Some interesting Sunday morning reading materials:

• Americans are angry. Why aren’t they protesting? (Washington Post)
• S&P: Skeptics fueled downgrade (Politico) see also SEC Checks S&P’s Downgrade Math (WSJ)
• Kass: Leave the Short-Sellers Alone (The Street)
• What happened in London? Just an adjustment of the Riot Index (The Globe and Mail) see also The world runs out of options (The Telegraph)
• The Fed’s secret QE equivalent (FT.com)
• Rental Options Sought On Foreclosed Homes (WSJ) see also One answer to the foreclosure mess: More immigrants (LA Times)
• Wal-Mart Visits Drop 2.6% as Added Products Fail to Draw Buyers, Memo Says (Bloomberg)
• Raters Fail to See Defaults Coming (WSJ) see also As stock markets crash, consider what Standard and Poor’s got right (Global Post)
• Elizabeth Warren Gearing Up For Senate Run, Announcement To Come Post Labor Day (Huffington Post)
• The Death of Booting Up (Slate)

What are you reading?

>

Kal via The Economist

Category: Financial Press

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

28 Responses to “Weekend AM Reads”

  1. philipat says:

    And, of course, China continues to be knocked for manufacturing all the chaep sh*t that Americans don;t really need and from which, in any case, China retains very little value added other than employment, which of course it desperately needs, because US Corporations “Transfer Price” most of the profits offshore. This means that the benefits accrue in NEITHER China, NOR the US.

  2. Orange14 says:

    Two ESSENTIAL reads for this Sunday AM. We have BR’s great column on the Fed http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/how-the-federal-reserve-boxed-itself-in/2011/08/08/gIQASpBYDJ_story.html and maybe even more importantly, Steven Pearlstein’s wonderful scolding of America’s CEOs who have stood silently by as the country descends into chaos: http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/steven-pearlstein-blame-for-financial-mess-starts-with-the-corporate-lobby/2011/08/08/gIQA3zMlDJ_story.html

  3. BusSchDean says:

    philipat….Exactly! Thirty years ago I worked for an electrical distributorship with multiple locations and thereby learned about transfer price yet our Congress and tax people act as if they know nothing about it.

  4. BusSchDean says:

    Orange14, yep, both good articles. Since I began commenting here I have asked the question: Where are the responsible corporate leaders? When will we hear from them? As an educator I worry about our role models, as well as responsible leaders willing to participate in the public discussion (rather than hide behind lobbyist and shill organizations like the national Chamber). Business leaders have always been seen as aggressive, smart, competitive, a few (but not all) a bit greedy. Business history is also filled with examples of business leaders who spoke and acted in support of a brighter future for the community, a stronger economy enjoyed by more people, investing in the domestic workforce, condemnation of fellow businessmen viewed as too ruthless, etc. For literally years now we hear nothing.

    Actually, I was surprised to learn about The Big Picture and Barry. Who would have thought that it would be someone in his position to become a active voice?

  5. BTW, these are two fascinating Bloomberg headlines — but the articles were so short I did not want to include them:

    Withdrawals From Stock Funds Biggest Since ’08

    Wall Street Trader Bonuses May Drop 30%: Study

  6. rktbrkr says:

    Re Fed boxed in:
    Their dual mandate of fighting inflation and maintaining full employment has morphed to managing inflation and maintaining high asset prices, they have gone beyond their legal mandate by bailing out non US banks (including some that are back in the headlines now) and non-banks. They are establishing their own mandates on the fly, they are truly independent!

    They are in so deep I don’t see any likely exit for them without creating some sort of cataclysm and their 2 year promise is a promise made to be broken, could they possibly maintain these ultra low interest rates for a fixed period of time if inflation started racing ahead? How can they possibly make a promise like that if they have a mandate to fight inflation. They and the US gummint are DEAD if interest rates suddenly spike.

    Lots of not unimaginable black swans beyond the horizon!

  7. Julia Chestnut says:

    “People protest when they believe that something is wrong, that it could be otherwise, and that their efforts are both necessary and potentially effective.”

    I take serious issue with this assessment. This smacks of the same “rational utility maximization” theory that I find stupid in economics. People do not make a calculated, rational decision to protest in the vast majority of cases, I suggest: they get pushed to the point where their rational selves take a back seat. Otherwise, why would people describe a “spark” that sets off protests? Some incendiary action finally makes people think that their efforts are likely to be necessary and effective? While I do agree that the less people have to lose, the more likely you are to see collective violence – protest, especially in its more peaceful forms, is less simple.

    I subscribe more to a kind of contagion theory of protest: there is a tipping point at which individual displeasure and unrest becomes epidemic, self-sustaining and inevitable. There is a collective nature to these actions – they tap into something like the “group shadow” that Jung postulates and create a group action with a different character and will than that of those among the group. I sometimes wonder if it is the disintegration of the American common life and community that has gutted any protest: the shadow of what we share as a group is too weak to hold much sway. It seems to take a lot to remind us of what we have in common and what we as a common group must do to protect it.

    But as I see it, the rentiers are pushing the masses very close to that point. They might want to watch their backs: as soon as the austerity program sets in, things might start to get really unpleasant as the thing that the shadow shares becomes want and seething resentment.

  8. lunartop says:

    Austerity and Anarchy: Budget Cuts and Social Unrest in Europe, 1919-2009 http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1899287

  9. BusSchDean says:

    Thnx!

  10. Raleighwood says:

    http://www.alternet.org/story/151999/meet_the_global_financial_elites_controlling_%2446_trillion_in_wealth/?page=entire

    If you think people in this income level don’t control the US political process, you are not paying attention. After they caused this economic crisis, they got the government to give them trillions of dollars in taxpayer support, and then, after taking our tax dollars, they gave themselves all-time record-breaking bonuses.

    http://www.alternet.org/teaparty/151980/how_the_head_of_fox_news_is_making_americans_more_right-wing%2C_more_ignorant_and_ever_more_terrified/

    Ailes’s childhood explains a lot.

  11. Petey Wheatstraw says:

    Julia Chestnut:

    All true.

    I often wonder why it took so much for European Jews to stand up to the Nazis, as they eventually did in the Warsaw ghetto, or how dictatorships manage, for a while, to keep entire countries and nations of people effectively locked down. It’s amazing how far the majority of people can be pushed before they begin to resist.

    In a sense, I think that people don’t resist due to a belief that doing so is a public admission that they were either not among the “in” crowd (in our case, those wealthy of powerful enough to prosper during the decline), or that resistance will only increase the trouble they face (the earliest casualties serving as examples of what happens to those who step up).

    We have already had public smack-downs (tazings, assaults, etc.), of people peacefully resisting the status quo. We have had banks, backed by law enforcement — but not under the color of any law or legal process — raid completely innocent people’s homes and trash their lives and any sense of personal security they may have had. And they have gotten away with it.

    The reason for our rapid metamorphosis into a military-industrial/police/security/surveillance/prison state, along with the rule of power overcoming the rule of law, will become more apparent as social unrest due to The Final Disenfranchisement (marketed as, “Austerity for the Good of Us All”), increases.

    I also agree that the “rentiers” have completely discounted or forgotten (despite the many 20th century examples), what happens when the gloves finally do come off (try looking for protection in the rule of law, when it has been reduced to a mere technicality and twisted into a tool of abuse against those who have, or will, turn the tables).

    We do live in interesting times.

  12. machinehead says:

    Lifehacker says that installing an SSD [Solid State Drive] is the single best way you can make your machine boot faster: “The difference will be shocking.”

    In three years or so, SSDs will replace spinning hard drives, the same way flat screens replaced CRTs.

    Currently SSDs cost about $2 a gigabyte. When they get down to 50 cents a GB, they’ll become ubiquitous. The nightmare of a dying hard drive — the no. 1 cause of data loss for most individual users — will be a thing of the past.

    Too bad it took 30 years and genre-threatening competition to finally make the crappy old PC into a usable and reliable device.

  13. ilsm says:

    Re: The Fed’s secret QE equivalent (FT.com)

    Liquidity does not equal solvency.

    Those reserve are not for the unmarked assets on the bankjing systems’ balance sheets.

    Capital and debt need destructions.

    No one will know what anything is worth until the big banks’ assets are marked.

  14. Mike in Nola says:

    Re: Boot up article.

    Speeding up booting is really a matter of moving to SSD’s to replace hard drives. SSD’s are still relatively expensive per gig which is slowing down adoption. on machines where you might want to carry much info with you and you don’t want to pay a lot. They are available on most high end machines now if you want to pay the price.

    The Airs didn’t really have very good processors but did have the special sauce of SSD’s which can turn even a mediocre machine fast, although a bit more expensive. Of course the special battery design didn’t hurt.

    The other thing that is getting rid of booting is the much more efficicient sleep modes on new machines which is really what most machines do instead of being shut down. The machine stays on with everything still in memory so it comes back up in a few seconds. This isn’t true booting. They would use almost no power w/o having to run a hard drive. As more and more machines incorporate SSD’s, they will be able to stay asleep for days using almost no power.

    Chromebooks really don’t belong in the discussion as they aren’t really computers and much less of a computer than an iPad or modern mobile phone. Chromebooks have met pretty uniformly lukewarm reviews since they aren’t really computers and don’t run much on the computer. If you don’t have a connection to the net it’s useless. It’s easy for it to boot quickly since it’s not doing anything. And they cost as much as a low end laptop that is much more powerful. But they do have the advantage of forcing you to get onto the net so you can view Google’s ads.

  15. BusSchDean says:

    Julia & Petey: I believe that an articulate, energizing leader makes the difference in terms of crystalizing dissent or protest. Many people who feel frustration find articulating a coherent argument about that frustration difficult. An articulate, energizing leader takes on that role, providing both an articulate argument (articulate does not mean accurate or truthful) and a path forward –think Joan of Arc, Walter Reuther, MLK, Ronald Reagan, etc. Of course the same could be said of Hitler in the process of gaining support from a frustrated, downtrodden post-WWI German population. I would argue that the Tea Party flounders not because it has poorly formulated, ahistorical views that lack empirical support (all of which I believe to be true) but rather because it lacks an articulate, energizing leader.

  16. Petey Wheatstraw says:

    machinehead:

    Just bought a new Mac w/a SS drive (fairly, but not prohibitively, expensive). The time saved on start-up, application launches, and saving/reading large files is substantial. Can’t wait until the price comes down.

  17. Raleighwood says:

    Re: protests.

    Corporate media did a fabulous job of completely and intentionally ignoring the enormous protests during the run-up to the Iraq war – what makes anyone believe if people took to the streets for some reason NOT in keeping with the corporate message that anyone else would even know about it.

  18. Petey Wheatstraw says:

    Raleighwood:

    there are big differences between protests, a riots, and a rebellions.

  19. Petey Wheatstraw says:

    Oy.

    there are big differences between protests, riots, and rebellions.

  20. Pre-Crime: BART Admits Halting Cell Service to Stop Protesters
    August 13th, 2011

    Via: San Francisco Chronicle:

    BART officials acknowledged this afternoon that they shut down cell phone and wireless data service in its downtown San Francisco stations to disrupt a planned protest. Their announcement sparked denunciations from civil libertarians and the apparent threat of a cyber-attack on the BART website.

    A statement posted on the transit agency’s website said the communications blackout was ordered in the interest of public safety:

    “Organizers planning to disrupt BART service on August 11, 2011 stated they would use mobile devices to coordinate their disruptive activities and communicate about the location and number of BART Police,” the statement reads.

    “A civil disturbance during commute times at busy downtown San Francisco stations could lead to platform overcrowding and unsafe conditions for BART customers, employees and demonstrators. BART temporarily interrupted service at select BART stations as one of many tactics to ensure the safety of everyone on the platform.”…”
    http://cryptogon.com/?p=24180

    “And, the Cow goes “Mooo..””
    ~~~

    From Games To Movies, The Pentagon Spends Billions To Entice The American Youth Into Giving Up Their Lives In The Name Of Military Service
    As the U.S. economy remains on a consistent downward spiral, one thing the U.S. Government is never shy to invest endless cash in is the Pentagon. While the masses suffer pension cutbacks, 46 million Americans live off food stamps and Americans across the nation are relegated to living in “tent city” homeless camps the government pumps trillions of dollars into illegal perpetual wars. Perhaps even more inexcusable is the the pumping millions of dollars into luring in the young population of America into enrolling into the military, all to support the political corruption of globalist’s international banking cartel.

    RT’s Anastasia Churkina looks at some of those mesmerizing techniques, and what kind of effect they have had on those fit to serve….”
    http://blog.alexanderhiggins.com/2011/08/12/war-pentagons-psychological-operation-suck-masses-war-machine-54821
    ~~~
    http://search.yippy.com/search?query=The+Mighty+Wurlitzer+The+Cia+and+Newspapers&tb=sitesearch-all&v%3Aproject=clusty

  21. Global Warming Link to Drowned Polar Bears Melts Under Searing Fed Probe

    http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=45447

    Former judge sentenced to prison for “kids for cash” scheme

    Now they are just profit fodder

    http://news.yahoo.com/former-judge-sentenced-prison-kids-cash-scheme-212633067.html

    40 years on from gold standard, bugs crow

    (Reuters) – Gold, and only gold, will be our salvation when the value of companies, banks, countries and even money itself melts away. Gold, not shifting currencies, is the foundation of wealth and security. Gold is back, for good.

    This is the song of the “gold bugs” – the fervent fans of the precious metal who have clung to its investment value for three generations and now glow in the reflected luster of a record price approaching $2,000 for just one ounce.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/08/11/us-gold-bugs-idUSTRE77A3CT20110811

    Many Egyptians are now investing in gold

    This is another example of backwards investor economic thinking. Now that the price is high, the poor want to invest in it. That is completely contradictory to much economic thinking. The POG ranged between $250 and $400 for a decade and no one wanted anything to do with it. Quadruple the price and you have people selling their kids for it (not yet at least but it will probably happen)

    http://cnbusinessnews.com/many-egyptians-are-now-investing-in-gold/

  22. JimRino says:

    WalMart shipped our Factories to China, Dollar Store Wins, China Wins, WalMart and America Lose.

  23. HTCMSI,

    with.. Former judge sentenced to prison for “kids for cash” scheme

    Now they are just profit fodder

    http://news.yahoo.com/former-judge-sentenced-prison-kids-cash-scheme-212633067.html
    ~~~

    don’t you find it *interesting that it was, merely, the ‘Judges’ that were Tried (and Convicted) ?

    not their Bailiffs, Secretaries, and, other, Staff..?

    it was a, total, Racket, but, the ‘Judges’ acted alone(?)

  24. Raleighwood says:

    I agree – but if none of them are seen by – or communicated to – “the masses” did it really happen? I would love to see or know about some rightfully pissed-off people making a statement – I’m just not convinced I would be given that opportunity.

    http://www.care2.com/causes/san-franciscos-bart-shutdown-cell-service-fearing-protests.html

  25. Raleighwood,

    Draw some Parallels between..

    http://search.yippy.com/search?query=Soviet+Policy+of+Russification&tb=sitesearch-all&v%3Aproject=clusty
    &
    http://search.yippy.com/search?input-form=clusty-simple&v%3Asources=webplus&v%3Aproject=clusty&query=Levittown+Suburbia+and+The+American+Dream

    and, keep in mind the ol’ adage..~”Never get into an Argument, with Someone who buys Ink-by the Barrel..”

    and, of course, these bon mots..

    “Let me issue and control a nation’s money, and I care not who writes its laws.”

    - Mayer Amschel Bauer Rothschild (1773-1855), London financier, one of the founders of the international Rothschild banking dynasty, 1838.

    ________________________________________________________________________________________

    “We are grateful to the Washington Post, the New York Times, Time Magazine, and other great publications whose directors have attended our meetings and respected their promises of discretion for almost forty years…It would have been impossible for us to develop our plan for the world if we had been subjected to the lights of publicity during those years. But, the world is now more sophisticated and prepared to march towards a world government. The supranational sovereignty of an intellectual elite and world bankers is surely preferable to the national auto-determination practiced in past centuries.”

    - David Rockefeller, Bilderberg meeting, June 1991, Baden, Germany.

    ________________________________________________________________________________________

    “I care not what puppet is placed on the throne of England to rule the Empire upon which the sun never sets. The man that controls Britain’s money supply controls the British Empire. And I control the money supply.”

    - Mayer Amschel Bauer Rothschild (1773-1855), London financier, one of the founders of the international Rothschild banking dynasty.
    ________________________________________________________________________________________

    “Some even believe we [the Rockefeller family] are part of a secret cabal working against the best interests of the United States, characterizing my family and me as ‘internationalists’ and of conspiring with others around the world to build a more integrated global political and economic structure – one world, if you will. If that’s the charge, I stand guilty, and I am proud of it.”

    - David Rockefeller, David Rockefeller: Memoirs, p. 405.
    http://www.thenorthwestreport.com/federal-reserve-bank-quotes-the-central-bank-fraud/

  26. Good point MEH. I would hope others were also charged relative to their level of cooperation. We of the insect class don’t make for good headlines though

  27. Barry, your instapaper (and comment section that goes with it) is starting to put HuffPost to shame. Maybe it is time you had a chat with AOL. That is, assuming you could use a few hundred million ;)

  28. ape_girl says:

    Just want to thank you for this hub of quality information.