Monthly Archives: November 2011

Faux Economy

Well, the big news today is that the stock market “surged”, improbably, with the Dow taking out 12,000.

This is on the heels of the Federal Reserve doing what it does, which is financing the financiers.  They’re giving away free money to People Who Matter, who will immediately plunge it into the stock market casino to give the appearance of financial health.  And of course take their healthy cut.

Meanwhile, American Airlines goes bankrupt.  Perfect.  A real company, with real airplanes, shuttling real passengers hither and yon.  But they’ve had it.  Bought the farm.

They should have mortgaged it and hedged their bet with a credit default swap.  Passengers?  Who cares about them?

You can’t make this stuff up.  To understand this system is to loathe it; you wind up pouring cold water on a comatose drunk who doesn’t want to wake up.  You’re only helping him not to slip further away and die, but he hates you for it.

Here’s the reality:  the one day goosing of the casino represents the spending of the entire Federal Reserve free money eruption.  There’s nothing left.  Nothing was produced, American Airlines is still bankrupt, but tomorrow will be very much like today – instead of different, which it might have otherwise been.

Feel better?  If you’re in the 1% you should; if you’re in the 99%, well, not so much.  Change is scary, up and down the line.  But the 99% have less and less to fear from “different”, and the Fed has no answer for them on that score.  It’s an impasse:  you can’t sell stability to people who want to shake things up.

The Dow hitting 12,000 is impressive.  So is American Airlines’ bankruptcy.  One is a real thing, the other is an illusion.  You can’t eat a credit default swap.

We’re in more trouble than I thought.  And sooner, too.

 

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Matt Taibbi

Since my writing has, frankly, sucked lately, I thought I’d just check in with Taibbi, who seems to be doing much better.

This is a good article.  And this.  And this.  And this.

When the dust settles I’m hoping my work here on the blog will improve.  In the meantime I’ll keep at it.  Plugging away is my tendency.

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Suicide

What is it with Japan and elaborate excursions into self destruction?

The country that gave the world Seppuku and the kamikaze is apparently now engaged in demographic suicide.

The statistics are sobering and, from an historical perspective, quite bizarre.  What could be more unnatural than young people of child bearing age in such large numbers not pairing off and having children?

It’s inexplicable.

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Appellate Division, 4th Department

We’re familiar with that court.

Greenfield takes them to task today, and rightly so.  But he also beats up on another lawyer, whose “screw up” led to the bad result on appeal.

Except that it didn’t, and everyone knows it.

The quibble is that the defendant’s lawyer didn’t object to an improper question by the prosecutor at the trial.  That left the issue “unpreserved” for appellate review, which was duly noted by the 4th department, which then declined to exercise its “discretion” to review the issue anyway.

But if the issue had been properly preserved, then the 4th department would have either:  a) simply misrepresented the record or not mentioned it at all, two of their favorite practices; or b) “reviewed” the issue but found any error “harmless” because the proof of the defendant’s guilt was “overwhelming”, a misnomer of a standard that is actually satisfied by the thinnest of proof.

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Almost Ten Years

That’s how long both a major sports network – ESPN – and police had a smoking gun tape of a conversation between the wife of Syracuse University Assistant Basketball coach Bernie Fine and one of his sexual abuse victims.

And in all that time they did nothing.

Not until a similar scandal erupted at Penn State.  Now, apparently, it’s time to “do something”.

When the Penn State scandal took off there was much discussion about those who knew and did nothing, much of it focusing harshly on an assistant coach named McQueary, who was almost universally faulted for “not doing enough” when he allegedly observed assistant coach Jerry Sandusky raping a 10 year old boy in the campus showers.  Specifically, many said McQueary should have gone right to police and by-passed head coach Joe Paterno if necessary.

Yet McQueary didn’t have anything on tape.  He didn’t have a smoking gun.  What if not only Sandusky but his alleged victim denied the allegations?  No matter what McQueary saw, there’s no guarantee something like that wouldn’t have happened.

That would be the end of McQueary’s career, right?  And maybe worse.

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Greek Austerity – At The Hands Of Fascists

This is an interesting take on things.  Apparently well documented, too.

Funny how this kind of thing always gets by the MSM.

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Lawyer Love

It may be a quibble over word definitions more than anything else, but it’s still a quibble.  At least a quibble.  Maybe more.

Scott Greenfield is drawing lines.  A lawyer provides “excellent representation”, not love.  As if the two are mutually exclusive.

First, the definitional problem may dispose of a disagreement that is apparent only, or at least primarily.  If by “love” one means only emotional, squishy and sub-rational or even irrational feelings of affection that obscure reason, then the point can be readily conceded.  It would indeed be self-indulgent and wrong for a lawyer to conduct an attorney-client relationship on such a basis, and it would most likely ill-serve the client, certainly to the extent that objectivity and reason are compromised.

But one problem is, this is an impoverished definition.  It is a childish conception of love.

To a grown up, love is not about emotions but about the will, the willingness to act.  To spend oneself on behalf of another:  that is love in the grown up sense.

It should be as obvious that love in the latter sense is not only proper but even  required in the attorney client relationship as it is that “love” in the former childish sense is a mistake, even a grave mistake.  Spending oneself on behalf of a client is pretty close to the essence of the attorney client relationship.  To call that wrong is turning things on their head.

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