Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Archive for November 22nd, 2010

Financial crisis, 2.0

Posted by Charles II on November 22, 2010

We really haven’t seen a second wave to the financial crisis. I believed, wrongly it seems, that commercial real estate and jumbo mortgages would lead to defaults large enough to force action of the size that was taken with the collapse of Lehman and the seizure of Bear. Much of the first wave crisis has been written down. Bank profits have been artificially boosted through a kind of corporate socialism involving giving them cheap money to lend at higher prices, taking shaky assets off their books long enough for those assets to stabilize, and engaging their services to buy financial assets in quantitative easing (though estimates that QE2 will cost 50% greater because of this seem ludicrous to me).

But there’s still a number of possible catalysts for a second financial crisis. Today, the hubbub is about Europe: Ireland’s banks are still insolvent, Greece is finding it difficult to impose austerity, and the resultant nervousness is driving up yields in the much larger economies of Spain and Portugal, raising the potential costs of preventing collapse. Certainly there are questions about whether European banks have written off enough of their assets. But although these kind of things may lead to or aggravate depression, they are not the kinds of things that create panics. They have been, at least in part, anticipated.

Panics stem from unanticipated financial changes. Mortgage “fraudclosure” is one of those. If the courts decide to actually enforce the law, the foreclosure process could grind to a halt. That could trigger a decline in the price of mortgage backed securities, threatening bank stability. And now a new potential source for panic emerges. Susan Pulliam, Michael Rothfield, Jenny Strasburg, and Gregory Zuckerman, Wall Street Journal, via The Big Picture:

Federal authorities, capping a three-year investigation, are preparing insider-trading charges that could ensnare consultants, investment bankers, hedge-fund and mutual-fund traders, and analysts across the nation, according to people familiar with the matter.

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Posted in financial crisis, frauds | 3 Comments »

Gold, standard

Posted by Charles II on November 22, 2010

From Doctors Without Borders. Click to enlarge.

Making money off of gold?

You’re making money off of blood.

Posted in Africa, environment, evil | 1 Comment »

Mica Wants To Privatize Pornoscans, Not End Them

Posted by Phoenix Woman on November 22, 2010

David Dayen has the scoop, discussing how John Mica’s (R-Florida) sudden opposition to Opt-Out Day reveals the true aims of Mica and of Republicans in general:

Now, Mica’s long-term goal is to get the TSA out of the transportation screening business. He wants to leverage public anger against “gate-rape” (h/t Marcy) to basically privatize the operation. I haven’t met anyone who thinks that would lead to a kinder and gentler security procedure, however. Mica and his cadres don’t really want to end the security state – they want to profit from it. Some of the civil libertarians in their midst may have different ideas, but when push comes to shove, their principles are being used by establishment Republicans to 1) hurt President Obama’s TSA and 2) legislate it out of existence, with private security taking over at airports.

Hell, the only reason TSA exists is because Bush’s brain Karl Rove and his fellow Republicans thought it would be a good way to try and break the Federal unions, using “national security” as the pretext. It must really burn their butts that TSA workers are now allowed to unionize. The fact that TSA employees now can join unions, just like their Customs and Border Patrol and DC Capitol Police brethren and cistern, is likely a big reason why Republicans who just loved TSA when Bush was in charge are now using the pornoscan controversy as a reason to dump TSA (but not the pornoscans).

By the way, if you’re looking for more effective and less costly ways to do screening than don’t involve repeated doses of radiation along with loss of dignity, this Mother Jones article has a few suggestions.

Posted in 2010, abuse of power, big money, privatization, Republicans, security theater, TSA, unions | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

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