Lunchtime Links 8-9

August 9, 2009

MUST READ — Paulson’s calls to Goldman tested ethics (NYT)  Grethchen Morgenson got copies of Hank Paulson’s call schedule via a Freedom of Information Act request.  Paulson swears he had nothing to do with the Fed’s rescue of AIG and the $13 billion worth of bailout money that Goldman received for contracts it had with AIG, but he made absolutely sure to seek an “ethics waiver” to speak with Goldman CEO Blankfein on Sept 16th, the day AIG was bailed out.  “At the height of the financial crisis, Mr. Paulson spoke far more often with Mr. Blankfein than any other executive, according to entries in his calendars.” 24 times between Sept 16th and Sept 21st.  And that’s just on his office phone.  It doesn’t include calls Paulson might have made from his cell or home phones.

Shares in RBS plunge as bank warns of tough years to come (Independent, ht I-o-M)  Europe’s largest bank by assets warned that the next five years are going to be ugly:  “Even if the economy starts to turn up the headwinds will be formidable,” [the company’s CEO] warned. “The green shoots are short in duration and you need to be cautious about interpreting them. Even if growth returns, unemployment will rise for some time afterwards and [loan] impairments will rise. It will take five years for this bank to be in the state that we want it to be in.”

Deficit climbs to $1.3 trillion (AFP)  That’s through the first 10 months of the fiscal year ending October 1st.  It’s $880 billion higher than last year’s deficit at the same time.  By the way, despite his calls to “get the deficit under control” Tim Geithner formally requested Congress raise the debt ceiling above $12.1 trillion, saying we should breach that level in October.

“GS Sustain” (Goldman Sachs)  Check out “The Economics of Climate Change” feature on Goldman’s home page.  Click through to “read the research,” and there’s a video full of investor jargon about what “sustainability” means for Goldman.  Of course there’s no mention of the hundreds of billions to be made trading carbon under the proposed cap & trade system…

Russian debt cheaper to insure against default than California debt (Bloomberg)  Wow.  Money is pouring back into the markets, taking all sorts of risks that probably shouldn’t be taken.  Call it the ’01-’04 redux.  As Greenspan dropped rates to 1%, portfolio managers had to take bigger risks to squeeze out higher returns.  That’s a big reason the world blew up in ’07/’08.

Deleveraging the U.S. economy (Comstock Partners, ht NC)  Some very helpful charts at the top of this post.  More evidence that deleveraging has only just begun.

Video helps clear convict of abuse after 21 years (MSNBC)  The witch hunt ’80s prosecutions of suspected child molesters continue to unravel.  This episode was one of the worst examples of prosecutorial misconduct in American history…

Ex-employees claim Blackwater pimped out young girls (RawStory)  Skip the article and watch the video at the bottom.  Keith Olbermann reports on the sworn declarations of former Blackwater employees.

Daylight savings exacerbates global warming (IMGUR)  I can’t believe the Arkansas Democrat Gazette, a real newspaper, would actually publish a letter to the editor like this.  I notice too that they misspelled “warming” in the headline…

Must have for every office (inquisitr)

Personal WTF moment:  Has anyone else seen the new Scientology commercials?  I saw two on TBS yesterday.

Wait for it…

Cat vs. pillow.  Cat loses….


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Per the “deleveraging the US economy” link, those charts are impressive proof that what has happened is unprecedented; there has never been a run-up to compare with the last two decades. Talk about throwing caution to the wind. What shocks me is the unrelenting increase in personal indebtedness, yearly, for decades. This says to me that the herd mentality can get people to do just about anything.

Posted by CB | Report as abusive

GOOD NEWS!!! There is finally a great new movie out about market manipulation, the SEC, and short selling called: “Stock Shock.” For those of us that want to understand some of the inner workings of the market, it is a must-see. Very easy to understand and entertaining. Amazon has it or has a trailer.

Posted by D. Hubb | Report as abusive