Links 2/11/10

Guardian

BBC (hat tip reader Paul S)

Times Online (hat tip reader Scott)

Salon (hat tip reader Scott)

Daily Kos (hat tip reader John D)

Paul Craig Roberts (hat tip reader Frank A)

(hat tip reader John D) Raw Story

Columbia Journalism Review

Ed Harrison

New York Times. It’s surprising and disconcerting that the New York Times seems unaware of the fact that pay was not hierarchical in investment banks, and that the big capital markets firms hew to that model (indeed, I’ve been surprised that the CEOs of late have garnered the top pay, since they are not producers). This is hardly a new trend. For instance, the second best paid person at Citibank in 1984 was the head of its money markets division, who was way down the food chain by traditional measures of how bankers were paid (number of people reporting to him, seniority, etc.). In the late 1990s, Lawrence Hilibrand at Salomon Brothers was best paid, at $23 million, vastly more than its CEO John Gutfreund (who I dimly recall made around $3 million).

Bloomberg. Read this and vomit. The reason big business criticize Obama’s policies is that they know how little stomach he has for a fight, that the more they demand, the more they will get. And I have to say, this plays into one of the themes of the book, how the expression “free markets” is intellectually bankrupt and serves as a Trojan horse for ideology.

Raw Story. Right, help to whom?

Antidote du jour:

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30 comments

  1. Kevin de Bruxelles

    The Kudlow article manifests the fact that with most politicians being so repugnant due to their obvious obedience to their corporate funders, the only way to make a case for a politician, for example Sen. Schumer, while still retaining any hint credibility, is the make the case against his opponent, in this case Kudlow. American political life has descended into a politics of repulsion.

    It is the same in the general case, left / right partisan coherence is retained not by attraction to the performance of your side but by repulsion at the other side. The lesser of two evils appeal. During the Bush years this was clear as many on the left held their noses and voted for Kerry despite his support for the war. An entirely fictional socialist Obama is being created for many on the right who were disgusted by Bush. The myth that Obama may act differently than a Republican President his helping those with lower critical thinking skills back home to the Republican party. Of course the gives Obama an excuse to roam even further to the right with the not-quite-plausibly deniable excuse of chasing these voters. And the best example of all is Sarah Palin (who recently replaced Dick Cheney in this role) who is being brandished like a crucifix in order to change the minds of all those retarded liberals disgusted with the Democratic Party and looking to leave.

    While there is no doubt Kudlow is an assclown; his potential candidature should really be seen as a reward to Schumer for all the great service he has rendered to his Wall Street patrons. If Kudlow does manage to get the nomination, many New Yorkers will rush to legitimize Schumer’s obeisance to Wall Street.

    1. bob

      Honest question heard come out of the “economic reporter” Kudlow-

      In the event of bankruptcy, how do the shareholders fair against the bondholders?

      He was honestly asking this, it was not a demonstration.

  2. DownSouth

    Interesting video of the street protests going on in Greece:

    If this follows the same trajectory as Argentina, then Papandreou will be forced out, maybe making as dramatic an exit as De la Rúa did when he fled the Casa Rosada in a helicopter, and someone will be elected that represents the Greek people and not the internatinal banking cartel. This will be followed by a default on the foreign debt, which will eventually be settled at 25 cents on the dollar.

    This story in the NY Times is highly biased in that it makes it sound as if Germany and other major memebers of the EU hold all the cards, that they alone have a say in Greece’s future. I think it may come as a major shock to them that the people of Greece have different ideas than they do.

    1. Kevin de Bruxelles

      DownSouth,

      That video is from the Greek riots in December 2009. They were mainly caused by youth angry about police shooting a teenage boy.

      One thing is sure though, Americans are always more impressed by the demonstration and occasional riots that occur in Europe than the locals are; I know I sure was when I first got here. But now its just another day if I get stuck for an hour in a tunnel because dairy farmers have blocked all the main roads!

      1. aet

        Greece “leaving the Euro” is about as likely IMHO as one of the United States “leaving the Dollar”.
        Why is one considered as being more likely than the other?
        For the individual American States retain Sovereignty too, do they not? Just not in relation to the currency.

        So what’s the diff between the two “currency unions”, the USA and the Euro-zone?

        Ah, something for me to look into in my spare time!

      2. DownSouth

        Oops! You’re right. I got the wrong link.

        Here’s one from yesterday from Greece that shows pretty much the same thing:

        This goes to show that the protests have been going on for quite some time now.

        And here’s another one from February 4 that takes more of a look at what’s going on all across Europe:

        The reporters point out the same thing you do: that in Geneva protests are quite common.

        However, they are not nearly so sanguine as you. They claim the protest activity is building both in frequency and intensity all across Europe and Russia.

        Also they point out another extremely important change. In Geneva the Swiss government banned protests. According to the reporters, that is something entirely new. To me it indicates that the international criminal banking cartel is getting scared. It also hints at its willingness to up the stakes in order to quell dissent and preserve the illusion of peace.

        If you ask me, it looks like Switzerland is following in the footsteps of the United States in the march to fascist corporatism.

    2. charcad

      Downsouth,

      The Chinese have a strategic interest in maintaining an overvalued euro. It makes it easier for them to destroy European industry while keeping the apparent value of their FX portfolio inflated. Look what the high dollar did for US industry in the 1990s and 2000s.

      A true “with two you get eggroll” situation for Beijing given their bracketed dollar peg. I see no indication the boobeois in western governments and countries are ready to wake up on this. But let’s face it. Even Wal-Mart store management level is only qualified for floor sweeping and trash bin emptying in a modern CNC equipped factory. And most of Wal-Street isn’t even that qualified.

      I expect the Euro elites to run true to form here. They’ll preen for the cameras while others do the heavy lifting of buying Greek bonds to fund temporary euro bailouts. My expectation is for a series of short term expedients that fail ever more spectacularly until real Armageddon is upon us all.

      If anyone thinks this is harsh, they weren’t paying attention to net European performance in the 1990s during Yugoslavia breakup. Which ran down the very same rails European policy took in the 1930s.

      Never underestimate these mendacious assholes’ capacity for doing nothing while sounding sophisticated and making themselves look good.

      1. DownSouth

        I really believe that it is Argentina that showed Greece the way. After Argentina defaulted on its debt in 2002 and told the Libertarian-Austrian-Neoliberal shitheads to go take a hike, it was able to renegotiate most of its debt for 25 to 35 cents on the dollar. And since then the economic situation in Argentina has improved considerably:

        The government encouraged import substitution and accessible credit for businesses, staged an aggressive plan to improve tax collection, and set aside large amounts of money for social welfare, while controlling expenditure in other fields.

        […]

        Argentina has managed to return to growth with surprising strength; the GDP jumped 8.8% in 2003, 9.0% in 2004, 9.2% in 2005, 8.5% in 2006 and 8.7% in 2007. Though average wages have increased 17% annually since 2002 (jumping 25% in the year to May 2008),consumer prices have partly accompanied this surge; though not comparable to the levels of former crises, the inflation rate was 12.5% in 2005, 10% in 2006 and is believed by private economists to have approached 15% in 2007 and to exceed 20% during 2008 (even if the Ministry of Economy refuses to acknowledge inflation greater than 10%). This has prompted the government to increase tariffs for exporters and to pressure retailers into one price truce after another in a bid to stabilize prices, so far with little effect.

        While unemployment has been considerably reduced (it’s been hovering around 8.5% since 2006), Argentina has so far failed to reach an equitable distribution of income (the wealthiest 10% of the population receives 31 times more income than the poorest 10%). This disparity, nevertheless, compares quite favorably to levels seen in most of Latin America, Asia and Africa.

  3. aet

    I personally like the right-wing’s style, in consistently putting up for election those people who have been successful, in the public eye, as front men for the big Media Corps.

    After all, who is better at “image” than the entertainers , “journalists” and advertisers on the mass media and publicly-owned airwaves: and it works, insofar as the famous are already famous….that always makes running the Campaign that much cheaper.

    AS to Obama and business: perhaps he sees the tidal wave of corporate spending coming down the tubes for the next election. No-one will be able to withstand it, or stem its flood, you know!

    That Bush appointed neo-con Supreme Court, and its odd PR campaign, where Judges go out to give speeches in support o their unpoular & anti-democratic decisions, shall be the “Neo-con gift that keeps on giving” for the next twenty or thirty years. Have fun!

    Bye bye, Roe v Wade: bye bye, Brown v Board of Education: there’s a new breed of “judicial activist” on the Supreme Court bench: and any future “left-wing” (as such is curiously defined by those neo-cons) programs the Legislature(s) attempt(s) to put in place shall be smothered in the cradle by these unelected and appointed Guardians of Empire.

  4. john

    Yves,
    For those of us approaching an early dotage, could you periodically remind us of the name of your book and it’s availability. I keep meaning to look for it but forgetting the name.
    Thanks,
    John

  5. Valissa

    About that Daily Kos link… “Two-Thirds of Voters Say Pass Comprehensive Reform.” That poll has a couple of problems. One, it’s very vague as of course most people want the system reformed, it’s those pesky HUGE details of how that reform gets implemented, what deals are made with who to get it, and what it ultimately costs (to the country and in our taxes). Two, one needs to keep in mind that Daily Kos is a propaganda shop for the progressives and Democratic party… so one must be very careful to strongly filter any political opinions expressed there. Please note that I say this as an ex-Kossack (and ex-progressive who has dropped out of the D-R paradigm) who was not happy when Kos sold out to the Dem establishment.

    As I was trying to figure out how that occurred I came across this classic book by Eric Hoffer “The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements.” Hoffer explains very well how thought leaders get co-opted into political movements. Hoffer is a fascinating character who was completely self educated (earning income first as a migrant worker, and ultimately as a longshoreman in San Fran) and yet who became a highly respected social and political thinker.

  6. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    How do you judge a camel beauty contest?

    I dunno, I would do it the same way I judged the cutest cockroach in my student days – the most average one is always the prettiest (I read that somewhere in a book that for example a 7 ft tall or a 4 ft tall contestant rarely becomes Miss Wall Street, Miss Apple Pie or Miss Derivative).

    There is a more sophisticated way though. Beauty is tied to GDP – that’s my own theory. I got that idea from reading that national Olympic medal counts are porportional to national GDPs. So, for example, when America was rich and powerful, all the hormone-laden youths of the world, in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Polar regions, wanted to look like Americans. But now that China has collected all that foreign reserves, the current paradigm is about to change. Chinese men will be the next sex symbols.

    So, to judge the prettiest camel, I would say we must have some ideas what Chinese Gobi camels look like. They will likely to be the winners.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Craazyman, there is a guy down in Australia who keeps insects as pets and he uses his tongue for his cockroaches the way a dog owner uses the lawn for his dog.

        But I don’t know if he has tried ‘your way’ with his cockroaches. Will be interesting. If you have any first hand experience, please don’t hestitate to share.

  7. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    I think if you can autograph your own body scan, we are not too far away from my dream of Do-It-Yourself lobotomy.

    Imagine that – a Do-It-Yourself lobotomy store around every corner in the world…

    Can you help with my IPO then, Yves? Got any connection still at Goldman?

    Actually, I would put two Do-It-Yourself lobotomy stores in every corner in, say, Hollywood, every college/university and Lower Manhattan.

    1. C

      “we are not too far away from my dream of Do-It-Yourself lobotomy.”

      Wow. Talk about giving yourself head…

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I am also working on a ‘brain enema’ that can free up the brain for more repetitive work all in the name of maximizing self profit.

  8. C

    Re Obama being a “fierce” Free-Market advocate:

    1. I guess this posturing settles the Fool Vs liar debate.

    2. This quote *really* pissed me off:

    “The irony is, is that on the left we are perceived as being in the pockets of big business; and then on the business side, we are perceived as being anti-business,” Obama said in a Feb. 9 interview”

    No, the people on the center and on the right equally perceive this [email protected]#up as being in the pockets of big business.

    And as for the rest of the article, it’s amazing that a President can that his primary goal for the US is to get China to increase the value of its currency. Surely the US has other problems that he has more direct authority over?!?!?!?

    1. C

      Actually, this entire interview is just bizarre:

      “Obama attributed feelings that he’s unsympathetic to business in part to “a spillover effect” from public criticism he has leveled at large banks. ”

      Yet he also (in the same 35 min interview span) says that, “You would be hard-pressed to identify a piece of legislation that we have proposed out there that, net, is not good for businesses,”

      Is he just admitting that he says one thing and does another?

      Bizarre…

  9. Eagle

    Thanks for the link to the article at anti-war. I actually find them comforting; as long as people publish those screeds openly with their names attached, I’ll know we’re not in a police state.

  10. Hugh

    Obama being anti-business is like the charges that he is a socialist. He is a very solid corporatist.

    When Obama was running for President, he promised to renegotiate NAFTA. There was a huge kerfuffle because the CBC ran stories in which it was reported that Goolsbee was reassuring Canadian officials that this was all BS for the rubes. Goolsbee was shunted aside for a while and the story died. As for NAFTA, a few months into his Administration, renegotiation of it was quietly shelved. If you want the longer version with links, you can find it here:

    It’s item 55 in an Obama scandals list I keep.

  11. MonkeyMuffins

    You recently linked to GlobalFiction.ca (d/b/a Global”Research”(dot)ca), home of easily debunked urban legends such as nine-eleven-was-an-inside-job and vaccines-are-poison-for-profit-and-control.

    Now you link to Troofer-moonbat, Paul Craig Roberts.

    What’s next, a love fest with Alex Jones.

    Is it possible to vet your sources a little better?

    UnknownsNews.net sets the standard for intelligence when it comes to links:

    No Nuts: No Nuttiness.

    It’s a simple policy for rational adults.

    I urge you to try it.

    1. Jeff65

      Wow. What a non-informational comment. Maybe try debating the substance of PCR’s article? I can’t even tell if you read it.

    2. bystander

      I think the idea is that we’re supposed to be able to work out what’s true and false for ourselves, thanks, MonkeyMuffins.

      of course, if we can’t tell for ourselves whether or not to trust Troofer-moonbat, Paul Craig Roberts, on the story of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, we can’t tell whether to trust you, either.

      So, one way or the other, it looks as if you are wasting your time.

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