Daily Archives: November 20, 2011

Chairman & CEO of Kent Global Knighted Into the Military and Hospitaller Order of St. Lazarus of Jerusalem

Thomas J. Kent Jr. Chairman & CEO of KENT GLOBAL, LLC Was Knighted Into the Military and Hospitaller Order of St. Lazarus of Jerusalem

marketwatch.com | Nov 1, 2011

NEW YORK, Nov. 1, 2011 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ — Mr. Kent was knighted during an investiture held on October 29, 2011 at St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral in San Diego, CA, inducting him into the Military and Hospitaller Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem. Mr. Thomas J. Kent Jr. is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Kent Global, LLC, and is developing an impressive reputation and record of philanthropy and small business development.

The Order of Saint Lazarus, founded during the Crusades, aims to defend Christianity while expecting its members to practice the Christian tenets of protecting and assisting the weak, helping the poor, aged, handicapped and sick. Today the Order is an international, ecumenical or nondenominational and independent non-governmental organization, traditionally organized as a Christian chivalric order. The Order dedicates itself especially to lepers, always mindful of its origin in the Holy Land in the early centuries following the life of Christ, and to the supporting of the Christian faith.

Related

The activities of the Order are worldwide with particular attention to leprosy. By its activities in charitable, philanthropic, health and education fields the Order contributes to the achievement of the aims and principles of the United Nations Charter and the Statute of the Council of Europe.

The Investiture, wearing the mantle and the green eight pointed cross are more than a ritualistic maintenance of an old tradition; they are symbols of brotherhood and dedication to Christianity. All Members of the Order must be practicing members in good standing within their particular denomination. They are committed to the upholding with their lives, fortunes and honor, the principles of Christianity, and shall stand united before all men in their determination to live and die following the teaching of Christ and His Holy Church.

Thomas J. Kent Jr. is a world traveler having touched down on seven continents, and is based in the New York City metropolitan area. Kent also heads up a global philanthropic Foundation that has targeted developing countries around the world, including Haiti.

US anti-hacking law turns millions of ordinary computer users into criminals

Former prosecutor calls for change to CFAA

theregister.co.uk | Nov 15, 2011

By Dan Goodin in San Francisco

A commonly invoked anti-hacking law is so overbroad that it criminalizes conduct as innocuous as using a fake user name on Facebook or fibbing about your weight in a Match.com profile, one of the nation’s most respected legal authorities has said.

George Washington University Law School Professor Orin S. Kerr said he hopes the critique will spur changes to the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, a law that’s frequently invoked against people who exceed authorized access of websites and computers. He released written testimony (PDF) on Monday, one day before he’s scheduled to appear before a US House of Representatives subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security.

“The current version of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) poses a threat to the civil liberties of the millions of Americans who use computers and the internet,” said Kerr, who is a former prosecutor who handled hacking cases. “As interpreted by the Justice Department, many if not most computer users violate the CFAA on a regular basis. Any of them could face arrest and criminal prosecution.”

Related

The CFAA punishes people who intentionally exceed authorized access to obtain information from a protected computer. Kerr said exceeding authorization is as simple as violating a single term of service, such as one imposed by Match.com that forbids users from providing “inaccurate, misleading or false information” to any other member. A user who fibs about her weight or his height and gets access to another member’s profile could well run afoul of the provision, Kerr said.

“The statute does not require that the information be valuable or private,” he wrote. “Any information of any kind is enough. Routine and entirely innocent conduct such as visiting a website, clicking on a hyperlink, or opening an email generally will suffice.”

The critique comes three years after federal prosecutors charged a Missouri mother for using a fraudulent MySpace profile to taunt a teenage girl who later committed suicide. Lori Drew was eventually found guilty, but the conviction was later overturned after the judge criticized the CFAA for criminalizing what would otherwise be a simple breach-of-contract claim in a civil case.

Kerr recommended that the CFAA be amended to clarify that exceeding authorized access doesn’t include terms of service. An alternative statutory fix includes narrowing the law to cover only information that, when obtained in excess of authorization, is “associated with significant harms.” ®

Real-life Minority Report: “predictive policing” to stop crimes before they happen

Real-life Minority Report: Analytics assist police in detecting crime

Police at the Los Angeles Police Department are trialling predictive analytics

computerworlduk.com | Nov 16, 2011

By Linda Rosencrance

Captain Sean Malinowski of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) has just done something once unimaginable for a commanding officer: He’s given up control of deploying his beat officers to a computer.

Malinowski, commanding officer of the LAPD’s Foothill Community Police Station, is a pioneer in the field of “predictive policing.” That means using predictive analytics to analyse data, such as the times and locations of past crimes, to forecast where and when certain crimes are likely to happen in the future so police can stop them before they occur.

“We’re doing a rigorous examination, an experiment, for the next three months of predictive analytics and for the first time we’re going to rely 100 percent on the computer to forecast property crimes, which are the lion’s share of our crime,” he says. The experiment began 6 November.

Malinowski says he’s willing to make some sacrifices in terms of control if it means reducing crime in his jurisdiction.

“That’s unusual for me to do because, as a [commanding officer], I like to be in control of things, especially the mission,” he says. “But I’m going to give that up and I’m going to let the computer generate the geographic assignment of the missions.”

Across the country, police departments must fight crimes in the face of decreasing budgets and manpower. But in Los Angeles and Santa Cruz, California, the police departments are turning to new technologies like predictive analytics to help them save time and money by enabling them to prevent crime by more effectively deploying patrol officers.

The LAPD and the Santa Cruz Police Department are using a crime-fighting tool developed by researchers – social scientists and mathematicians – at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) to target property crimes such as home and business burglaries, as well as vehicle thefts and break-ins.
Like predicting earthquakes

The tool, which identifies criminal hotspots, is modeled on a mathematical algorithm used to predict earthquakes and their aftershocks because the researchers discovered that, just as aftershocks are in close proximity to the initial earthquake, criminals tend to commit crimes in close proximity to past crimes.

The technology grew out of a long-standing UCLA-based project looking at the mathematics of crime, says P. Jeffrey Brantingham, one of the UCLA researchers and an associate professor of anthropology at the school. For the first six years of the seven-year project, researchers focused on trying to figure out what models do a good job determining how and why crime patterns form in the way they do. Now that they’ve developed those models, the researchers are putting them into practice.

“We’re now testing these predictive analytics in the field and we launched a controlled, randomized trial in LA earlier this month,” Brantingham says.

The theory is that predictive analytics might work better on property crimes because the targets are stationary and the nature of the targets doesn’t change that much over time, he says, unlike crimes where the victims are mobile and change their behaviors.

Criminologists find it’s easier to predict these types of crimes because there are patterns regarding where and when they occur. For example, burglaries tend to be clustered in terms of time and location and the individuals committing these crimes tend to have predictable patterns – usually they commit them somewhere near their homes or near familiar locations.

Additionally, property crimes are not displaceable crimes, which means if police departments target these crimes in particular areas, the criminals won’t simply move two miles to another location.

Zach Friend, a crime analyst at the Santa Cruz Police Department, says his department is the “operational test case agency” for the system, although Santa Cruz didn’t set its program up as a controlled experiment, as did the LAPD.

“What [the researchers] did before was just test crime data, but we were actually willing to test it in the field,” he says.

Friend says data from the department’s records management system is fed into the computer program on a daily basis, and then transferred to Microsoft Excel software where it’s cleaned, ordered and geocoded. Next, the data is combined with a master Excel database of all pertinent crimes for the past seven years and run through the UCLA algorithm.
Hotspots on Google Maps

“We recalibrate on a daily basis and the algorithm produces 10 Google hotspot maps every day of approximately 500 feet by 500 feet where burglary or vehicle theft is likely to occur in our city on that day,” he says.

Officers are given the hotspot maps at roll call. The officers check those areas during their “free” patrol times, when they’re not obligated on other calls, and they document their activities for tracking purposes. Because the city of Santa Cruz is only 13 square miles, the hotspot maps significantly reduce the area that officers need to patrol.

“Law enforcement in the past has taken a reactive approach to enforcement – if crime occurs in one place you need to go to that place,” Friend says. “This is breaking that mold. You don’t necessarily have to go there. Maybe it will send you to a separate location to prevent the next crime from occurring.”

The point of predictive policing is not to make arrests but rather to reduce the numbers of the targeted crimes from happening in the first place. And it seems to be working in Santa Cruz.

“In the first month, July 2011, the only variable we introduced was the application of this model and there was a 27 percent reduction year-over- year of the targeted crime types, because there was a police presence in the area where maybe there wouldn’t have been a police presence at all,” Friend says.

The SCPD just finished it’s three-month analysis of the algorithm and the department learned a couple things: There isn’t enough crime in Santa Cruz to make a definitive statement about causality, but there was a correlation between the number of extra checks the officers ran in the hotspot areas and a reduction in the crime types the department was targeting.

Accurate predictions

“So for every extra 50 checks we ran in the city per week we found a two percentage-point decrease in the targeted crime types,” Friend says. “The predictions [based on the algorithm] where crimes will occur are 10 times more accurate than if you let an officer go where he wants to go.”

Malinowski isn’t impressed with the Santa Cruz department’s methodology.

“Santa Cruz will have a difficult time making a scientific claim that the [computer] forecast contributed to a reduction in crime, because I think they had very little in the way of crime analysis before,” he says. “And they didn’t set it up as an experiment. It takes a little more time and effort to do it the way we’re going to do it.”

Malinowski, who explains that his station is the only one in the LAPD currently engaged in the experiment, wants to be able to tell his counterparts at other LAPD stations that he went strictly by the computer forecast and realized, say, an additional 2 percent, 3 percent or 4 percent reduction in property crimes.

“We’re experimenting and we’ll see how it goes and if it will answer the questions: ‘Does the forecast add value to the process of assigning missions for patrol?’ and ‘Will it give us some information on how many officers we need in a certain part of our jurisdiction and for how long?’ and ‘Will it make an impact on property crime in a certain very small geographic space like a block?’ We’re going to be collecting data as well so we’ll be able to track that,” he says.

Malinowski says LAPD Chief Charlie Beck as well as former LAPD Chief William Bratton both support using predictive analytics to inform the department’s decision-making in fighting crime because they know that it’s getting harder and harder to slash crime rates.

Crime is down so dramatically in the Foothills “that we’re victims of our own success in some way,” he says. “Take burglary of a motor vehicle: [We’re] down 25 percent year-to-date, so what else can I do? I’ve pretty much exhausted my arsenal, so if I want to eek out a couple more percentage points, then it looks like I have to use the data to do that.”

Malinowski says at some point he may think about using a commercial product, but for now the easiest thing to do is work with the UCLA researchers because they come with their own government funding–and unlike the vendors he’s talked to who are in it for the profit, the researchers’ motives are “more pure.”

It’s a win-win, he says. “We give the researchers the data and we’re a real-world laboratory for the researchers [and it doesn’t cost us anything].”

But there may be a small downside. Malinowski acknowledges that the patrol officers who are assigned to do crime analysis worry that they’ll be replaced by the new system.

“It’s difficult for people to get their heads around the fact that the computer could generate these specific geographic locations where crimes are most likely to occur,” he says. “And it’s hard because they feel there’s a lot of special knowledge that they can bring to the forecast that the computer can’t.”

But the bottom line for Malinowski is to deny the criminal the opportunity to commit the crime he intended to commit. “He doesn’t get arrested and we don’t spend time booking him,” the commanding officer says, “and someone doesn’t get his laptop stolen out of his car.”

Germany’s secret plans to derail a British referendum on the EU

Germany has drawn up secret plans to prevent a British referendum on the overhaul of the European Union amid concerns it could derail the eurozone rescue package, leaked documents obtained by The Daily Telegraph disclose.

Telegraph | Nov 18, 2011

By Bruno Waterfield, in Brussels

Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, is today expected to tell David Cameron that Britain does not need a referendum on EU treaty changes, despite demands from senior Conservatives for more powers to be repatriated to Britain

Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, is today expected to tell David Cameron that Britain does not need a referendum on EU treaty changes, despite demands from senior Conservatives for more powers to be repatriated to Britain.

The leaked memo, written by the German foreign office, discloses radical plans for an intrusive new European body that will be able to take over the economies of beleaguered eurozone countries.

It discloses that the EU’s largest economy is also preparing for other European countries, which are too large to be bailed out, to default on their debts — effectively going bankrupt. It will prompt fears that German plans to deal with the eurozone crisis involve an erosion of national sovereignty that could pave the way for a European “super state” with its own tax and spending plans set in Brussels.

Britain would be relegated to a new outer group of EU members who are not in the single currency. Mr Cameron will today travel to Brussels and Berlin for tense negotiations with Mrs Merkel amid growing disagreement between the leaders over how to deal with the eurozone.

The Prime Minister is increasingly exasperated that Germany refuses to provide more financial help for Italy and other struggling countries amid concerns that the crisis is having a “chilling effect” on the British economy. Mrs Merkel yesterday said she expected Mr Cameron to “examine a stronger involvement with other countries” once the eurozone crisis had been resolved.

She said: “We’ve seen a sovereign debt crisis evolve in some states and particularly those in the eurozone find themselves in the international focus.

“It was right of David Cameron to concern himself with the UK’s debt issues when he became Prime Minister — that’s my firm conviction, and once the negative focus has moved away from Europe, he will examine a stronger involvement with other countries.”

The eurozone contagion is threatening to spread to Spain and France. Yesterday, the price of Spanish government borrowing reached the “brink” of crisis point.

The Spanish government sold 10-year bonds at a 6.975 per cent yield — just below the seven per cent level which has triggered international assistance elsewhere.

Amid protests in Milan and Turin, Mario Monti, Italy’s unelected “technocrat” prime minister unveiled sweeping austerity reforms. Mr Monti warned that a break-up of the single currency would take eurozone economies “back to the 1950s” in terms of wealth.

The six-page German foreign ministry paper sets out plans for the creation of a European Monetary Fund with a transfer of sovereignty away from member states.

The fund will have the power to take ailing countries into receivership and run their economies. Even more controversially, the document, entitled The future of the EU: required integration policy improvements for the creation of a Stability Union, declares that the treaty changes are a first stage “in which the EU will develop into a political union”. “The debate on the way towards a political union must begin as soon as the course toward stability union is charted,” it concludes.

The negotiating document also explicitly examines ways to limit treaty changes to speed up the reforms. It indicates that Mrs Merkel will tell Mr Cameron to rule out a popular EU vote in Britain.

“Limiting the effect of the treaty changes to the eurozone states would make ratification easier, which would nevertheless be required by all EU member states (thereby less referenda could be necessary, which could also affect the UK),” read the paper.

Senior government officials confirmed that they had dropped a previous demand that EU powers should be “repatriated” to Britain in return for the treaty changes requested by Germany, a move that will anger Conservative MPs.

“I don’t think that anyone is seriously proposing going down that route,” a senior government source said.

Open Europe, a think tank, last night called for Mr Cameron to demand something in return from Mrs Merkel for her “far-reaching plan”, which requires the unanimous consent of all 27 EU countries, giving Britain a veto.

“It would be the first step towards a vision of ‘political union’ that would have major consequences for the future of the entire EU, and therefore the UK’s place within it,” said Stephen Booth, the think tank’s research director.

“Merkel is daring Cameron to call her bluff, but if the UK is serious about taking a leadership role in shaping the EU, Cameron will have to take a stand sooner rather than later.”

Bill Cash, chairman of the Commons European scrutiny committee, accused the Coalition of standing by in “no–man’s land” while Germany shaped the EU to suit its own interests.

“We are going to get nothing significant in return for agreeing to this,” he said.

Mr Cameron is today also expected to pressurise Mrs Merkel into lifting German opposition to the use of the European Central Bank to rescue the euro.

However, last night, Mrs Merkel said: “If politicians think the ECB can resolve the problem of the euro’s weaknesses, then I think they are persuading themselves of something that won’t happen.

Britain ‘will join euro before long’, says German finance minister


Wolfgang Schäuble believes that Britain will have to adopt the euro Photo: REUTERS

Britain will have to abandon the pound and join the single currency “faster than people think”, Germany’s finance minister has said.

Telegraph | Nov 18, 2011

By Bruno Waterfield, in Brussels and Christopher Hope in Berlin

Wolfgang Schäuble said that, despite the current crisis in the eurozone, the euro will ultimately emerge as the common currency of the entire European Union. He said he “respects” Britain’s decision to keep the pound, but insisted that the survival and eventual stabilisation of the euro will convince non-members to join the currency club. “This may happen more quickly than some people in the British Isles currently believe,” he added.

Mr Schäuble also said Germany will stand firm on its call for a financial transaction tax that Britain believes would badly harm the City of London.

Fears over the eurozone crisis saw stock markets fall again yesterday. The FTSE 100 closed down 1.1 per cent. French and German shares also fell.

Meanwhile, a leaked document seen by The Daily Telegraph yesterday showed Berlin has drawn up radical plans for an intrusive new European body which will be able to intervene directly in beleaguered countries.

Sir John Major, the former prime minister, warned last night that the growing integration of the eurozone nations threatens democracy in those countries. He told Al Jazeera television that richer euro members led by Germany and France will “insist on moving towards what we call fiscal union. By that I mean common control over budgets and fiscal deficits”.

Sir John, who advises David Cameron on foreign policy issues, also described the banking transaction tax as “a heat-seeking missile proposed in continental Europe, aimed at the City of London”.

 

 

Goldman Sachs conquers Europe

While ordinary people fret about austerity and jobs, the eurozone’s corridors of power have been undergoing a remarkable transformation

What price the new democracy? Goldman Sachs conquers Europe

Independent | Nov 18, 2011

by Stephen Foley

The ascension of Mario Monti to the Italian prime ministership is remarkable for more reasons than it is possible to count. By replacing the scandal-surfing Silvio Berlusconi, Italy has dislodged the undislodgeable. By imposing rule by unelected technocrats, it has suspended the normal rules of democracy, and maybe democracy itself. And by putting a senior adviser at Goldman Sachs in charge of a Western nation, it has taken to new heights the political power of an investment bank that you might have thought was prohibitively politically toxic.

This is the most remarkable thing of all: a giant leap forward for, or perhaps even the successful culmination of, the Goldman Sachs Project.

It is not just Mr Monti. The European Central Bank, another crucial player in the sovereign debt drama, is under ex-Goldman management, and the investment bank’s alumni hold sway in the corridors of power in almost every European nation, as they have done in the US throughout the financial crisis. Until Wednesday, the International Monetary Fund’s European division was also run by a Goldman man, Antonio Borges, who just resigned for personal reasons.

Even before the upheaval in Italy, there was no sign of Goldman Sachs living down its nickname as “the Vampire Squid”, and now that its tentacles reach to the top of the eurozone, sceptical voices are raising questions over its influence. The political decisions taken in the coming weeks will determine if the eurozone can and will pay its debts – and Goldman’s interests are intricately tied up with the answer to that question.

Simon Johnson, the former International Monetary Fund economist, in his book 13 Bankers, argued that Goldman Sachs and the other large banks had become so close to government in the run-up to the financial crisis that the US was effectively an oligarchy. At least European politicians aren’t “bought and paid for” by corporations, as in the US, he says. “Instead what you have in Europe is a shared world-view among the policy elite and the bankers, a shared set of goals and mutual reinforcement of illusions.”

Related

Goldman Sachs rules the world

This is The Goldman Sachs Project. Put simply, it is to hug governments close. Every business wants to advance its interests with the regulators that can stymie them and the politicians who can give them a tax break, but this is no mere lobbying effort. Goldman is there to provide advice for governments and to provide financing, to send its people into public service and to dangle lucrative jobs in front of people coming out of government. The Project is to create such a deep exchange of people and ideas and money that it is impossible to tell the difference between the public interest and the Goldman Sachs interest.

Mr Monti is one of Italy’s most eminent economists, and he spent most of his career in academia and thinktankery, but it was when Mr Berlusconi appointed him to the European Commission in 1995 that Goldman Sachs started to get interested in him. First as commissioner for the internal market, and then especially as commissioner for competition, he has made decisions that could make or break the takeover and merger deals that Goldman’s bankers were working on or providing the funding for. Mr Monti also later chaired the Italian Treasury’s committee on the banking and financial system, which set the country’s financial policies.

With these connections, it was natural for Goldman to invite him to join its board of international advisers. The bank’s two dozen-strong international advisers act as informal lobbyists for its interests with the politicians that regulate its work. Other advisers include Otmar Issing who, as a board member of the German Bundesbank and then the European Central Bank, was one of the architects of the euro.

Perhaps the most prominent ex-politician inside the bank is Peter Sutherland, Attorney General of Ireland in the 1980s and another former EU Competition Commissioner. He is now non-executive chairman of Goldman’s UK-based broker-dealer arm, Goldman Sachs International, and until its collapse and nationalisation he was also a non-executive director of Royal Bank of Scotland. He has been a prominent voice within Ireland on its bailout by the EU, arguing that the terms of emergency loans should be eased, so as not to exacerbate the country’s financial woes. The EU agreed to cut Ireland’s interest rate this summer.

Picking up well-connected policymakers on their way out of government is only one half of the Project, sending Goldman alumni into government is the other half. Like Mr Monti, Mario Draghi, who took over as President of the ECB on 1 November, has been in and out of government and in and out of Goldman. He was a member of the World Bank and managing director of the Italian Treasury before spending three years as managing director of Goldman Sachs International between 2002 and 2005 – only to return to government as president of the Italian central bank.

Mr Draghi has been dogged by controversy over the accounting tricks conducted by Italy and other nations on the eurozone periphery as they tried to squeeze into the single currency a decade ago. By using complex derivatives, Italy and Greece were able to slim down the apparent size of their government debt, which euro rules mandated shouldn’t be above 60 per cent of the size of the economy. And the brains behind several of those derivatives were the men and women of Goldman Sachs.

The bank’s traders created a number of financial deals that allowed Greece to raise money to cut its budget deficit immediately, in return for repayments over time. In one deal, Goldman channelled $1bn of funding to the Greek government in 2002 in a transaction called a cross-currency swap. On the other side of the deal, working in the National Bank of Greece, was Petros Christodoulou, who had begun his career at Goldman, and who has been promoted now to head the office managing government Greek debt. Lucas Papademos, now installed as Prime Minister in Greece’s unity government, was a technocrat running the Central Bank of Greece at the time.

Goldman says that the debt reduction achieved by the swaps was negligible in relation to euro rules, but it expressed some regrets over the deals. Gerald Corrigan, a Goldman partner who came to the bank after running the New York branch of the US Federal Reserve, told a UK parliamentary hearing last year: “It is clear with hindsight that the standards of transparency could have been and probably should have been higher.”

When the issue was raised at confirmation hearings in the European Parliament for his job at the ECB, Mr Draghi says he wasn’t involved in the swaps deals either at the Treasury or at Goldman.

It has proved impossible to hold the line on Greece, which under the latest EU proposals is effectively going to default on its debt by asking creditors to take a “voluntary” haircut of 50 per cent on its bonds, but the current consensus in the eurozone is that the creditors of bigger nations like Italy and Spain must be paid in full. These creditors, of course, are the continent’s big banks, and it is their health that is the primary concern of policymakers. The combination of austerity measures imposed by the new technocratic governments in Athens and Rome and the leaders of other eurozone countries, such as Ireland, and rescue funds from the IMF and the largely German-backed European Financial Stability Facility, can all be traced to this consensus.

“My former colleagues at the IMF are running around trying to justify bailouts of €1.5trn-€4trn, but what does that mean?” says Simon Johnson. “It means bailing out the creditors 100 per cent. It is another bank bailout, like in 2008: The mechanism is different, in that this is happening at the sovereign level not the bank level, but the rationale is the same.”

So certain is the financial elite that the banks will be bailed out, that some are placing bet-the-company wagers on just such an outcome. Jon Corzine, a former chief executive of Goldman Sachs, returned to Wall Street last year after almost a decade in politics and took control of a historic firm called MF Global. He placed a $6bn bet with the firm’s money that Italian government bonds will not default.

When the bet was revealed last month, clients and trading partners decided it was too risky to do business with MF Global and the firm collapsed within days. It was one of the ten biggest bankruptcies in US history.

The grave danger is that, if Italy stops paying its debts, creditor banks could be made insolvent.  Goldman Sachs, which has written over $2trn of insurance, including an undisclosed amount on eurozone countries’ debt, would not escape unharmed, especially if some of the $2trn of insurance it has purchased on that insurance turns out to be with a bank that has gone under. No bank – and especially not the Vampire Squid – can easily untangle its tentacles from the tentacles of its peers. This is the rationale for the bailouts and the austerity, the reason we are getting more Goldman, not less. The alternative is a second financial crisis, a second economic collapse.

Shared illusions, perhaps? Who would dare test it?