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M15: Today is a Global Day of Action Against Austerity, More On Morgan Mess, Future of Eurozone

May 15th, 2012 - by:

New Book Now From Cosimo Books

Commentaries, Analysis, Rants, Dissections

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Today is M15: Protests Worldwide Against Austerity. Activists in New York meet at Bryant Part at 4, Plant to March on Times Square at 6 for A Sit-in. Earlier protests at JP Morgan Chase: The theme is ‘are you a bank or a casino?’

•The Debate: What Should Occupy Do?

Max Berger, AlterNet: Occupy Isn’t About Electing Democrats–It’s About Exposing a Broken System

•Democracy Now: Noam Chomsky on Occupy

•Reuters: NATO protesters arrested in Chicago before summit

•New Occupy Album Out. New Song By Dick Gregory Protege
Anniversary in London: 4,000 days and counting – the London Parliament Square peace Campaign continues!

Paul O’Hanlon writes from Scotland: “The long term 24/7 peace campaign in London’s Parliament Square today reaches day 4,000 – nearly 11 years. Since its inception on June 2nd 2001 by the late Brian Haw it has been a thorn in the side of the establishment. Sadly Brian passed away in June 2011 but the campaign has continued with Australian Barbara Tucker at the helm.”

Here are 20 photos taken through the years along with a report.

The Morgan Implosion

•Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone/RSN: Jamie’s Crying

Bloomberg: JPMorgan’s Trades Probed by U.S. National Bank Agency After Loss

The Office of Comptroller of the Currency said yesterday that it is examining JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM)’s activities and evaluating their transactions following a $2 billion loss that shook up bank leadership.
“The OCC is examining the bank’s activities and is in continuous dialogue with bank personnel and other regulatory colleagues as we evaluate details related to the specific transactions as well as the surrounding risk management processes that resulted in this unexpected loss,” Bryan Hubbard, an OCC spokesman, said in an e-mail.

DXM: Question Oh Morgan’s Bad Bet

Is there a derivatives product for buying into stupidity having gone
over the top?

Besides the JP Morgan Chase shareholders seeing a $5 billion profit
that could have been $7 billion, was there any actual
“civilian” (investor) money lost in the $2 billion blunder? And how
could someone who knew the $2 billion blunder couldn’t be anything
other than a $2 billion bust have profited by hedging a derivatives-
like bet against the $2 billion package? Within such a scenario, who
wins, who loses, how much?

•Paul Krugman: Greece and The Future of the Eurozone

All eyes were on France going into the weekend of May 6th, but it turns out the Greek elections have much bigger potential implications for the future of the eurozone (EZ). Last Sunday marked a seismic shift in Greek politics, in which the two main political parties—New Democracy (ND) and Pasok—together failed to win an absolute majority for the first time since the collapse of the military dictatorship in the 1970′s. The path forward for Greece is unclear, but even the best possible scenario doesn’t look good.

Leading up to the May 6th general election in Greece, opinion polls indicated that ND and Pasok had lost support to fringe parties on the right and particularly on the left of the political spectrum. Many analysts argued that voters were expressing anger with the two main parties by saying they would support opposition movements in opinion polls, but that when it came to voting day they would cast a ballot for the same two main parties as usual.

This wasn’t the case. New Democracy came in first place with only 18.9% of the vote, followed by Syriza (16.8%) and Pasok (13.2%). A record 34.9% of voters abstained, a particularly high figure for a country in which voting is technically compulsory (though according to 2001 legislation there are no sanctions for failing to vote).

•Reuters: Eurozone Ministers Dismiss Fears oF Greece’s Departure

EconoMonito, Roubini: Get Ready For the Spanish Bailout

No one can pretend to know whether Spain is illiquid or insolvent without gauging the size of the black hole that is the country’s banking sector. The Spanish government is finally starting to do this: Bankia and other banks are reportedly set to receive a capital injection from Madrid. With the Spanish economy contracting sharply and with unemployment soaring, it was inevitable that the government had to bail out the banks. But this only deals with one piece of the puzzle. Without growth, the Spanish sovereign will need a bailout as well.
Morgan Debacle Shows Flaw in Federal Reserve Thinking

•Marvin Kitman, Who’s in Charge At My Bank

•Truthdig: Chris Hedges Colonized Nby Corporations

Icelandic Anger Brings Debt Forgiveness in Best Recovery Story

Icelanders who pelted parliament with rocks in 2009 demanding their leaders and bankers answer for the countrys economic and financial collapse are reaping the benefits of their anger.

Since the end of 2008, the islands banks have forgiven loans equivalent to 13 percent of gross domestic product, easing the debt burdens of more than a quarter of the population, according to a report published this month by the Icelandic Financial Services Association.

Report Details How Today’s Deregulatory Efforts for Derivatives Mirror Push of Late 1990s

Note: Amid the news coverage of JPMorgan Chase’s $2 billion loss in derivatives bets, Public Citizen is publishing this report to expound on the historical lessons of derivatives deregulation and the urgency to implement the rules called for in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A new Public Citizen report details how deregulating the financial derivatives market contributed to the financial crash and warns lawmakers – who are considering deregulating the derivatives market again – about the consequences of doing so

The report, “Forgotten Lessons of Deregulation: Rolling Back Dodd-Frank’s Derivatives Rules Would Repeat a Mistake that Led to the Financial Crisis,” explains how America’s top financial policymakers deregulated the financial derivatives market in the 1990s and provides a detailed account of how deregulation led to the ensuing housing bubble, financial crisis and Great Recession.

It comes as members of Congress have introduced nine bills that would weaken the derivatives provisions of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010

All seven bills moving in the U.S. House of Representatives have been approved by committees, and three have passed the full House. Two bills that would exempt overseas transactions from Dodd-Frank’s derivatives provisions may be voted on as soon as Thursday in the House agriculture committee. Other bills would exempt trades by supposedly “small” players, reduce transparency requirements and strike down a provision to ban derivatives trading by federally insured banks. At least three other bills would impose impediments for agencies to promulgate rules concerning financial services in general. The bills are listed in the report’s appendix.

“Rolling back Dodd-Frank’s derivatives reforms would invite a new crisis even before we are done picking up the pieces from the disaster that prompted the reforms in the first place,” said Bartlett Naylor, financial policy advocate with Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division. s

Kemal Dervis* – Project Syndicate, Rebalancing the Eurozone

WASHINGTON, DC – The eurozone crisis unfolded primarily as a sovereign-debt crisis mostly on its southern periphery, with interest rates on sovereign bonds at times reaching 6-7% for Italy and Spain, and even higher for other countries. And, because eurozone banks hold a substantial part of their assets in the form of eurozone sovereign bonds, the sovereign-debt crisis became a potential banking crisis, worsened by banks’ other losses, owing, for example, to the collapse of housing prices in Spain. So a key challenge in resolving the eurozone crisis is to reduce the southern countries’ debt burdens.

The change in a country’s debt burden reflects the size of its primary budget balance (the balance minus interest payments) as a share of GDP, as well as the difference between its borrowing costs and its GDP growth rate. When the difference between borrowing costs and growth becomes too large, the primary budget surpluses required to stop debt from increasing become impossible to achieve. Indeed, growth in southern Europe is expected to be close to zero or negative for the next two years, and is not expected to exceed 2-3% even in the longer term.

While not always evident from the headlines, an underlying cause of the eurozone crisis – and now an obstacle for growth in the south – has been the divergence in production costs that developed between the peripheral countries,notably the “south” (specifically, Greece, Spain, Italy, and Portugal) and the “north” (for simplicity, Germany) during the first decade after the introduction of the euro. Unit labor costs in the four southern countries increased by 36%, 28%, 30%, and 25%, respectively, from 2000 to 2010, compared to less than 5% in Germany, resulting in an end-2010 cumulative divergence above 30% in Greece and more than 20% in Portugal, Italy, and Spain.

•BBC: Italian banks have credit ratings cut by Moody’s

•The Hill: Ron Paul won’t campaign in any more states

Ron Paul won’t campaign in any more primaries, his campaign announced Monday afternoon.
A letter sent from Paul to supporters promised to continue the battle for delegates at state party conventions in order to try to influence the party’s platform, but said the campaign will no longer try to win delegates in new states.

•Boston Globe: New Controversy In Senate Race

Is Elizabeth Warren a Native American? …. it was revealed that Warren had listed herself as a minority in a major legal directory.

The fallout and her unsteady response to it subjected the rookie Democratic Senate candidate to tough questions, an unflattering national glare, and a recognition from others that she had hit her first real stumble. The Washington Post’s political blog, The Fix, gave Warren the dubious honor “Worst Week in Washington.’’

“I have yet to run into anyone in politics who believes that this was handled well at all,’’ said Jennifer Duffy, a senior editor at The Cook Political Report who tracks Senate races around the country. “The explanations have left enormous room for doubt and speculation.’’

Democrats and some outside strategists continue to believe the issue, first reported in the Boston Herald, will die down soon, though others caution the controversy could become part of Warren’s identity, damaging her reputation among socially conservative swing voters.

The story also poses potential dangers to Senator Scott Brown, whose questioning of her Harvard qualifications risks undermining his campaign message that he is above personal attacks.

But most of the political critique has been directed at Warren.

Warren has been forced to respond to the story incrementally, as new details have emerged, including a genealogist’s finding that documents suggested she might have been 1/32 Cherokee but would not qualify for tribal membership.

She had her most awkward public response on Wednesday, when she said she had checked a box listing herself as Native American for the legal directory for nearly a decade in hopes that she would “meet others like me,’’ and mentioned that she heard her aunt admiring the “high cheekbones’’ of her grandfather.

“Brown is having a field day, and she is not responding effectively,’’ said Thomas J. Whalen, an associate professor of social science, and a political historian at Boston University. “She is just flailing around.

LBN: HUSBAND OF 9/11 VICTIM GOES TO GITMO TO SPARE PLOTTERS FROM DEATH SENTENCE

The husband of a woman killed on 9/11 went to Guantanamo Bay on a shocking secret mission to try to save the lives of the al-Qaeda monsters who planned the murder. Blake Allison one of 10 relatives of victims to win a lottery for tickets to the arraignment of confessed 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed and four of his evil accomplices had told people he was making the trip because I wanted to see the faces of the people accused of murdering my wife. But while there, the 62-year-old wine-company executive held a clandestine meeting with the terrorists lawyers, in which he offered to testify against putting their clients to death. He is vocal critic of capital punishment.

Media

•Steve Horn, Portside: Russia Today and the New Cultural Cold War

•Daily Show: Victory Lapse - Politicizing Osama bin Laden’s & Saddam Hussein’s Deaths

Flipboard: Turkish reporter describes Syrian detention

Reuters: Murdoch Editor To Be Prosecuted

EJC: Iranian government bans foreign email use including Gmail and Hotmail

The Iranian government has banned a number of industries in the country from using foreign email services such as Gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo Mail, according to reports. The AFP reported that a paper in region, Asr Ertebatat, broke the news that the telecommunications minister has ordered banks, insurance firms and telephone operators to stop using foreign email services and only use domains that end .ir, the domain of Iran. The order also applies to the Iranian government, with departments now only able to use email addresses that end .ir or .gov.ir and all universities must use .ac.ir or .ir systems. The move is the latest development in the ongoing censorship of the internet by officials in the country. In 2010 Iran blocked access to Gmail for its citizens and rolled out its own national email service, claiming that it would boost local internet firms and build trust between the government and the people. The nation also made the headlines last month when it was rumoured it was going to cut internet access completely, although the telecoms ministry dismissed the suggestion calling it “completely baseless”. (V3.co.uk)

•The Atlantic: The Selfish Social Media Bubble

•Shelly Palmer: Talk about long distance. Virgin Atlantic has announced that it will start letting their customers make calls with their own cellphones.

•Fluent on Tales of The TSA:: Henry Kissinger Patted Down At Airport

•The Atlantic on Technology: Towards a Better Vibrator

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