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Showing posts from July, 2013
This article by David Sirota exactly gets to the heart of the Big Lie surrounding the Detroit bankruptcy

Don’t buy the right-wing myth about Detroit


It brings to mind the hullbaloo over, say, NEA fundin, which the Republicans are trying to cut to save the country from the scourge of arts and cuklture funding,

This at time when an apparently limitless amount is being squandered in Afghanistan for absolutely no purpose whatsoever except to run down the clock until 2014.

Speaking of clocks:






The NYTimes followed up on the Goldman Sachs warehousing story a few times this week, and one of the articles had a picture of the warehouse in Detroit which identified it as a Foreign Trade Zone. I should have guessed! This means the price gouging is not only not regulated by the federal government, it is in fact shielded from, onerous things like customs duties.

By the way, there are many hundreds of FTZs around the country, and probably there is one right down the block from you. The Department of Commerce has a nifty webpage for you to search.

And while you are in an artistic frame of mine, you should go over and think about investing in the work of another old pal of mine, Andrew Miksys.  He is a brilliant photographer based in Lithuania, with a new project in the form of a study of discos in the decayed fringes of the former Soviet bloc:


DISKO: Photographs of Lithuanian village discos



Here is his personal website, you can see a lot of his work here.  It would be worth picking up a copy of his BAXT while you are over there.




A-Rok is getting close, so please do help support his work and get yourself a copy of his new book in the process.
If you are in New York you should stop and check out this show of forgeries curated by an old friend of mine. It looks like it will be great, (whether or not you are not obsessed with The Recognitions)

"Caveat Emptor (let the buyer beware): An exhibition of confiscated art forgeries from the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s holdings"

Some of these will amuse you for a few minutes. The Malcolm Gladwell Book Generator

Vampire Squid smells money in warehouses

I ended up writing a short piece on the Goldman Sach's warehousing scheme, it is up at History News Network.
Frank Pasquale gets to the heart of it:

"If only Detroit were a big bank, Treasury officials would be working round the clock this weekend to save it. Alas, this city is no Citi. It lacks a "winning business model" (like lobbying and bonuses for key federal officials). So municipal bankruptcy is on the horizon."



It is always interesting to watch how the process of squeezing money from the least powerful happens so effortlessly and so loftily when "emergency" is declared. Pity the retired Detroit city worker who now faces the obliteration of promises made decades ago. No sanctity to that contract.



When GM hit crisis and went bankrupt for a time, the unions negotiated sharply lower salaries for workers. The claim was that it was essential in this emergency for the chokehold of union labor to be broken. The contracts had to be broken, it was, you know, like an emergency.



And yet, one can easily recall those days of emergency when AIG went bellyup in an entire…
Speaking of financial institution misdeeds, it is worth reading through this list of jaw-dropping list of settlements J.P. Morgan Chase has paid in the past few years. It will just take a second, go read it.
This is a fascinating story of the power of the warehouse, a deceptively simple space which Goldman Sachs has been using quite cleverly to manipulate (that is raise) global aluminum prices. Basically, they are shuffling around a quarter of the global supply (1.5 million tons) between buildings in Detroit as a way to create artificial scarcity. 

This isn't actually illegal, just sleazy and harmful to the global public.

"In the meantime, the Federal Reserve, which regulates Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and other banks, is reviewing the exemptions that have let banks make major investments in commodities. Some of those exemptions are set to expire, but the Fed appears to have no plans to require the banks to sell their storage facilities and other commodity infrastructure assets, according to people briefed on the issue."

Whatevs. Good thing we have a useless financial regulatory structure in the U.S., no?

Not least interesting is some long overdue attention paid to the…