…so…gonna be a long day by the looks of it
The speed of the demise of US bank SVB and then Credit Suisse in Europe has spooked bank investors and customers who are wondering if there are undisclosed financial weaknesses at their banks. So, what is going on and what happens next?
Are we in a banking crisis?
Opinions diverge on this question.
The California-based Silicon Valley Bank is the biggest US bank collapse since 2008, and Credit Suisse has joined financial crisis peers such as Bear Stearns that were sold at fire-sale prices.
AMP chief economist Shane Oliver says that while the bank failures do not look like a rerun of the financial crisis, they do represent contagion risks.
It is clear, however, that the speed of the demise of SVB, and then Credit Suisse, has spooked bank investors and customers.
Several central banks have announced a strategy to keep money flowing through the global economy to help ward off the sort of credit crunch that gripped markets during the financial crisis.
The initiative, led by the US Federal Reserve, will enable other central banks to more easily obtain US dollars that can be distributed to commercial banks in their countries.
This is designed to ultimately flow through to borrowers, who need access to credit for mortgages, businesses and investments.
The mechanism to do this is called a swap line, which are agreements between two central banks to exchange currencies. Until at least the end of April, the Federal Reserve will offer daily currency swaps – rather than weekly – to ensure central banks in Canada, Britain, Japan, Switzerland and the euro zone have adequate US dollars to operate.
At one level, SVB and Credit Suisse have little in common given the differences in their size, assets, clients and even location.
But they share a link in that customers and investors lost confidence in both banks, causing a liquidity problem. “The connecting factor is sentiment,” says professor Paul Kofman, business and economics faculty dean at the University of Melbourne.https://www.theguardian.com/business/2023/mar/20/explainer-are-we-in-a-banking-crisis
“Credit Suisse is not nearly as heavily invested in tech stocks like SVB, but from an investor’s perspective, there was a weakness in the balance sheet which is the point of connection.”
…do tell…what might be the connection between investors joining those dots & unhelpful information of dubious quality getting pushed by the exponential viral vectors of social media?
State-sponsored hackers from China have developed techniques that evade common cybersecurity tools and enable them to burrow into government and business networks and spy on victims for years without detection, researchers with Alphabet Inc.’s Google found.
Over the past year, analysts at Google’s Mandiant division have discovered hacks of systems that aren’t typically the targets of cyber espionage. Instead of infiltrating systems behind the corporate firewall, they are compromising devices on the edge of the network—sometimes firewalls themselves—and targeting software built by companies such as VMware Inc. or Citrix Systems Inc. These products run on computers that don’t typically include antivirus or endpoint detection software.
The attacks routinely exploit previously undiscovered flaws and represent a new level of ingenuity and sophistication from China, said Charles Carmakal, Mandiant’s chief technology officer. Researchers have linked the activity to a suspected China-nexus hacking group because of the profile of victims, including some who have been hit repeatedly, the high degree of novel tradecraft and sophistication observed and level of resources required, and the identification of obscure malware code only known to have been used by China-based threat actors in the past, among other reasons.
With the exception of a widespread 2021 attack on servers running Microsoft’s Exchange email software that was linked to China, China’s attacks have been precisely aimed, often hitting only a handful of high-value government and business victims, Mr. Carmakal said. The tactics deployed are so stealthy that Mandiant believes the scope of Chinese intrusion into U.S. and Western targets is likely far broader than currently known, he said.
Defense contractors, government agencies, and technology and telecommunications firms appeared to be bearing the brunt of the newly discovered Beijing-linked attacks, Mr. Carmakal said. While the relative quantity of identified victims may be small—perhaps in the dozens—the impact is significant because of the importance of what is being stolen, he said.
Senior U.S. officials have long viewed Beijing as a top cyber-espionage threat and have for years been alarmed at the success Chinese hacking groups have had in compromising military targets and defense contractors to steal advanced military technology. U.S. intelligence agencies have similarly observed improving tradecraft from hackers suspected of working on behalf of the Chinese Communist Party. In an annual worldwide threat assessment published earlier this month, U.S. intelligence officials said China “probably currently represents the broadest, most active, and persistent cyber espionage threat to U.S. government and private-sector networks.”
In January, for example, Mandiant warned of an attack linked to China targeting a bug in firewall software built by the security firm Fortinet Inc. And on Thursday, Mandiant said that it had jointly discovered a second Fortinet bug, which was patched last week, that was also being exploited by China-linked hackers.
In another attack, the hackers linked to China exploited a previously patched bug in mobile access software built by the firm SonicWall Inc. But they also developed a system that would allow them to retain access to the device, even when its software was updated, an unusual technique that reflected the amount of effort the hackers were willing to spend in the attack, Mandiant said.
“There is a lot of intrusion activity going undetected,” Mr. Carmakal said. “We think the problem is a lot bigger than we know today.”Attacks represent new level of ingenuity and sophistication from China, according to researchers [WSJ]
…friends like these, eh?
Xi Jinping said China was ready with Russia “to stand guard over the world order based on international law” as he arrived for a state visit to Moscow that comes days after Vladimir Putin was made the subject of an arrest warrant by the international criminal court.https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/mar/20/xi-jinping-vladimir-putin-moscow-ukraine-war
…it’s…all about trust, they tell me
The Metropolitan police is broken and rotten, suffering collapsing public trust and is guilty of institutional racism, misogyny and homophobia, an official report has said.
The 363-page report details disturbing stories of sexual assaults, usually covered up or downplayed, with 12% of women in the Met saying they had been harassed or attacked at work, and one-third experiencing sexism.
Lady Casey said that the lifeblood of British policing was haemorrhaging and her report warned that “public consent is broken” with just 50% of the public expressing confidence, even before revelations about the force’s worst recent scandals.
She pinned the primary blame on its past leadership and said: “Public respect has fallen to a low point. Londoners who do not have confidence in the Met outnumber those who do, and these measures have been lower amongst black Londoners for years.
…when you talk about policing by consent…it lands differently depending on who might be feeling forced to listen
“The Met has yet to free itself of institutional racism. Public consent is broken. The Met has become unanchored from the Peelian principle of policing by consent set out when it was established.”
A catalogue of suffering by women included frequent abuses by senior officers, including one subjecting a female junior to repeated harassment and an indecent act. She complained and told the inquiry: “It would have probably been better to suffer in silence, but I couldn’t do that. He got away with everything, I was made to look like the liar.”
Casey said the Met was failing on so many levels the crisis is existential, and if not fixed could end in its dismemberment: “If sufficient progress is not being made at the points of further review, more radical, structural options, such as dividing up the Met into national, specialist and London responsibilities, should be considered to ensure the service to Londoners is prioritised.”
Casey said austerity had deprived the Met of £700m but the cuts made by the force left its protection of children and women as inadequate.
Already crushingly low convictions of rapists were made worse by fridges that housed rape kits being broken, or being so full that evidence was lost, and cases dropped with rapists going free because of police bungles. Casey claimed in one instance someone ruined a fridge full of evidence by leaving their lunchbox in it.
But a gap and potential high level clash was emerging after Casey’s report was published, with those who oversee and run the Met having had the report for days.
Sir Mark Rowley, the force’s commissioner since September, said he would not use the labels of institutionally racist, institutionally misogynistic and institutionally homophobic that Casey insisted Britain’s biggest force deserved.
Sadiq Khan, the London mayor, has not previously used the term “institutional” about prejudice in the force he oversees since coming to office. He will be chairing a new oversight board for the Met, in effect placing it in a form of special measures for the foreseeable future.
Khan said: “The evidence is damning. Baroness Casey has found institutional racism, misogyny and homophobia, which I accept.
“I’ll be unflinching in my resolve to support and hold the new commissioner to account as he works to overhaul the force.”
Rowley, battling to avoid being the last commissioner of the Met in its current shape and form, said: “I have to use practical, unambiguous, apolitical language … I don’t think it fits those criteria.
“It’s simply a term I’m not going to use myself.”
Asked if he was not accepting the finding, Rowley said: “I’m accepting we have racists, misogynists. I’m accepting, we’ve got systemic failings, management failings, cultural failings.
“This is about an organisation that needs to become determinedly anti-racist, anti-misogynist, anti-homophobic.
“I’m not going to use a label myself that is both ambiguous and politicised.”
…now…I would caution you (…caution…ya see what I did, there? …this shit ain’t any kind of funny but I’m not trying to make anyone’s day worse, here)…if you’re thinking of reading all of that one…or much of anything about that story…there’s a lot of ugly facts in it…even if you’re not much for trigger warnings…be advised?
The report said cultures of “blindness, arrogance and prejudice” are prevalent, and Casey added: “The Met can now no longer presume that it has the permission of the people of London to police them. The loss of this crucial principle of policing by consent would be catastrophic. We must make sure it is not irreversible.”
Home Office officials insist they have put police reform measures in place. Suella Braverman, the home secretary – who with Khan appointed the commissioner, backed Rowley: “It is clear that there have been serious failures of culture and leadership in the Metropolitan police.
…mind you…she dreams of punting refugees clear to rwanda…so…it’s a fair bet that there represents some significantly variable mileage…so…for the sake of a sliver of perspective…you know…compare & contrast
Harriet Wistrich, of the Centre for Women’s Justice, said Casey’s findings were “without precedent in its unswerving criticism of a corrupt, institutionally racist, misogynistic and homophobic police force”.https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2023/mar/21/metropolitan-police-institutionally-racist-misogynistic-homophobic-louise-casey-report
…the lady makes some excellent points…not the least among which being…if there are well-supported high profile “suppression” units for things we consider priorities…some of which are where you find a bunch of the officers who per that report would put you right off your cornflakes…where’s the specialist units for dealing with rapists…or harm to women & children generally…what does that say about our priorities or where the focus isn’t brought to bear?
I, Boris Johnson, do solemnly declare that what is in my dossier – the dossier which is mine – shall be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. So help me God. Let’s hope there isn’t one. Or I’m a goner. Yes, I know this is a first and that I’ve told a lot of porkies in the past. But I really, really promise that what you’re getting from me this time is the truth as agreed with my advisers. Which might look like lies but are actually the highest form of truth. The truth of untruths. As two negatives equal a positive, so two lies equal the truth. Besides which, nobody thinks I’m a liar. Other than anyone who’s ever met me.
Although I accept I misled parliament, it is categorically untrue to say I misled parliament. As prime minister, I did my utmost to fulfil the solemn duty of office. Namely, to say and do anything necessary to save what passes for my reputation. And my job. So, the facts are this. I may once or twice – or again and again – have misled parliament about there being no parties or illegal gatherings in Downing St. But at no time did I ever do so deliberately.
As prime minister, I had no idea that having a party was illegal. Even though it had been me who had brought in the Covid legislation that had banned them. It had also never occurred to me that the same rules might actually apply to me. Yours truly has always considered himself to be an exception. Nor did it occur to me that the advisers I had appointed for having a similar attitude to the truth as me might tell me to say something untrue in parliament.
There has been a witch-hunt against me. All the parties I have been to were not-parties. They were work events. As such I believed it was completely in order for me to do what I liked. Besides which, “Party Marty” made all the arrangements. I just signed them off. Like when everyone got pissed in the Downing Street garden. Carrie and I only went downstairs to join the party to make sure that it was a not-party and therefore allowed under the rules. Having satisfied ourselves everything was within the rules and that only a few people were lying face down in the flower beds, we went back up to our flat.
Ambushed by cake. A clear attempt by Rishi Sunak to try to get me into trouble. I’m glad he also got a fixed-penalty notice as it was him who arranged for Carrie, Lulu Lytle and other hangers on to wish me happy birthday. And I absolutely never said: “This is the most unsocially distanced party in the country”, at Lee Cain’s leaving do. I know that for a fact, even if I had, no one would have been able to hear a word over the karaoke, the throwing up in bins, the shagging in cupboards and breaking Wilf’s swing. And when I said take a case to the Co-op, I was referring to Simon Case. (I wouldn’t labour this point – DP) Whoops. Mum’s the word. Time to hit the Pannick Button. Let’s not mention the Abba party. Though it was a top night!https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2023/mar/20/i-boris-johnson-do-solemnly-declare-the-truth-yes-i-know-this-is-a-first
In the past, I may have referred to Sue Gray as an exemplary civil servant. Someone of impeccable, impartial judgment. Especially when she published her report that largely exonerated me of attending most of the parties I went to. It was only right and proper that she ignored much of the detail that was in the public domain and used her powers sparingly. But now it’s been brought to my attention that she is a Commie spy who started talking to Keir Starmer long after her report had been completed, then it is only right that her entire report should be discredited. She is a traitor to her country who was partially responsible for removing its world-king.
There was a time when I encouraged the Daily Mail to regard judges as “Enemies of the People”. I now see I was a little hasty. The rigged privileges committee is not fit to judge me, having already lessened its burden of proof from “deliberately” to “recklessly” misleading parliament. Even though I’m obviously guilty of both. But now I demand a jury trial at which no one will be able be able to convict me because there’s no such offence on the statute book. Which means, I will automatically get a not guilty. Bozza gets away with it yet again! Hooray for me.
…thank heavens for john crace…still & all…hard to deny it has a familiar ring to it…to a point where it might be edging into that uncanny valley the onion has made its home
…I don’t know as I think judd is 100% on the money about how it would have gone if that had all gone differently…but it’s not a bad refresher about that whole mess…speaking of which
It’s been nearly eight years since he rode down the escalator in Trump Tower and more than two years since the January 6, 2021, insurrection, but the legal drama surrounding Donald Trump has never been more intense.
In New York, a hush money payment to an adult-film star could result in a possible indictment against the former president at any time.
In Atlanta, a select grand jury has investigated the efforts by Trump and allies to overturn his election loss in Georgia in 2020.
In Washington, a Justice Department special counsel is looking at the 2020 election aftermath and the removal of presidential documents to Florida.
Trump and his company deny any wrongdoing or criminality in all matters, state and federal, and he has aggressively maintained his innocence.
Here’s an updated list of notable investigations, lawsuits and controversies:https://edition.cnn.com/2023/03/20/politics/donald-trump-legal-clouds/index.html
…not the least of which being…I find myself compelled to mention
Atlanta-area prosecutors are considering bringing racketeering and conspiracy charges in connection with Donald Trump’s effort to overturn the 2020 election in Georgia, according to a source with knowledge of the investigation.
Investigators have a large volume of substantial evidence related to a possible conspiracy from inside and outside the state, including recordings of phone calls, emails, text messages, documents, and testimony before a special grand jury.
Their work, the source said, underscores the belief that the push to help Trump was not just a grassroots effort that originated inside the state.
Investigators have at least three recordings of Trump pressuring Georgia officials, including a phone call that he made to the Georgia House speaker to push for a special session to overturn Democrat Joe Biden’s 2020 victory in the state.
There is also a recording of Trump’s call to a top investigator with the Georgia Secretary of State’s office in December 2020, while they were looking into quashed allegations of irregularities with signature-matching in Cobb County in the Atlanta metropolitan area.
Willis kicked off her investigation in early 2021, soon after the infamous January phone call became public in which Trump pressured Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” the votes necessary for Trump to win Georgia’s electoral votes.
The Fulton County probe expanded beyond the Trump phone calls to include false claims of election fraud to state lawmakers, the fake elector scheme, efforts by unauthorized individuals to access voting machines in one Georgia county and threats and harassment against election workers.
Willis previously said their far-reaching investigation included potential “solicitation of election fraud, the making of false statements to state and local governmental bodies, conspiracy, racketeering, violation of oath of office and any involvement in violence or threats related to the election’s administration.”https://edition.cnn.com/2023/03/20/politics/georgia-racketeering-conspiracy-trump-willis/index.html
A potential indictment of Trump in New York is not affecting the pace of charging decisions in the Georgia case, a person familiar with the matter tells CNN, though Willis’ office is closely watching how the security situation there plays out in case it needs to make arrangements in Georgia.
“The reason that I am a fan of RICO is, I think jurors are very, very intelligent,” Willis said at a news conference about a broad gang-related indictment over the summer of 2022. “They want to know what happened. They want to make an accurate decision about someone’s life. And so RICO is a tool that allows a prosecutor’s office and law enforcement to tell the whole story.”
Trump, who has launched his 2024 campaign for the White House, denies any criminal wrongdoing. He has claimed that Willis, a Democrat, is politically biased, and still regularly promotes the false claim that he won the election in Georgia.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution recently spoke anonymously with five of the jurors who served on the special grand jury. “A lot’s gonna come out sooner or later,” one of the jurors said. “And it’s gonna be massive. It’s gonna be massive.”
…yuge, even…bigly…many people are saying…how does it go again…you hum it & I’m sure it’ll come to me
…when the elephant is in every room…exceptions aren’t made for bedrooms…or delivery rooms
…so…is it honestly surprising that includes courtrooms?
…& when you throw in chatrooms & other such virtual conveniences…sometimes it’s the wrong kind of light that gets shed
…so…I don’t know about you…but…it’s shaping up to be a long day…& there’s certainly plenty of other stuff to be thinking about…or talking about…or indeed raging about…hell, I don’t think I’ve even touched on the op-ed sections of either WaPo or the NYT…so that seems like it’d have to be a given…but…I never did get the hang of making these run shorter…& that always seems like a hostage to fortune…on account of I’m always acutely aware of the part where that’s all well & good for those that can spare the time
…which it’s not at all clear any of us can, as it goes
…there’s…a lot to do
…& only so many hours on the clock
…still & all…you gotta face the day or you’re just turning your face to the wall…so it helps to find something that helps
Walking into the NHS clinic where I work as a psychotherapist, I saw that the daffodils by the path had finally flowered. My heart lifted: new life; spring springing; winter ending. But the change in the seasons may bring little relief to those whom this longest and bleakest of winters has tipped into “survival mode”. These are people who have found themselves choosing between heating and eating, or who are stuck on a waiting list for vital healthcare, or who have caring responsibilities that leave them drained of energy for themselves. Others feel despairing and hopeless, reading endless catastrophic headlines about the climate emergency, the war in Ukraine, the cost of living crisis. All this is what you, our readers, wrote about when we invited you to tell us what living in survival mode means to you.
Listening to Marchbank, I understood anew that the way out of survival mode is to find a means to truly come alive again. It’s the same thing that I learned from listening to the many extraordinary people I interviewed for my book, When I Grow Up: Conversations With Adults in Search of Adulthood. It was a theme that came up again and again when they told me about growing through and out of a period of their lives in which they felt stuck. Aged from 19 to 90, each had to break through this same survival barrier to make the shift from living a half-life to becoming more alive, more themselves.
All these people, from Boru to Pog and now Marchbank, have shown me through their experiences what Oliver Robinson, associate professor of psychology at the University of Greenwich, has learned through questioning his own profession. In psychology, he says, there is “this rather simplistic assumption” that happiness is always positive. “It is, under certain circumstances,” he says, but so can unhappiness be, as an agent for change. The reason survival mode is so dangerous is that we can get so used to it that we simply accept our misery instead of trying to change it, and we stop listening to ourselves, our instincts and our feelings.
Robinson explains: “Learning how to attend to the negative feelings and movements within one’s body and mind, and learning to make changes accordingly that move you through to the next stage rather than regressing, is crucial.” Because, he says: “Feeling bad is a driver for change in the way that nothing else can be. If you have strong negative emotions, if you feel yourself falling apart, then listen carefully to what you should and could change in your life.”
…&…for the record…things that raise a smile are good for you…which I know goes for me…& features pretty high on the list of reasons why I prefer coming here to read the parts I’m not responsible for, as it happens…ask lemmy [obligatory disclaimer: no pressure @lemmykilmister – I just really dug those Q&As…pretty partial to the whiskey things, too…but I digress…there’s a shocker]
One guest told Marchbank: “I can’t remember the last time I laughed so much, and for so little money.” She regularly gets messages from grateful guests saying how welcome they feel and what a difference it has made to their lives, knowing that every Tuesday they can come out and socialise and have a delicious hot meal. “Even some of the volunteers have said it has made a huge difference to them, giving them more self-confidence, especially if they have difficult situations or caring responsibilities at home,” she says.
“I felt as if I’d lost a lot of what made me who I was. OK, I can only do this for a couple of hours a week, but it’s me, I’m using the skills that I’ve got, I’m using my personality to do something that I really believe in. And I’m able to see other people happy and know that I’m a part of what made it happen. And that’s huge.”
…& there’s nothing inherently harmful about a comfort zone
She still has bad days, of course, where it feels as if she just needs to get through to tomorrow, that she is just about surviving. When that happens, she says, only one thing can help: sublime pyjamas. “The days where I can’t get up and dress – unfortunately they happen far too frequently in my life, at least once a week – if somebody rings the doorbell, then at least I know I don’t look a complete state because I’ve got my smart pyjamas on, so I don’t feel as crappy.”
…& I’m not saying I consider you lot to be anything like a pair of pyjamas…sleepwear isn’t exactly a fitting metaphor coming from someone with as many waking hours as I too often find myself stumbling through…but…when these trying days drag on…or I do…here & there there might be a nugget or two worth paying a little heed to
It is easy to feel bleak given the many crises our country and our world are facing, to feel convinced that tomorrow will not be a better day. But the kind of courage that Marchbank has shown, in this capacity to come fully alive rather than to live a half-life in survival mode, is all around us. This is what we see in my NHS colleagues when they go on strike, rebelling against the demand to survive from one day to the next and instead to fight for fair pay and for the life of the institution we all love. It is what we hear in the women of Iran shouting: “Women, life, freedom.” It is what moves us in the children protesting against the climate crisis. It is embodied in Zelenskiy and his Ukrainian citizens who fight for liberty. I see it in many of the patients who walk into my consulting room, after years of psychological suffering and waiting for treatment. They come because of their struggles, of course; but they also come because they have made a choice not to remain stuck in survival mode.https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2023/mar/20/a-winter-of-the-mind-how-to-escape-survival-mode
…you might say it’s about the faith you keep
…&…you might not care for the dude in the curious george cap…but…when it comes to hearing what might be on other people’s minds…& whether their thoughts might be turning to paths you’ve trodden
…but you know what? …we haven’t gone full planet of the apes yet…&…well…we’ve been at this a fair old while one way or another…&…we’ve come so far?
…personally…I find coffee helps…& tunes?
…just as well there’s more where that came from