Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Archive for December 1st, 2009

Drawing up a “living will” (if you’re a multibillion institution)

Posted by Charles II on December 1, 2009

Patrick Jenkins and Paul J Davies of the Financial Times report that 24 shadow banks (including 5 American) and 6 insurers (none American) are on the watchlist for systemic risk. The regulators are asking them to prepare a “recovery and resolution plan” which is being dubbed a “living will.”

Note bear (but not permabear) David Rosenberg mentions the following (registration required):

SOME MAJOR NON-CONFIRMATIONS [of recovery]
• Railway carloadings and electricity output down 5.0-7.0% YoY
• Mortgage applications for home purchases down 15% YoY
• Tax revenues down more than 10% YoY
• Bank lending down 6% YoY
• Financials peaking out nearly two months ago and rolling over
• Divergences in both the small-cap stocks and emerging markets
• Major topping formation in the transports despite Warren Buffett’s foray and lower energy prices (triple-top in the transports-to-utilities ratio?)
• Bond yields below their 200-day moving average.
• Real rates (10-year TIPS yield) all the way down to 1.10% (from 1.5% barely over a month ago).
• Baa spreads widening 15bps from nearby lows and by 25bps in the high-yield market.

He makes a decent case that the NBER will not call an end to the recession or that it will prove to be a double dip.

The financial crisis is far from over.

(FT asks its subscribers not to quote or re-write their articles, which are free to a limit of 17/month by registration).

Posted in economy, financial crisis | 2 Comments »

Honduras Coup, Act VI, Day 2

Posted by Charles II on December 1, 2009

Still mostly offline today.

Update3: Now we have an explanation from Tiempo for why the TSE said that abstention was only 40%, while the exit polling firm said it was at least 52%: the TSE decided to elminate from its count all kinds of people. But this also suggests that the final count, if it’s anywhere near honest, will show at least 58% abstention– because over 6% of the ballots are blank or spoiled, which an exit poll can’t measure.

Here’s the story about Marcia Facusse de Villeda as the forgeress of the Zelaya “renunciation letter.” Innocent until proven guilty, of course. Three hundred voting kits (maletas; lit. suitcases) out of 15,000 showed irregularities such as missing certifications.

Via Adrienne, the National Lawyers Guild has called on the USG not to accept the elections.

The Quixote Center has film of police repression here.

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Update2: The election is going backward! Look at the TSE report as of 8:40PM Eastern, which shows a 10.41% count with 239,526 votes!?!?!  (well, ok, you probably can’t read it at this resolution. But the Lobo count is 143K and the Santos count is 73K.) Why should anyone believe this…stuff?

Channel 36 is back up. Esdras Amado Lopez is headlining a report that the Congressman (Marcia Facusse de Villeda) who filed the forged Zelaya letter has been requerido (officially summoned) and subjected to a handwriting analysis. [On CNN, she claimed that Zelaya and his whole cabinet had resigned]. Lopez promises to show her denials are lies. Now a Zelaya advisor Carlos Reina Garcia is demanding (I don’t think he’s speaking on  Zelaya’s behalf) that Zelaya’s lost time in office should be restored. He says that the “Accord” of Tegucigalpa-San Jose is a dead letter and that the elections should be annulled. Reina Garcia is calling for an international tribunal to try the charges against Zelaya.  Good for him. Esdras says that the Constituyente was not the cause of the crisis.

From Tiempo: Canada is weaseling its way toward recognizing the Lobo government by asking it to form a unity government, despite the fact that a unity government (i.e., Micheletti) has already been formed. Congress meets tomorrow to give Zelaya the finger one more time (Tiempo doesn’t say the latter part of that).

CEPR at Upside Down World:

Mark Weisbrot, Co-Director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research.

“Only a few governments that the U.S. State Department can heavily influence will recognize these elections,” said Weisbrot. “The rest of the world recognizes that you cannot carry out free or fair elections under a dictatorship that has overthrown the elected President by force and used violence, repression, and media censorship against political opponents for the entire campaign period leading up the vote, including election day.”

In Tegucigalpa, the Washington-based human rights organization Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL): “On election day, November 29, there were a number of incidents that confirmed the climate of repression in which the electoral process took place, which represented the consolidation of the coup d’etat of June 28th.”

CEJIL described “a climate of harassment, violence, and violation of the rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly” on election day, and called for the release of people arrested by security forces.

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Update: Official Honduran turnout continues to drop. Now down to 1,527,969 with 70% count completed as of 1:50PM Eastern.

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RAJ has an excellent account of how the Anglo press has completely distorted Lula’s response to whether Brazil would recognize the elections:

[No, no, no, no. Absolutely, no.]

into a significant softening of Brazil’s position, as signaled by this:

If something new happens, we can discuss it.

As RAJ says, “Watch for the storyline now to become some sort of brief restoration [of Zelaya]. But don’t believe everything you read.”

My response: “I don’t believe anything I read. The US media read as if they are following a script for a play. Periodically we hear a recognizable motif, like the “Paranoid Anti-Semitic Dictator Etude” or the “Chorale in Marxist Minor,” and the rest of the time, it is toneless chants of “Democracy good, [insert name of scapegoat] bad.” So the current tune is “Pep Rally: Group Hug,” in which countries supporting the coup are in front of the microphone, while those who oppose are on mute. Does anyone seriously think that will have any effect on reality except perhaps on the American political scene?

It’s not clear to me why anyone pays to listen to this kind of weird modern theater. Trying to pick out facts that could lead one to make a reasonable opinion is like going through a dumpster looking for an unsullied apple pie. “

Posted in Honduras, Latin America | 4 Comments »

Huckabee’s Hypocritical Pardon Patterns

Posted by Phoenix Woman on December 1, 2009

One thing that the right-wingers and their media allies lining up to take potshots at Mike Huckabee’s pardoning the guy who would go on to kill four cops in a coffee shop somehow neglect to discuss is the full story behind Wayne Dumond’s pardon — and the role of conservatives in making it happen. It’s certainly not mentioned in this piece by the Republican-owned Politico, for example.

If you’re wondering why the Cons keep talking more about Willie Horton (who has nothing to do with Mike Huckabee) instead of Wayne Dumond (who Huck actually pardoned, here’s the scoop. The short version: Wayne Dumond was pardoned because a bunch of right-wing lunatics, led by Huck’s good buddy and fellow Baptist preacher Jay Cole, started ranting without any proof whatsoever that Dumond was innocent of the crime for which he was imprisoned — namely, the violent rape of a distant relative of Bill Clinton’s.

Ah, but it gets better. You see, while then-governor Huckabee would release without question anybody who was vouched for by one of his preacher friends, especially if they’d allegedly turned to God while incarcerated, the Huckster had a very different standard for other religious converts. Barbara O’Brien of the Mahablog explains:

I wrote about Dumond and another Arkansas convict, Frankie Parker, almost two years ago in “A Tale of Two Prisoners.” For reasons explained in the earlier post, Huckabee, an ordained Baptist minister, was pressured by the Christian Right into pardoning Dumond.

But the Christian Right kept silence on Frankie Parker, who was executed in 1996 over the objections of Mother Theresa and His Holiness the Dalai Lama. In fact, Governor Huckabee was so keen to execute Frankie Parker that he intervened to move the execution date up by six weeks so that Parker could be executed sooner. He was so keen to execute Parker that moving up the execution date was Huckabee’s first official proclamation as Governor of Arkansas. Clearly, this was an itch that Huckabee was rarin’ to scratch.

It is true that Parker was convicted of committing two murders while under the influence of drugs. He admitted he had done this. He wasn’t asking for a pardon; just life.

What made Frankie Parker’s life so untenable? In prison, he had acquired a copy of the Dhammapada, which inspired him to convert to Buddhism. He corresponded with a Zen priest and also worked with a Little Rock Buddhist group to learn the practice. He became a spiritual leader within the prison. A Buddhist spiritual leader. Can’t have that.

As Ms. O’Brien comments in a later post:

I think it is important to call the public’s attention to Frankie Parker’s story. One might assume Gov. Huckabee was just gullible, or soft. But the way he handled Frankie Parker’s request for commutation reveals something much more sinister about the governor — that he had no compunction about exercising the worst kind of religious favoritism.

If Huckabee had simply not intervened in Parker’s sentence and allowed the execution to go ahead as scheduled, it wouldn’t have been so blatant. But Huckabee took the trouble to make the execution date to six weeks sooner. And he did this even as Mother Teresa and many Buddhist monks and priests, including the Dalai Lama, wrote requesting that Parker’s sentence be commuted. I think that says something really ugly about Mike Huckabee.

I do, too.

(Crossposted at The Seminal.)

Posted in 2012, Bill Clinton, Mike Huckabee | Comments Off

 
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