Notes March 11 2008

March 11, 2008 § Leave a comment


Fed to Lend $200 Billion More to Ease Market Strain

By MICHAEL M. GRYNBAUM 53 minutes ago

The Federal Reserve said it would inject liquidity into the markets by lending Treasury securities and increasing currency swap lines with central banks.

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This of course bails out the lenders, not the borrowers, and to the extent the loans fail, the Fed loses, which means passing the cost onto taxpayers. The fact that we bail out the lenders, not the borrowers, will be seen as a real mistake, taking even more money and profit out of the existing economy.


The fact of Golderbg’s Liberal Humanism suggests our curent difficulty. Given the stae of the species, tough authoritarian solutions appeal to both right and center 9there is no left). Liberal of course can be either liberal progressive, or liberal as in “lots of room for capital to move.”

Last night I read The Wind In the Willows. Staying in a friend’s house with lots of first edition children’s books. It reminded me how much GardenWorld is prepared by children’s stories of mixing lives with nature and architecture.

and Scott Horton on Spitzer

However, there is a second tier of questions that needs to be examined with respect to the Spitzer case. They go to prosecutorial motivation and direction. Note that this prosecution was managed with staffers from the Public Integrity Section at the Department of Justice. This section is now at the center of a major scandal concerning politically directed prosecutions. During the Bush Administration, his Justice Department has opened 5.6 cases against Democrats for every one involving a Republican. Beyond this, a number of the cases seem to have been tied closely to election cycles. Indeed, a study of the cases out of Alabama shows clearly that even cases opened against Republicans are in fact only part of a broader pattern of going after Democrats. So here are the rather amazing facts that surface in the Spitzer case:

(1) The prosecutors handling the case came from the Public Integrity Section.

(2) The prosecution is opened under the White-Slave Traffic Act of 1910. You read that correctly. The statute itself is highly disreputable, and most of the high-profile cases brought under it were politically motivated and grossly abusive. Here are a few:

  • Heavyweight boxing champion Jack Johnson was the first man prosecuted under the act — for having an affair with Lucille Cameron, whom he later married. The prosecution was manifestly an effort “to get” Johnson, who at the time was the most famous African-American. (All of this is developed well in Ken Burns’s film “Unforgiveable Blackness”).
  • University of Chicago sociologist William I. Thomas was prosecuted for having an affair with an officer’s wife in France. Thomas was targeted because of his Bohemian social and his radical political views.
  • In 1944 Charles Chaplin was prosecuted for having an affair with actress Joan Barry. The prosecution again provided cover for a politically motivated effort to drive Chaplin out of the country.
  • Canadian author Elizabeth Smart was arrested and charged in 1940 while crossing the border with the British poet George Barker.

(3) The resources dedicated to the case in terms of prosecutors and investigators are extraordinary.

(4) How the investigation got started. The Justice Department has yet to give a full account of why they were looking into Spitzer’s payments, and indeed the suggestion in the ABC account is that it didn’t have anything to do with a prostitution ring. The suggestion that this was driven by an IRS inquiry and involved a bank might heighten, rather than allay, concerns of a politically motivated prosecution.

All of these facts are consistent with a process which is not the investigation of a crime, but rather an attempt to target and build a case against an individual.

The answer of the Justice Department to all this is likely to be: Trust us. But in the current environment, the reservoir of trust is tapped. The Justice Department needs to submit to some questions about how this probe got launched, who launched it, and to what extent political appointees were involved in its direction. This has nothing to do with Spitzer’s guilt or innocence. But it has everything to do with the fading integrity of the Public Integrity Section. (underline dc)

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A new movement in India. I wonder if this could become a new movement worldwide? A “modern” replacement for religion and community. Its potential relation to GardenWorld is to say the least fruitful.

SIOLIM, India — At the faded one-story medical clinic in this fishing and farming village, people with depression and anxiety typically got little or no attention. Busy doctors and nurses focused on physical ailments — children with diarrhea, laborers with injuries, old people with heart trouble. Patients, fearful of the stigma connected to mental illness, were reluctant to bring up emotional problems.

David Kohn

VILLAGE IN GOA: Two health workers’ sole task in Siolim is to identify and treat patients’ depression and anxiety.

Last year, two new workers arrived. Their sole task was to identify and treat patients suffering depression and anxiety. The workers found themselves busy. Almost every day, several new patients appeared. Depressed and anxious people now make up “a sizable crowd” at the clinic, said the doctor in charge, Anil Umraskar.

The patients talk about all sorts of troubles. “Financial difficulties are there,” said one of the new counselors, Medha Upadhye, 29. “Interpersonal conflicts are there. Unemployment. Alcoholism is a major problem.”

and we have

US Stocks Rally on Fed’s Plan to Lend Up to $200 Billion

Important to see how long this effect lasts. Juat a day?


recommended a minute ago by Howard Rhiengold.

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