Financial Crisis

Other Guys CreditsIf I had to pick one issue that I think many more people should really, really be curious about, I’d say the backstory behind so-called recent “financial crisis”, (which has been documented in such films as Inside Job, Capitalism: A Love Story and Plunder: The Crime of Our Time to name a few), is at the top of my list. Therefore, I was surprised when I saw at the end of the Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg comedy, The Other Guys, to find this “message” embedded in a mainstream entertainment film. As Gary Susman wrote on Moviefone’s Blog:

The movie may be a silly farce about New York cops who stumble upon a Bernie Madoff-like Ponzi scheme that threatens to defraud billions from city workers. But buried in the comedy is a serious point about what really constitutes grand theft these days, a point illustrated over the closing credits by a PowerPoint-like presentation full of jazzy infographics and serious statistics outlining just how much Wall Street and corporate leaders have enriched themselves at the expense of American workers and taxpayers…

It’s a fascinating sequence, both from a design perspective and from the unlikely prospect of seeing a major corporation (in this case, Sony) release a mass-entertainment movie that also wants to educate moviegoers about the legalized wealth-grab that’s benefiting major corporations…

In his usual clear, profane manner, Matt Taibbi lays out why Goldman Sachs’s executives must face criminal charges as soon as possible. Via Rolling Stone: America has been waiting for a case…

Everything old is new again. Current makes note of the growing belief that, in the era of postindustrial perma-recession, our sociopolitical structures increasingly resemble those that were found in feudalist societies —…

Very interesting post from the MicroCosmologist blog:

So it looks like the Allen Telescope Array is falling onto the chopping block in this era of fiscal “emergency.” To me, this sounds a lot like the recent battle to defund NPR or PBS, in that the money they need to continue is just … chump change in the grand scheme of finances. They’re $2.5 million short, and for that, they’ll need to stop taking data and shut down the telescope array. It deeply bums me out to think that such a low value is placed on the quest to find other intelligence in our universe. When compared with so many other things that gladly get millions or billions of dollars, it’s maddening to see SETI so marginalized …

And to put things into perspective, I’ve whipped up this handy infographic, comparing how $2.5 million compares to so many other things that we absolutely must have, and will not hesitate to pay for:

SET Infographic

Background info on the shutdown here.

Via Adbusters‘s Kick It Over project, philosopher Slavoj Zizek sums up the reality that the financial meltdown laid bare: Although we always recognized the urgency of the problems, when we were fighting…

MortgageITBBC News reports:

The US Justice Department has sued Deutsche Bank for more than $1bn (£600m) for defrauding the government.

The complaint says Deutsche’s MortgageIT subsidiary lied in order to get Federal Housing Administration (FHA) insurance for its loans.

FHA rules say lenders must make sure the borrower will be able to repay the loan, but the Justice Department claims Deutsche did not do so.

A Deutsche spokesperson described the claims as “unreasonable and unfair”. “We intend to defend against the action vigorously,” she added.

The lawsuit is one of the first targeting mortgage lenders under the federal False Claims Act.

Ayn Rand was a godawful writer, and in ironic fashion her philosophy failed disastrously in her personal life. Yet decades after her death, her work’s destructive influence has never been stronger. The…

Jobless Men Keep GoingRay Medeiros writes on PoliticusUSA:

This report from the OECD and The Business Insider, could not have come at a more crucial time in our national debate regarding the federal budget and the course the Republicans have chosen to take.

The conservative pundits are trying to frame this debate along the lines that the deficit and debt of the United States was created by the liberal, nanny state programs. This is an outright lie they have drummed into the heads of the American people. Unfortunately, some of the pundits are trusted sources of information for millions of people.

The United States currently ranks thirty-fourth(34th) out of the thirty-four members of the OECD in regards to spending on social programs, DEAD LAST.

The amount the United States spends is currently only 7.2% of our gross domestic product on programs that make up our social contract with the American people.

SBS Dateline reports:

Vast new cities of apartments and shops are being built across China at a rate of ten a year, but they remain almost completely uninhabited ghost towns. It’s all part of the government’s efforts to keep the economy booming, and there are many people who would love to move in, but it’s simply too expensive for most.

Video journalist Adrian Brown wanders through malls of vacant shops, and roads lined with empty apartment buildings … 64 million apartments are said to be empty across the country and one of the few shop owners says he once didn’t sell anything for four or five days.

So are the efforts to boost the economy going to end up having the opposite effect and creating a financial crisis for China?