Friday, June 01, 2012

Trouble, trouble...


A reminder that all’s not well after the liberation:

“I not only weaken the opposition, I’m going to make them dead ... and if anyone is strong enough to try to hold a demonstration, I will beat all those dogs and put them in a cage.”

No, this was not Muammar el-Qaddafi in his infamous “cockroach” speech in 2011, when he urged his supporters to go “house to house” to kill the opposition.  The speaker was Prime Minister Hun Sen of Cambodia, responding with typically threatening language to the suggestion by a Cambodian critic that he should be worried about the overthrow of a dictator in Tunisia.

The guy’s been in power for going on a quarter century.

Meanwhile, all's not well in Nigeria’s Zamfara state:

The discovery of gold in Zamfara brought hope to the state’s residents, but the consequences have been deadly... At least 400 children have died from lead poisoning in Zamfara since 2010, and at least another 2,000 children need urgent treatment for lead poisoning.

That’s possibly a generational catastrophe in the making.

Meanwhile, all's not well in the US’s corporate regulatory framework:

In the few days since its IPO, Facebook’s stock price has fallen almost 20 percent amidst news that underwriters led by Morgan Stanley and perhaps Facebook itself shared negative assessments of the company only with big, institutional investors — not with the broader investing public. ...

The most hyped IPO in history has turned into a debacle marred by insider dealing.  It’s no exaggeration to say the whole world was watching — and still the decks were stacked against average investors.

This is remarkable commentary on the untrustworthiness of Wall Street.  If anyone had any doubts, it shows the utter folly in relying on Wall Street to police itself. ...

Congress did just pass and President Obama eagerly signed legislation — the misnamed JOBS Act — to reduce regulatory oversight of Wall Street and the launch of IPOs.  It aims to make it easier for new companies to launch IPOs without providing detailed information about their operations to investors.  Whoops.

At the time the bill was under consideration, critics (including Public Citizen) suggested the JOBS Act was basically pro-fraud legislation.  “The legislation is premised on the dangerous and discredited notion that the way to create jobs is to weaken regulatory protections,” wrote a public interest coalition headed by the Consumer Federation of America and Americans for Financial Reform.  The legislation would “roll back regulations that are essential to protecting investors from fraud and abuse, promoting the transparency on which well-functioning markets depend, and ensuring the fair and efficient allocation of capital.”

The JOBS Act was an assault on common sense at the time it was passed — has the Obama administration and Congress really forgotten that the Wall Street crash that threw us into the Great Recession was caused in significant part by regulatory failures? — but it looks even worse this week than it did at time of passage.

If ever anyone deserved to be defriended...



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