. complex i reside in is offering free lunch sacks to ‘latch key kids’…understand i live within a mile of country club of the south. you know…where all the jocks & rockers hang. they fly their helicopters low all around us…nothing to see here if you don’t know what your looking at.

        1. James Levy

          I’m going to be a squeaky wheel today and harp on what to me is a crime: that our government found 5 billion dollars to pay off Ukrainian politicos and NGO spongers but we have homeless people in every city in the nation, and cold and hungry people in every rural area. The little church in my rural New England town does yeoman’s work taking up collections from parishioners and people in the community to provide food and fuel (oil or wood) for the elderly, but it only goes so far. We don’t have the resources to help everyone. That’s why I am a bit miffed when people talks about reducing governance to localities: some have sufficient resources to help everyone, but many do not. We need state and federal institutions and the collective resources of many areas if we are going to get to everyone who needs help. It’s like disaster relief: someplace has to be outside the disaster zone in order to marshal help for the areas affected. This is the process of reducing inequality and sharing the wealth at its most critical and real. Saying “every city and town for itself” is as bad as saying “every man for himself.”

        2. Eclair

          Aby, I’m fortunate to be at a stage in my life where I have the time and the resources and the inclination to “help” in person. But every person who reads naked capitalism, who can trace the connections between unregulated financial instruments and “lier” loans and corrupt mortgage lenders and foreclosures, is helping. Those of us who don’t turn our faces away from the truth, who worry about this, who discuss it with our friends, who comment here … are helping. The people who refuse to demonize the poor and the homeless, who look a homeless person in the eye and nod “hello,” who believe that it is the system that grinds them down, and not their own carelessness or stupidity, are helping. We each do what we can.

          1. abynormal

            Beautifully woven Eclair. Taking it with me…Thanks for Sharing into the pain.

    2. hunkerdown

      Has anyone ever tried to fight don’t-feed-the-homeless laws with a Citizens United money == speech defense?

  4. Juneau

    Re: motivation interviewing and smoking cessation
    Dr. Healy’s story is scary. Doctor’s will endorse anything to help people quit smoking but it really sounds like Chantix is a bigger hazard than anyone thought.
    For those who want motivational interviewing without meds .gov actually has a great smoking cessation website that seems to incorporate these principles: They have a texting program that incorporates MI principles nicely.

    I am using it right now to quit after an unfortunate relapse and it is pretty helpful. All without medications. There are lots of proprietary and free apps that utilize the same princples without using meds. I am sure there are motivational interviewing apps for the other addictions as well….good stuff.

    1. paul

      Doctor’s will endorse anything to help people quit smoking
      No, they’ll do anything to flog useless NRT patches, gums and drugs.
      I packed in the coffin nails using ecigs two years ago.
      Naturally something as effective as this has to be controlled, so the EU has handed, through ludicrous regulation, the market to big T and big P.
      The main reason why Sweden has the lowest rate of lung cancer,SNUS, has also been banned from the rest of Europe.
      You could be forgiven for thinking that they didn’t really have our best interests at heart.

      1. Ernesto Lyon

        Ivan Illich’s “Medical Nemesis” is a most perceptive skewering of the medical establishment at the practice level. What other profession self-certifies itself, can insist with, legal force, that you buy its products, and has appropriated the right to vanquish any competitors (i.e. “alt health”) to such a degree that it is considered a service to root out and attack quacks (i.e. competitors) on legal and economic grounds?

          1. Ernesto Lyon

            It would be nice for me.

            “Dear client, your website is in great danger, the backend server code is failing fast. The site has, perhaps 3 weeks left in it before it crashes, destroying your business forever more with it. Let me save you, please, if not for you for your family. Do it now.

            Don’t worry about the money, I can bill you.”

    2. Paul Niemi

      I had to quit smoking for a surgery scheduled next week, and I used Chantix. This is day 19 without smoking or any nicotine. There wasn’t time to use patches, and the surgeon wanted all nicotine out of my system. I had to pay for Chantix myself, because my insurance wouldn’t cover it until I had first tried and failed using the patch. Also, I have had to endure the motivational interviewing phone calls from the quit coaches in their boiler room, irremediably cheerful people who care deeply of course. One said to suck on frozen grapes, and that is probably good advice.

      Quitting smoking by itself is risky physically, because nicotine acts in the regulation of bodily processes through the neuro-transmitter hormones, but some people also use smoking to self-medicate psychiatric problems such as anxiety and depression. Those are the people most at risk from Chantix side-effects, according to my doctor: take away the nicotine from these people, and the emotional problems come roaring back.

      I’m already tapering off the Chantix. I also suck Hall’s cough drops during cravings, and the wrappers have these pithy little sayings like “You’ve lived through Tougher” printed on them as words of encouragement. As side-effects I have personally experienced, I have been sleeping more, broken out in pimples, endured unusual lustful and prurient thoughts at times, and have had a frequent screaming need for ice cream.

      1. neo-realist

        Re side-effects, in other words, the tapering off has reduced you to adolescence.

          1. hunkerdown

            There, there. In about a week you’ll have all the nursemaids doting and fussing over you.

      2. curlydan

        Keep up the hard work! As I called “it” when I successfully quit (after a lot of false starts), the devil will tempt you several times each day. Recognize when you’re being tempted and push through those half hour periods.

      3. Skeptic

        I quit smoking twenty-three years ago and was a thirty-two year smoker. I paid $400 to take a course which helped me stop. Sort of a poor man’s Smokenders. Best trick I learned is put a STRONG RUBBER BAND on your wrist. When you want to smoke, snap it so you get a good dose of pain. That will redirect your addictive thoughts. Another technique was called HOT SMOKING, smoke, smoke until the cigarette and your mouth is hot, hot. I used this once to prevent a near relapse after three months. It worked!

        Best story out of the course. Everyone was asked why they were there. One woman said:
        “Well, I had stopped for two years, then I went to my brother’s funeral. There was smoking, so I smoked.” The Moderator simply asked: “After you smoked, was your brother still dead?”

      4. Doug Terpstra

        Good luck, Paul, and remember that that which does not kill you, leaves you crippled, disfigured, and insane.

        I quit that weed about about six years ago. My cure was a book, The Easy Way to Stop Smoking. It was stress-free and permanent (so far), an effective form of self-hypnosis I think, tho the author never used the term. Oddly, tho not tempted, I still like the smell of tobacco, often linger near cigar smokers, so I’m not an obnoxious reformed smoker (like an angry dry drunk (GWB?)). My attitude is “thank you for smoking”, and I have great empathy for smokers because nicotine is such a tenacious, systemic addiction, akin to heroin I’m told (the new national plague thanks to Afghanistan).

        1. plerner2013

          Agree about “The Easy Way to Stop Smoking.” Two weeks of twitches and now an occasional vivid dream of drunken smoking in with old college friends.

      5. Schnormal

        congratulations paul! :) i quit smoking over eight years ago, and two of the things i found quite helpful were:
        1) this website:
        a fantastic source of information. advocates the cold turkey method, which was the only method that ever worked for me. i tried most of the other methods, and most of them worked, but only for a few months. I believe nicotine replacement therapy just postpones the day of reckoning, and on that day your addiction will likely ambush you, because you will have mistakenly thought you had it beat already.
        2) eating pomegranates
        delicious, healthy, low-cal, and just one will keep your hands and mouth busy for an hour. not to mention all those anti-oxidants.
        best of luck for a speedy recovery from your surgery :)

        1. Paul Niemi

          I’m moved by the encouragements here. The commenters on naked capitalism are possessed of immense good will and intelligence. From time to time, it is a good thing for a person to translate intelligent thoughts into intelligent actions, and there is no doubt that quitting smoking is such. At the personal level, it is more than just a physically healthy choice; it is an ego deflation consistent with living a modest life of integrity. Now, next week I shall get an artificial hip, take two months away from work to recover, and have time to read and write some more comments.

  5. diptherio

    File Under: Hidden Economic History

    Black Co-ops Were a Method of Economic Survival`~interview w/ Dr. Jessica Gordon Nembhard

    It’s a bit long, but very informative. And it’s got groovy embedded primary source documents from WEB Du Bois and James Warbasse.

    African Americans, like all other groups, were involved early on in cooperative and collective economic activity. Even when we were enslaved and didn’t own anything, not even our own bodies, we were saving up money, made on the side say from selling a crop that we planted in the back of the slave quarters or from outside work some of the skilled artisans performed, to buy our freedom. We also pooled our savings to help each other.

    So once you bought your freedom, you would save up money to help buy your Mom, or your Dad, or your sister or your brother or your wife. So we were using pooling mechanisms from the very beginning. And then slowly making it more formal through churches and fraternal societies, the mutual aid societies, and then through unions so that by the time that Du Bois did his study in 1907 he had identified 154 co-ops.

    1. Jim Haygood

      ‘We were saving up money … we also pooled our savings.

      Compare today: ‘the bottom 90% massively dis-saved in the decade preceding the crisis.’ — Zucman, slide no. 43

      What happened? Consumerism, for sure. But also, 19th century slaves could be certain that the purchasing power of their hard-won silver coins would not be stolen from them. Not so for us 21st century slaves. Damn the Man!

      1. Alejandro

        I always picture TINA as having a bodacious set of TAAA-TAAA’s (There Are Always Alternatives).
        Once you start challenging one of TINA’s presuppositions that ‘finance’ ‘IS’ the economy, then her cleavage starts showing. COOP’s certainly seem to expose a more honest relation/correlation between ‘finance’ and economies, and which should serve which. They also challenge the notions of “shared sacrifice without shared prosperity”, ‘proportionality/fairness’ and “what’s the purpose of an ‘economy’?”.

        As far as “What happened?”, I would pose ‘what CAN happen going forward?’ From my POV ‘more of the same’ cannot be acceptable.

        1. craazyboy

          But TINA has powerful supporters, whom tell us the alternatives are nothing but toilet paper, not worth staying abreast off, and certainly not for public consumption. Nip the discussion before it starts – life sucks, they tell us – then have a good laugh amongst themselves. bwahahaha.

          1. Alejandro

            …still, once you see some cleavage, can’t help but fantasize…and ponder what’s real and what’s illusory?-while listening to “Honesty” by Billy Joel.…

          2. hunkerdown

            Then you identify them with that du Pont heir and call them child rapists. I mean, if they’re going to tell lies about you that endanger your personal safety and security, why not return the favor?

            TIT (there is too) for TAT (that ain’t true) amirite?

      2. jrs

        And if the 90% HAD saved. Would they have pooled their savings to help each other? Churches and fraternial societies, mutual aid societies, unions? What happened indeed.

    2. Paul Tioxon

      Founded by Rev Leon Sullivan, Opportunities Industrial Corporation has done a lot throughout the world to create economic development. One of his most successful was a real estate development on N Broad St funded by monthly savings of about $10 by each his congregation. They bought the land, brought in Supermarket operator and rented other spaces out to retailers. It recently underwent a major renovation since its humble 1968 opening. It’s the oldest African American owned shopping center.

  6. DakotabornKansan

    “Mr. Modi is a great democrat,” according to the former Omidyar man, writes Mark Ames, Pando.

    I highly recommend reading Vinod Jose’s excellent The Emperor Uncrowned, The Rise of Narendra Modi @

    “It is a tired cliche to call him ‘divisive’, but in fact his lovers and haters share an essentially identical impression of the man and his personality. Both believe Modi possesses an almost absolute authority and a willingness to defy institutions and rules, as a strong and charismatic leader who ‘gets things done’ without concern for protocol or established hierarchies.”

    Jose quotes sociologist and clinical psychologist Ashis Nandy, one of India’s foremost public intellectuals:

    “It left me in no doubt that here was a classic, clinical case of a fascist. I never use the term ‘fascist’ as a term of abuse; to me it is a diagnostic category comprising not only one’s ideological posture but also the personality traits and motivational patterns contextualising the ideology.

    “Modi, it gives me no pleasure to tell the readers, met virtually all the criteria that psychiatrists, psycho-analysts and psychologists had set up after years of empirical work on the authoritarian personality. He had the same mix of puritanical rigidity, narrowing of emotional life, massive use of the ego defence of projection, denial and fear of his own passions combined with fantasies of violence—all set within the matrix of clear paranoid and obsessive personality traits. I still remember the cool, measured tone in which he elaborated a theory of cosmic conspiracy against India that painted every Muslim as a suspected traitor and a potential terrorist.”

    1. tyaresun

      Yves Smith, Dakatoguy, please try to read and learn about India and Indian politics before calling some one the next Pinochet or Hitler, or “Ashis Nandy” one of India’s foremost public intellectuals.

      This is an excellent site doing good work, pronouncements like these decrease your credibility.

      1. OIFVet

        You can help out by posting links to sources that you consider more credible and informed, you know.

        1. abynormal

          obviously he doesn’t know. here’s a 411… slamming the host is an effectual method of proving your own LAZINESS

          get off your @ss Tiresome

          1. OIFVet

            Or of proving one’s troll credentials. I didn’t want to come out and say it, I am trying to be nicer to people, but from what I see comments such as his or hers are pure trolling. A legitimate poster would likely offer a link to support such objections rather than play the concern troll card.

            1. abynormal

              HeY iM NicEer than i use to be…i still sharpen my fangs once in moon. i see so many injustices in everyday life that i can’t hold back sometimes. my kid still won’t go to a grocery store with me…not my fault folks misbehave and hurt others. but there i am and who i am won’t tolerate it.

              as for Yves…i dare not fight her battles but Tiresome insulted the beauty in the flow of information that lights up this place. (plus i haven’t figured out when Yves & Lambert sleep…it can’t good and ive always been concerned with their well being. there i said it.)

      2. diptherio

        I don’t know, that Ashis Nandy guy sounds pretty smart. Here’s a bit of something he wrote that I found on-line:

        Now, to the causes and responses to the decline of secularism. The standard diagnosis preferred by Hindu nationalists is that secularism has failed because, as practised by their political opponents, mainly the Gandhians and the Leftists, secularism has meant the appeasement of minorities. The Hindu nationalists feel that Indian secularism, as a form of state policy, has been constantly biased against the Hindus. Particularly after independence, the kinds of reforms introduced in Hindu society-say, through measures like the Hindu Code Bill-have never been attempted in the case of other religions. What the Hindu nationalists say they want is genuine secularism, as opposed to the pseudo-secularism of most other parties but mainly of the Indian National Congress and the Leninists.

        This might look like unalloyed hypocrisy, but it is also partly a political ploy designed to corner political opponents. One random evidence is that, today, only the Hindu nationalists have been left pleading for a uniform civil code. Almost all other mainstream parties oppose it. India must be the only country in the world where the ethnonationalists plead for a uniform civil code, their opponents oppose it. But then India is the only country where the ruling party, the Bharatiya Janata Party, leading what some might call the world’s largest fundamentalist formation, can boast that all its founding-fathers (Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, Keshav Hegdewar and Balakrishna Munje) were non-believers. Only about thirty years after its establishment could the RSS find a believing Hindu to head it in Madhav Sadashiv Golwalkar. Indeed, the Bible of the formation, Hindutva by Savarkar, explicitly flaunts its author’s atheism. Nor has the BJP and its main ideological allies ever rejected secularism. (Frankly, that itself should have made at least some thinkers suspicious of the concept.) The policies and actions of the Hindu nationalists may often have not been secular, but a part of their soul has always been. Nathuram Godse’s last testament in court, in which in a number of places he accuses Gandhi of flouting the canons of secular statecraft, is an example. The opponents of the Sangh Parivar, not finding any intellectual meaningful response to these anomalies, pretend as if they do not exist or paper over them with the help of trendy, imported theories of fundamentalism and religious extremism.

        The other diagnosis of the failure of secularism, ventured by many liberals, finds voice in the belief that secularism would have flowered in India but for recalcitrant, nasty politicians and a biased law and order machinery. The usual solution to the problem, offered by those who venture this diagnosis-from Mushirul Hasan to Praful Bidwai-is that if these ungodly elements in the administration and policy élite can be eliminated, secularism would work perfectly well and in its pristine form.

        Personally, I would love to agree with this diagnosis. I am only dirty-minded enough to suspect the premise that, after an adequate amount of exhortations from academic pulpits, South Asian politicians, police and militia will suddenly change their stripes and, like some of the characters in popular Bombay films, have a spectacular change of heart and begin to behave like obedient school boys. To expect politicians to jeopardise their political survival or the coercive apparatus of the state not to play footsy with politicians is like expecting academics to ignore the latest intellectual fashions and to be propelled only by the lure of de-ideologised empirical truths. Nor do I see the urban middle-class movements going very far by themselves.

        Thirdly, there is a variation on the second position that claims that the Indian state and a sizeable section of its functionaries have never wholeheartedly implemented secular policies and they have never been entirely secular. They have made compromises all the way. For instance, instead of being irreligious, they have tried to get away with equal respect for all religions. This was bound to lead to disaster sometime or other, and we face that disaster today. Once again, I wish I could sympathise with this formulation. My belief is that states in South Asia usually muddle through a series of crises on a day-to-day basis. The kind of agency and coherence often imputed to these impersonal entities is usually a projection of our own inner needs and anthropomorphic fantasies; such feel-good attributions are a tribute to our trusting nature rather than to our political acumen. State-formation and nation-building have been criminal enterprises everywhere in the world and Rudolph J. Rummell’s data show that in the twentieth century, of the more than 200 million killed by fellow human beings in genocides and democides, roughly 169 million were killed by their own governments, whereas about 8 million were killed in religious violence. To trust the modern state to ensure religious tolerance is a form of innocence that the existential psychoanalyst, Rollo May, would have certainly found ‘inauthentic’.

  7. Carolinian

    Very interesting–above my pay grade to say great–Stockman article. On a local level I can report that stores such as Best Buy and Sears have a decidedly tumbleweeds feel to them. Wal-Mart–bete noire of my fellow liberals–often seems understaffed. Thus fewer employees to be abused by greedy Walton heirs but the long checkout lines are annoying.

    Discount grocery store Aldi is doing great guns as it always has. However even broke people have to eat and Aldi’s prices crush the opposition (including Wal-Mart grocery….a myth that Wal-Mart has no competitors). The Aldi people tell me they do best at the beginning of the month when the EBTs come in.

    So in short Stockman article sounds pretty true from this middle America perspective. Retailmageddon looms?

    1. curlydan

      Aldi seems like a pretty cool store run by German retail/grocery masters. It likely bucks a few of the trends Stockman mentions. It has low square footage, appears to pay its employees decently, and is closed on holidays. The quality is pretty good, too–try their string cheese: 1000% better and cheaper than the rubber version sold by Kraft. And where else can you buy avocados in the Midwest for $0.25 apiece in January?

      P.S. Stockman’s claim that Walgreens has 40K locations seems a little odd. They say that they have 8K:

      1. hunkerdown

        Aldi has successfully reimagined the cash-and-carry as a discount retail outlet, primarily taking after the Payless ShoeSource model: a “popular selection” of staple and ready-to-eat foods and other seasonal goods, almost exclusively private-label, of consistent high quality and no frills, stocked by the pallet or case, sold by the each at near-wholesale prices, with the occasional name-brand special buy.

        When did “discount” become a swear word?

    2. craazyboy

      I think you can add restaurants to the hugely overbuilt list too. I couldn’t believe all of them we got (including fast food) back in pre-crash times. We did have some casualties post crash. Just in my little area a Friday’s, Black Angus, Big Fat Greek, and my favorite chinese buffet all bit the dust and sit there empty. But then we got a new McD’s and Taco Bell!

      Been waiting for the return of the lunch pail.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Seems to me there are way too many Chinese restaurants around here…may have something to do with get a greed card???

        1. craazyboy

          This one was family owned and all seemed to be Asian immigrants of some sort. The other places around here, and most I’ve been to in S. Cal too, were all Mexican in the kitchen.

          1. craazyboy

            Except the ones in Little Saigon (OC). They had the best Mongolian BBQ buffet you could imagine. Had you own personal hibachi grill built into your dining table.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        If my brother doesn’t kill the plants, I will be buying fewer tomatoes this summer.

          1. OIFVet

            Oh, the Black Crimean is absolutely delicious. I grow them every year, except I prefer to use my own seeds. Also recommend the Buffalo Heart pinks.

            1. Optimader

              As do i vet, thats just a link esssplaying what they are. Perfect flavor, acidity, delicate meat. Great w/ purple basil and balsamic v reduction…harvested my first basil today

              Dont let your brother mess with your fruit…

            2. Carla

              When you need a little candy in the garden, Sungold cherry tomatoes are the BEST. Accept no substitutes.

        1. optimader

          also planted at least a couple hundred heirloom garlic seeds last fall, fantastic garlic some one gave me two years ago.. Let a bunch go to seed last year and tossed the seed around on a patch.. They are coming up like grass

          1. hunkerdown

            To hell with Phalaris spp. People should grow garlic lawns instead, not least because mowing is delicious instead of a potential anaphylactic emergency.

  8. Banger

    Re: Moon Over Alabama piece about Ukraine

    America’s general foreign policy is somewhat strange because it is a hybrid of two impulses. The first is to create a reasonable and stable world-system that features the famous Pax Americana that, theoretically, enables global prosperity; and the second is to ruthlessly serve the interests of a voracious and vicious national security-industrial complex that demands political instability and war for profit. In recent years the latter has taken over fueled, in part, by fanatical neoconservatives who believe world empire is the mystical destiny of the U.S. and are, and disorder is the only thing that can break down not just countries but cultures. If you can, for example, destroy from outside and inside, Islamic culture then eventually those people will come to the radical materialism that can make everyone a follower of the American Dream.

    Ukraine in particular and Europe in general is now the field of battle–Europeans must understand that they have to stop relying on and trusting the U.S. and their puppets in Europe.

    1. hunkerdown

      How does one destroy radical materialism from the inside, then? According to the Tarot, after the Devil has run its course, the Tower… Maybe there’s a better way than “collapse early and beat the rush”, not that it’s bad advice even under the best of conditions.

      1. craazyboy

        I think it may have collapsed, at least a bit already. I don’t quite believe that the average citizen is a compulsive buying consumer monster, but we do get an unusually heavy barrage of advertising, and some people just can’t help eventually believing all this stuff is in a normal life.

        So the moans we are hearing from retail these past years is the the old “shopping is a form of recreation” thing may be ending. Get a gym membership and reduce your gluteus maximus growth rate instead!

        Had to laugh watching free Hulu TV the past couple days. One night, during a 1 hour TV episode, I was subjecting to the same commercial 4 times pumping a Mercedes “starting at $51K”. A couple days later during another 1 hr episode I was enticed to buy a JagUar 4 times – but they did not speak of the price.

        I spent a little time wondering whom the demographic is that watches free Hulu TV and also buys Mercedes and JagUars. Then I was a little miffed when I thought some ad exec gets paid for doing that. Then I reminded myself my TV is free.

  9. rich

    Fed’s Junk-Loan Caution Spurs Creative Accounting Alchemy

    Lenders are increasingly allowing junk-rated borrowers to adjust their earnings to make them look more creditworthy as U.S. regulators increase pressure on banks to refrain from underwriting too-risky deals.

    Such tweaks, which are permissible under more and more credit agreements, can help companies stay in compliance with their loan terms or to raise debt.

    More than half of loans this year for issuers backed by private-equity firms allow them to boost earnings by an unlimited amount through projected cost savings from acquisitions and “any other action contemplated by the borrower,” said Vince Pisano, an analyst at Xtract Research LLC, citing a sample he’s reviewed.

    Riskier borrowers may have more incentive to show better financial metrics because the Federal Reserve and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency are increasing pressure on banks to adhere to underwriting criteria they laid out last year amid concern that the market is getting frothy. Issuers such as Thoma Bravo LLC’s TravelClick Inc. have used adjustments, called add-backs, to raise earnings and decrease leverage when seeking funding.

    With banks trying to fit their deals into the regulatory guidelines, investors have to be more diligent in determining “what is real versus what is accounting” gimmicks, said Beth MacLean, who manages $14 billion in loans at Newport Beach, California-based Pacific Investment Management Co.

    Deteriorating Standards

    Todd Vermilyea, a Fed regulator, said May 13 that standards “have continued to deteriorate in 2014” and that “stronger supervisory action” may be needed.

    Loan agreements have “dramatically weakened” and it’s easier than ever for borrowers to boost earnings in more ways than investors may realize, including “extremely speculative” cost savings, said Xtract’s Pisano, who is based in Westport, Connecticut. Those that do cap add-backs limit them to about 25 percent of Ebitda, up from 15 percent a year ago, he said.

    1. craazyboy

      Yes, well, you can borrow money if you promise to do an acquisition and lay everyone off? Whocouldanode?

  10. fresno dan

    Another critique of a critic of Greenwald’s book. Do “liberals” protect themselves with the cloak of moderate by accepting the security state, or do they think the 4th amendment is a trivial right?
    It is of course the basic inconsistency of political branding that “conservatives” do not believe that government is competent and should have the power at anything except the police, NSA, and getting involved in military adventures. “Liberals” used to believe in the power and competence of government EXCEPT the police, NSA, and the military adventures. Maybe the moderate liberals have decided to be consistent?

    Packer is best understood by beginning here:
    Snowden is a libertarian whose distrust of institutions and hostility to any intrusion on personal autonomy place him beyond the sphere in American politics where left and right are relevant categories. A temperament as much as a philosophy, libertarianism is often on the verge of rejecting politics itself, with its dissatisfying but necessary trade-offs; it tends toward absolutist positions, which grow best in the mental equivalent of a hermetic laboratory environment. Libertarianism has become practically the default position of young people who work in technology, especially the most precocious among them.

    He adds that Greenwald shares this political outlook, “though not completely.”

    Set aside arguments about the nature of libertarianism. There’s something else I find extraordinary about that passage. Consider the United States since September 11, 2001. In this era, when you think of ideologues who verge on rejecting politics, take absolutist positions*, and operate in a sealed-off environment, do you think of the ideology that gave birth to the Iraq War, torture, classified law, indefinite detention, kill lists, and secret warrantless wiretapping? Do you think of Dick Cheney, David Addington, John Yoo, John Brennan, and James Clapper? I do. But George Packer thinks of libertarianism! And he thinks of Snowden and of Greenwald, one of the most consistent voices opposing the idea that the national-security state ought to operate unilaterally, in secret, beyond politics.

    The biggest factual error in that Packer passage is the suggestion that Snowden, Greenwald and other NSA critics object to “any intrusion on personal autonomy.” Snowden and Greenwald, and NSA critics like me, are perfectly fine with federal surveillance that intrudes on the autonomy and privacy of individual Americans, so long as the government obtains an individualized warrant from a judge based upon probable cause indicating that the target is engaged in criminality.

    Adherence to the plain text of the Fourth Amendment is all the NSA’s critics are demanding, not a radical transformation of the principles that govern life in America. That’s why NSA critics tend to invoke the Framers, the Bill of Rights, the Church Committee, and the widely accepted notion that Americans have a right to privacy—rather than some manifesto setting forth a new paradigm for a utopian future.

    *remember “your either for us or against us”

    1. Banger

      Well said.

      It is also essential to add a few things: 1) history–just what is the history of the national security state and the whole area of covert operations–just what have these people been up to since the end of WWII? 2) politics–I suggest that the most secret political hierarchies have a certain political advantage in any series of power plays within the bureaucracy has a certain competitive advantage in the struggle for power in the Byzantine court of Washington. Even if you knew nothing of history you would have to assume that the top of the heap would, if you believe in systems theory, would consist of the intel agencies and/or their contractors.

      1. James Levy

        Hey, I’ve written pretty scathing things about Libertarianism here at NC, but a man or woman’s politics are irrelevant to their actions. What Packer is doing is willfully changing the subject. He’s avoiding government illegality and maleficence so he can do a hatched job of the messengers without addressing the message. It’s sleazy. If Glen Beck got up and said “The 4th Amendment counts; this kind of blanket surveillance is unacceptable” I’d say, “yes, on this we agree–good for you.” But that’s because a bunch of us around here are interested in principles, not labels. If a thing is wrong, it’s wrong.

      1. jrs

        Packer’s really just competing to be the new David Brooks (in fact even borrows “arguments” if they can be called that – because I recall a David Brook’s piece exactly like that).

  11. run75441

    The State of Michigan has seen fit to cut college funding which was as high as 57% to a low of ~20% which in turn has been forced upon students and their parents in a time of stagnating income for most households. At the same time, many of these nonprofit institutes have seen fit to spend their budgeted funds year after year without regard for what it brings to the sole point of their goal of educating students. Increasing state funding back to what it was and increasing the size and availability of loans is little more than pouring gasoline on the fires of college education as there is no or little incentive to be efficient save or reduce costs. The ratio of administrative personnel to teaching faculty is ~3 to 1 having risen significantly since 1990. Along with that increase are the benefit packages and salaries. At one institute, 353 people earned more than $200,000 a year (2012) which is up 57% in inflation-adjusted 2001 $. Amongst this cohort making $200,000-plus, 81 in 2012 had administrative titles as opposed to 39 in 2001. Amongst administrators making over $300,000 in inflation-adjusted dollars, the numbers rose to 17 from seven. Why, why are they needed.

    One initial step to begin to assign responsibility for cost was made in the availability of student Federal Loans to colleges as being measured by the ratio of student defaults. A college falling below a certain ratio would see that pool of Federal Loan funds dry up. And yes Pell Grants have been stagnant; but, I would look to Congress on that issue. Interest rates also matter when those students hoping to be advanced engineers, scientists or researchers needing masters or doctorates suddenly are looking at 9.5-10.5% caps.

    While the Pres efforts appear to not be enough it is a start to slow down the college cost and student loan runaway train of education.

  12. abynormal

    When the NSA surveillance news broke last year it sent shockwaves through CERN, the particle physics laboratory in Switzerland. Andy Yen, a PhD student, took to the Young at CERN Facebook
    group with a simple message: “I am very concerned about the privacy issue, and I was wondering what I could do about it.”

    There was a massive response, and of the 40 or so active in the discussion, six started meeting at CERN’s Restaurant Number 1, pooling their deep knowledge of computing and physics to found ProtonMail
    , a gmail-like email system which uses end-to-end encryption, making it impossible for outside parties to monitor.

    Encrypted emails have actually been around since the 1980s, but they are extremely difficult to use. When Edward Snowden asked a reporter to use an end-to-end encrypted email to share details of the NSA surveillance program the reporter couldn’t get the system to work, says Yen.

    “We encrypt the data on the browser before it comes to the server,” he explains. “By the time the data comes to the server it’s already encrypted, so if someone comes to us and says we’d like to read the emails of this person, all we can say is we have the encrypted data but we’re sorry we don’t have the encryption key and we can’t give you the encryption key.”

    ~“[I]n a place with absolutely no private or personal life, with the incessant worship of a mediocre career-sadist as the only culture, where all citizens are the permanent property of the state, the highest form of pointlessness has been achieved.” ~ Hitchens/Hitch 22

    1. fresno dan

      I am sure at some point in the future (or probably now, but its probably classified) the use of such a system will be illegal, and evidence of smoking, terrorism, and child molestation if you use such a system
      NSA: all your info belong to us

  13. Jim Haygood

    Treasuries rallied big today. The 10-year yield sank to 2.44%.

    Did someone get a tip that tomorrow’s 1Q GDP update is going negative (down from 0.1% in last month’s flash report)?

    If so, tomorrow it may be stocks’ turn, since a negative GDP print would mean that J-yel can’t hike rates till the next ice age (which is closed than people think, but that’s a whole ‘nother story).

  14. annie

    seems public editor sullivan is being extremely gutsy in all-out criticizing a fellow times editor. as lambert points out the book review is its own fiefdom–though it’s obviously meant to be. under tanenhaus it became neocon book review central, leon wieseltier pit bull of choice (kinsley yappy puppy in comparison). since the nybr is unreadable (mcgrath merely put everyone to sleep), it can call attention to itself with anti-left provocations like kinsley’s or wieseltier’s. this pamela paul, whose self-defense is none at all, knows her function.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Big Brother Murphy – anything that can go wrong or get abused will…

      Big Brother Murphy’s Law.

      And he’s got many enforcement buddies.

  15. Abe, NYC

    Re “Ukraine Faces Hurdles in Restoring Its Farming Legacy”

    I admittedly don’t know much about either Russian or Ukrainian farming. However, my understanding is that agriculture reform is the one thing that Russia has done pretty well, turning itself from a grains importer – it had been since about 1960 – into one of the largest exporters (apparently climate change also helped). Pity to see Ukraine’s agriculture in such a disarray. On the positive side, you can buy excellent quality Ukrainian sunflower oil at Trader Joe’s.

  16. p78
    Lady Lynn Forester de Rothschild, who co-hosted yesterday’s conference [on Inclusive Capitalism co-hosted by the City of London Corporation and EL Rothschild investment firm], told the NY Observer why she was concerned: “I think that a lot of kids have neither money nor hope, and that’s really bad. Because then they’re going to get mad at America. What our hope for this initiative, is that through all the efforts of all of the decent CEOs, all the decent kids without a job feel optimistic.”

    1. OIFVet

      Her ladyship is very perceptive! I wonder how high a note she can hit if a decent’ optimistic kid without a job aims a couple of good kicks at her ladyship’s rear end?

  17. JTFaraday

    Re: “CATEGORISING THE POOR” Frances Coppola, Pieria. “Today’s must read.”

    Thanks also for linking to “The Case for Reparations” the other day, (and which I belatedly read today). While about making “a case for reparations,” it is also another post that, like Coppola’s only in more detail, takes a look at the rapacious public policy that has typically been devised for systematically vilified populations:

    Interesting that D-Party House Organ, the American Prospect, essentially responds to this by openly stating that such systematic vilification is indeed an acceptable excuse for rapacious public policy. From the Kuttner link above:

    “When the housing bubble turned into a bust, poor neighborhoods, black and Latino communities, took the worst hit. Two generations of painstaking accumulation of black home equity wealth were all but wiped out…

    Black Chicago was particularly hard hit by the mortgage wipe-out. The pioneering inner-city financial institution that helped blacks become homeowners, ShoreBank, was another needless casualty of the crisis. ShoreBank did not go in for subprime, and did everything it could to help subprime’s victims. Yet at the very moment the administration was advancing hundreds of billions to Wall Street, it refused even $100 million help to ShoreBank…

    ShoreBank operated in the very neighborhoods where the young Barack Obama was a community organizer, the same communities where blacks could not get mortgages at all in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s.

    What are we to make of this? Was Obama so closely allied with Wall Street that he turned his back on his own people?

    …I’ve been very critical of Obama and I think his administration’s handling of mortgage relief was a disgrace, but I will offer a more charitable interpretation of why the administration turned its back on the victims of the mortgage bust. Race is still such a divisive issue that America’s first black president did not dare to look as if he was extending special help to blacks.

    That’s his failure, but more deeply it’s America’s failure.”

    I don’t know, Bro. Somebody in America is certainly succeeding. I don’t think running interference for Obama running interference for those who systematically defrauded home buyers, certain investors, and the US public before tanking the economy as a whole is really the way to go. At some point, you become an accessory to the crime yourself.

    I thought this article in Chicago magazine, “How Housing Discrimination Created the Idea of Whiteness,” more usefully continues the cultural conversation Ta-Nahesi Coates says he wants to have:

  18. OIFVet

    Mary Todd Lincoln: “I heard the report, discussed at the table this morning, by persons who did not know, who was near, a party of gentlemen, evidently strong Republicans, they were laughing at the idea of Judd, being any way, connected with the Cabinet in these times, when honesty in high places is so important. Mr. Lincoln’s great attachment for you, is my present reason for writing. I know, a word from you, will have much effect, for the good of the country, and Mr Lincoln’s future reputation, I believe you will speak to him on this subject & urge him not to give him so responsible a place. It is strange, how little delicacy those Chicago men have.” If only Michelle Obama would have warned Obama’s advisors to nix the appointments of indelicate Chicago men such as the Axelrods, the Emanuels, and the Duncans in these times when honesty in high places is so important. Then again that would have disqualified her husband’s own nomination…

Comments are closed.