Links 5/5/15

Sales of grey hair dye soar as youngsters ape George Clooney Telegraph

The Questions People Asked Advice Columnists in the 1690s The Atlantic

Dissenting Statement in the Matter of Deutsche Bank AG, Regarding WKSI Kara M. Stein, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission

Fed to Give Panel Names of Staffers WSJ

Exclusive: Credit Suisse dropped SEC waiver request amid opposition – sources Reuters

HSBC Should Move to Hong Kong ASAP Bloomberg

U.S. Banks Expect Rise in Energy-Sector Loan Defaults WSJ

Einhorn targets US ‘frack addicts’ FT. Famed short seller.

China factory index shows fastest deterioration in a year Asian Correspondent

China migration: At the turning point FT

China announces it is scoring its citizens using big data mathbabe

Exclusive: KKR merges teams after more leaders step down Reuters

Latest Victim of California’s Drought: Water Bonds WSJ


IMF takes hard line on aid as Greek surplus turns to deficit FT. On this story, from the well-connected “Peter Spiegel in Brussels,” Yves remarks:

1. This is clearly a plant.

2. It comes way after the event. It concerns the Riga meeting on the 24th. So why is the IMF letting this out of the bag at this late juncture?

3. If the IMF were serious, this would absolutely kill any deal. You can’t introduce such a big disruptive condition this late in the game and not expect it to set the negotiating process way way back.

4. However, the EU members all have votes at the IMF. So it’s hard to see how this position is not more than bluster.

5. So what is this about? Is the IMF of the view that there will be no deal (as in they aren’t budging and Greece seems unlikely to capitulate) so it’s going to shift blame for the program failure to the Eurogroup for failing to cut debt levels as it had agreed to do? Or is it to get the word out (which one would think would have leaked out on its own already but didn’t) that Greece is now running a big primary deficit (1.5%) so as to give the ECB cover for being tough to Greece when it meets to decide whether or not to tighten the rules on collateral haircuts for Greek bank use of the ELA? Or is it to shift blame to the Greeks for not letting the Troika monitors in earlier (as in Greece has been maintaining it has a primary surplus and even reported that officially when the IMF begs to differ)?

6. Notice also the Mafia tactic slipped in: Making a worse offer to a party that refused a better offer. The February Eurogroup had language about the primary surplus targets for 2015 and 2016 that said (roughly) that they’d be reassessed in light of current conditions. That was widely seen as being Greek favorable and signaling that the target for 2015 would not only be lowered from the generally-seen-as-insane 3% primary surplus but might even be lowered from its current level of 1.5% to 1% or lower. Notice that the IMF through Spiegel reaffirms the 3% target for 2015 that most observers had thought was a dead letter.

This article may have been planted to reaffirm the position that the IMF took in Riga, to say it was not kidding, but that still leaves all the issues in 2-6 in play.

Yves doesn’t want to post on the above because there are “too many rabbit holes,” so it makes sense to wait for reactions in the European press. Readers?

Greece April Manufacturing PMI Falls To 22-Month Low RTT News

Greece’s Firebrand Finance Minister Deserves to Be Heard Mohamed El-Erian, Bloomberg

Greek deputy PM set for talks with ECB president Irish Times. Pensions, labor reforms.

ECB’s Constancio ‘convinced worst-case Greek scenario’ will be avoided – newspaper Reuters

Greece’s undeclared domestic default takes hold BBC

Russia signs up to $100 bn BRICS fund to rival IMF Hurriyet Daily News

The Case That Blew the Lid Off the World Bank’s Secret Courts Truth-Out

Black Injustice Tipping Point

In a Sea Change, Republicans See Baltimore as a Story of Poverty, Not Crime Bloomberg

Multiple Causes Seen for Baltimore Unrest Pew Research. “Unrest” is a vague term that conflates protest, riots, and police violence.

Negative View of U.S. Race Relations Grows, Poll Finds New York Times. And: “Most Americans, 61 percent, say the unrest after Mr. Gray’s death was not justified. That includes 64 percent of whites and 57 percent of blacks.” “Unrest” again.

U.S. Split Along Racial Lines on Backlash Against Police, Poll Finds Wall Street Journal

Federal monitor keeps Oakland police in compliance on most reforms Inside Bay Area News

How Not to Drown in Numbers NYT

UK Election

Episode 17: Avoiding the Electorate LRB

UK election: it was mediamacro wot won it mainly macro

Ed Miliband warns that NHS faces financial bombshell Guardian

Election will determine the direction of Britain’s fractured political system WaPo


What The Clintons Teach Us About Brand Architecture Medium

Chris Christie Vetoes Anti-Corruption Law To Limit Wall Street Campaign Cash International Business Times

The Corruption of Bipartisanship The Atlantic

Bipartisan irritation with Reid’s plan to block trade deals Politico. With horse-trading on infrastructure and PATRIOT Act.

Corinthian Colleges Secretly Funded D.C. Think Tanks, Dark Money Election Efforts The Intercept

Keeping The Republic FDL. On Lessig’s Mayday PAC efforts.

Quadratic Voting SSRN (via Eric Posner, Kirkland and Ellis Distinguished Service Professor, University of Chicago Law School. So all a question of who he’s servicing, eh?)

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Liberals, conservatives unite vs. NSA spying Politico

DHS Scales Back License Plate-Tracking Surveillance Now in only 25 states!

The Day After LRB. “[T]he IDF’s working assumption was that once the leaflets were dropped, anyone who refused to move was a legitimate target.” Worked great for us in Vietnam. Oh, wait….

Russian Missile Sale to Iran Involves Unseen Deals With Israel Bloomberg

Paul Gigot of The Wall Street Journal named new Pulitzer Prize Board Chair The inmate in charge of the asylum.

‘Fast and Furious’: Has America’s basic building block become the posse? Reuters. The hero is called “Dom”? Really? Does Dom have a sidekick named “Sub”?

The War Nerd: Escape From East Timor (Part One) Pando Daily. Some days I think the world was created by Kafka. Other days, by Hunter S. Thompson.

Pressing questions after human trafficking grave found in southern Thailand Asian Correspondent

“Game of Thrones” has made mead super hip Quartz

The Death of the Internet: A Pre-Mortem The Archdruid Report

Antidote du jour:


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. kj1313

    Jeez when did the commenters on the WSJ become full of nutjobs. God forbid we talk intelligibly about race in America. Clarence Barron must be rolling over in his grave.

      1. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®©

        The editorial page for the WSJ has always been toilet paper, even before Murdoch infected it.
        (Murdoch did drag down the straight news portion with his reverse-Midas touch.)

        1. JoeK

          With apologies to Max Reger: I’m sitting in the smallest room in my house, with the WSJ in front of me. In a moment, it will be behind me!

    1. hunkerdown

      Lie down with Murdochs, get up with however many paid nutjobs he has in a room at Bob Jones U or wherever.

  2. skippy

    For some silly reason I get the feeling that part of the Greece problem is the other side of the table is aghast and mortified at those sitting opposite…. the nerve of having to deal with law clerks as peers when one has obtained the rank of QC.

    Skippy…. an obvious affront and dealing in bad faith therein of

  3. Santi

    Re: “the IMF plant”:
    Schaüble has denied it, so I guess the plant was aimed at him, who has been very much opposed to debt cuts. It might also be aimed to the ECB: the biggest repayment faced by Greece this year is the old Bonds that the ECB bought, and did not got a haircut back then, for “rules” reasons. The ECB rules forbid them to take a cut, but the Greeks complain, rightly, why this debt that the ECB had bought in the markets was exempted from a haircut on the rest of the debt. This whole affair might be a shifting of blames about who takes the debt cut in the negotiations.
    Very foggy, but it looks like we are seeing movement soon…

    1. Santi

      This news from Greek government sources (France Presse) seem to indicate that “the plant” is the seed of a way to break the negotiation impasse: Greeks say the IMF insists in reforms, while the EG insists no debt reduction and is more flexible; therefore: “the Greek government has decided not to advance legislation on the reforms before an agreement” with the EU and IMF”

      This means: first you unleash liquidity and give me the remains of the bailout, then we will start serious talking about those hard reforms you want me to legislate…

      I guess next step for Greece is to delay payment tomorrow, between those “growing concerns about the Greek government’s ability to repay the one billion euros it owes to the IMF in two payments this week and next.”

      1. Yves Smith

        Aiee, no!

        First, the IMF team is Europe is very seasoned and is known for being particularly ruthless. The IMF has no interest in “breaking the negotiating impasse”. The IMF is running programs all over the world and is completely unwilling to cut Greece any slack on structural reforms. That is where the sticking point is. The issue of debt writedowns has NOTHING to do with that.

        Second, introducing a new set of issues, and one that pits the creditors against each other, is sure to derail negotiations that are already not going well (note we point out that we doubt that this IMF issue will be taken seriously, since the European member-states are all voting member and thus could get this notion killed at more senior levels). Even in negotiations that were going well, bringing up a huge set of new issues like this at a late juncture would be a huge monkey wrench and would at best substantially delay coming to a resolution. Given that Greece is almost certain to default on May 12 if they don’t get bailout money on May 11 authorized by the Eurogroup, this gambit looks like either a. an effort to make absolutely 100% sure there is no deal and/or b. some some of political maneuver (to shift blame? to give cover to the ECB for tightening collateral requirement?)

  4. MikeNY

    Re: Republican sea-change on Baltimore.

    The Koch Brothers are also supporting legal system reform, particularly, modification or elimination of automatic sentences for drug offenses. Strange bedfellows…

    I always find it sadly ironic when politicians wax sententiously on discovering ‘the dignity of work’ but then refuse to endorse even the smallest increase in starting wages. What dignity is there, really, in flipping burgers or stocking the diaper aisle for $7.75 / hour, when you’re 40 years old?

    1. Brooklin Bridge

      You can be sure that this “sea change” involves privitization of schools using public funds. Look for politicians to broadcast the blame-the-victim meme that “Education” is the way out of poverty (as if that will make job opportunities magically appear when they are specifically absent for the purpose of labor abuse). Once this fails (it will not be architected to solve any thing – simply to move tax monies to private donors in the ed. racket) the students in question can sink or swim, though based on the assumption they will fail, i.e. no jobs is a feature not a bug, an added bonus to the elite will be the implication that the poor are hopeless.

      1. abynormal

        chosen denial from the elite of any class can motivate the hopeless…good or bad it won’t be indifferent.

        true story: 2 wks ago a young woman was having her hair done for prom night…mom standing by was so proud. mom parades phone pics of daughter’s prom dress, eyes bulged and someone had to know the dress price, mommy replied ‘just under $2000.00’. conversation turns to college and dorm room decor. bored but suspicious i asked what school…mom AND daughter proudly blurted Kennesaw State. then my eyes bulged…KS is 30min. from their home.
        the hopeless will gain traction off the tender backs of the delusional… the longer it takes the bloodier.

        All things are subject to interpretation. Whichever interpretation prevails at a given time is a function of power and not truth. Nietzsche

        1. MikeNY

          Luvs me sum FN. Somewhere else he says:

          ‘No, facts are precisely what there is not; there is only the interpretation of facts.’

          Which I think is the motto of today’s English and Comp Lit departments… ;-)

        2. Massinissa

          I dont understand. Whats wrong with Kennessaw state or local colleges? Ive always thought the more expensive schools were scams.

          1. James Levy

            I think it’s the money on the dorm room when the school is so close to home. That’s a huge expenditure if it is not necessary.

            1. abynormal

              that be the point James.

              when my sister was 23 she got her CPA in 2.5yrs at KC…while raising a 3yro and her too young husband. oh…and she was a high school dropout!
              oh and she was 3 credits from an econ major. KC finance & business professors had it goin’ on back then…not sure about today but i got the feeling the young girl in my story wasn’t too into struggle…yet.

        3. skippy

          That’s nothing aby…

          Oldest daughters senior prom… chortle…

          Firstly she bought a pair of YSL shoes with prom in mind [on sale – savvy – down from 1200] months before. Now a couple of months later finds Zimmerman’s dress [under a G which is better than last years Camilla – over a G], tho now we have a shoe drama. So now its back to shoe shopping, wellie that ended with a pair of aquazzura shoes which cost more than the dress and are ex Italy [noone carry’s color and size in the southern hemisphere {shipping anxiety due to prom date proximity} – savvy is taking a beating].

          Now on the day of prom mom had to take off work in order pick up daughter early from school, so she could take her to bling city hair salon for blow and curl and race back home through Friday CBD traffic.

          Then we got hit with this – Caboolture had received 333mm of rain since 9am, and 277mm fell within a three-hour period.

          “Having spoken to the Bureau of Meteorology, for them this is off the scale,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

          Anywho wife and daughter made it home before the worst hit and after posing session photos at home for posterity and the old’s, wife and both daughters embark back out into the maelstrom, need to go back towards the city and river to drop her off at friends pre party [swank address Bulimba] with most roads near friends house inundated or completely flooded necessitating alternative routes [mad ambo driving skillz].

          Wait it gets better… Friends dad catered and decorated for the pre event for 15 girls + parents w/ 10 bottles of Veuve Vintage [girl did have to send dad out for another 30 – tightwad and all]. Now the stretch Humvee that was originally tasked with the mission of transporting them, to the golf club venue for the prom, had some problem necessitating the dispatch of two regular Humvee limos [all is well]. In an act of solidarity the dad though it would be fantastic to throw a few bottles in the limo, with his daughter and friends, to charge them up for the epic journey through the storm [my daughters limo must have been the dry state].

          Long rambling conclusion…. the girls in the wet bar limo all got kicked out of the prom not a half an hour after arrival, having parents called for collection. This pogrom even went after my daughter [she hates alcohol and drugs] and others with in her social group that were dead sober [guilt by association].

          Skippy…. The suspensions and one expelled after parent / principle conference went Greece is another story in its self…. one dad proclaimed… “I don’t need this shit… I have a meeting to be at – [!!!!!!!]” to the principle, after daughter called both parents and principle A-Holes [said girl has in the last few months crashed her C200 3 times [written off on the last encounter] and 2 times with the old family 4X4 Land Cruiser [written off last time] and still on P Plates. Duty to the Future [~~~~~~~~].

          PS. My girl won’t talk to me because I blew her up over a speeding fine [2Klm over the limit] on her learners, I was in the front seat telling her to slow down and there’s a speed camera van right up the road. Her retort…. I am slowing down….

          PS…. Kill me aby…. or a drive by lobotomy would be nice~

          1. abynormal

            dear Skippy…thanks for the tears from laughter!
            2 daughters=double the fun. you’ll remain in my heart heheehee

            She gives your son a lobotomy, and that’s okay. Then she’s mean to your dog and you get a divorce?” Howard Dully, My Lobotomy
            …Skips, ya got a dog:-/

            1. skippy

              Yeah aby 2 little house dogs and a cat… tho not making any claims of property sort of negates that dog divorce drama.

              Skippy…. divorce your dreaming…. tho epic OCD which has now manifested as Cricopharyngeal Spasming w/ Sensory neuropathic cough (SNC) is setting my teeth on edge….

  5. Cassandra

    Re IMF and “the plant”.
    I have no idea how this is to play out, but I guess the IMF wants his money back – and Greece does not have it (and no will to reform, which could serve as a pretence for more money). However, any debt restructuring – none of the EZ politicians can afford to “book” losses in the ten’s of billions this year (or at any time, for that matter) – thus an open restructuring can not be allowed – whatever it takes – from the point of view of Schaeuble and the rest – it would erase their political capital in that very moment. Besides this, the ECB has given the Greeks something between eur 100-150 bn since Jan 2015, just about half of the exisiting debt pile again. (no IMF involvement – to note). And any inofficial restructuring via the ECB will give the Greeks much more leverage – I think – the chickens are coming home to roost, and everybody is scrambling for position. The only thing that seems to be apparent: “extend and pretend” is not going to work this time – which leaves the players without a viable solution.

  6. ChrisFromGeorgia

    So Harry Reid threw a spanner in the works … he’s really starting to grow on me.

    Delaying tactics can only help opponents of the TPP – more time to write letters and call. I’m picking up a lot of passive-aggressive signs from the usual sellouts. The deeper we get into the 2016 cycle, the lower the odds this travesty passes.

    1. timbers

      “Delaying tactics can only help opponents of the TPP” – Agreed.

      Not to take issue with your point, but the broad strokes are nuts: Reid won’t stop TPP and plans to screw the world on it’s own, but will stop it if he – the Senate – can first screw America first with extending the Patriot Act. THEN he’ll let Obama screw the world.

      Vote Democrat!

    2. hunkerdown

      If you must have a daddy figure in your life, I suppose Reid’s as good as any for this week.

      Of course, if they were actually negotiating honestly and not seeking to manipulate you with drama, they would have killed the bill irretrievably. No, this is just obfuscation. If they can make this pass, they will.

  7. Tom

    Re: IMF and Financial Times latest report – German press. Interestingly the German press also reads the Ft report in two different ways. It is either “IMF pressures Greece” or “IMF pressures Eurogroup aka debt forgiveness” It is fair to say that the majority of German papers reports the IMF prssuring the Eurogroup.
    To wit: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Spiegel, Focus and Zeit all report the IMF pressing for a debt cut. The only exception is “Welt”. I wonder whether Washington has spoken a word. After all Ukraine is to blow up again shortly and Washington might want to keep Greece in the boat.

  8. Jim A.

    Wow. The dissenting opinion is a good read. SOMEBODY at the SEC is NOT with the program.

    1. John

      But who appointed the supposedly democratic chair, who of course votes with the rep’s?
      The same who made those bank-picked treasury and AG appointments… And who Imo is itching to emulate bill’s 100M+ (so far) payoff.
      What’s the difference between Obama and a conservative rep?
      Hint… They’re brothers under the skin.

  9. PQS

    Don’t forget the inevitable Blame teh Unions game….that always makes an appearance whenever conservatives think about the economy.

  10. Ned Ludd

    A question that science still cannot satisfactorily answer:

    “Why does leaning on the elbow and compressing the external corner of the right eye cause objects to appear duplicated?”

  11. Abigail Caplovitz Field

    Thank you, Kara Stein.

    Your plain, matter of fact language lays bare the moral bankruptcy of our financial regulators. They transparently enable criminal behavior by greedy executives and those they employ who–despite their self-serving self-analyses–add very little value to the world when measured against the extraordinary financial and social toll they extract in the process.

    Your fellow commissioners’ brazenness in this criminal enabling–after all, you surely spoke your mind pre-vote–reveals their corruption. I don’t necessarily mean quid-pro-quo, because I don’t want to argue proof; this vote, and the others you cite, creates a res ipsa loquitur situation that at the very least exposes the regulators’ moral corruption, their lack of basic decency and sense of fairness.

    I am not overstating this: consider the millions rotting in jail for less socially and economically destructive behavior; and this vote wasn’t even about to jail or not to jail the perpetrators. It was purely about losing a cost-of-doing-business-reducing privilege supposed to be conferred only on the pillars of the financial system who have a proven record of behaving so well they have earned less regulatory oversight.

    Shame on all those who voted yes for DB’s waiver, and thank you again, Kara Stein.

    1. John

      Silly to blame these people, they were selected/appointed precisely because they would vote this way.
      Blame for all such decisions at treasury/justice/sec lie at the feet of the appointer, as I posted above.

      1. Abigail Caplovitz Field

        For sure, the buck stops at the top, and you’ll not find me defending President Obama’s role. But the problem with merely pointing at him and absolving the commissioners of any responsibility for their decisions is two fold: one, everyone is responsible for their decisions, particularly conscious and intentional ones such as a vote; two, President Obama appointed Kara Stein.

  12. Carolinian

    The Archdruid piece on the dubious (so he claims) future of the internet contains a factual misstatement. ISPs are not barely making a profit on internet accounts. In fact, for cable companies at least, internet is a huge cash cow which subsidizes the tv side of their business (which is struggling because of cord cutting and increasing license fees). This has to do with both their limited competition status and the fact that internet is something that middle class people clearly feel they can’t do without.

    Of course he may be right that the web will turn into a commercially controlled wasteland but we’ve been hearing this for some time now and yet independent sites such as this one and many others continue to flourish. And when Congress tries to control the web with their heavy (and heavily bribed) hand the public has consistently stood up.

    So long live the tubez. I suspect that in this instance–perhaps many others–Druid may be off the mark.

    1. Ron

      “the vast additional cost” Archdruid discussion is interesting and points to an underlying problem with progress which is that increased cost to install most if not all the equipment and software associated with this progress is debt. The debt is widespread and vast but providing little marginal increase in quality of life to the society.

      1. Carolinian

        As someone who long ago spent time hanging around printing plants I can assure you there are plenty of costs associated with doing things the old way. The NY Times used to–perhaps still do–own large tracts of Canadian forests to supply dead trees for their “news fit to print.”

        In a similar vein, a few weeks ago Grier asserted that we would be eventually be like Cuba and go back to driving fifties style cars which were simpler and more efficient. More efficient? Really? Arguments based on anecdotes and dubious assertions, such as the one about the ISPs, do not impress.

        1. Ron

          Newsprint is made from lumber scraps and chips has been for years,no forest clear cutting was or is used to make newsprint or any other paper product. Clearly your time around Printing plants was a drive by….

          1. Elliot

            re: claim no paper is made from clearcutting: hogwash. Maybe in the Southeast, or the Northeast. NW? Lots of “private forest” aka state or national forest conveniently sold off or traded, goes to the pulp mills with a token tree left standing here or there, or none at all.

          2. bob

            ” lumber scraps and chips has been for years,no forest clear cutting”

            It’s just like free nighttime electricity? Where did the wood for the lumber come from?

            It’s more likely that only clear-cut is used. Lots more “scraps” left on the floor of the forest. They cut and remove the logs they can sell, and shred the rest for wood fuel pellets and low quality paper ie newsprint.

        2. Ron

          Progress is a money channel, a method of creating money from thin air supported by various FED, and Tax policies,. The end result is older technologies become victims of the financial scrapyard sold off for pennies on the dollar providing endless work for financial engineering that takes its money off the top. The code word is increased productivity the bottom line is greater debt creation.

  13. James Levy

    I often find myself thinking structurally, but it really is amazing to consider how one worthless “leader”, Nick Clegg, can destroy what one fine leader, Paddy Ashdowne, did so much to build. Clegg was so desperate for a seat at the table he forgot to order anything. And he’s sat there, impotent and idiotic, for five years, never thinking to save his party by acting like a leader instead of an Obama-like toad desperate to hang out with the cool kids at Number 10. He may be the most pathetic British politician since Profumo.

    1. Mojah

      And yet remember this heart-breaking thing: people will STILL vote for him! After all that nonsense, they will STILL get up two days from now, go out, and vote for him! It really breaks me down that electoral politics has this whole tribalist thing going on which kinda sucks.

  14. steviefinn

    In regard to the John Lanchester ‘ Avoiding the electorate ‘ article which is also true here in Northern Ireland, I spotted this on the same page – also from JL which details something that no-one else has considered – the fact that Sinn Fein could on the anniversay of the the 1916 Easter rising – throw a huge spanner into the Westminster works. After all, nobody not so long ago imagined Martin McGuinness shaking hands with the Queenie.

  15. fresno dan

    ‘Fast and Furious’: Has America’s basic building block become the posse? Reuters.

    Furious 7 points to a future in which vast numbers of people feel like outsiders on an ever more threatening and disappointing global stage. Despite its multicultural celebration and hooray-for-family-values nostalgia, something alarming lurks at the heart of Furious 7. That something is ultimately tribal, allergic to institutions and unbound by broad social ties.
    The myth of the posse ignores the interconnectedness of the broader society, making tribalism the ultimate value. The idea of a common culture of citizenship recedes into the background, as does faith in a society based on shared principles of justice.

    With the rise of Davos man (i.e., corporate man), it is little wonder so little fidelity, loyalty, and interest is displayed by the common man to the nation state, when the nation state’s only purpose is maintaining consumer demand and open sea lanes…

    1. Andrew Watts

      The decline of any society will see tribalism re-emerge as a prominent social force. When the Western Roman Empire was collapsing tribal allegiances were used to secure a place in the crumbling imperial order. In a previous era of expansion and relative stability Roman citizenship mattered more than these petty and local affiliations. Although the societal effects brought about by the rise of tribalism will not be without it’s benefits. It provides a sense of cohesion in a society that is collapsing.

      The US will likely see the diminishing of ethnic tension in favor of tribal/class loyalties as it continues the grinding path of decline. We’ve already begun to witness this in the slogans of Occupy Wall Street. The whole “We are the 99%” was pure tribalism mixed with a bit of class consciousness. It is becoming fairly common elsewhere in the world too. (ie; Kurds allowed to join the Islamic State)

  16. Larry Y

    Just as I thought my opinion of Rahm Emanuel and the machine running Chicago couldn’t get any lower, I came across this – “Lead paint poisons poor Chicago kids as city spends millions less on cleanup”

    I mean, if they can’t even make that a priority… Nor do Obama and congress critters escape blame here. Maybe lead chips explains the neoliberals, glibertarians, conservatives, Tea Party, etc. bashing science, public health, and environmental regulation.

  17. diptherio

    How is Gary Brecher having to teach ESL to make ends meet? I weep for the state of journalism…

  18. George Bailey

    Kudos to Kara Stein for publicizing her dissent.

    She deserves additional credit for pointing the blame at Mary Jo White. Although she may be too polite to name her, by inference she id’s MJW as the voter on the commission who cast the ‘majority’ vote (assuming Aguilar also dissented- it’s not clear). In the two previous episodes where the Bad actor prohibitions were a factor in the settlement, the SEC commissioners were deadlocked, and MJW had to recuse herself. That stalemate was apparently broken, with more damaging effect, in this case.

    It’s also good of her to call out her fellow commissioners for their complicity in the crafting of and abuse of the loophole that facilitated this gutting of one regulator’s enforcement tool by a different agency. On what planet should one regulator (CFTC) get to void potential penalties a different agency (SEC) can impose for the same crime. Yet on this planet the SEC willingly disarmed itself.

    ” However, based on a loophole contained in Rule 506(d)(2)(iii), the CFTC has intervened and prevented the bad actor disqualification question from even coming before the Securities and Exchange Commission. The CFTC saw fit to opine on the SEC’s Rule 506 jurisprudence about whether Deutsche Bank AG should receive a waiver from automatic disqualification under SEC rules. It is unclear to me what, if any, analysis went into this decision and what prompted the CFTC to insert language into its final order stating that a bad actor disqualification “should not arise as a consequence of this Order.”[19] The implications of the CFTC’s actions here — and in other actions[20] — are deeply troubling. The Commission should closely review this provision and how it is being used.”

    As I recall MJW got into a vicious territorial battle with the FSOC over SEC independence in writing Rules for Money Markets. The SEC eventually compromised. Why no battle on this one?

    If no objections to use of this loophole were raised by the SEC prior to finalizing the settlement then I would conclude that the swing voter (MJW) on the SEC has decided that the SEC Bad actor penalties are now moot, despite Commissioners Aguilar and Steins objections. Well played if your goal is to run an inept regulatory agency with no will to enforce its rules.

    Elizabeth Warren was also outraged by the abuse, but so far her objections haven’t gotten much attention in the press, or with regulatory overseers.

    “Enforcement agencies continue to find new ways not to enforce laws against financial fraud,” Ms. Warren said in a statement. “When it gave the SEC the authority to bar bad actors from the lucrative market for private securities offerings, Congress created a powerful enforcement tool—only to see the SEC willingly hand it over to other agencies who have little interest in using it.”

  19. Jessica

    On Fast and Furious and the reversion to tribalism
    The current system is burning through the trust that complexly interconnected societies depend on.
    This depletion has accelerated since the financial crisis.
    That our oligarchs and other elites would do this is a sign of their historical obsolescence.

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