Friday Reads: Men and the mass Penistyeria surrounding Hillary ClintonPosted: August 26, 2016 Filed under: 2016 elections, Afternoon Reads, American Gun Fetish | Tags: Alt-Right, Breitbart, Hillary Clinton, manocide, Racism, Vagenda, Vagenda of Manocide, white working class racism 49 Comments
Good Afternoon Skydancers of all shapes, sizes, sex and such!
As we continue forward with the election of the first woman president, we also continue backward with the number of outrageous lies, misogyny, CDS, and downright paranoia that some folks seem to get every time they see or hear Hilary Clinton. This week I realized that I could no longer listen to Donald Trump read from his teleprompter without wanting to hurl a few things. (Yes, you can read all the double entrendre you want into that comment.)
I’ve really had it with any one that could possibly demonize one of the most tightly and ethically run global charities in the world that basically saves lives let alone any one that thinks a bunch of emails that show absolutely nothing are deserving of more inspection that say, some one who hides their tax information and owes tremendous amounts of money to the governments of China and Russia. Why does racism and misogyny seem to have so many working class folks enthralled? Are that many people really that stupid, evil, or gullible?
So today’s pictures and snark are due to the misogyny of some gun fetishists/death vendors from Maine who are well known for posting some of the worst Alt-Right shit in the world on their store sign. Observe the original nastiness there on the sign and then enjoy how feminists are taking it back. Remember, these jerks are most likely tuned in to the wonderful world of Steven Bannon who is known for the website that asked if parents would rather see their children get feminism or cancer. No more to do lists for me! Now I have a Vagenda that includes Manocide!!!
A picture of the sign in front of the Raymond, Maine shop made its way to Twitter and inspired women everywhere to start tweeting their own vagendas. In these satirical to-do lists, women casually list “manocide” in between tasks like meetings, laundry and fitness classes. Others swap out the term for phrases like “oppress men” and “crush a man’s soul.” Many next-level trolls are including other tasks everyone assumes feminists prioritize day to day, such as “eat kale” and “queer stuff.”
One expert troll deserves true internet praise for rigging it so the web address http://www.vagendaofmanocide.com/ redirects to Clinton’s official campaign donation page. According to The Daily Dot, whoever registered the domain did so privately, “so there’s no way of knowing who they are or what their real vagenda is.”
And in case you were wondering more about the sign that inspired all of this, it turns out this isn’t out of the blue for Gulf of Maine Gunsmithing. In fact, hateful slogans seem to be the arms dealer’s choice of words for its sign. Locals has posted photos of different variations of the sign to shop’s Facebook page.
So, here’s my daily Vagenda. Hope you all realize that I lead a very boring life now. I’ve already been chided for bumping manocide to spot 3 on the list but hey, Temple has to eat and I have to earn a paycheck. Manociding is an expensive hobby, you know. Anyway, seriously, empower yourself with a VAGENDA!
6:00 am. Arise. Wrap your cardigan-sheathed hands around a mug of hot cardamom lemon water; squint into the distance from your craftsman veranda. Breathe authentically. Pick off a passing man with your bespoke porch rifle.
A good start is to visit www.vagendaofmanocide.com.
So, yesterday, Hillary Clinton connected the dots between the Alt-Right and the crazy Trump Campaign themes like sending an ultra right wing nationalist from the UK to give a speech on Brexit in a very confused Mississippi. Oh, BTW, if you didn’t watch Rachel connect the dots between Campaign Mommy, Der Fuhrer Trump, and Steven Bannon and Hedge Fund Billionaire and right wing asshole Robert Mercer, please go watch now. How poor white people can get taken down the river by these snakes is beyond me.
RACHEL MADDOW (HOST): Before becoming Donald Trump’s new campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway ran a Super PAC she ran one of the SuperPACs that supported Ted Cruz in the primary. You might remember in the Republican primary this year there were a whole bunch of different SuperPACs that supported Ted Cruz. They were all called some variation of Keep The Promise. She ran the group that was called Keep The Promise 1. They ran millions of dollars in anti-Donald Trump ads, incidentally, which is kind of ironic given what her job is now.
But more important than that, she ran this Keep The Promise PAC. She ran the iteration of all the Ted Cruz supporting PACs, she ran the one that was almost entirely funded by a single donor. All the money in that PAC basically came from one source. It came from New York City hedge fund billionaire Robert Mercer. He gave the money, Kellyanne Conway ran that PAC. Robert Mercer and Kellyanne Conway, they supported Ted Cruz in the primary, not Donald Trump, but once Trump won, once Cruz dropped out, that mega-donor Robert Mercer and Kellyanne Conway, they decided to switch horses, they decided to keep working together. She stayed in charge of the PAC. They changed its name. They started running anti-Clinton ads to help Trump instead of anti-Trump ads to help Cruz. But as a multi-million dollar donor to that effort — we’ve talked about here on this show, Robert Mercer, this hedge fund billionaire appears to have become the single largest funder now of the effort to elect Donald Trump for president.
Robert Mercer is also reportedly the single largest funder of Breitbart.com. And so this one guy, Robert Mercer, the money man, right? He ends up being sort of the missing link. He ends up being the thing that explains, I think, in a lot of ways, why the Trump campaign is this strange thing that it is now. When the Trump campaign decided to fire the last guy in charge, Paul Manafort, and put these new folks in charge, it was an interesting and sort of inexplicable thing that they simultaneously — they didn’t fire Paul Manafort and then pick a new person to replace him. They fired Paul Manafort, but then they brought in two people. They came up with two new job titles. Campaign Manager and Campaign CEO, okay. They brought in two people at once. Kellyanne Conway, who ran Robert Mercer’s Super PAC, she’s a very familiar figure in Republican politics.
But she didn’t come onto the campaign alone, right? She came on as campaign manager, Donald Trump’s top funder apparently installed her at the top of the Trump campaign, but he also simultaneously, on the same day, at the same time installed this other guy. This guy from Breitbart as the Campaign CEO. Robert Mercer is the money man behind both of these folks, behind Kellyanne Conway and her PAC which started as a Ted Cruz thing and then became a Donald Trump thing. Robert Mercer was the money behind that, Robert Mercer is also the money behind Breitbart.com. He funded them both to the tune of millions of dollars. He is the thing explains why those two otherwise unconnected individuals both came on at the same time, on the same day, to take over the Trump campaign.
Here’s the event. Hillary’s speech starts at about 7:30 into the video.
The Alt-Right and their allies are either denying it really exists or blaming Hillary Clinton for it.
“Donald Trump has built his campaign on prejudice and paranoia. He is taking hate groups mainstream, and helping a radical fringe take over the Republican Party,” Clinton said at Truckee Meadows Community College in Reno, Nevada. (A video ad released Thursday covers much of the same ground.) She said Trump’s rhetoric was “like nothing we’ve heard before from a nominee for president of the United States from one of our two major parties.”
Over more than a half-hour of sustained attack, Clinton added little new material to the record. Instead, she methodically plotted Trump’s known ties, in what appeared to be an effort to energize her own voters and, in particular, to give pause to Republicans who have grudgingly opted to make their peace with a candidate they don’t love. As she had in June, Clinton again labeled Trump “temperamentally unfit to be president of the United States.”
Vile Breitbart hell realm being Milo Yiannopolous–the devildude thrown off twitter for the racist trolling of black comedienne and actress Leslie Jones–said it was all Hillary’s fault. Now, I am going to attribute his quote to its source but go to the Breithbart site at the risk of needing eyebleach and a stomach transplant.
WTF is wrong with a huge number of working class white people? I mean seriously, is clinging to your guns, your religious delusions, and your overt racism so important that you don’t realize you’re basically ruining your life and any chance your children for good jobs? And you’re voting for the very same folk who keep you down?
We are now living in a decade with such gross levels of income disparity that the 99% believe that the 1% that has been left to them is something literal, as if it were a sliver of an apple pie, for example. Therefore, if a group — such as Black Lives Matter — comes along at this moment and says that it wants access to the pie, rather than welcoming allies who will help challenge everyone’s ability to access what the top 1% has, it becomes seen as one more group that is going to need to share the scraps that are left. Further, because working class Republicans have been convinced that “no new taxes” and “no big government” — policies that best serve the interests of the super wealthy — are the way to go, again, that panic about how little that’s left gets stoked even higher. The resentment pyres are fanned. The irony, of course, is that if the working class could unite as a political bloc, they could perhaps change the structure so that some of the income disparity that separates us from the super-rich would be re-released back into the economy, which would benefit us all. White working class racism hinders the progress of white working class economic progress.
Meanwhile, reality should set in some where as more Republicans who have served Republican presidents endorse Hillary Clinton. Carlos Guittierez is the latest outspoken endorsement. The one that happened today is one we could skip completely because it’s icky Paul Wolfowitz. Not one living former White House economic adviser is voting Trump and only one of the Republicans is toying with gadfly libertarian airhead Gary Johnson.
Served Under Republicans
“I have known personally every Republican president since Richard Nixon. They all showed a real understanding of economics and international affairs. The same was true of Mitt Romney. Donald Trump does not have that understanding and does not seem to be concerned about it. That alone disqualifies him in my judgement.” —Martin Feldstein, chairman under President Ronald Reagan, opposes Donald Trump
“Mr. Trump has not laid out a coherent economic worldview, but one recurrent theme is hostility to a free and open system of international trade. From my perspective as an economics policy wonk, that by itself is disqualifying. And then there are issues of temperament.” —Gregory Mankiw, chairman under President George W. Bush, opposes Donald Trump
“He would have to change both many of his positions and his character.” —Richard Schmalensee, member under President George H.W. Bush, opposes Donald Trump and will vote for Hillary Clinton
“It seems highly improbable that [Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson] will win but I cannot bring myself to vote for either Trump or Clinton. A large enough Johnson vote may constrain the next president to some degree.” —William Poole, member under President Ronald Reagan, opposes both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton
“On the trade issue alone, I wouldn’t support either one. As an economist, free trade is not something that’s a partisan kind of issue and to have both parties being protectionist is unacceptable.” —Jerry Jordan, member under President Ronald Reagan, opposes both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton
Donald Trump’s “views on international economic policy…are fundamentally flawed in so many ways.” Also, “there are a number of things he had stated, implied that collectively present a fear-based, xenophobic, judgemental personality.” —Matthew Slaughter, member under President George W. Bush, opposes Donald Trump and will vote for Hillary Clinton
The writing may already be on the wall if this Quinnipiac poll is right. Notice the Strump never mentions polls any more?
In the battle of the unloved presidential candidates, Democrat Hillary Clinton tops the magical 50 percent mark among American likely voters, leading Republican Donald Trump 51 – 41 percent, according to a Quinnipiac University National poll released today.
When third party candidates are added to the mix, Clinton gets 45 percent with Trump at 38 percent, Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson at 10 percent and Green Party candidate Jill Stein at 4 percent, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University Poll finds. This survey of likely voters can not be compared with results of earlier surveys of registered voters.
Women and non-white voters propel Clinton in the head-to-head matchup. Women back her 60 – 36 percent. Men back Trump 48 – 42 percent. White voters back Trump 52 – 41 percent. Non-white voters back Clinton 77 – 15 percent.
A total of 44 percent of American likely voters like Clinton “a lot” or “a little,” while 47 percent dislike her “a little” or “a lot,” and 8 percent hate her.
A total of 35 percent of voters like Trump “a lot” or “a little,” while 53 percent dislike him “a little” or a lot,” and 10 percent hate him.
“We are starting to hear the faint rumblings of a Hillary Clinton landslide as her 10-point lead is further proof that Donald Trump is in a downward spiral as the clock ticks,” said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll.
“Trump’s missteps, stumbles and gaffes seem to outweigh Clinton’s shaky trust status and perceived shady dealings. Wow, is there any light at the end of this dark and depressing chapter in American politics?”
American likely voters give both candidates negative favorability ratings, 41 – 53 percent for Clinton and 33 – 61 percent for Trump. In fact, 37 percent of likely voters say they would consider voting for a third party candidate.
In this very negative race, 64 percent of Trump supporters say they are voting mainly anti-Clinton, while 25 percent say they are voting pro-Trump.
If you actually go to that survey link and read some of the questions they asked, you’ll start thinking that all national polls are push polls these days. I can’t take any more of this untrustworthy/likability shit. It’s like a freaking self-fulfilling prophecy. It does seem, however, that she is safely on her way to the U.S. Presidency. Hang on and get ready for more misogyny and CDS.
What’s on your reading, blogging and VAGENDA list today? (Yes, male allies, your “woman card” from the Clinton Campaign makes you an honorary Vagina holder too!!!
Tuesday Reads: NYT and WaPo Join With Fox News and Koch Brothers to Destroy Hillary Clinton’s CandidacyPosted: April 21, 2015 Filed under: morning reads, U.S. Politics | Tags: Bobby Jindal, Breitbart, Hillary Clinton, Jeb Bush, Koch Brothers, Media Matters, New York Times, opposition research, Peter Schweizer, Scott Walker, Washington Post 37 Comments
It appears that The New York Times and The Washington Post are determined to help the Koch brothers elect Scott Walker to the presidency in 2016. Dakinikat alerted me to this story by Dylan Byers at Politico:
New York Times, Washington Post, Fox News strike deals for anti-Clinton research.
The New York Times, The Washington Post and Fox News have made exclusive agreements with a conservative author for early access to his opposition research on Hillary Clinton, a move that has confounded members of the Clinton campaign and some reporters, the On Media blog has confirmed.
“Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich” will debut on May 5. But the Times, the Post and Fox have already made arrangements with author Peter Schweizer to pursue some of the material included in his book, which seeks to draw connections between Clinton Foundation donations and speaking fees and Hillary Clinton’s actions as secretary of state. Schweizer is the president of the Government Accountability Institute, a conservative research group, and previously served as an adviser to Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin.
Naturally, Byers article is accompanied by an unflattering photo of Hillary.
Fox News’ use of Schweizer’s book has surprised no one. The bulk of the network’s programming is conservative, and the book’s publisher, HarperCollins, is owned by News Corporation. But the Times and Post’s decision to partner with a partisan researcher has raised a few eyebrows. Some Times reporters view the agreement as unusual, sources there said. Still others defended the agreement, noting that it was no different from using a campaign’s opposition research to inform one’s reporting — so long as that research is fact-checked and vetted. A spokesperson for the Times did not provide comment by press time.
In an article about the book on Monday, the Times said “Clinton Cash” was “potentially more unsettling” than other conservative books about Clinton “both because of its focused reporting and because major news organizations including The Times, The Washington Post and Fox News have exclusive agreements with the author to pursue the story lines found in the book.
Anyone who calls either the Times or the Post “liberal” these days is either lying or ignorant. It both papers are morphing into something resembling The Daily Mail.
The author of the new “book,” Peter Schweizer is nothing but propagandist, as Media Matters demonstrates:
Clinton Cash Author Peter Schweizer’s Long History Of Errors, Retractions, And Questionable Sourcing.
Media should be cautious with Republican activist and strategist Peter Schweizer’s new book Clinton Cash. Schweizer has a disreputable history of reporting marked by errors and retractions, with numerous reporters excoriating him for facts that “do not check out,” sources that “do not exist,” and a basic failure to practice “Journalism 101.”
Read a compendium of evidence at the Media Matters link.
Echidne of the Snakes asks whether the Times and Post deals with Schweizer are ethical.
The Ethics of Journalism 101: Is it OK for NYT and WaPo to use Pre-Publication Opposition Research on Hillary Clinton?
I see three potentially serious problems with these exclusive arrangements.
First, depending on what newspapers are supposed to have as their objective*, getting opposition research on only one candidate can bias the reporting in the papers. If conservative muckrakers are more diligent than liberal ones, the American people (how I love to be able to write that!) will be mislead, assuming that the Republican candidates might also have all sorts of skeletons in their mahogany cupboards.
Second, assuming that those at the newspapers know how to judge the research of Schweizer’s book may be a form ofhubris. Or at least we should not just be told that there will be experts looking at all the stuff.
Third, and this links to my second point, using a book BEFORE it is published means that the newspapers won’t have access to the expert criticisms which follow the publication of a book. It’s as if the book is allowed to hold the stage all alone, when the correct approach would be to wait to see what experts in the field might have to say about it.
It’s also important to note that Peter Schweizer writes for Breitbart. And Breitbart is crowing about the mainstream publicity their author is getting.
As the NYT reported yesterday, David Koch has apparently picked Scott Walker as his preferred candidate for the Republican nomination. You have to wonder if Koch is completely detached from reality though.
From the New York Observer, David Koch: Scott Walker Would Defeat Hillary Clinton ‘by a Major Margin.’
Fuel mogul and conservative activist David Koch today declared to reporters that Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker would easily beat former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in a general election—shortly after the co-owner of Koch Industries heard a private speech by the midwestern Republican at the Union League Club in Manhattan.
After meeting with Mr. Walker and a group of GOP donors called the Empire Club, Mr. Koch told the Observer that he believed the governor would trounce the former first lady if a sufficient number of Republicans get involved in the race.
“I think so, no question about it. You know, if enough Republicans have a thing to say, why, he’ll defeat her by a major margin,” he said, effusively praising Mr. Walker’s performance. “I thought he had a great message. Scott Walker is terrific and I really wish him all the best. He’s a tremendous candidate to be the nominee in my opinion.”
Mr. Koch said the Republican candidates should focus their primary season fire on Ms. Clinton to reduce her appeal among voters, arguing that she will most likely be the Democratic nominee.
Will it work? Hillary commented on the strategy in Keene, New Hampshire yesterday.
ABC News: Hillary Clinton Says Republicans ‘Talking Only About Me.’
During her first visit to New Hampshire as a presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton brushed off accusations about the Clinton Foundation‘s acceptance of donations from foreign governments, dismissing the reports made in a new book as simply being a “distraction” from the issues of her campaign.
“Well, we’re back into the political season and therefore we will be subjected to all kinds of distractions and attacks and I’m ready for that. I know that that comes unfortunately with the territory,” Clinton remarked at the end of a roundtable discussion at a local business here this afternoon, when asked by reporters about a new book, “Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich.”
It seems the Koch brothers are opening controlling the choice of the Republican nominee. Today they announced they will give Jeb Bush a chance to be their pick instead of current favorite Scott Walker. From Mike Allen at Politico:
Koch brothers will offer audition to Jeb Bush.
In [a] surprise, a top Koch aide revealed to POLITICO that Jeb Bush will be given a chance to audition for the brothers’ support, despite initial skepticism about him at the top of the Kochs’ growing political behemoth.
Sen. Marco Rubio, Sen. Rand Paul and Sen. Ted Cruz debated at the Koch network’s winter seminar in January, and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker made a separate appearance. Those were the candidates who appeared to have a chance at the Koch blessing, and attendees said Rubio seemed to win that round.
But those four — plus Jeb – will be invited to the Kochs’ summer conference, the aide said. Bush is getting a second look because so many Koch supporters think he looks like a winner. Other candidates, perhaps Rick Perry or Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, may also get invitations.
Jindal is apparently not high on the Kochs’ list. He must be deeply disappointed after he has destroyed Louisiana with Koch-backed policies in his efforts to please the the powerful brothers.
For a change of pace from the mainstream Hillary hate and GOP love, I’ll end this post with Charles Pierce’s latest assessment of Scott Walker’s chances.
Watching Scotty Blow, Cont’d: Governor Of His Own Fugue State.
Because it’s fking April, and because it’s fking 2015, and because I have something of a fking life, I decided to take in the Republican floor exercises up there in New Hampshire through the kind auspices of CSPAN. I was especially interested in the evening show provided by Scott Walker, the goggle-eyed homunculus hired by Koch Industries to manage their midwest subsidiary formerly known as the state of Wisconsin. I had to wait for John Sununu, Sr. to go through an introduction that lasted longer than the Good Friday ritual. (Sununu may still be talking. CSPAN cut away to listen to Walker.) But Walker was worth the wait. We heard about how he’s going to ride his Harley to Bike Week in Laconia this year. We heard the bit about buying the shirt at Kohl’s. We heard “go big and go bold.” We heard about the death threats. And we heard a lot of stunning misdirection about how rosy things are with the Wisconsin economy. (I was especially taken with how he boasted that he had turned his state into a right-to-work paradise, Walker having denied up and down throughout the last campaign that he had any such plans.) And there is no question. Scott Walker is the best Governor of Wisconsin that New Hampshire ever has had.What we didn’t hear, of course, was that, back in America’s Dairyland, they may never get out of the death spiral into which Walker has shown the actual state he allegedly actually governs. His new budget is so draconian that even some of the Republicans in his pet legislature are starting to get nervous. And the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, a newspaper of wild ambivalence regarding Walker and his prospective candidacy,dropped a dungbomb on him that demonstrated that, while Scott Walker may have bought a shirt at Kohl’s, he isn’t qualified to run a cash register there.
Thursday Reads: Banks Reopen in Cyprus; An End to “Too Big to Fail” Banks (?); Vagina-Phobia; and Much MorePosted: March 28, 2013 Filed under: Barack Obama, morning reads, Republican politics, SCOTUS, U.S. Economy, U.S. Politics, Vagina | Tags: Airline horrors, airport weigh-ins, Breitbart, capital controls, Charles Pierce, Chief Justice John Roberts, Cyprus crisis, DOMA, Joan Walsh, journalistic ethics, marriage equality, Matthew Boyle, Racism, Rep. Steve King, Sasha and Malia Obama, Simon Johnson, Too big to fail banks 31 Comments
The banks have opened in Cyprus with controls on how much depositors can withdraw.
Joe Weisenthal posted updates at his Business Insider blog:
At 6:00 AM ET, banks in Cyprus reopened their doors for the first time since March 16.
Wall Street Journal’s Joe Parkinson reports that only eight people are being allowed in at a time at one Bank of Cyprus branch.
However, the crowds have been orderly.
Everyone is wondering whether there will be a huge run on the banks.
So far? Not yet.
This is likely due to a set of capital controls that have been imposed on the banks. Specifically, Cypriot depositors cannot withdraw more than 300 euros per day from any one bank. Also, checks cannot be cashed.
These controls will be in place for seven days.
See more Twitter updates and photos at the link. International Business Times has some details about the capital controls that are supposed to prevent bank runs. In addition to the withdrawal limit, depositors can’t cash checks unless they come from another country.
In the meantime, non-cash payments or money transfers are banned unless they are related to a number of conditions.
These conditions include commercial transactions, payroll, living expenses and tuition fees.
If commercials transactions are less than €5,000, there are no restrictions, but payments above this amount and up to €200,000 will be subject to a 24-hour decision making process, in order to determine whether the liquidity of the bank would be able to incur such a withdrawal.
Transfers for paying employees will also still be allowed but relevant documents would have to be presented in order to prove the money is being used to pay staff.
Transactions on credit or debit cards are also capped at €5,000 euros per month.
According to the Wall Street Journal, some large depositors seemingly had advance knowledge of what was going to happen in Cyprus and moved their money out of the country weeks before the crisis.
The chairman of the Committee for Institutions in the Cypriot Parliament, Deputy Dimitris Syllouris, said he had submitted a letter to the Central Bank of Cyprus demanding an investigation into account holders who moved large sums of cash out of the country in the weeks ahead of Cyprus’s chaotic bailout talks…
He said he had received information about individuals and businesses moving money out of Cyprus weeks ahead of the bailout deal—a move that wouldn’t be illegal but could imply that some depositors had warning that negotiations for a bailout could, for the first time in the financial crisis that has rattled the euro zone, take a cut out of regular bank deposits.
Asked whether his suspicions focused on one specific group of depositors, he said “politicians, all sorts of people, and bankers themselves are no better.”
Outflows from Cyprus were increasing from moderate levels from January until March 15, the officials said. Last week—especially after March 19, when the Cypriot Parliament rejected the first bailout deal that would have imposed a one-time levy on large deposits—the outflows under the central bank’s exemptions went up significantly, they said.
Several hundred million euros, but less than a billion euros, left the country despite the bank closures, according to one official.
At Bloomberg, Clive Crook says Cyprus’ Plan B is Still a Disaster.
The new deal has removed the craziest part of the agreement reached March 16 — the plan to default on deposit insurance. Let’s not dwell any further on that insanity. But the new plan still has features that, seen in any other context, would surely arouse surprise.
For instance, the so-called troika of the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund wanted to be sure that the new debt Cyprus is about to take on will be sustainable — meaning, presumably, that Cyprus will be able to repay it. Yet, by writing down high- value deposits, the revised plan will also cause a sudden contraction of the Cypriot banking system, and thus of the whole Cypriot economy, which depends on banking to an unusual degree.
He concludes that,
Bailout fatigue says: “The Cypriots got themselves into this mess, and they should get themselves out. We’ll lend them a bit more, but only if we’re sure they’ll pay us back.” Cyprus didn’t get itself into this mess. It joined the euro system in 2008 with low public debt and a clean bill of health from EU governments (back then, not a word was said about shady Russians). Its banks are in trouble not because they accepted too many overseas deposits but because they bought too many Greek bonds — an investment sanctified by international banking rules (which called such investments riskless) that was destroyed by the EU’s ham-fisted resolution of Greece’s threatened default.
Europe’s sense of “we’re all in this together” seems to have evaporated entirely. Now one has to ask not merely what the euro is for, but what the EU itself is for.
Back in the U.S.A.,
Simon Johnson has an interesting post at the NYT’ “Explaining the Science of Everyday Life” blog: The Debate on Bank Size Is Over.
While bank lobbyists and some commentators are suddenly taken with the idea that an active debate is under way about whether to limit bank size in the United States, they are wrong. The debate is over; the decision to cap the size of the largest banks has been made. All that remains is to work out the details.
To grasp the new reality, think about the Cyprus debacle this month, the Senate budget resolution last week and Ben Bernanke’s revelation that — on too big to fail — “I agree with Elizabeth Warren 100 percent that it’s a real problem.”
Policy is rarely changed by ideas alone and, in isolation, even stunning events can sometimes have surprisingly little effect. What really moves the needle in terms of consensus among policy makers and the broader public opinion is when events combine with a new understanding of how the world works. Thanks to Senator Sherrod Brown, Democrat of Ohio; Senator Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts, and many other people who have worked hard over the last four years, we are ready to understand what finally defeated the argument that bank size does not matter: Cyprus.
I can’t briefly summarize the gist of Johnson’s piece, so if you’re following this story, please read the whole thing. Could he really be right about limits on “to big to fail or prosecute banks.” I sure hope so!