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Diary
By Breaker (Wed Nov 09, 2011 at 05:34:05 PM EST) (all tags)
You've missed me.

Whither Breaker, and the endlessly right Breakermatic diarising?



Been busy.  Two kids and a crocked wife make it really rather difficult to read, digest and post then argue exactly why you idealogically driven leftists are expecting your faith to triumph over reality.

The EU is fucked.  They may save the € but they'll lose the crown, or they'll save the crown and lose the € as we know it.  Chermany (and maybe a Scandi nation or two, plus the Dutchies) out, or all of the weak currencies out.  I give it until the end of 2012 for the bond rolls to really kick in and destroy it from without, or Chermany has to roll over and back the ECB printing money.

That's it.

Curiously, one thing that has united people from both left and right and inbetween blogs and online newspaper comments has been the anti democratic behaviour of the EU komissars, bullying two elected Prime Ministers into resignation. What kind of black operations unit must they have to force that? Bribery, disclosure or what?

I've said it before - if both the left and right can find an agreement then something smells bad.

MBW gets cut up on the 17th.  Hopefully just the ACL reconstructed (no cast, recovery time of ~3 weeks to allowed to walk short distances, ACL and LCL = 3 months of being bedridden).

Fingers crossed.

Anything I've missed since I've been away?

< News flash: I am a pirate king. | William Frederick Heinz >
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Fifa, as it happens, is right: by ambrosen (2.00 / 0) #1 Wed Nov 09, 2011 at 05:42:36 PM EST
They shouldn't have to decide whether an emblem a national team wishes to put on their shirt is acceptable. Otherwise they'll be fighting off requests from every crackpot nation in the world and facing boycotts left right and centre.

I appreciate your point by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #2 Wed Nov 09, 2011 at 06:02:45 PM EST
But each once a year emblem should be weighed on its own merit though.

By your reasoning, we should lose the 3 lions on the shirt, too.


[ Parent ]
Bullying by Oberon (2.00 / 0) #3 Wed Nov 09, 2011 at 06:35:30 PM EST
The bullying of countries that I'm mainly concerned about is what ratings agencies, and financial markets more generally seem to be able to do, exerting a degree of control over governments which far exceeds that of the voters.

As for the Prime Ministers, Papandreyou had a majority of two and pulled a surprise referendum out of his arse without consulting his party.

Berlusconi has been losing popularity for a long time and the Italian debt "crisis" (manufactured, as far as I can tell, by a stampede in the bond markets which has little to do with the real Italian economy) was enough to push him over the edge of the cliff.

I don't see how either of those was caused by the European Commission. (I do abhor the unelected and secretive nature of the Commission, though -- the way it is constituted practically guarantees that it will be a place for national governments to get together to conspire against their own citizens. I would be all in favour of replacing it with something more democratic, or scrapping it entirely).

As for the poppy thing, I think a lot of the poppy-wearing these days is just for show, people in the public eye feeling that they have to wear one or they'll be criticised for it. Is it the individual choice of each of those players to wear a poppy, to commemorate the war dead? What would happen if one of them chose not to wear one?


How now, mad spirit?
Go and read "The Big Short" by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #4 Wed Nov 09, 2011 at 07:03:58 PM EST
By Michael Lewis.  As an industry participant, I can tell you it is bang on the money as far as why the current situation came to pass. 

In short (hah!) - ratings agencies were doing their job badly, allowed to continue doing so by piss poor government oversight, taken advantage by avaricious banks, and politicians keen not to ruin their voter's party by asking WTF was going on.  Oh and people borrowing way beyond ther means, encouraged by some serious mis-selling, also permitted by governments asleep at the wheel.

GPap still had a majority though, don't forget that.  In the history of coalition and unpopular governments, that kind of majority has passed by with not a blink from electorates. 

As far as him offering a referendum, surely that would have been the ultimate in democracy - I have here a slim majority, and the choices I have are all bleak.  Here's your chance to vote on which version of bleakness we should take.  I'm sure other leaders have also made choices along those lines, without offering it to the populous to ratify.  G Pap did, why should he consult his party when he could consult his country instead?

There has been ample opportunity for Bunga Berlo to be ousted up until now, and yet he hasn't up until the EU Komissars got involved.

The "Italian stampede" is caused because the Italian government is short of cash right now.  It's better than Greece is, mid to long term but right now it needs some hard cash.

Can you honestly say that either PM would have resigned or offered to do so without the EU interference?

It is an individual's choice to wear a poppy, but when you play for a national team, expect to carry the popular opinion. 

Which in UKia, is wear a poppy.  My daughter ate mine on Friday and I have been poppyless the last couple of days and I get nary a glance because of it.

I will still buy another at the earliest opportunity.  I may not agree with the circumstances under which young men are sent to fight and die, but I will damn well remember the dead.  On both sides.


[ Parent ]
Poppies and referenda by Oberon (2.00 / 0) #9 Wed Nov 09, 2011 at 08:12:42 PM EST
As far as him offering a referendum, surely that would have been the ultimate in democracy - I have here a slim majority, and the choices I have are all bleak.  Here's your chance to vote on which version of bleakness we should take.

As one Greek MP put it -- the question on the ballot would be do you want to die, or be killed?

Why didn't he mention the possibility of a referendum before he went to talk to the EU? He might have got more of his party on side if he hadn't sprung it on them at the last minute. He might even have got a bit more traction if he'd announced it to the parliamentary party before the press release.

Unfortunately the way he did it made it look like political maneuvering rather than a genuine democratic move.

There has been ample opportunity for Bunga Berlo to be ousted up until now, and yet he hasn't up until the EU Komissars got involved.

Well, it looks to me like the debt thing was just the last straw, what makes you think it's more complicated than that? I'm sure plenty of people have been saying (and plenty more silently wishing) that Berlusconi would leave power for a long time ....

The "Italian stampede" is caused because the Italian government is short of cash right now.  It's better than Greece is, mid to long term but right now it needs some hard cash.

I don't need to tell you, then, that the real problem is the international markets' tendency to short-termism.

It is an individual's choice to wear a poppy, but when you play for a national team, expect to carry the popular opinion.

.... which would make it part of the uniform, and therefore meaningless as a gesture.

I can see why Fifa were wary of this. What if the Iranian team takes to the field against the Iraqis wearing a symbol of the glorious martyrs in the Iran-Iraq war? Is that ok? It leaves them having to decide each such thing case-by-case. I think they're better off out of those sorts of debates.

I may not agree with the circumstances under which young men are sent to fight and die, but I will damn well remember the dead.

Hear, hear.

On both sides.

Yes, this part is too often forgotten.


How now, mad spirit?
[ Parent ]
I see your points by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #17 Thu Nov 10, 2011 at 04:35:52 PM EST
Mebbe G Pap only saw a referendum as the only way out at that point.

As far as markets are short term - who do you think buys 30 year bonds?  Or 50 year?  Bond markets are fluid, but there is still an endgame built in to them - redemtion at maturity.  You don't get that with equities.

which would make it part of the uniform, and therefore meaningless as a gesture.
No.  If FIFA had said to Spain - "hey do you mind if UKian players wear an emblem to remember them of their war dead, and the others - is that OK?" I bet that the Spanish FA would have said - "OK if we wear one too?"

FIFA just said no. 

The rest of your post I think we are broadly in agreement with. 

No more wars in my name. Yet again I claim that if folks with different views on a lot of things all agree - that's not something to do in my name.


[ Parent ]
p.s. by Oberon (2.00 / 0) #10 Wed Nov 09, 2011 at 08:16:15 PM EST
Thanks for the book recommendation, will see if I can find it in the library. The summary doesn't sound too different to what I've already gathered from other sources, but it would be interesting to get the detail.

I am in despair at the total lack of political will to reform the financial markets and banking regulation (or, as you say, lack of it).


How now, mad spirit?
[ Parent ]
Me too. by Breaker (4.00 / 1) #18 Thu Nov 10, 2011 at 04:40:24 PM EST
Banking is bloody great; it can be the engine of economies - lending trivial sums to SME's and driving growth.

What I read in that book was an utter failure in every tier.  And not just failure for anticipation, failure even when shown hard, cold evidence.

I have some sympathy with the #occupy folks, but they're too shortsighted to actually attack what the real problem is.


[ Parent ]
Are you seriously suggesting by wumpus (2.00 / 0) #11 Wed Nov 09, 2011 at 08:32:38 PM EST
that the market can do wrong?

You sir, are no breaker. You are a good comrade.

Wumpus

[ Parent ]
This by Breaker (4.00 / 2) #19 Thu Nov 10, 2011 at 04:41:23 PM EST
Is not the market.

This is pisspoor intervention, which prevents the market working. 


[ Parent ]
Unless you are insisting that by wumpus (2.00 / 0) #25 Thu Nov 10, 2011 at 07:58:31 PM EST
everything the bankers/investment/market participants is for the good (doesn't look like it in the original article) and all intervention is by definition bad, you will have strong comrade credentials this side of the Atlantic.

Wumpus

[ Parent ]
Oh absolutely not. by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #26 Fri Nov 11, 2011 at 05:21:08 PM EST
Banks, because of their nature of being able to leverage capital, need a strong and firm hand on their shoulder to prevent them from insider trading, from stitching things up in collusion. 

That's to keep the free market running smoothly so the invisible hand can do the work.

Al intervention is not necessarily bad, but don't confuse a lot of unnecessary intervention as "good", or a small amount of effective intervention as "bad".

UKia used to have a short rulebook on banks but vigorously applied by people who knew what they were doing, and who they were doing it to.

We lost that after the last intervention in reg's policymaking. 

As far as USia goes, I'm assuming something along the same lines, but I don't have hard evidence for that.


[ Parent ]
My understanding of US banking regulations. by wumpus (2.00 / 0) #28 Fri Nov 11, 2011 at 06:30:18 PM EST
In the beginning (no, not really. Just the '20s when wumpus's grandparents' money was disappearing in banks), banks failed badly. Shortly after, the most loved and hated man (people talk about division in the US since the US decided to drive straight into the great recession, ought to see how divided we were over FDR) went and put all kinds of regulations on banks.

Depression-era banking regulations continued, until the US went crazy enough to elect an actor (Reagan), who would do to the US what Thatcher did to UKia. This time it was savings and loans who got to go from (boring individual) home mortgages to turning themselves into craps parlors. My home state (Maryland) was one of the first to have massive S&L bank failure, and the national ones collapsed a bit later (fun fact: G.H.W.Bush's son Neil was a big S&L bank robber).

Wave after wave of deregulation soon followed. Followed by the collapse of whatever industry was suddenly liberated by the deregulation. Bank deregulation seems to happen in 10 year intervals, enough to allow the population to forget how screwed they were the last time. About the only weird thing I've noticed, is that bank fraud seems to be the only thing that policticians aren't willing to close the barn door after the horse has bolted. They always are willing to let the bank find one last sucker, where there normal behavior is to take the cheap and easy solution to yesterday's problems.

Wumpus

Seriously, the US is an odd place. Strong beliefs in a "well tended" free market sounds like [Bill] Clintonism. Since Obama [teh socialist!] has been pretty much running on Gingrinch's [Clinton's big right wing opponent] policies, you can figure out where you would be in the US.

[ Parent ]
IMHO by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #29 Sat Nov 12, 2011 at 04:13:04 AM EST
UKian banking had 2 fails - the allowing building societies to trade as proper casino banks with people's mortgage deposits and savings, same as you describe happening in USia.  But back then the Bank of England had responsibility and oversight.

BoE boards used to call the bank's boards in for a carpeting and to explain themselves if the BoE felt they were getting naughty, with a very real threat of fines or closing their operations down.  You really did not want to get the BoE on your case.

Once the gun had been loaded, Gordon "Texture Like Debt" Brown then took it out of the drawer by basically transferring BoE responsibilty for regulation to the newly formed FSA, which was a craptacular organisation in 3 parts, none of which really knowing what the other was doing so a lot of issues fell between the chasms between them.

What happened in USia seems to be a load of misselling of mortgages to people who couldn't afford them - which was the philanderer Clinton's doing, forcing banks to make bad loans.

So we are where we are.  The best way out is to either remove the deposit guarantee from banks who wish to do casino banks, and force them to tell depositors they are not guaranteed, or make the banks take out insurance against their losses to preserve deposits. 


[ Parent ]
US Mortgage Situation by jimgon (2.00 / 0) #30 Sat Nov 12, 2011 at 10:42:30 AM EST
Close, but the blame is incorrectly placed on Clinton.  The private mortgage lenders (banks) were responsible for the poor quality loans being offerred.  A lot of the mortgage leg work was outsourced to mortgage brokers.  The mortgage brokers were in the business of making commission on approving mortgages and they found ways to do it.  The banks on the back side were issuing mortgage backed securities and selling them which removed their risk in the mortgage.  So you had a system built where the risk for issuing a mortgage was put on the bondholders on the back end and no one on the front end was actually doing proper risk analysis.  The mortgage brokers had nothing at risk and earned more commission by processing more mortgages.  The banks had nothing at risk since they bundled mortgages and resold them to recoup their principal plus a small return.  The bond holders didn't understand the risk.  All they saw was a AAA rated bond.  AAA means no risk.  Those ratings came because the mortgage brokers and banks said there was no risk because they had nothing at risk in the whole process. 

The whole, "lay the blame on Clinton, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac" thing is just pure myth.  They aren't blameless since they did the same thing as the private banks, but the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac thing is just part of a bigger issue.  You might make the argument that the banks just followed the Fannie and Freddie into the whole thing, but it doesn't absolve the banks of guilt.  Hell the banks should have been better because the banks didn't have to bow down to Congressional pressure.  They own Congress.




---------------
Technician - "We can't even get decent physical health care. Mental health is like witchcraft here."
[ Parent ]
Thanks! by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #31 Sat Nov 12, 2011 at 05:03:56 PM EST
So, basically : stitch up.

Like I said in another comment - every single tier failed.


[ Parent ]
Agreed by jimgon (2.00 / 0) #32 Sun Nov 13, 2011 at 08:23:06 AM EST
Every tier failed.  Greed commanded the field and the troops were too busy looting the bodies to notice that the volcano blew and lava was coming.  And the general were already back on the ships and sailing away.




---------------
Technician - "We can't even get decent physical health care. Mental health is like witchcraft here."
[ Parent ]
I'm disappointed by Driusan (2.00 / 0) #5 Wed Nov 09, 2011 at 07:17:22 PM EST
The Euro fell apart today, and your diary doesn't contain a single drunken typo. Surely you know where to find better parties than this sobriety of yours implies.

--
Vive le Montréal libre.
Sorry bout that by Breaker (4.00 / 1) #6 Wed Nov 09, 2011 at 07:55:09 PM EST
I am clearly the product of a failed Coalition government which no one seems to have voted for.

I will refer you to the paragraph starting "Been busy.  Two kids and a crocked wife" and let you extrapolate from there.

Also, there are still a few throws of the dice left yet to our EUian unelected masters, so to celebrate the death of antidemocracy would be a little premature.

Those fuckers will think of something.  The one thing I fear is that the EU overlords will provoke the very thing they were supposedly founded against - civil and national war in the European arena.

The way they're playing it, it's looking increasingly likely.


[ Parent ]
Please call them "Swamp Krauts." by ammoniacal (4.00 / 1) #7 Wed Nov 09, 2011 at 08:06:05 PM EST
Thnx.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

Uhmmmmm.. by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #8 Wed Nov 09, 2011 at 08:12:33 PM EST
Why? Having worked there for quite some time, I have a genuine affection for the Chermans[1].

[1] This is a term of endearment and nothing more.


[ Parent ]
The Dutch, that is. by ammoniacal (4.00 / 1) #14 Thu Nov 10, 2011 at 08:40:44 AM EST

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

[ Parent ]
Hey by Breaker (4.00 / 1) #20 Thu Nov 10, 2011 at 04:42:00 PM EST
I quite like the Dutchies too.


[ Parent ]
fingers, by TPD (2.00 / 0) #12 Thu Nov 10, 2011 at 02:49:10 AM EST
toes, arms, legs, eyes and Ts crossed, and while acronym reading skills are very poor this morning, what ever she having surgerised(?) I hope it goes well!!


why sit, when you can sit and swivel with The Ab-SwivellerTM
Translation by Breaker (4.00 / 1) #21 Thu Nov 10, 2011 at 04:43:06 PM EST
ACL - anterior cruciate ligament, LCL the back one.

Basically: knee reconstruction.


[ Parent ]
Berlusconi by Merekat (4.00 / 1) #13 Thu Nov 10, 2011 at 03:08:36 AM EST
There is a certain amount of karma to the Berlusconi situation. A man who paid and dealt to undermine democracy in Italy for his own gain, pressured out by undemocratic means.

Hopefully an opportunity for Italians to regain some of their loss.

Euro-migration by brokkr (2.00 / 0) #15 Thu Nov 10, 2011 at 10:32:38 AM EST
Chermany (and maybe a Scandi nation or two, plus the Dutchies) out ...

Only one Scandinavian nation has the Euro.
--
Deyr fé, deyja frændr, deyr sjalfr it sama,
ek veit einn, at aldrei deyr: dómr um dau∂an hvern.

Wait what now? by bobdole (2.00 / 0) #16 Thu Nov 10, 2011 at 12:52:37 PM EST
Since when did Finland become a part of Scandinavia?

Even so, historically the poorest of all the Nordics.
-- The revolution will not be televised.

[ Parent ]
Sorry by brokkr (2.00 / 0) #23 Thu Nov 10, 2011 at 05:25:36 PM EST
Tired today. You're quite right, no Scandinavian countries have the Euro. The Swedes are obliged to join though.
--
Deyr fé, deyja frændr, deyr sjalfr it sama,
ek veit einn, at aldrei deyr: dómr um dau∂an hvern.

[ Parent ]
You'll note by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #22 Thu Nov 10, 2011 at 04:44:07 PM EST
I didn't rule out new treaties.


[ Parent ]
Righto by brokkr (2.00 / 0) #24 Thu Nov 10, 2011 at 05:28:17 PM EST
But both Denmark and Sweden have rejected the Euro. The DKK is tied to it though, which means we can't decide our own financial policy but still don't get the benefits of being in - worst of both worlds.

I don't know about Sweden, but I very much doubt Denmark will join a "Northwest-Euro" either. Resistance is mostly on the irrational, currency-as-national-symbol level.
--
Deyr fé, deyja frændr, deyr sjalfr it sama,
ek veit einn, at aldrei deyr: dómr um dau∂an hvern.

[ Parent ]
Yeah by Breaker (4.00 / 1) #27 Fri Nov 11, 2011 at 05:23:34 PM EST
Nothing stopping the Krona or the Danish Lutsfisk[1] being pegged to the DeutschEuro though.

[1] Sorry!


[ Parent ]
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