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Demeter

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Gender: Female
Hometown: Ann Arbor, Michigan
Home country: USA
Member since: Thu Sep 25, 2003, 01:04 PM
Number of posts: 85,373

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Weekend Economists Clean Out Davy Jones' Locker, March 2-4, 2012

We have lost our beloved Monkee Davy Jones...David Thomas "Davy" Jones (30 December 1945 – 29 February 2012)

The Monkees - I'm a Believer [official music video]

The Monkees were designed to commercially rip off the Beatles and their highly successful music video "Help!"..Conceived as an American pop rock group, the Monkees might qualify as the forerunner to the Boys Bands... Assembled in Los Angeles in 1966 by Robert "Bob" Rafelson and Bert Schneider for the American television series The Monkees, which aired from 1966 to 1968, the musical acting quartet was composed of Americans Micky Dolenz, Michael Nesmith, Peter Tork, and Englishman Davy Jones. The band's music was initially supervised by producer Don Kirshner... At the start, the four actors provided vocals for the songs that were played during the television episodes and released as records, but were otherwise given extremely limited performing and production opportunities. They eventually fought for and earned the right to collectively supervise all musical output under the band's name. The group undertook several concert tours, allowing an opportunity to perform as a live band as well as on the TV series. Although the show was canceled in 1968, the band continued to record music through 1970. The group reached the height of fame from 1966 to 1968, and influenced many future artists. In 1986, their 20th year, the television show and music experienced a revival, which led to a series of reunion tours, and new records featuring various incarnations of the band's lineup.

The Monkees had a number of international hits which are still heard on pop and oldies stations. These include "Theme From) The Monkees", "Last Train to Clarksville", "I'm a Believer", "I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone", "Pleasant Valley Sunday" and "Daydream Believer". Their albums and singles have sold over 65 million copies worldwide....

During the casting process, Don Kirshner, the Screen Gems head of music, was contacted to secure music for the pilot that would become The Monkees. Not getting much interest from his usual stable of Brill Building writers, Kirshner assigned Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart to the project. The duo contributed four demo recordings to the pilot, featuring their own voices. One of these recordings was "Theme From) The Monkees" which helped get the series the green light.

When The Monkees was picked up as a series, development of the musical side of the project accelerated. Columbia-Screen Gems and RCA Records entered into a joint venture called Colgems Records primarily to distribute Monkees records. Raybert set up a rehearsal space and rented instruments for the group to practice playing, but it quickly became apparent they would not be in shape in time for the series debut. The producers called upon Don Kirshner to recruit a producer for the Monkees sessions.

Kirshner called on Snuff Garrett, composer of several hits by Gary Lewis & the Playboys, to produce the initial musical cuts for the show. Garrett, upon meeting the four Monkees in June 1966, decided that Jones would sing lead, a choice that was unpopular with the group. This cool reception led Kirshner to drop Garrett and buy out his contract. Kirshner next allowed Nesmith to produce sessions, provided he did not play on any tracks he produced. Nesmith did, however, start using the other Monkees on his sessions, particularly Tork as a guitarist. Kirshner came back to the enthusiastic Boyce and Hart to be the regular producers, but he brought in one of his top east coast men, Jack Keller, to lend some production experience to the sessions. Boyce and Hart observed quickly that when brought in to the studio together, the four actors would try to crack each other up. Because of this, they would often bring in each singer individually.

According to Nesmith, it was Dolenz's voice that made the Monkees's sound distinctive, and even during tension-filled times Nesmith and Tork voluntarily turned over lead vocal duties to Dolenz on their own compositions, such as Tork's "For Pete's Sake", which became the closing title theme for the second season of the TV show. Former The Turtles bassist Chip Douglas was responsible for both music presentation—actually leading the band, engineering recordings, as well as playing bass on most of the TV-era recordings.

The Monkees' first single, "Last Train to Clarksville", was released in August 1966, just weeks prior to the broadcast debut. In conjunction with the first broadcast of the television show on September 12, 1966 on the NBC television network, NBC and Columbia had a major hit on their hands. The first long-playing album, "The Monkees", was released a month later and shot to the top of the charts. The rest is history...

&feature=related

Davy Jones Interview

&feature=related

Monkees singer Davy Jones suffered heart attack in stable; spent final days riding horses

http://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/music/monkees-singer-davy-jones-suffered-heart-attack-in-stable-spent-final-days-riding-horses/2012/03/02/gIQARSW4mR_story.html



Monkees' lead singer Davy Jones reportedly to be buried in Florida


Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/entertainment/music/monkees_lead_singer_davy_jones_reportedly_CqDHtU8eFKfEx81U01UaYI#ixzz1o0GnbMhC


It was perhaps inevitable...smaller men are far more likely to die of heart attacks than their taller friends. I'm glad he was living the life he wanted when Death stopped for him...that's the best any man can expect.

Corseted Minds: Does Fear of Irrelevance Send Conservative Men Fleeing to the Victorian Age?

http://www.alternet.org/news/154296/corseted_minds%3a_does_fear_of_irrelevance_send_conservative_men_fleeing_to_the_victorian_age/?page=entire

If you focus on the utilitarian value of human beings, you may find yourself at some point nervously glancing in the mirror...IN OTHER WORDS, BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR...DEMETER)


In the last 50 years, American women have finally been able to reliably earn a living, thus rendering men economically unnecessary. Women are outstripping men in education. We’re breaking the glass ceiling. Childbirth out of wedlock no longer carries disgrace. There’s enough sperm stashed away in banks to promulgate the human race indefinitely. On a biological level, modern science has debunked the Adam’s rib story about the female being a derivative of the male...Conservatives find themselves in an era of technological advance, information on steroids, women on the rise, and men who do not know what their role is supposed to be. Can we be surprised that they look back wistfully on a “simpler time” when gender roles were strictly defined – and when men did the defining?

Fools rush in where angels fear to tread. And young conservatives, apparently. In a recent episode of the birth control battles, James Poulous, a Georgetown grad student styling himself a “postmodern conservative,” plunged into political quicksand on Tucker Carlson’s blog “The Daily Caller” with a much-reviled essay: “What are women for?” http://dailycaller.com/2012/02/16/what-are-women-for/ This question, he announces, is the most pressing of our time. Writes Poulous:

“In a simpler time Sigmund Freud struggled to understand what women want. Today the significant battle is over what women are for. None of our culture warriors are anywhere close to settling the matter.”


All righty then. The sophomoric and risible qualities of his posting aside, Poulous has an argument, of sorts. He makes a roundabout suggestion that the utilitarian purpose of women is to get married and make babies. But not quite comfortable with leaving women as two-legged cattle, he endows us, based on our “privileged relationship with the natural world,” with a moral purpose, too. Women are here to civilize the barbaric ways of men. In response to the predictable social media/web backlash, Poulous has posted two defenses of his original essay. Amid the hurly-burly of the gender wars, he notes that “everyone else feels their civilization is in peril, and the bile rises accordingly.”

I’ll say. Poulous is like a cat spitting up a hairball, unaware of what has irritated his tummy and looking around in vague embarrassment at the mess he has made on the living room floor...So let’s play the veterinarian and find out what brought on the attack. Is the question of “what women are for” a significant cultural battle? Well, yes. But not of our time. In the Victorian era, however, it was quite the rage. Conservatives have a particular affinity for the mores of that period and like to recycle them. Conservative author Marvin Olasky pawed around the 19th-century shelves of the Library of Congress to unearth an outmoded view that poverty could be cured solely through private charities. Known as the “turkey basket” approach after the Victorian custom of bringing the poor baskets containing turkeys at Christmas, Olasky renamed this relic “Compassionate Conservatism.” A bestseller rose from the dust...Despite his “postmodern” pretensions, Poulous has similarly channeled the era of corseted minds and bodies. But unlike Olasky, he’s not even aware of it. Through the medium of his rather silly blog, a revenant of the 19th century has made a ghastly appearance on the public stage. This ghost is called the “Angel in the House.”

MUCH MORE AT LINK...WELL WORTH THE READ!

Weekend Economists Go for the Gusto February 24-26, 2012

As promised, this is our drinking edition of the Weekend Economist, and we are featuring



I have cracked open my can of Molson Ice (I know, but it's cheap and not as thin as some) to sooth weary mind and muscles and to get into the spirit of the thing. Let you know if I actually finish it....

We shall explore as many aspects of the brew as we can discover on Google. Given the nature of the economy today, we are going to need it.

What are you drinking this weekend, and why?

PROFILES IN HUMANITARIAN COURAGE

Bangladesh rickshaw driver builds clinic

Man saves money for 30 years for small hospital in remote village that now treats 300 patients each day.

http://www.aljazeera.com/video/asia/2012/02/2012219114012469822.html


A single man takes the initiative to feed the poor (GREECE)

The life of 47-year-old Constantinos Polychronopoulos was changed in a single day a few months ago when he saw two children fighting over a few rotten pieces of fruit at his local farmers market in the Athenian neighborhood of Aegaleo.

“I went home, put together a few sandwiches and, with a friend of mine, distributed them to the people collecting the refuse from the market after it was closed,” he told Kathimerini.

When this happened, Polychronopoulos had already been unemployed for two years and admits that he felt like he had hit rock bottom....

http://www.ekathimerini.com/4dcgi/_w_articles_wsite6_1_10/02/2012_427206

Humans are 'naturally nice'

New research shows there is a biological basis for co-operative and empathetic behaviour.

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/americas/2012/02/201222023301844664.html

AND IT'S PAST TIME WE STARTED TO REMEMBER THAT

Top Ten Ways Iran is Defying US, EU Oil Sanctions and How You are Paying for It All JUAN COLE

http://www.juancole.com/2012/02/top-ten-ways-iran-is-defying-us-eu-oil-sanctions-and-how-you-are-paying-for-it-all.html

It wasn’t supposed to be like this, the Neocons assured us. Iran would soon be on its knees because of ever more stringent US sanctions on Iran. But Iran just cheekily sent two warships through the Suez Canal to dock at the Syrian port of Tartous. The old Mubarak government in Egypt might not have allowed such a thing, but the Arab Spring has brought to power an Egyptian government eager to demonstrate its independence from Washington.

Brent crude just hit $121 dollars a barrel, the highest in 8 months and a remarkable figure in the absence of a crisis like the Libyan War (responsible for the last big spike). In part, the markets are jittery at the news that Iran is cutting off oil deliveries to the UK and France (Iranian petroleum accounts for only 1 percent of UK imports, and 4 percent of French ones). The Europeans will just find other suppliers or will end up buying Iranian oil through third parties, so the announcement isn’t that significant, but oil traders are a jittery lot. The oil sanctions plan foisted on the United States by Israel and the US Israel lobby pledged that the sanctions would not put the price of oil way up. But in fact, they have contributed to higher prices in part because of speculation on war talk.

As prices in February hit a historic high for this time of year, presaging perhaps $5 a gallon gasoline this summer in the US, Iran is still sitting pretty. The fragile European and US economies, however, may take a hit from higher transportation costs (the US will likely see a fall in summer travel and internal tourism). The same Republicans who complain that President Obama hasn’t been hard enough on Iran are cynically planning to campaign against him on his having caused higher petroleum prices, ignoring the role of sanctions on Iran and tensions with that country in the price run-up! I hate to say it but I told you so.

So what has allowed Iran to fight back against the draconian US-Israeli-European sanctions regime?

SEE LIST AT LINK

The last crackpot Neocon plan, the invasion of Iraq, ended up costing Americans about $1 trillion so far and nearly 5,000 soldiers killed. their Iran gambit looks set to triple all the costs of the Iraq fiasco, or more. Write your congressmen and put blame where it is due, on AIPAC.

Weekend Economists Wild, Wild, World Roundup February 17-19, 2012

So, here we are, still contemplating the wealth of nations. What makes a nation wealthy?

1) Natural resources

The soil, the minerals under it, the quality and quantity of the water and the air, the ecosystem (plant and animal), the climate, the configuration of the land (remember "no defensible borders" Poland!), the tendency to earthquake, wildfire, drought, tornado and hurricane, blizzard, or other natural disaster, the solar irradiation and the prevailing winds and the running water for energy. The natural beauty of the land, a source of pleasure for its people and visitors alike. The capacity for abundance of food, fiber, wood, other renewables.

2) The human population

Their health, education, degree of gullibility, capacity for empathy and community-building, willingness to demand and follow a rule of law, ability to function alone and in groups, and capacity to defer gratification and live in moderation. The ability to know right from wrong, and insist on the right. The ability to protect and maintain the natural resources, to live in peace with neighbors, and to choose cooperation over competition. The willingness to accept and rejoice in commonalities, and delight in differences. CREATIVITY! AND PROBLEM-SOLVING ABILITY! UNWILLINGNESS TO WASTE TIME OR RESOURCES OR PEOPLE!

3) The social organizations (or lack thereof) and how well they serve the people and the nation.

Based on these criteria, we are a rapidly declining nation, perhaps not yet as bad as some, but much less than we were.




Funny, I don't see any mention of "Finance" in the above. Nor do I see any explicitly specified "Corporations".

OR "MONEY".

OTHER FORMS OF WEALTH FOR A NATION: STRUCTURES--THE GREAT AND THE SMALL- FOR SHELTER, FOR CEREMONY, FOR HISTORICAL STUDY...AND INVENTIONS, AND ART: THE FRUITS OF GENIUS AND/OR COLLECTIVE EFFORT.

How to Occupy the Economy, According to Richard Wolff

http://www.truth-out.org/how-occupy-economy-according-richard-wolff/1328888306

PODCAST AND TRANSCRIPT AT LINK

Weekend Economists Enumerate the Wealth of Nations, February 10-12, 2012

Well, hello!! What Makes a Nation Wealthy? And How Do You Count It?

An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, generally referred to by its shortened title The Wealth of Nations, is the magnum opus of the Scottish economist and moral philosopher Adam Smith. First published in 1776, it is a reflection on economics at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution and argues that free market economies are more productive and beneficial to their societies. The book is a fundamental work in classical economics.

History

The Wealth of Nations was first published on 9 March 1776, during the British Agricultural Revolution. It influenced a number of authors and economists, as well as governments and organizations. For example, Alexander Hamilton was influenced in part by The Wealth of Nations to write his Report on Manufactures, in which he argued against many of Smith's policies. Interestingly, Hamilton based much of this report on the ideas of Jean-Baptiste Colbert, and it was, in part, to Colbert's ideas that Smith responded to with The Wealth of Nations.

Many other authors were influenced by the book and used it as a starting point in their own work, including Jean-Baptiste Say, David Ricardo, Thomas Malthus and, later, Ludwig von Mises. The Russian national poet Aleksandr Pushkin refers to The Wealth of Nations in his 1833 verse-novel Eugene Onegin.

Irrespective of historical influence, however, The Wealth of Nations represented a clear shift in the field of economics, similar to Sir Isaac Newton's Principia Mathematica for physics, Antoine Lavoisier's Traité Élémentaire de Chimie for chemistry, or Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species for biology.

Publishing history

Five editions of The Wealth of Nations were published during Smith's lifetime: in 1776, 1778, 1784, 1786, and 1789. Numerous editions appeared after Smith's death in 1790. To better understand the evolution of the work under Smith's hand, a team led by Edwin Cannan collated the first five editions. The differences were published along with an edited sixth edition in 1904. They found minor but numerous differences (including the addition of many footnotes) between the first and the second editions, both of which were published in two volumes. The differences between the second and third editions, however, are major: In 1784, Smith annexed these first two editions with the publication of Additions and Corrections to the First and Second Editions of Dr. Adam Smith’s Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, and he also had published the three-volume third edition of the Wealth of Nations, which incorporated Additions and Corrections and, for the first time, an index. Among other things, the Additions and Corrections included entirely new sections. The fourth edition, published in 1786, had only slight differences from the third edition, and Smith himself says in the Advertisement at the beginning of the book, "I have made no alterations of any kind." Finally, Cannan notes only trivial differences between the fourth and fifth editions — a set of misprints being removed from the fourth and a different set of misprints being introduced.

Anachronisms and terminology

Modern commentary on the work may suffer from anachronism— the imposition of modern context on a 250-year-old work.

The book is written in English of the late 18th century, so there are some points to consider:

  • The term economics was not yet in use.
  • The term capitalism was not yet in use. Smith talks about a "system of perfect liberty" or "system of natural liberty".
  • Feudalism was still dominant in parts of Europe.
  • The term corporation, as in feudal corporations, referred to a body that regulated and, in Smith's portrayal, limited participation in a skilled trade.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wealth_of_Nations

    Here's a picture of the man who started the argument:



    Why don't we give it a shot? What IS the Wealth of Nations?


  • Plan B – How to loot nations and their banks legally

    http://www.golemxiv.co.uk/2011/12/plan-b-how-to-loot-nations-and-their-banks-legally/

    Is there a plan B? That question is usually asked of governments regarding their attempts to ‘save’ the banks domiciled in their country. But has anyone asked if the banks have a plan B? Does anyone think that if our governments fail to keep to their austerity targets and fail to keep bailing out the banking sector, that the banks will just shrug and say, “Well, thanks for trying” and accept their fate? Or do you think the banks might have a Plan B of their own?

    First let’s be clear about Plan A. That plan is to enforce an era of long-term austerity cuts to public services, in part to cut public expenditure so as to free up money for spending on the banks, but perhaps more importantly to further atrophy public services so that private providers can take over. A privatization of services which will bring great profits and cash flow to the private sector and to the banks who finance them, and a further general victory for those who feel that private debts rather than public taxes should be what underpins our national life and social contract. Plan A therefore requires that governments convince their populace that private debts should be taken on to the public purse and that once taken on, the contracts signed by governments on behalf of the tax payers/citizens, are then sacrosanct and above any democratic change of mind. If governments can hold their peoples to this,then the banks are ‘saved’ with the added bonus that democracy and the ‘Rights’ it once guaranteed will all have been redefined as subordinate to finance and its contracts, and our citizenship will have become second to one’s contractual place in a web of private debts. Debts to the private lenders will become more important than taxes to the public exchequer. And as they do the State will wither away, leaving free-market believers and extreme libertarians exactly where they have always wanted to be – in charge – by dint of being rich. It is, in my view, a bleak future which I once described as A Toxic Debt Wasteland.

    BUT it does all depend on governments being able to suppress discontent and to outlaw opposition in the sense of saying to people you may disagree but we have now declared these debts and their repayment to be outside democratic control and immune to any attempt to rescind or repudiate the agreed debt contracts. As the severity of the austerity cuts to social services (health, education, pensions etc) becomes painfully clearer to people and the ‘necessity’ for them is ‘regretfully’ extended year after year, it will become harder and harder to justify, let alone impose, such suffering. We will enter an era of vicious sectarian blame. We are already in it, but it will get much darker. The banks and those whose wealth and power is tied to them, would obviously prefer Plan A to succeed. It makes governments do all the dirty work and it would profit the banks far more in the long run. If you want to bleed a man – kill him and you get about 5 litres/quarts. But strap him to a gurney with a catheter in his arm and a drip feed in his nose, and he will bleed for you for as long as his system can stand it. That is Plan A. But what if it fails?
    I cannot believe the banks, with everything at stake, have not thought it prudent to have a plan B. So here are my thoughts on what that plan could be. Let me say now, I do not think this plan was a long term conspiracy. I do not think the end game was in mind when the first elements were put in place. It has, I think, been constructed opportunistically. But the end result is no less dark and threatening. What I offer from here on is thinking out loud. I obviously have no proof at all that there is a plan B. All I can hope to do is show you the elements which I think could make a Plan B for the banks. Then my argument is that if the mechanism I describe could work, if I have not simply misunderstood something, then I think the banks will surely have thought of it before me. And so it either already exists or it will. I think there are scraps of information that suggest it does exist and the collapse of MF Global might even be the first example of Plan B in action. The MF Global case certainly contains all the clues. MF Global imploded when it could not get the short term funding it needed. There were two kinds of funding MF Global relied upon for its liquidity/cash flow: repo and hypothecation. For those not familiar, Repo is when a bank or brokerage ‘sells’ an asset for cash but with the agreement that it will re-purchase – hence ‘repo’ – the asset at an agreed date for an agreed price. It is not really a sale but a loan. Repo is the oxygen the financial world breathes. Repo is a $10 Trillion market....The other main source of the essential short term funding was Hypothecation. This is when a bank or brokerage pledges an asset to a ‘lender’ in return for cash but the asset remains in the possession of the borrower. What the ‘lender’ gets is hypothetical control of the asset. Although the asset never actually changes hands, the new ‘owner’s’ hypothetical control of the asset allows her to do what she wishes with the asset. Including re-hypothecating the asset to another bank or brokerage. If she does so then the hypothetical control passes to yet another ‘owner’. Even though physically it remain where it started. Like repo – hypothecation and re-hypothecation are truely massive parts of modern debt-based banking. So the first thing the MF Global case tells us is that what happened is not due to some peripheral, parochial rogue trader-esque, isolated problem. What happened was as a result of a mechanism right at the very heart of the financial system.

    In the MF Global collapse what ZeroHedge, and following them, I and others wrote about, was the way in which not only did MF Global go bankrupt, but so also did some of their clients when they found the money they thought MF Global was holding for them, went unaccountably missing. Client’s money went missing because it was ‘mingled’ with the brokerage’s money when it should not have been. Brokers should keep them separate. But it seems in the ‘re-hypothecation’ of assets it was mingled. Former CEO of MF Global, Mr Corzine has sworn under oath he knew nothing about his co-mingling nor the irregularities with his company’s re-hypothecation. It has been rumoured the client’s money may now be, possibly, in the hands of JP Morgan. This hint of illegality has grabbed everyone’s attention. But I think it is actually the legal part of the story not the possibly illegal part which is by far the more important.

    In my opinion the key to the bank’s Plan B is in understanding why any money/assets were taken from MF Global after it had gone bankrupt and how exactly it went under in the first place. We all know MF Global had huge holdings of dicey European sovereign debt. But those debts have not become worthless so what caused MF to collapse? . The answer to all these questions lie in a change to Bankruptcy laws that happened around the world between 2002 and 05. This might seem like a detour into nerd city but it is not. It is the key. When a company declares bankruptcy there is what the Americans call an ‘automatic stay’, which means all the assets left in a company at the moment it goes bankrupt are protected from the rush of creditor’s demands until appointed auditors can sort out who should get what. The automatic stay prevents a first come first served disorderly looting where those with the most muscle getting everything and everyone else getting nothing. As we are all painfully aware now, there is a legal pecking order to who gets paid before who, with Senior bond holders at the top. But, in America culminating in 2005 with the passage of the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 (BAPCPA) the order was changed. And that change is the crucial event. At the time the law was being passed few were aware of this change and even fewer were aware of how important it would become. At the time the furore was all about changes to personal bankruptcy. The Credit Card industry (AKA Banks) had spent more than a decade and its rumoured as much as $100 million lobbying to make bankruptcy much harder and more punitive for ordinary debtors.

    An article from 2005 in the Boston Globe quoting a very senior Republican Senator, gives a flavour of what was then being said about ordinary people who fell into debt....Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) has said that millions of Americans are bankrupt or near-bankrupt because “they run up huge bills and then expect society to pay for them.”

    After 4 years of bailing out banks who did exactly that the irony is enough to gag on.

    But what was not talked about was an amendment which was put into the bill and, as far as I know little debated. Don’t let the word ‘amendment’ mislead you. Amendments are generally not there as refinements and improvements on the original idea. Whenever a bill goes through Congress every lobby group and industry with something it wants done, gets their tamed/owned/ political friends to tack on the change in the law that suits them in return for supporting the original bill. The bill emerges from this process festooned with ‘amendments’ to other vaguely related laws. Amendments are the price of getting the original bill passed. They are often little understood, written by and for the benefit of the sponsoring lobby group and can be far more influential than the bill they are smuggled in on. This is certainly the case here.

    According to a scholarly article in the American Bankruptcy Law Review,

    “the provisions [in the amendment] were derived from recommendations from the President’s Working Group and revisions espoused by the financial industry”

    The President at the time was Bush and one of the most vociferous sponsors of the amendment was none other than Senator Leach whose other claim to fame was the Gram-Leech-Bliley Act which repealed most of the Glass Steagal Act of 1933 whose repeal virtually assured that the present debt crisis would happen. When bankers play pocket billiards, Senator Leach is what they prod their balls with. Ribaldry aside Senator Leach can certainly be described as one of the principle architects of our present global misery. But I digress.

    What was this amendment? The amendment exempted repos (and hypothecated and re-hypothecated assets) and a whole range of derivatives from the automatic stay. It also allowed lower quality assets to qualify for the exemptions. Which means the special bankruptcy treatment given repos and derivatives means that repo lenders and parties to derivative contracts can keep the collateral if their trading partner becomes insolvent. This exempts them from the “automatic stay” rule in bankruptcy, which prohibits most creditors from trying to collect ahead of others.

    Or as the official report from the US Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission said,

    under a 2005 amendment to the bankruptcy laws, derivatives counterparties were given the advantage over other creditors of being able to immediately terminate their contracts and seize collateral at the time of bankruptcy. (p. 48)

    So when a bank goes bankrupt, BEFORE even the most senior bond holders, the repo lenders and derivatives traders can remove, or keep all the assets pledged to them. This amendment which was touted as necessary to reduce systemic risk in financial bankruptcies also allowed a whole range of far riskier assets to be used, making them too immune from the automatic stay in the event of bankruptcy. Which meant traders flocked to a market where risky assets would be traded and used as collateral without apparent risk to the lender. The size of the repo market hugely increased and riskier assets were gladly accepted as collateral because traders saw that if the person they had lent to went down they could get your money back before anyone else and no one could stop them. It also did one other thing. Because the repo and derivatives traders ran no risk – they could get their money out of a failing bank before anyone else, it meant they had no reason at all to try to stop a bank from going under. Quite the opposite. All other creditors – bond holders – risk losing some of their money in a bankruptcy. So they have a reason to want to avoid bankruptcy of a trading partner. Not so the repo and derivatives partners. They would now be best served by looting the company – perfectly legally – as soon as trouble seemed likely. In fact the repo and derivatives traders could push a bank that owed them money over into bankruptcy when it most suited them as creditors. When, for example, they might be in need of a bit of cash themselves to meet a few pressing creditors of their own.

    The collapse of both Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers and AIG were all directly because repo and derivatives partners of those institutions suddenly stopped trading and ‘looted’ them instead.


    THERE'S MORE...AND THE COMMENTS ARE MANY TIMES MORE

    Weekend Economists "Glitter and Be Gay" February 3-5, 2012

    Yes, there's stars in the sky, and rainbows, and ponies and chocolate for all. It's the best of all possible worlds, the Panglosses of the world assure us. Unemployment down by official report, the market soaring, the euro saved, all in a good day's work.

    Take a bow, you policy wankers. This is the best Potemkin PR rush job ever done. When the government lies, it does it in a big way.

    So, let's get out the bubbly and dress up for the party. Don't forget your pretty baubles!



    Tansy Gold will be showing off some of her stock in trade, she promises...so get ready to ooh and ahhh!

    And as for the economy, well, there's hope...the Hope diamond, for example at the Smithsonian



    and the canary diamond http://www.polyvore.com/cgi/img-thing?.out=jpg&size=l&tid=29223329

    and for the hoi polloi, rip-offs of other national treasures:

    The Smithsonian's New Jewelry Collection for the Shopping Channel

    http://www.beadinggem.com/2010/09/smithsonians-new-jewelry-collection-for.html


    http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_q7H5daARk5A/TIwrhrgMbgI/AAAAAAAAM-g/88WJmF6toIw/s1600/smithsonian+jewelry+5.jpg

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