martes, junio 30, 2009

El PAIS DE TRACA

Editorial de El Pais de hoy, donde alguien se ha tomado una sobredosis de progrina.

Fiskeando que es gerundio:

Un juez federal impuso ayer al financiero Bernard Madoff la máxima sentencia solicitada por el fiscal: 150 años de cárcel, que garantizan su estancia entre rejas a perpetuidad.

Notese la diferente velocidad de actuacion entre la justicia americana y la española. La misma que hay entre un guepardo y una babosa que se arrastrase por el asfalto.

Esta resolución judicial marca un hito. Rubrica el fin de la época de la desregulación financiera neo-conservadora, causante de una inmensa burbuja financiera, y se erige en baremo ejemplificador para el mundo de las finanzas.

¿Pero de que habla este tio? Madoff es un estafador, los esquemas piramidales (ponzi) son mas viejos que el mear de pie, y estafadores ha habido siempre.

No son fruto de ninguna falta de regulacion sino de saltarse la ley y por tanto van a prision cuando se les captura. La regulacion ya existe, las piramides financieras son ilegales menos la seguridad social, lo unico que fallaron son los mecanismos de control de las entidades reguladoras. Esas que los progres consideran infalibles y a las cuales quieren dar mas poder.

No sólo porque responde con contundencia a la evaporación de la escalofriante cifra (mínima) de 50.000 millones de dólares (la segunda mayor estafa mundial, tras la de Enron), sino porque se dicta contra una persona que fue el presidente de la Bolsa de valores tecnológicos (el Nasdaq), un gurú prestigioso e incontestado de Wall Street, el hombre en el que confiaron entidades de prestigio y personajes de relumbre.

Otro motivo para no creer ciegamente en ninguna institucion de sabios que vele por nosotros o nuestro dinero.

      La sentencia considera probado que Madoff realizó una estafa piramidal, un tipo de fraude de lo más primitivo, que consiste en pagar los intereses de los inversores iniciales con el capital aportado por los llegados en el último minuto.

      ¿Y que desregulacion neocon ha hecho que esto sea posible?

      Para describir la zafiedad del procedimiento baste recordar algunas de las miniestafas postales más obtusas descubiertas en los últimos tiempos, o las que arruinaron a un país como Albania en los años noventa.

      Jejeje o Gescartera o el Forum Filatelico chato. No solo hay por que irse lejos, a paises tercermudistas de los Balcanes para descubrir chanchullos infames. Aqui mismito en españa donde se supone que no ha habido desregulacion neocon ha habido timos piramidales como templos de grandes.

      El exquisito Madoff usaba como arma de mercadotecnia un gancho secretista, selectivo y glamuroso (la dificultad de acceso a su propio circuito); garantizaba rentabilidades mínimas sostenidas en el entorno del 12% (un anzuelo de por sí sospechoso, pero que logró engatusar a más de 1.300 clientes de alto nivel, entre ellos prestigiosos bancos europeos y alguno español) y al fin, no los invertía en nada, o casi. Constituye un misterio de novela psicológica la pregunta de si pensaba que este sistema podría resultar eterno. Bastó que el revés de la crisis incitase a algunos de sus selectos clientes a intentar recuperar su capital para que se descubriese la monumental chapuza.

      A diferencia de Michael Jackson, Madoff no se murio a tiempo. Ahi estamos de acuerdo.

      El responsable penal de un delito es siempre una persona individual, nunca un contexto ni una circunstancia.

      El pero esta al caer.

      Pero es cierto que determinados contextos favorecen las prácticas delictivas. De forma que las responsabilidades jurídicas y penales del financiero derrumbado, que confesó su crimen desde casi el inicio de ser descubierto, no se agotan en su caso judicial: se extienden a responsabilidades políticas y morales de cuantos abonaron el capitalismo de casino, sin ley ni límite regulador, de la era iniciada bajo los mandatos de Ronald Reagan y Margaret Thatcher, y felizmente concluida con George W. Bush.

      Mira si lo que hacia el señor Madoff estaba regulado que de hecho estaba PROHIBIDO y te podia caer una sentencia de 150 años, como le ha caido. ¿Que coño pintan aqui Thatcher, Reagan o Bush?...ah, es que para los progres, ya se sabe...el contexto es el contexto...

      O el concepto como decia aquel

      El concepto de seguir metiendonos su propaganda socailistoide hasta con calzador en cualquier ocasion venga o no a cuento.

      Bajo los auspicios del G-20 de la era Obama, todas las compañías financieras, todos los países y todos los activos requerirán de una supervisión adecuada. Si este objetivo acaba cumpliéndose, quizá el escándalo Madoff haya servido finalmente para algo, aparte de arruinar a unas centenas de ricos incautos. De lo contrario, será sólo un nuevo y lamentable precedente.

      Permitanme llegados a este punto: DESCOJONARME.


      miércoles, junio 17, 2009

      Hands off motherfuckers!

      Que no nos salven


      Consider our track record over the past 20 years, starting with the stock-market crash of 1987, when on Oct. 19 the Dow Jones lost 23 percent, the largest one-day loss in its history. The legendary economist John Kenneth Galbraith wrote that he just hoped that the coming recession wouldn't prove as painful as the Great Depression. It turned out to be a blip on the way to an even bigger, longer boom. Then there was the 1997 East Asian crisis, during the depths of which Paul Krugman wrote in a Fortune cover essay, "Never in the course of economic events—not even in the early years of the Depression—has so large a part of the world economy experienced so devastating a fall from grace." He went on to argue that if Asian countries did not adopt his radical strategy—currency controls—"we could be looking at the kind of slump that 60 years ago devastated societies, destabilized governments, and eventually led to war." Only one Asian country instituted currency controls, and partial ones at that. All rebounded within two years.

      Each crisis convinced observers that it signaled the end of some new, dangerous feature of the economic landscape. But often that novelty accelerated in the years that followed. The 1987 crash was said to be the product of computer trading, which has, of course, expanded dramatically since then. The East Asian crisis was meant to end the happy talk about "emerging markets," which are now at the center of world growth. The collapse of Long-Term Capital Management in 1998—which then–Treasury secretary Robert Rubin described as "the worst financial crisis in 50 years"—was meant to be the end of hedge funds, which then massively expanded. The technology bubble's bursting in 2000 was supposed to put an end to the dreams of oddball Internet startups. Goodbye, Pets.com; hello, Twitter. Now we hear that this crisis is the end of derivatives. Let's see. Robert Shiller, one of the few who predicted this crash almost exactly—and the dotcom bust as well—argues that in fact we need more derivatives to make markets more stable.

      lunes, junio 08, 2009

      Elecciones Europeas

      No hay que subestimar lo socialistas e intervencionistas que pueden ser los conservadores europeos pero resulta curiosos que en esta epoca de crisis que se achaca a la desregulacion, donde se desentierra a Keynes y donde nos venden que el peso del estado ha de crecer (aun mas!) aumentando la regulacion y el control, resulta que los partidos de izquierda, socialdemocratas y similares, se han pegado un hostion de campeonato en estas elecciones europeas.

      Interesante.

      sábado, junio 06, 2009

      Barack Obama's 10 mistakes in Cairo

      LINK

      Barack Obama's speech in Cairo was quite a moment. I say moment, but it lasted some 56 minutes and contained more than 6,000 words. Too long. Yes, he said a lot, ensuring to some extent that it could be all things to all people - almost everyone can take something away from it to feel good about.

      That doesn't mean, however, that it was an effective speech. It was, of course, very well-delivered and contained many fine phrases. But we know that Obama can do this and he's subject to the law of diminishing returns. The more I think about it, the more potentially problematic I find the speech. Here, for starters, are 10 mistakes he made:

      1. "Given our interdependence, any world order that elevates one nation or group of people over another will inevitably fail." With this phrase, Obama dismissed the notion of American exceptionalism, the belief that the United States occupies a special place among nations. Obama clearly doesn't see the United States as a "Shining City upon a Hill" or its history, constitution or way of life giving it special qualities or responsibilities in the world. When asked in Strasbourg whether he reduced "American exceptionalism" - a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville - as mere patriotism. "I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism." By trying to reduce US status to that of just another nation, Obama diminishes the role of American leadership.

      2. "I am a Christian, but my father came from a Kenyan family that includes generations of Muslims. As a boy, I spent several years in Indonesia and heard the call of the azaan at the break of dawn and the fall of dusk." While watering down America's status in the world, Obama has consistently sought to elevate his own status to that of a universal, healing symbol as if his very being, his inspiring life story, his Muslim background, his father from Kenya, his childhood spell in Indonesia will square the circle in the Middle East. If only it were as easy as that. This comes across as naive, even pandering.

      3. "Around the world, the Jewish people were persecuted for centuries, and anti-Semitism in Europe culminated in an unprecedented Holocaust.... On the other hand..."

      Yes, Obama spoke strongly and unequivocally about the six million Jews who were exterminated in the Holocaust. But he immediately appeared to equate this with the suffering of Palestinians who have "endured the pain of dislocation...endure the daily humiliations - large and small - that come with occupation...the situation for the Palestinian people is intolerable". This comes dangerously close to moral equivalence.

      4. "The U.S. government has gone to court to protect the right of women and girls to wear the hijab, and to punish those who would deny it. I reject the view of some in the West that a woman who chooses to cover her hair is somehow less equal, but I do believe that a woman who is denied an education is denied equality." Probably the worst passage of all. By highlighting the most superficial aspect of women's rights is the Muslim world, Obama dramatically underplayed the oppression women face. It's not people in the West who believe women who cover their hair are less equal, it's countries in the Middle East that dictate that all women are less equal. From the Left, Peter Daou, who grew up in west Beirut, rails against the weakness of Obama's stance on human rights: "With women being stoned, raped, abused, battered, mutilated, and slaughtered on a daily basis across the globe, violence that is so often perpetrated in the name of religion, the most our president can speak about is protecting their right to wear the hijab?" From the Right, Stephen Hayes, points out: "In Saudi Arabia, women cannot drive. In Iran, they're stoned on suspicion of adultery. In Pakistan, politicians publicly defend 'honor killings' of young girls who have the audacity to choose their own husbands."

      5. "I am honoured to be in the timeless city of Cairo..." It's one thing to go to the heart of an autocracy in the Middle East and to deliver hard turths. It's quite another to describe President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt as a "force for stability" and then go to Cairo and soft pedal on human rights abuses there. Many Arabs battling for democracy and freedom in their own countries feel undermined by Obama's choice of venue. Spengler of Asia Times goes even further: "By addressing the 'Islamic world' from Cairo, Obama lends credibility to the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, and other advocates of political Islam who demand that Muslims be addressed globally and on religious terms."

      6. "Unlike Afghanistan, Iraq was a war of choice that provoked strong differences in my country and around the world. Although I believe that the Iraqi people are ultimately better off without the tyranny of Saddam Hussein, I also believe that events in Iraq have reminded America of the need to use diplomacy and build international consensus to resolve our problems whenever possible."In its essence no neo-con from the Bush administration would disgree with this. But the "although" betrays that Obama is trying to have it both ways - he's glad that Saddam's gone but he's against the war that removed him. Yes, it was a choice. Sometimes hard choices have to be made. Yet Obama seems to think that he can just split the difference and please both sides.

      7. "No single speech can eradicate years of mistrust, nor can I answer in the time that I have all the complex questions that brought us to this point." No single speech - but perhaps a series of speeches, Obama implied. He later said that "words alone cannot meet the needs of our people" but Obama's preference for words rather than actions is clear. For all its grand vision, this speech contained no concrete proposals.

      8. "And finally, just as America can never tolerate violence by extremists, we must never alter our principles. 9/11 was an enormous trauma to our country. The fear and anger that it provoked was understandable, but in some cases, it led us to act contrary to our ideals. We are taking concrete actions to change course. I have unequivocally prohibited the use of torture by the United States, and I have ordered the prison at Guantanamo Bay closed by early next year."

      The "just as" is troubling because it goes dangerously close to equating what happened on 9/11 with the alleged alteration of American principles afterwards. Like the "on the other hand", it's sloppy speechwriting. Obama was eager to use the t-word - torture  (though not another t-word - terror). By constantly referring to torture - which, even if one concedes that it was used was done so used in very limited circumstances and ended several years ago during the Bush administration - Obama buys into the narrative that America is to blame. Obama conveniently ignores the fact that torture of a far more heinous nature than has ever taken place at Guantanamo Bay occurs almost routinely in countries across the Middle East - and the victims are often more dissidents rather than suspected terrorists. Once again, Obama highlights the closure of Guantanamo Bay - though he has yet to resolve where to transfer its inmates.

      9. "I know there has been controversy about the promotion of democracy in recent years, and much of this controversy is connected to the war in Iraq. So let me be clear: no system of government can or should be imposed upon one nation by any other." Obama talked about democracy but he failed to speak about the democratic government of Iraq. Whatever one thinks of the US invasion in 2003, that is a tremendous achievement and one brought about at a massive cost in American and Iraqi lives. It's an achievement that needs to be supported and built on, not least to demonstrate to other Arab countries that democracy in the Middle East is possible. Yet Obama seemed to want to ignore Iraq because he opposed the invasion.

      10. "For instance, in the United States, rules on charitable giving have made it harder for Muslims to fulfill their religious obligation. That is why I am committed to working with American Muslims to ensure that they can fulfill zakat." 

      After 9/11, the Bush administration - with the full bipartisan support of Congress - cracked down on terrorist financing via some groups that posed as Islamic charities. So what's Obama hinting at here? As David Frum puts it: "It is not at all hard for American Muslims to give to legitimate charities. What has been made difficult is giving to terror groups. Is the president suggesting he will relax those restrictions?"

      ___________________________________________

      Certainly, there were aspects of the speech that were praiseworthy. Rich Lowry, no Obama fan, summarises some of them: "He extolled America as 'one of the greatest sources of progress that the world has ever known'; pledged we will 'relentlessly confront violent extremists who pose a grave threat to our country'; condemned Holocaust denial as 'baseless, ignorant, and hateful';  said 'it is a sign of neither courage nor power to shoot rockets at sleeping children, or to blow up old women on a bus'; insisted that 'the Arab-Israel conflict should no longer be used to distract the people of Arab nations from other problems'".

      There's been lots of breathless commentary today about the "historic" moment and the power of Obama's oratory. In time, however,  the speech will probably be remembered, at best, for its high-flown aspirations rather than the achievements it laid the foundations for. Or, at worst, for the naive and flawed approach it foretold.