Sunday, March 28, 2010

I do like Simon Johnson

His latest, on the essential site for all things marginally progressive but still mainstream acceptable economic: The Baseline Scenario

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Dodd in a tough spot

He clearly wants to be *perceived* as doing the right thing, at least...while Ted Kaufman is relentless in showing things as they actually *are*.

(Meanwhile, the GOP remains a bunch of corrupt, unimaginative liars as usual, cf. mealy-mouthed dipshit, Mitch McConnell. How anybody could mistake these violent, idiot-mob-inciting old wrinkled crooks for populists remains a mystery "new" democrats have yet to solve, apparently.)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Finally

Someone from the political class begins to sound like Matt Taibbi, on record, on the Senate floor. The only reason people are not mad as hell about the ongoing Wall Street fraud is because they haven't bothered finding out. Read Matt Taibbi. The more people know the angrier they get. Let's hope the tide is genuinely turning, and the rule of law won't be beaten any further back. Where does the buck stop? Via.

Sometimes, she just stares at the wall...







...Hoping for the sun to glint off her tags.

It all started when we brought home that laser-guided parking system as a toy for the cats.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Credit where credit is due

John Cassidy has written what may be the one and only puff piece aspiring to respectability on Timothy Giethner that will have ever been historically conceivable.

Appearing as it does sometime before the long-term relentless rise of the real misery index threatens to become unavoidable "news" (if it ever will), but also before the crackhead mentality on Wall Street culminates in another shitstorm of future carbon credit-default swaps or something-else-backed-and-bundled-securities.

The cursory lip wagging Cassidy gives to dissenting views are even more remarkable for being followed by nothing more substantive than the sort of self-certain, vaguely dismissive ideological boiler-plate, generalities and defensive wound licking in the supposed court of public opinion we have come to expect, all while vainly wallowing in the bureaucrats lament of feeling himself fundamentally removed from such concerns, such inevitable collateral, if not realpolitik itself, altogether. In short, Geithner betrays himself as a well-intentioned, self-satisfied ideological conservative at heart. Another moderate Republican, not so much unwilling as developmentally unable to acknowledge, examine and replace the speculative-fed fantasy extortion machine that veneers the grotesque rotting foundation of our financial industry and entire economy. No news there, certainly. At least he doesn't pretend to be something he is not. A real Democrat, for instance.

So the stress tests were actually brilliant and really saved the day despite being so "tough" (8.9% unemployment, anyone?), some won-over speculators now swoon. Huh. One sentence from one article by Matt Taibbi is mentioned in passing, described as unrefined, and no explanation about *how* Goldman actually proves its "capitalized" strength "greater than international competitors" even attempted.

The article does nothing to persuade that Giethner ever was or ever will be the right person to seize what remains the only real political opportunity in half a century (to honestly confront and
change any of the institutionalized injustice, Fed subsidies, F.I. roulette, or for that matter concomitant class war now having all but killed the New Deal)...an historic gift now mostly squandered.

Nationalization might have worked but would have been quite difficult. No shit.

So he "saved" the financial industry (from symptoms of withdrawal, and now it's back to shooting heroin, with our blessing). Big whup. Encouraging higher unemployment and lower quality of life having been essential to the "success" of the F.I. since Reagan's handlers won their war against the unions; what matters most is larger historic context. Other signs of stability and new "growth" are not convincing at best, misleading and dangerously deluded at worst.

I'm sure Giethner's sense of being misunderappreciated is sincere, however comically out of touch and frankly, pathetic, and his actions well-thought-out and well-intentioned. His ideological sense of what's possible or ethically necessary remains thoroughly depressing, and
quite possibly without a future.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

a rare political post

Seth Ackerman rightly underwhelmed at Ezra Klein's sense of history:
The Democrats shot their historical wad on health care by re-introducing Bob Dole’s bill from 1994 and justifying it as a free-market solution. How is that a “huge progressive victory”?


Taibbi on the continued reign of credit default swaps: "Jesus..."

James K. Galbraith: In Defense of Deficits

Richard Parker: Athens, The First Domino?
Moreover, unlike Wall Street bankers, Papandreou isn't asking for a bailout (let alone a bonus for himself or senior ministers); what he wants is help stabilizing the market for Greece's bonds. And unlike Wall Street in the fall of 2008, Athens isn't being frozen out of the credit markets; in fact, it is still able to borrow....

But Wall Street speculators have swarmed in, playing Greece, as the Financial Times put it, "like a piñata." The country's tiny bond market–barely a billion euros a day were trading in Athens in January–makes an easy and tempting target for traders with big bats; by attacking Greek bonds, the traders get to play on an increasingly pan-European volatility in bond and currency rates, thereby leveraging a little nation's problems into gigantic trading-floor gains. And thanks to the Obama administration's repeated refusal to limit such activities–despite pleas from our European allies since 2008 to jointly regulate global financial markets–what the traders are doing is legal. In fact, massive immediate trading profits are the means by which banks like Goldman, Citi, JPMorgan, Barclays, UBS and Deutsche Bank are rebuilding their balance sheets without providing the lending the real economies of America and Europe need to begin their recovery....