LIBOR ManipulationJul 06, 2012 by Ugh
For those of you unaware, LIBOR is the interest rate of all interest rates. While the U.S. treasury rate is generally thought of as the "risk-free" interest rate for lending funds and the general baseline, LIBOR is a close second baseline. I didn't do a lot of "deal" work when I was in private practice but in every deal I did do, LIBOR played some role. Whether it was the rate upon which a loan was based (i.e., the borrower would pay "LIBOR + x%"), or it was the penalty interest rate upon default on an obligation, or was part of an interest rate swap etc., it was there. More broadly, LIBOR is used for things like setting interest on adjustable rate mortgages, credit cards, and municipal bonds (directly or indirectly).
I read somewhere that there is, literally, a thousand trillion dollars (yes, a thousand trillion) in assets/obligations that depend upon LIBOR. And these banks were manipulating it. It should be the biggest financial scandal in history. And yet, almost nothing in the U.S. press as far as I can tell, and the only people that have seemed to have suffered any consequences are a few folks at Barclays (though admittedly including its most senior executive, who is now saying bank regulators were complicit). I look forward to the class action lawsuits.
And thus endeth the republic.
UPDATE: See also this Matt Taibbi blog post (which I didn't read until after posting this, I swear).
Jul 10, 2012, 01:18:59 John Thullen wrote:
On my so-called break the last two weeks, I watched a lot of CNBC, which I once did way too much because the stock market is a bit of a passion but now I don't have a TV, and the LIBOR scandal was a big deal, including full coverage last weekend of Diamond's testimony before the Parliament committee.
Yes, there was the usual political grandstanding by the politicians, but I found the questioning to be pretty rigorous and bracing, unlike the pathetic gang fellating provided to the other diamond in the rough, Jaime Dimon of JP Morgan, in his appearance before our dysfunctional, corrupt, and malign august bodies, Jim Demint leading the way, regarding his bank's two billion, uh, four billion, no, six billion, well maybe nine billion in trading losses.
Then, there is this: http://news-ro.com/british-...
No doubt the deposed Diamond and the still intact Dimon are licking their wounds while using their bonus money to up their anonymous donations to Romney super-PACS out of outrage at stifling bank regulation.
The Obama administration has been a bunch of cowards on this as well.
After all, if we got rid of regulation and consumer protection altogether, the powers that be could engage in pickpocketing out in the open, so the other pickpockets could learn the grift too.
Big Daddy in "Cat On A Hot Tin Roof" had a word for this: "Mendacity!"
There are other words, too.
Yes, this LIBOR thing is huge.
I don't fault the so-called mainstream media for not covering this adequately yet.
No one really understands LIBOR, let alone much of how the financial system works. Don't ask me, either. It's too complicated and arcane, which is how the power guild likes it.
I had to laugh at CNBC's smirking conservative punk Joe Kernan and his conservative Ayn Rand sidekick, what's her glib harridan face, fellating Diamond in absentia on their morning show, while simultaneously dissing the "mainstream media" for such and such, as if CNBC is not paddling right down the center of the mainstream.
Jul 10, 2012, 08:08:18 John Thullen wrote:
More about LIBOR
I'll read it again and see if I can get my head to spin the other way.
Jul 11, 2012, 01:19:37 John Thullen wrote:
Follow the links for those who don't like Digby's act.
Jul 11, 2012, 05:25:35 cleek wrote:
if Fox can somehow find a way to implicate someone from the Obama administration in the scandal, we'll get all the LIBOR coverage anyone could want.
Jul 12, 2012, 04:50:22 Ugh wrote:
They're working on it, I'm sure.
Jul 13, 2012, 01:46:55 Slartibartfast wrote:
Well, there's always Reuters:
The real zinger in there is that the New York Fed (then headed by Tim Geithner) knew about LIBOR problems four years ago.
Apparently there were bigger fish to fry.
Jul 13, 2012, 21:13:26 John Thullen wrote:
More on Geithner and LIBOR. Looks like he tried to improve LIBOR reporting requirements in 2008 for the 16 big banks.
Jul 13, 2012, 21:44:46 John Thullen wrote:
Never mind, on second thought.
My link adds nothing compared to Slart's more in-depth Reuters article.
I can imagine Geithner, had he been in the room, tugging on Treasury Secretary Paulson's suit jacket (please, sir, it seems there's a bit of funny business going on with LIBOR rates across the pond) as the latter was on his knees on the White House carpet begging Nancy Pelosi post-Lehman to please Madam, on my children's sold souls, get those fecks on Capital Hill to approve the bill or by Monday morning the world stops and then all of us in this room and on Capital Hill will be eaten by 50 million zombie depositors lining up at the Washington Monument for their bank and money market savings, let alone the stock market going to zero on the opening bell.
I've read enough about the utter seize-up of the money markets that week to know that we faced a financial apocalypse which would have put unemployment at a very large two-digit number (last digit 0, first digit moving so fast upwards the Department of Labor abacuses would have begun to smoke) by Friday.
Truly, they saved the world and they deserve bipartisan credit.
Of course, in retrospect, the filthy gets in the banking and mortgage industry have made fools of everyone. TARP was a boondoggle, it's all Obama's, fault the regulators should be filleted for ever intervening again, and where by the way is my bonus this year and some commie hippie just shat on my Bentley ... yadda, yadda, yadda, and what we need in there is a guy in there who whose policies look like Lehman the day before the sh*t hit the fan.
As Dorothy Parker said: "If all the girls who attended the Yale prom were laid end to end, I wouldn't be a bit surprised."
We're all fucked.
She also said: "Brevity is the soul of lingerie."
Make of that what you will.
Jul 13, 2012, 22:54:06 John Thullen wrote:
Jul 15, 2012, 12:50:05 dr ngo wrote:
Dorothy Parker also had a parakeet she named "Onan."
Because he spilled his seed upon the ground.
Jul 15, 2012, 23:27:21 John Thullen wrote:
Yeah, if wisecracking had stopped when Parker died, we'd still be set for the millenium.
The entire comments sections of every blog in existence could be filled with infinite repetitions of "What Dorothy Parker said", saving all of us lots of pointless time and effort.
Jul 16, 2012, 01:03:08 John Thullen wrote:
“There's a hell of a distance between wise-cracking and wit. Wit has truth in it; wise-cracking is simply calisthenics with words.”
Jul 16, 2012, 01:35:49 John Thullen wrote:
Read and listen to this:
And then ponder me a question:
What if every financial transaction, every trade of every financial instrument, every bank draft, every investment buy and sell order, every credit card transaction, every penny of interest credited, every move you've made or not made in your 401K/IRA, every insurance adjustment, every financial statistic, every pension calculation, every allocation of capital and every mortgage every single individual in every country on Earth has been, mistaken, miscalculated, misled, fraudulent, criminal, a farce, a tragedy, unacceptable under recognizable accounting principles, grand theft, perjury, highway robbery, and at the most fundamental higgs boson level, the most pervasive, complete, and utter manipulative fucking (not fucking in the Dorothy Parker sense) of LIBOR by the most malignant, corrupt fuckers in the history of humanity's long history of sorry fucking of the many by the few -- all because of the purposeful ideological de- and non-regulation of the worldwide banking industry, beginning, but not exclusively, with the destruction of Glass-Steagal by Phil Gramm, Mssrs Bliley and Leach, Alan Greenspan, and signed into law by Bill Clinton.
What should happen, for example, to Phil Gramm, let alone the entire malfeasceant ideological edifice of fuckers?
I'm not talking about investigation, procedural paperwork, depositions, arrests, trials. etc, I'm talking about when all of that is out of the way ... I'm asking, by what method, and by how many methods (to satisfy the aggrieved, numbered roughly at 4 billion) should he be executed?
As a start. An appetizer. A taste.
And do we get a do-over, a return to of every single financial transaction since 1999, when the law went into effect and the Bush Administration and the Alan Rand Greenspan Federal Reserve proceeded to tie the hands of effective regulation?
Jul 16, 2012, 01:39:53 John Thullen wrote:
"a return to ... status quo ante"
When to we get an automatic rant editor on this thingamabub, because my spittle flecks are never arranged precisely the way I want them!
Jul 16, 2012, 01:40:14 John Thullen wrote:
"a return to ... status quo ante"
When do we get an automatic rant editor on this thingamabub, because my spittle flecks are never arranged precisely the way I want them!
Jul 16, 2012, 01:41:42 John Thullen wrote:
Don't make me say it again!
Well, I oughta .........
Stalks from the room.
Jul 16, 2012, 08:26:50 sapient wrote:
But, there really is an effort being made. http://dealbook.nytimes.com...
My guess is that it's quite difficult, in fact really, really hard for the current regime to take on the incredibly wealthy. How do you do that and keep power? It's a tightrope walk. They're giving it a shot.
Jul 16, 2012, 08:28:57 sapient wrote:
'scuse me. We're giving it shot. Because I am squarely on the side of Obama.
Jul 16, 2012, 09:34:19 John Thullen wrote:
I am too, though I keep in mind how all of our Presidents and their Administrations become a Shakespearean tragedy, with nary a horse in sight. given enough time, because let's face it, that's what keeps the audience in their seats for Act III.
In the meantime, his opponent must be destroyed, and I'm not particularly sensitive to the delicate feelings of ruthless, and to my mind, murderous anti-American thugs like Karl Rove regarding my opinions.
After all, John McCain's vetting committee took a long hard look at 20 years of Romney's tax returns, gulped down their dismay, like Ayn Rand giving it up for Medicare, and decided on Sarah Death Palin instead.
Those two choices pretty much sum up the quality (not) of what was once referred to as the Republican Party, stupid malignity and her sister, her daughter, her sister, her daughter, stupid malignity.
Still, my rant includes Democrats like Robert Rubin.
Obama is a frail human standing on the steaming rotting corpse, heaving with maggots, of our public and private institutions and everything in between.
That HE is the patsy suddenly accused of the murder of the corpse makes me fear greatly that the real killers are legion and he will take the fall, and America will be spirited, their poor innocent eyes covered by our corporate and Republican Jerry Sanduskys and his priests, with help from corporate Democrats.
Jul 16, 2012, 09:42:39 John Thullen wrote:
...daughter, malignant stupidity." that should read.
As it happens, there WAS a third sister, daughter, sister, daughter, also named stupid malignity, but she lives quietly and works part time as a stripper, while blogging occasionally at Redrum to keep her chops fresh.
Jul 16, 2012, 09:54:38 John Thullen wrote:
I never like to shortshrift Larry Kudlow, so here's credit for his wonderful cameo roll with the flick-knife in "Chinatown", which I thought he played with a certain menacing bonhomie, which he reprises on his CNBC show each week night, to scare the public off the scent.
I wonder of Polanski is going to direct the movie version of the Penn State child rape crimes.
Jul 17, 2012, 02:38:13 John Thullen wrote:
From a series on who and what blew up Wall Street and, as Casey Stengel remarked once about the defensive skills of a third baseman, ruined it for everyone.
Basically, a story about how very smart people figured out how to leverage stupidity into massive amounts of dumb.
Jul 17, 2012, 10:12:12 John Thullen wrote:
I do go on. Good article:
Jim Jubak is a financial columnist and money manager and has never been known to crap down the driver's door of a $200,000 Porsche.
There is critical mass building to repeal the Gramm-Rubin monstrosity, break up the large banks, sever the "investment" arms from the banking side.
Chinese Wall, my ass. Another fucking lie, told by pickpockets.
Yet another "dazzle", hey look over there operation to make all of the money on the world theirs. "Dazzle" being a military term for making enemy radar (the public, the government) see everything but the truth of ones' advancing destruction
If not, nationalize the entire mess, at least in Europe.
Better happen soon.
People are getting angry (wanna preview?) and if the people think a two-bit suit who keeps his money in Barbados and Switzerland and refuses to pay taxes or divulge his tax returns and can make a few hundreds of thousands in IRA contributions into $100 million in pretty tight time is the sheriff, while piling hated debt on companies and stealing the employees livelihoods, pensions, and futures is the deal, well then, the people ought to just call it a day and turn their pockets out to make the final theft a little easier and convenient for the plutocrats.
Obama must act in that direction. He'll have maybe 30 minutes after the election to solve everything, before the vultures pick his eyes out and eat his gizzard.
Jul 17, 2012, 10:49:12 russell wrote:
In My Very Humble Opinion, none of this is particularly complicated.
There are a lot of people who will very happily ruin the lives of millions and millions of their fellow humans, if it means they can be fabulously wealthy. Most people aren't that way, but lots are.
In general, what prevents them from doing so is the law.
So, they have gone about having the law changed. They've spent billions of dollars, and have bought public policy outcomes favorable to themselves.
As long as the great big pipeline of private wealth flows to folks who make public policy, this will not change.
Not ever. No matter who is president, no matter who is in Congress, and no matter what letter follows anybody's name in parentheses.
The American legislative process has become profoundly, profoundly corrupt, and the root of that corruption is the flow of private wealth into the legislative process.
Change that, and you will change the outcome. Don't change that, and you will not change the outcome.
And the outcome you will not change is the transfer of the wealth embodied in the largest economy of the world into a very small number of private hands.
When the US economy is FUBAR'd by another generation or two of wealth extraction, the process will move to other, more fertile venues.
There is nothing complex or difficult to understand about any of this.
Jul 17, 2012, 23:50:02 John Thullen wrote:
What Russell said, (I've missed writing that) but why be humble?
Just put it out there! ;)
Like Sarah Silverman does, though I favor Russell's more bi-partisan approach.
Jul 18, 2012, 01:08:40 Ugh wrote:
Let me echo the good Mr. Thullen's note about mr. russell speaking.
I think I've said this out loud at the mothership before, but the U.S. is just as corrupt as your average third world country, except the corruption occurs at the highest level of government. Thus, while you won't have to bribe the local DMV employee to get your driver's license, you will - effectively - pay the same bribe indirectly in the form of some sort of favored treatment (regulatory, tax, war, etc.) for Industry or Company X, and not know it.
The problem is...what to do? I think the answer is a well educated and informed citizenry, but it seems there has been a multi-decade fight to tear down the public education system in this country, primarily carried out by one particular political party and the people standing behind it.....
Jul 18, 2012, 01:47:20 sapient wrote:
Yes, glad to have seen russell's comment. And, yes, what he said. The sad part about it is that during a good portion of the 20th century, things were headed in the opposite direction, and were turned around toward oligarchy with the help of people who should have known better. Don't know what to do about people who are willfully making the country worse, even for themselves.
Jul 18, 2012, 05:46:47 John Thullen wrote:
"a well-educated and informed citizenry"
I agree, but good luck with that.
This slime has a different plan in mind:
IMO, not humble, I think we need very scary national upheaval and then a "cleaner" to wipe down the upholstery.
Then good people of all stripes can put it back together again.
Jul 18, 2012, 05:54:39 Ugh wrote:
"and then a "cleaner" to wipe down the upholstery."
I never did mind about the little things...
Jul 18, 2012, 05:59:06 Ugh wrote:
Also, too: wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.
Jul 19, 2012, 02:36:00 John Thullen wrote:
David Brooks, sent through the double-bladed wood chipper of Charles Pierce and driftglass (a new find for me), regarding the so-called elites of the meritocracy with some incisive thoughts on the scourge of Ayn Rand from driftglass, the latter of which I humbly offer as another reason, besides Russell's wisdom upthread, why we're off the rails.
Jul 19, 2012, 04:21:37 russell wrote:
"The problem is that today’s meritocratic elites cannot admit to themselves that they are elites."
edmund burke was not a democrat. small d or large d.
russell kirk's conservative canon number 3:
"A conviction that society requires orders and classes that emphasize natural distinctions"
some folks are born to rule, others to be ruled. that's been baked into conservatism from the get.
Jul 19, 2012, 04:55:31 ccdg wrote:
"some folks are born to rule, others to be ruled. that's been baked into conservatism from the get."
I watched a show last week where parents are now holding their kids back from kindergarten for a year so they will be older, bigger and more mature than their peers for the rest of their school years. A study told them that the older, bigger kids always stay ahead, for the rest of their life. In the story the reporter questioned whether this gave wealthier kids an advantage, the parents said yes, but I only have to worry about my kids. Reality, not conservatives, says that there is always an elite. Why pointing out how the new elite accepts less responsibility for morally managing institutions seems like a knee jerk reaction. It seems to me to exactly reflect an actual causal link for most of what you have point out as problems.
Jul 19, 2012, 06:13:34 russell wrote:
ain't nobody here named harrison bergeron. natural distinctions don't bug me. *natural* distinctions don't bug much of anybody, as far as i can tell.
it's the orders and classes thing that makes me reach for my pitchfork.
just to clarify.
Jul 19, 2012, 06:31:35 russell wrote:
crap, i hope i don't end up getting drawn into this stuff again, but here goes.
check out this paragraph from brooks' piece:
"I’d say today’s meritocratic elites achieve and preserve their status not mainly by being corrupt but mainly by being ambitious and disciplined. They raise their kids in organized families. They spend enormous amounts of money and time on enrichment. They work much longer hours than people down the income scale, driving their kids to piano lessons and then taking part in conference calls from the waiting room."
See, when I read this, I have the following reactions, sentence by sentence:
People who aren't among the elites are not ambitious or disciplined?
People who aren't among the elites don't raise their kids in organized families?
People who *are* among the elites don't have disorganized, dysfunctional, splintered, fractious, and generally FUBAR family histories and experiences?
It must be nice to *have enormous amounts of money and time to spend on enrichment*.
People who aren't among the elites don't work long hours? Seriously?
It must be nice to be able to afford piano lessons for your kid. It must be nice to have the time to sit in the waiting room while your kids are in their lessons.
It must be nice to have a lot of f***ing money.
I'm upper middle class, I actually have a lot of the things Brooks describes here. Lucky me.
I never, for a minute, think that that position has come my way because I'm a "meritocratic elite". I know many, many, many, many, many, many, many people who make half of my household income who work harder than me, work longer hours than I do, are smarter than me, and have jobs that place much greater responsibilities on them than my job does.
Nurse, fireman, teacher, social worker. To start.
Not really cops anymore, those guys get paid pretty good nowadays.
In My Very Humble Opinion David Brooks is a callow jerk who has lost any understanding he might ever have had about the reality of 99.9% of people's actual lives.
In short, his head is so far up his @ss that he thinks his farts are eloquence.
He has no clue, none.
My opinion, natch.
Jul 19, 2012, 06:40:31 russell wrote:
and last but probably not least, the golden days of meritocratic elite responsibility that brooks harks back to is a figment of his imagination.
it's interesting that he refers back 60 years, and not 30 or 100, to find his elitist arcadia.
1962 was right in the sweet spot of the post Depression, post WWII regulatory state. what made the "elites", which is to say "the people in positions of privilege" responsible was not their innate goodness, but the law.
those were the days.
and now i really gotta go before this stuff takes over my freaking life again.
Jul 19, 2012, 07:33:53 russell wrote:
sorry, 2012 - 60 = 1952.
pointwise, same-same. probably more so.
Jul 19, 2012, 09:48:20 John Thullen wrote:
Remember, David Brooks, when they raid the whorehouse, they take the piano player too, whether he went to Julliard or not (I expect his parents had him play very small pianos, like Schroeder, to appear bigger than he really was, sort of a meritocratic optical illusion).
As Hemingway said: "The rich are different from you and me, they're bigger and were kept back a grade by their parents."
Big fish in a small pond is what they used to call choosing your peers strategically.
Drudge, and that he is, headlined a thing blaring that 83% of doctors were thinking of quitting their profession if Obamacare stayed the law of the land.
(I assume the 17% were small for their age doctors who got beat up by the big kids in medical school.)
Apparently to become bond salesman or reality show contestants (who can argue with Gary Busey's and Kim Kardashian's success as the tallest f*cking kindergartners who ever roamed the Earth. Effing Gullivers, the two of them) after visiting their money and cake in Barbados, I presume.
Notwithstanding the number is a lie, the small print in the poll also said 104% of grocery clerks, fast food workers, short order cooks, and nursing home orderlies would quit their jobs too given half the chance, but they loved the hours and the opportunities to visit the yearly free dental clinic in a tent in an abandoned strip mall parking lot on the edge of town, and besides, yesterday the boss said half a chance and been cut to a quarter of a chance because shareholders are demanding higher margins.
I was a Fall birth child, as was my son, and I was plenty of months younger than most of my "peers" (I called them "peers", even at the time, not buddies or playmates, and the other bigger, older kids beat the crap out me, asking me who did I think I was, David Brooks?) and maybe I suffered for it.
I had to bum rides in high school for it seemed like decades, which stunted me to this day, believe you me.
I still yell "shotgun" when getting in someone's else's car (once in the backseat, always in the back seat) probably Brett Bellmore's, who actually has a shotgun in his half track. The loser in back gets to hold the atlatl, which is the throwing device not the arrow, or maybe its the other way around.
I blame my mother, who I wished would have held me back from kindergarten until I was 12, or until the truant officers showed up at the door, to give me full comparative advantage.
If she'd done nat, I coulda been a contenda. Da udda rats, they woulda parted like da red sea ovahdeah and i woulda been ahead and stayed ahead.
My mudda used to assed me, johnny, don't you wanna get ahead, and I'd ask, of who, my buddies and my goilfriends?.
No, ma, I wanna stay even wit dem, so's deah feelins are'nt hoit. Deah my friends ... we'll advance togedda and share.
My mother would point at me with exasperation and tell the neighbor, "I'm raisin a sorry-assed socialist over heah. He's a regula Emma Goldman.
She was right, my mudda, cause one good friend of mine took advantage behind my back of my, whatchamallit, egalitarian tendencies and without me lookin, sprinted way ahead and is now a multi-millionaire in the finance capitalism game, and I'd say more power to him, but he has the money, so does he need the power too?
My son was born a little later in the Fall and we decided to wait a year for kindergarten and he turned out to test gifted academically in certain ways and immediately went into very competitive programs throughout school, where short nerdy kids gave him more than a run for his money, with one hand tied behind their backs. But he was disciplined and worked his butt off, like his mother, and just graduated with honors in chemistry from a good college.
He won't be crapping on the hood of a Bentley any time soon, but neither will he will decide to sit on a balcony sipping expensive Chardonnay while quoting John Galt to the dispossesed below.
He's like CCDG in that way, even-tempered, fair minded AND he likes to play devil's advocate to test his father's and Maynerd's (Keynes) wits.
There are limits in both directions, and if you don't want your Bentley shat upon, stop your whining about a marginal tax increase from 35% to 39.5%, when your grandfathers and mothers (to the extent the latter were permitted) humped their entrepreneurial butts to create 4% unemployment and 5% GDP growth under a 91% marginal tax regime.
Yes, they whined about taxes over cigars and brandy, but then went to work the next day making something other than blips of light derivatives of derivatives of other derivatives of I forget, what's the underlying something real of this piece of paper?
Jul 19, 2012, 09:48:46 John Thullen wrote:
I don't necessarily agree with every detail in these links I've been coughing up, but you'll notice many of them are culled from free market, capitalist forums, not some limp-wristed, be-nice-to-baby-seals, Mother Jones (who was a formidable woman and would puke on Occupy Wall Street's lame act) collection of macrobiotic socialists.
I'm all for capitalism, markets, and rewards for merit, and I appreciate my doctors (who all seem to be quite short for their ages, but thorough and able despite their size and youth) and investing in the stock market is a guilty habit, not to mention a fool's errand, for me, but stop hardening the edges and shredding the safety net, people, and stop quoting bullsh*t ideology from third rate writers, or someone's big brother in the third grade is going to kick some David Brooks kindergartner butt during recess if he doesn't quit cutting ahead in the wrong line.
Did I cover everything?
Jul 19, 2012, 10:30:57 John Thullen wrote:
No, apparently not, because here's more from another yellow dog capitalist roader from one of them private sector business websites:
Avoid the comments section unless you're looking to date younger women, (and who isn't?), or lonely older men (younger women aren't, that's who) or you want to read a lot of "durn tootin" from Tea Partiers and "We're Mad As Hell And We're Not Going To Take It Anymore liberals, (that last you can get from me, so don't overdose) and armagheddonish bears on the market who hate the writer's most recent stock recommendations because they're either short or long opposite the writer's weekly trading position.
The jig, it eez up.
That's it for me.
See you in the funny papers.
Jul 19, 2012, 21:23:13 russell wrote:
i thought the minyanville piece was extremely interesting. but i also thought he (she?) over-thought the farmer's market example quite a bit.
my wife and i go to the farmer's market every week while it's in season (june - october, here where we live). we don't go because our mood is pessimistic, or because we're trying to exert some kind of control over our environment.
we go because they have great vegetables, and we see our friends and neighbors and hang out with them a bit, and because we enjoy meeting and getting to know the folks who grow the food.
mostly, we go because the produce is out-freaking-standing. it is, simply, better food. fresher, tastes better, looks better, is better. full stop.
there are lots of points to make about the popularity of farmers' markets, from lots of different perspectives - social, economic, agricultural, dietary - but the long and the short of it is that the food is better. there are interesting points to make about how the model of production and supply that is embodied in the farmer's market leads to the result that the food is better.
but long story short, one major reason that farmer's markets, CSA's, and all of the other 'buy from the farmer' models are popular is that the food is better.
if it wasn't, they wouldn't be so popular.
Jul 20, 2012, 00:40:20 John Thullen wrote:
Well, the guy is a apparently a social scientist and this the social science blues.
Jul 20, 2012, 01:44:34 russell wrote:
i hear you john. my comment wasn't meant to be a criticism, really. more just a personal response.
it's true, people have lost confidence in, and become suspicious of, the large international institutions that dominate the economy. but i *think* the reason for that is quite simply because those institutions haven't served them well.
or, have stopped serving them well.
the folks that worry me are the folks like my ex-step-daughter-in-law (typically complex po-mo liberal family scenario, i know) and her husband. they just bought 20 acres in oregon, with the goal of becoming independent of the normal supply chains for food, energy, etc.
i've met a number of folks like this over the last few years.
i have nothing against growing your own food, and/or doing for yourself to whatever degree is feasible for you.
but it disturbs me to see folks undertake a project like that *because they have lost confidence* that the existing channels will continue to make food, water, and a basic level of energy available to them.
imo we (americans) have lost our commitment to common public life. it's all kinda downhill from there.
Jul 20, 2012, 02:33:31 John Thullen wrote:
By the way, Jon Stewart, who along with Colbert is the Aristophanes of our time, though I don't expect anything to come of satire, had a great first ten minutes of the show on the LIBOR scandal last night.
Besides a funny riff on the names of some of the main players in the scandal (Hello, I'm Dr. Rector, and I'll be doing your colonoscopy today), he lays bare the look-over-there-teachers-and-regulators-are-bankrupting-us blame cast about by the usual suspects and points out that strapped cities and municipalities have taken the brunt of the deliberate ideological stand-down of banking regulation and oversight.
Jul 20, 2012, 09:17:13 sapient wrote:
"imo we (americans) have lost our commitment to common public life. it's all kinda downhill from there."
I think that has some basis in fact, but I'm not sure that it is really hopeless. I'm listening to MSNBC right now in the background (I know ...) and they're talking about Obama's comment about people not building their success all by themselves. That debate is happening right now, and happening very loudly. People need to be reminded of that, and they always have. I remember being an adolescent and hearing the same conversation between my liberal parents and my conservative uncle.
The struggle hasn't ended and will never end. When I was a kid, I thought things were on an evolutionary continuum towards a more enlightened human nature. Sadly, instead, we have to fight every day for every ideal we ever had, and won't gain ground until we learn to stand the ground that we've gained.
Jul 22, 2012, 11:31:30 libjpn wrote:
Just checking over here to add a log to the fire
It is not particularly clear about precisely where the money is coming from (Russia and Saudi Arabia are mentioned, but also UK super rich) but it seems damning to me
Jul 23, 2012, 05:03:53 John Thullen wrote:
lj, that's an amazing article.
$13 trillion dollars!
This, from the wikipedia on Bardados:
"A 2012 self-study in conjunction with the Caribbean Development Bank revealed 20% of Barbadians live in poverty, and nearly 10% cannot meet their basic daily food needs."
... with $13 trillion dollars whizzing around their heads in packets of light via fiber optic cable and satellite beam-me-ups-and downs.
I'm assuming the $13 trillion has got to be invested largely in high-grade sovereign debt, since the rich are different from you and me, they don't need to spend down their principal with numbers like that -- risk, schmisk ... 3% on $13 trillion will keep them in $660 douche burgers for the duration.
So, they aren't paying taxes in their home countries, but they are being paid interest on their countries' deficits.
While funding politicians who want to cut taxes and get rid of deficits, though I'm sure this is bipartisan politically, it's just not Russian corporate Mafia, Saudi princes, and Mormon/American presidential candidates .... where does Paul McCartney park his cash? Not that he doesn't deserve what he's earned, but the bridges over the Mersey River could use some maintenance and why not pay in cash rather than having the British go into hock.
Lower taxes? Nah, even a one percent tax rate wouldn't stop the outflow.
Ayn Rand won. It's in the world pysche, now, her preachy prose, which reads like a forklift full of cardboard boxes thrown down a flight of stairs.
Galt Gulch is a blip on a server screen in the Barbados.
2 + 2 = 13 trillion. Poetry to some.
So, a good plot for a movie would be a spy/heist thing, like those old David Niven/Robert Wagner jewel thief flicks combined with the computer hacking film genre in which a talented cabal of tuxedoed hackers breaks the Barbados code and steals the money, all of it, with a tap on an I-Phone.
What's Barbados going to do, summon the British fleet?
What would the hackers do with the $13 trillion?
Probably open a new account in the Barbados.
So, instead, I think the IRS should hack the Barbados accounts and pay off the structural deficit, with a little taste for other governments.
That won't work either. The Barbados depositors will merely launch a private dedicated satellite to house the servers on which their money, in form of digital ones and zeros (lots of zeros) blinks as it circles the Earth).
I've got to come with something much more sinister.
Jul 23, 2012, 23:39:15 John Thullen wrote:
The third in a series of opinion pieces from Minyanville about the murder of the financial system (trying to draw a chalk outline around the corpse):
Haven't read it yet ... later today ... I'm too busy following this morning's copycat murders in Europe -- looks like a serial killer.
Jul 24, 2012, 01:36:12 John Thullen wrote:
This is bidness; it's uthin personal over heah.
Dom werry 'bout it:
Jul 24, 2012, 23:57:02 John Thullen wrote:
Aren't you sorry you started this conversation, ugh?
Here's more under the category "ain't gonna happen":
So this is where we are in up-the-rear-of-our-lord, 2012, in no particular order:
A. May we please, suh, raise taxes just a pittance to pay for .... ?
Usual suspect: No. The pledge says no... and if one word isn't enough for you, here's a two-word synonym for 'no' ... Ronald Reagan.
B. May we perhaps disallow purchase of 100-round barrel clips purchased on the internet, probably via a click ad, to at least put a dent in mass murder via big fucking weaponry?
Usual suspect: What don't you understand about the word "Nope!", which is the chapter heading for every chapter of the Constitution, also entitled overall: "Mutual, Sui,cide In,struc,tional,,!; Manual" .. acronym: N,O,P,E!
But we ...
Usual suspect: Shhh!
You know, given that the financial institutions the world's well-being depends on are, in a word, gefucktnicht... if we broke up the banks and .....
Usual suspect: Lalalalalalalalal!
Alright then, opinions differ on the connection between global warming and severe local weather conditions, but surely reasonable people can begin to reach an understanding regarding a few ameliorative measures and ....
Usual suspect: Looks around and behind mockingly .. splays hands. "Do you detect the presence of "reasonable " people anywhere within, say, the distance from here to the next galaxy in the universe. Zip it! Would you like a zip from my zipple right here?
Look, we have 55 million uninsured folks in this country and ....
Usual suspect: Mimes turning a key at his lips and putting it in his pocket.
Is it really wise to continue permitting Jewish settlements in .... well, given the powder keg of ...
Usual suspect: Anti-Semite!
I don't think ....
Usual Suspect: God!
I think we should roll up our sleeves and at least address some of these issues ...
Usual Suspect: Roll your sleeves back down. It is not permitted.
But if not now ...
Usual Suspect: Never.
Usual Suspect played by a rotating cast of character actors, who, unfortunately have become typecast over time and are now stuck in dead-end careers:
Including, but not limited to: Marie Antoinette, Czar Nicholas II, Jefferson Davis, Mummar Ghadaffi, Benito Mussolini, Joe Paterno, the actor who played the now late "Gus" on "Breaking Bad", Tom Delay, the inhabitants of Dicken's Circumlocution Office in "Little Dorrit", Lionel Barrymore, and ....
Jul 25, 2012, 00:46:33 John Thullen wrote:
In a sign that the European market for real estate might be clearing, I bought the Acropolis on Ebay this morning with Pal-pal drachmas.
Jul 25, 2012, 03:25:35 Ugh wrote:
John - you keep on keepin' on.
21-32 Trillion sounds kind of high to me, but whatever it is, it certainly is too high, and really should be a scandal. One would think the OECD or G-20 or UN or even NATO could get together and tell the tax havens to fuck off (there are various mechanisms for this, including invasion and occupation), but for some reason they don't.
As Mr. Salmon says, "I don’t see any realistic way of unbaking that particular loaf." Maybe riots in the streets by white people?
Jul 25, 2012, 03:41:26 russell wrote:
"for some reason they don't."
the reason would appear to be that the tax havens are holding the money. you never screw with the guy who's holding the money.
in other amusing news, yesterday i got an email joke from a family member. the gist of the joke was that public employees are a bunch of lazy dumb@sses who spend their days, literally, scratching their balls.
said family member is retired NYFD.
Jul 25, 2012, 05:47:24 John Thullen wrote:
I mean if you bombed the suspected vaults in the Barbados, what would happen -- money, bearer bonds, perhaps paper receipts for gold held elsewhere thrown up in the air like so much confetti?
Isn't whatever amount "held" there and other tax havens in the form of book entrees on a server hard drive?
Wouldn't the MONEY take flight at a moment's tap on a keyboard via fiber optic cable and wireless devices and hover in the infosphere until the 7th Fleet turned Barbados into glass and then sailed home emptyhanded to ask for more funding from Mitt Romney, whose money manager would then purchase the bonds the U.S. Government issued to pay for more ammo, all the while earning interest, which would then be transferred back into money space tax-free.
Russian Mafia, the Mexican meth cartels, Cisco Sytem's corporate finance officer and Mitt Romney don't actually meet for lunch in a Barbadian beach side cabana and count their money, do they?
If they do, I suspect they have Barbadian, Barbadosian, whatever, public employees stand watch over them with heavy weaponry at the ready, while the latter scratch Mitt Romney's balls for him, since he's too good to do it for himself.
No, they check the balance on their IPads. Don't they?
How does it work?
I'm going down to the bank later and have them open their vaults for me so I can see and sit and visit with my savings account.
Jul 25, 2012, 08:22:59 sapient wrote:
"I'm going down to the bank later and have them open their vaults for me so I can see and sit and visit with my savings account."
Count, you're so brilliant. Instead of Occupy, maybe we should all do that. On the same day.
Jul 25, 2012, 08:24:07 sapient wrote:
Wait a minute ... Those of us who have a savings account. Whatever that is.
Jul 25, 2012, 10:42:44 russell wrote:
"I mean if you bombed the suspected vaults in the Barbados, what would happen -- money, bearer bonds, perhaps paper receipts for gold held elsewhere thrown up in the air like so much confetti?"
There ain't no money anymore, it's just numbers in a database.
And there's nobody to bomb in the Caymans, it's just a P.O box.
The point is, they have the super sekrit password decoder ring that turns the number in the database into your private island estate and personal jet.
f**k with them, they f**k with you. they don't have to turn anything into confetti, they just have to say "i'm sorry, we can't seem to find that account".
nobody's gonna strong-arm the tax havens.
Jul 25, 2012, 10:57:56 russell wrote:
and in other family news, i was informed that barack obama is the ONLY president in the last 70 years who failed to visit the national d-day memorial, which was actually built in 2001.
so, clinton, bush i, reagan, all the way back to truman i guess - all serious time travelers.
and obama also never attended *any* d-day memorial. except of course for the 65th anniversary.
also, reactionary presbyterian minister rev. boeckert's "ten nots", written by him in 1916, was actually authored by abraham lincoln. in, i suppose, another example of presidential time travel.
also, as pat buchanan never fails to remind us, american blacks should fall on their knees in gratitude that their ancestors were brought in chains to lives of multi-generational chattel servitude violence and oppression, because it meant that they could hear about the baby jesus. somehow, just traveling to africa to tell them about baby jesus was not adequate, they needed to be enslaved before the message of love and redemption could really take hold.
i get this crap from my sister, brother in law, godfather. i grew up with these people. my godfather, ok, he has been, literally, a bircher from the get, but my freaking sister and brother in law?
my family has been borged into the reactionary pod people. it just makes me sad.
i have a good friend, he's 90 now. beautiful man, his body is starting to fail him, but his mind and spirit are so vital that it makes me green with envy.
we hang out sometimes and talk. he says to me, he's grateful, because he got to live during the absolute best times for this country. the pinnacle of our history.
remember that the period he's talking about includes the depression, the dust bowl, the second world war, postwar red scare and mccarthyism, and a couple of decades of palpable threat of total global nuclear annihilation.
he looks at how things are now, and warns me to prepare myself for bad times.
and i listen to him.
we're living in times of heavy, heavy stupidity, willful ignorance, and some kind of arrogant reactionary mulish refusal to deal with basic reality.
my prediction is that it will take one or two generations to work itself out, and the process by which it will work itself out is widespread suffering and, for a hell of a lot of people, straight up disaster.
and the outcome is not clear.
imvho, the US has a period of basically second-rate status ahead of us. we'll still be able to kick anybody's ass, if that's what we want to do, but in pretty much every other metric we're headed for second tier.
in the meantime, the folks who know the super sekrit decoder passwords for all of those bank accounts are going to suck every dime they can out of the carcass of the nation that folks like my 90 year old buddy spent a lifetime building.
we'll see how it all turns out on the flipside.
Jul 25, 2012, 11:04:16 russell wrote:
much, much, much shorter me:
elected representatives of the people of the united states of america go about publicly declaring that their political, economic, and social worldview was formed by reading "atlas shrugged".
the most puerile, adolescent, smug-assed, self-serving, festering pile of tripe ever bound between two covers.
that's their manifesto.
and these folks are not only tolerated, they are lauded for their visionary insight and bold courage.
i don't know what to make of my own country anymore. we've learned to embrace the second-rate, with both hands, as if it were manna from heaven.
god help the US. and i say that with profound sincerity and sadness.
Jul 25, 2012, 11:38:27 sapient wrote:
"elected representatives of the people of the united states of america go about publicly declaring that their political, economic, and social worldview was formed by reading 'atlas shrugged'"
They haven't won the day though, not even for now. We can keep fighting them. Don't give up, or it will be more than one or two generations. Don't give up, and we can get it back together. We have to fight, and we have to be a united force. Sorry to beat the drum, but we really can't afford to lose any more ground. What does it take to bring us together, to overcome our differences? Obama/Pelosi - these are worthy people to rally behind. The assholes you refer to are there, and will be there, but why throw up our hands? They won't win unless we continue to fail to form a united army to fight them.
Jul 25, 2012, 21:36:57 russell wrote:
i applaud your comment here sapient.
the reason the @ssholes are in office is because folks voted for them. they have a very, very large constituency. in other words, a lot of people want what they advocate.
imo what has to change is the culture.
during the (R) debates a room full of people cheered at the prospect of someone dying because they lacked health insurance.
those folks live next door to you and me. apparently, those folks are among my own family members.
i don't really know how to turn that around. hearts and minds are, i think, above my pay grade.
i got nothing. or, damned little.
Jul 25, 2012, 22:18:37 John Thullen wrote:
I applaud sapient's sentiments too:
But, I second Russell's "but" (are two "buts" like a double-chin?).
Frankly, I give up on this hippie shit (sorry, I'm a politically incorrect liberal) about changing minds one at a time.
I grew up with dumbfuck racist rightwing idiocy among some family members and friends as well, but that's not what bothers me. I can handle assholes one at a time.
It's the now full in your face reflection and fulfillment of this idiocy in the Republican Party.
To wit: http://talkingpointsmemo.co...
The John Birch Society is today's Republican Party, fully, demonstrably, without reserve, catastrophically ....
for them, and they've chosen to disseminate this garbage thru low-brow celebrity filth like Ted Nugent and Victoria Jackson, just to name two of the lesser lights.
There's a tweet this morning from James Taranto of (the last I looked) the fascist, vermin-infested Wall Street editorial page lamenting that he hopes the women who were shielded by their boyfriends in the theater shooting (roughly five miles from me) were worth the sacrifice of the men's lives, whatever the fuck that means, but perusing his past fuckwad vermin rhetoric presumably he's referring to what they do with their vaginas to please him.
This is sadism. It's sadism on a Serbian level.
Just as they get off sexually when people are denied healthcare, they love them some fucking murder with heavy weaponry as long as the right people in their goering/himmler minds are getting shot.
I don't want to talk to them. I don't want to change their minds and I'm not interested any longer in Democratic personages engaging in this kabuki crap in the media to humor the effing ratings.
I want to hurt them. I want new heads altogether on their shoulders or in a very large, bloody basket -- it's their choice.
Now, I know there are plenty of sharp, decent conservatives out there who are laying low, biding their time, who are appalled at this behavior from the Republican Party.
We blog with a few of them.
Don't bide your time too much longer. Because this crap will not stand.
You can have a civilized society with a restoration of some civil rhetoric or not.
By the way, this is not partisan. Whether Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi emerge from this unscathed is of no matter to me any longer.
Bring it ALL down.
Hurry up and find the Abraham Lincoln amongst you to appeal to our better natures, because I'm thinking there are roughly 100,000 John Brown's out there who will take this travesty of a Republican Party down hard by other means.
Russell, you've got me going.
Jul 25, 2012, 22:45:36 John Thullen wrote:
I'm not sure what to think of Andrew Sullivan, but his sheer eclectic curiosity appeals to me.
At any rate, since Russell laid waste to Ayn Rand, one of my favorites in the pantheon of civilization-ending laugh tracks, which is to say deadly but funny.
If I could isolate one political incoherency in the history of such it would be the seamless melding, at least on the surface, of the fundamentalist religious Right and the formerly fringe pop philosophy of Ayn Rand, in the ultimate service of furthering corporate hegemony, though if I were an major American corporation, I would keep a short leash on this phenomenon because the fundamental populism of both travesties could turn on them at any moment.
Key sentence in the link above: "Sodom was a polis organized around the philosophy of Ayn Rand."
The wording might be off because I quoted from memory, but the meaning is on.
If there a Nobel Prize for incoherency, these hopeless romantics would be off to Oslo forthwith.
Of course, thinking about it at all leads me to conclude there is no incoherency, considering the sadistic roots of both camps.
Punishment, with taunting to go along.
It's like understanding the all-of-a-piece picture of Hitler, sentimentally adoring his dogs while signing off on oven design.
And spare me the oh-my-God-he-invoked-Hitler outrage, because at this moment the name Hitler/Obama are on the lips and the keyboard fingertips of countless Orcs across the country.
They like inflammatory rhetoric? Good, they've come to the right guy.
Jul 25, 2012, 23:28:05 John Thullen wrote:
I'm tense in the wrong tense.
Jul 25, 2012, 23:54:57 russell wrote:
"Don't bide your time too much longer."
Actually, don't bide your time AT ALL. In fact, be like our remarkable presidents who attended D-Day commemorations at memorials that were not yet built, travel in time, and quit biding your time 10, or 20, or 30 years ago.
If you are a conservative who resents being associated with racist, violent, eliminationist rhetoric, then it behooves you to distance yourself from it and call it out publicly.
those folks are speaking for you. if you don't like the message they're spreading, you need to spread a different one. loudly, and now.
regarding the polis of sodom, anyone who has read any of the old testament prophets, or the levitical code, or basically any of the bible whatever, new testament or old, and thinks that the social and economic doctrines of modern day american conservatives are in any way compliant with the judeo-christian religious traditions, is either bone simple or willfully blind.
people should actually, at a minimum, read the stuff they claim to espouse.
yes, it's the russell and thullen tag team rant-a-thon. with laudable attempts at sanity and balance interjection by sapient.
i couldn't ask for better company.
Jul 26, 2012, 01:21:20 John Thullen wrote:
A once big name is fed up, finally:
Jul 26, 2012, 01:49:24 russell wrote:
It's easy to take the big view once the check clears.
Thanks for nothing, Sandy.
Don't mean to be overly harsh, I'd just like to see these guys have their come to jesus moment before they make their big pile by blowing shit up.
Or, you know, maybe give the money away. Like, to people whose livelihoods and personal wealth were ruined as a result of his deregulation efforts.
It would enhance their credibility. In my eyes, anyway.
Jul 26, 2012, 03:14:14 John Thullen wrote:
At this late date?
Go get it ;)
I wonder if Weill's money vacations in Barbados?
Jul 26, 2012, 08:07:16 ccdg wrote:
Oddly, I thought interstate banking and the repeal of Glass-Steagal was a bad idea when they did it. I was responsible for consolidating the Private Banking and Custody systems for 6 banks in a "bank holding company". So my job was taking advantage of the repeal. Still, all of a sudden we had 65B in assets all in one place, and that was just the Private Bank, all in the same funds for the first time.
Seemed sketchy to me.
But remember, Lehman wasn't a bank. GS and Morgan Stanley registered as banks to qualifyy for TARP, so that split em up thing is only so much help.
Jul 28, 2012, 04:23:27 John Thullen wrote:
In a short stint of TV watching a few weeks ago, my radar went up at the sheer volume of reverse mortgage commercials.
Pitchmen: Fred Thompson and Pat Boone.
They stressed the "government guarantee", which I guess, in their world, would be like Vladimir Lenin ordering the spoiler on his $150,000 Porsche.
In a nutshell, this is how the anti-regulatory, libertarian (on the economic side; last time I looked Boone was stringing barbed wire across Debbie Boone's vagina) grift works.
Sell, collect the commission, run for office with the Tea Party getting your back, and blame government for (well, everything) both its full faith and credit and any attempts it makes to rein in the sales force and prevent them from draping the full faith and credit tease across the "product" like a bikinied blonde across a new Buick, while not cluing people in on the risks.
Boone had one gleaming set of dentures in those commercials.
Aug 02, 2012, 22:14:31 John Thullen wrote:
High frequency trading and another bullet point in the methodology of finance capitalism killing capitalism.
Everything is broken -- government and finance.
Deliberately, by diabolical f*cks:
That country you had? Those exalted markets?
They are priceless vases thrown off a balcony by psychopathic children.
Aug 03, 2012, 02:35:03 Ugh wrote:
I do like the ability of the NYSE to just "cancel" trades when....because. So simple!
Aug 09, 2012, 14:23:28 libjpn wrote:
wondering if you could give some more detail about this
Just curious about what you think about this
Aug 10, 2012, 19:34:06 Ugh wrote:
Would love to but without access to real keyboard. Maybe Monday.
One takeaway: it is more likely than not that Romney engaged in one of these transactions himself, which goes a long way toward explaining his reluctance to release his tax returns.
Aug 11, 2012, 18:51:28 Ugh wrote:
He may also have paid close to zero in federal income taxes in 2009, so he would have to cut off any disclosure then.