Margin calls actually instigated the crash

The crash actually followed a $2 trillion margin call by these four global banks on their prime brokerage clients and OTC counterparties – effectively a 30 per cent increase in required margin. It was the margin call that forced liquidation of global portfolios of all asset classes – and particularly the high quality, most liquid asset classes. . . . → Read More: Margin calls actually instigated the crash

TEPCO sent workers down into basement without telling them it was ‘hot’

Daily Yomiuri Online reported that Tokyo Power company (TEPCO) knew of a leak in the Number 3 reactor at Fukushima Daiichi prior to sending repair workers into the area. Most startling was the fact that the presence of the leak was not shared with workers pulling a power line into the damaged reactor, who last week walked through radioactive water pooled on the . . . → Read More: TEPCO sent workers down into basement without telling them it was ‘hot’

May I have permission to reincarnate, please?

The Times of India notes under a provocative headline that a New Chinese law is aimed at wiping out Tibetan identity. I was particularly struck by the law’s requirement that Tibetans seek permission for reincarnation (presumably prior to death since I don’t think Communists can access that Bardo state). . . . → Read More: May I have permission to reincarnate, please?

Allstate queues up at the BofA trough

Bank of America has not yet seen the bottom of the hole that it dug itself when it purchased Countrywide. A report today add Allstate insureance to the growing list of companies that have sued BofA for the fraud perpetrated on them by the RMBS’ sold to them by Countrywide.

Nasdaq reports:

Insurance company Allstate Corp. sued mortgage- originator Countrywide Financial Corp., now . . . → Read More: Allstate queues up at the BofA trough

Robbing Peter to pay Paul – Ally pays Fannie for stuffing them with bad loans

Is it only me or is this a weird report? Both of the protagonists are majority owned by the US taxpayer, and yet they settle debts in order to hide the disclosure of the true amounts of bad loans which Ally (the bank formerly known as GMAC) stuffed into RMBS’ which have been sold to Fannie Mae. Is this just a way for the US government and its hedge fund partners in Ally to clean up the books and lower risk so as to polish up the IPO? As a result neither Ally nor Fannie Mae need to make adjustments for the crap mortgages on their balance sheets … at this time. . . . → Read More: Robbing Peter to pay Paul – Ally pays Fannie for stuffing them with bad loans

Foreclosuregate: Bank of America mess

Many pundits like to excoriate people who supposedly cheated by buying houses while misstating their income. However, it is clear to many studying the current economic crisis that the processes and systems at the major banks are weak. In many instances they are civilly and perhaps criminally negligent, and in some cases fraudulent behavior on the part of banks, servicers, and their lawyers has been noted. An article today in the Huffington Post by Mary Bottari called Trapped in Bank of America Hell the case of one normal middle class family which has always been on time in its mortgage payments is told. . . . → Read More: Foreclosuregate: Bank of America mess


Agnotology: Culturally constructed ignorance, purposefully created by special interest groups working hard to create confusion and suppress the truth . . . → Read More: Agnotology

The rigged revolving door

The Economist has often really cogent views of America that American commentators cannot get into, a sort of self-myopia. The recent article on Peter Orzag’s transfer from the cabinet of government to the wood paneled offices of a bailed out Wall Street institution, Citigroup, is a case in point. This passage is really germane:

Progressives laudably seek to oppose injustice by deploying government . . . → Read More: The rigged revolving door


I’m starting a new tag and a new category of posts with this. I am going to start following unemployment for now. There is so much pain out there, 10 days from Christmas 2010, that I just think that we need to reflect on what our country is doing to itself through its elected officials.

I will start with a primer on unemployment . . . → Read More: Unemployment

The Catfood Commission called out

James K. Galbraith reset the discourse on the Catfood Commission in June. Most of the meetings were secret. Secrecy breeds the suspicion that the discussions are at a level of discourse they are embarrassing. A bipartisan commission should approach its task in a judicious, open-minded and dispassionate way. The attitude and temperament of the leadership are critical. The leader of a commission intended to sway the public cannot display contempt for the public. Senator Simpson has plainly shown that he lacked the temperament to do a fair and impartial job from the abusive response he made to Social Security Works. With just one economist on board they denied access to the professional arguments surrounding this highly controversial issue. It is impossible to have a fair discussion of any important question when the professional participants in that discussion have been picked, in advance, to represent a single point of view. The Commission was supported by Peter G. Peterson, who has for decades conducted a relentless campaign to cut Social Security and Medicare. This act must be condemned. A Commission serving public purpose cannot accept funds or other help from a private party with a strong interest in the outcome of that Commission’s work. Having done so is a disgrace. . . . → Read More: The Catfood Commission called out