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Links 5/12/12

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I should never underestimate the ability of Verizon to fail to deliver. Internet down all day and still down. Was promised to be back “no later then 6″. Now “no later than 5 tomorrow”. I refuse to be extorted into buying a data card when I would not use it ten + months of the year. Ditto smart phone, when I leave my desk I leave the web by design. So now at Starbucks. Links and posts may be thin as a result.

Too rich to queue? Why markets and morals don’t fit Guardian (John L)

Real-world beaming: The risk of avatar and robot crime BBC (John L)

The worm in Apple (and the US tax code)–offshoring of US Profits Angry Bear (Aquifer)

Senator Seeks More Info On DOJ Location Tracking Practices ThreatPost

Scholar: regulating Google results would violate First Amendment ars technica

Spain: EU estimates for contraction now considerably deeper Credit Writedowns

Spain Struggles to Control Escalating Bank Crisis Der Spiegel

Greece shouldn’t quit euro, just austerity measures AP (Aquifer). Radical Left party leader Alexis Tsipras. Polling shows RL has increased its share to 28% (128 seats) from 16.8% (52) during the negotiations to form a government. If negotiations fail, a new election will be held within a month.

The Momentum of Lies Golem XIV

US resumes arms sales to Bahrain BBC

230,000 Unemployed Will Lose Benefits This Weekend Dave Dayen, Firedoglake (Carol B)

Public overwhelmingly supports large defense spending cuts iWatch News

Some Congress Democrats Split With Obama on Gay Marriage Bloomberg

Your retirement health-care tab will run $240,000 Marketwatch (Carol B). The plan is clearly to have old people die faster.

Seniors’ Social Security Garnished for Student Debts Truthout (Aquifer)

The Thing That Couldn’t Die: Yucca Battle Continues in Congress and in the Courts Gregg Levine, Firedoglake (Carol B)

Americans Love a Good Killer Counterpunch (jsmith)

Chesapeake warns of asset sale delays Financial Times. We were comparatively late to the shale-gas-as-bubble story, but still nice to see fairly quick confirmation.

Fed Officials Seek More Information on JPMorgan Trade Bloomberg

Fitch Cuts JPMorgan Rating as S&P Calls Outlook Negative Bloomberg

OCC Dismisses Foreclosure Review Consultant Amid Independence Concerns American Banker. They noticed this only now? Why were they approved in the first place? Our Michael Olenick called this one.

Unfairness to homeowners blocks recovery Marketwatch

* * *

D – 119 and counting*
I give up. Why can’t they? –X, I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts

Gay marriage feeding frenzy. “If his evolution continues to fall short, then those interested in equality in this country must abandon their support”. Dustin Lance Black on April 26, 2012, before Robama had the most glorious evolution in the history of the world. So what does not “falling short” mean? What did it take for Robama’s gay bundlers to open the money spigot again? “My personal view.” No ENDA, no executive order, and leaving it up to the states. “Honey, I’ve changed!”

What’s the matter with Dupont Circle?! Can nobody see the Lucy and the Football moment on tap here? Meanwhile, “liberal bloggers” (fine, fine triumphshillism here) get a smidge of compliance-inducing reflected glory in Pravda. But since Robama’s “personal view” doesn’t imply party discipline, Ds continue to throw gays under the bus in state elections. And “the convention is staying in Charlotte”. Dance with the bank that brung ya!

Bullying feeding frenzy. The Rs have a media critique, but Poynter shreds it. “This story is especially suspicious given its timing”. Snort. Coffee’s for Rovians. Shorter Althouse: “No, him!” Not either/or. Both/and. “Mitt Romney a bully? The answer is no…. He does not have a vicious bone in his body”. But “How Could Romney Not Remember Cutting a Kid’s Hair”? Well, because Obomney’s a narcissistic socipath, I would imagine; isn’t that part of the job description? Really, what is there to choose between “prank or hijinks” and “Two words. Predator Drones”? And speaking of narcissism, how many autobiographies did Obomney write? One? Two, like Robama? With how many composite women in them? Sullivan raises a point of privilege: “I went to an all boys high school in the 1970s”. As so did we not all.

Clooney shindig. “Obama hangs with Clooney in L.A”. Note Pravda’s faux-youthful locution. “Clooney Fundraiser Nets $15 Million For Obama Campaign”. Jeffrey Katzenberg (SEC; China; bribes): “Yesterday, he did the right thing.” Cigarette? Meanwhile, lucky winners Topinka and Blutcher “sat toward the rear of the tent”. Topinka: “Rick Santorum put me over the edge,” she says.” Whenever he irritated me, I would donate to Obama”.

Robama. Izvestia takes Robama to task: “This is a president and a White House that has not always been unwavering in taking positions of principle”. The liberal media is s-o-o-o wrong and unfair. The president and the White House have been entirely unwavering in their devotion to the principle that banksters should never be prosecuted for crimes. Also, too, torturers. “Obama to skip [September] summit in Russia, according to media report”. Too busy being elected. And planning October surprises. But too bad. I’d like to see Robama sit down at RT’s glass table.

Obomney. “His retooled high command has been mercilessly efficient at wrecking his various GOP challengers the moment any of them got too close for comfort”. True. It will be interesting to see whether Obomney can gin up his own feeding frenzy, or whether our famously free press has already cast its vote for Robama. Speech tomorrow at Falwell’s Liberty University. A taste: “[OBOMNEY] This is a time when we can follow this president down a road of decline and weakness or we can take a course that is based on a positive dynamic and a bold vision for this country”. Or a bold dynamic and a positive vision. The choice is yours! Liberty University student: “I wouldn’t call [Mormonism] a cult, honestly, because I think that’s taking away from the power it has.”

“The [whose?] economy”. Robama at a WA fundraiser in Washington State on the recession he inherited from Bush: “And sometimes people forget the magnitude of it, you know?… Sometimes I forget”. Empathy! I don’t forget, because I’m still in it, plus everyone I know, along with the 8.1% (nominal) DISemployed. That’s why — snicker — I’m clinging to guns and religion. To be fair, Robama was at a fundraiser, and anybody who can pony up for rubber chicken is likely to “forget it” too. Except, of course, the “lucky winners.” At the back of the tent. Extended jobless benefits are cut in eight states.

Clinton 2016 watch. Ed Rendell wants to be Hillary’s campaign manager in 2016 (hat tip, Atrios). That’s the worst idea I’ve heard in years. Rendell called for Gore to throw in the towel when Bush stole FL 2000, even before the court-mandated hand recount was complete.

WI recall. “[WALKER:] The first step is, we’re going to deal with collective bargaining for all public employee unions, because you use divide and conquer” (link to full transcript, not video). Outside spending: “Twenty million bucks and it’s essentially a dead heat”. GOTV with 4% undecided: Capitol Occupiers aren’t “players,” but if they aren’t fully involved, the Ds will lose. Which could be the very reason for the lack of support from the national Ds. See under Institutions, Iron Law of.

Green Party. New Paltz, NY Mayor Jason West: “Until [Robama] starts pushing for a federal law, the various Gay-Straight Alliances in any high school in the country are doing more to advance the cause than he is”. Ouch!

– Horse race-related tips, links, hate mail to lambert

READERS: Here are the swing states: AZ, CO, FL, IA, MI, NV, NH, NM, NC, OH, PA, VA and WI. I’m very interested in any local or state links you can send me from those states; original reporting, not wire services stuff.

* 119 days ’til the Democratic National Convention ends with TV dinners on trays in front of the big screen at Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC. Cross-posted to Corrente. 119 just isn’t an interesting number. Except if you play it backwards. And please, no “Paul is dead” jokes. He isn’t!

Source of “What’s the matter with ___ ” snowclone is Thomas Frank’s best seller, revered by career “progressives” as part of the “We’re smarter than you” narrative.

Antidote du jour. Shot by Stuart G’s wife on Park and 60th Street on May 7. And that is a guinea pig climbing onto a cat.

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60 comments

  1. Norman

    Well folks, the previews are telling. As one person once said, “The Revolution Wont Be Televised”, but then, all the socalled smart people already know this.

  2. Middle Seaman

    Keeping away from the now-now-now is crucial. No phone in gym or car, no TV except little, no papers (Martian pontificating about Mars) and reading and watching decent movies.

    Sanity is important.

    1. Max424

      Three guinea pigs, a kitten, and too cats, is what I’m seeing.

      The oh-so-cute kitten right/top could be fake, but there is definitely the back end of a guinea pig sticking out, halfway up the right side. Unless that’s a fake too (But who would fake a guinea pig’s ass?).

  3. Tertium Squid

    Too Rich to Queue?

    Classic rentier behavior. There is considerable power that comes from being able to introduce inefficiencies into a stable system. If you can punish people arbitrarily, why not punish the generous slightly less?

    Here’s what this reminds me of. My great great great grandmother walked across the plains in 1865 to Montana and wrote a book about it. Her experience:

    24 Aug 1865
    We came to a toll bridge over the Blackfoot this morning, where the toll was one dollar per team, and fifty cents for horseback riders. There had been an excellent ford just below the bridge. The men collecting the toll had spoiled it by digging ditches on both sides near the bank. The water was clear and they were plainly visible.

    http://books.google.com/books?id=U4cUAAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false

    Or this. Take your pick:

    http://dilbert.com/strips/comic/1997-11-07/

    1. Skylark

      Thank you for the link to your ancestor’s wonderful story. I just read a few pages and look forward to reading the rest.

    2. Jim

      So why do so many of you support such barbaric policies as congestion pricing or parking meter hikes? So much cognitive dissonance.

      1. Maximilien

        I for one support such policies because I believe the private automobile in city centers has become an unnecessary, annoying, and destructive pest. Others (including civic leaders) seem to agree with me, and policy in many cities is moving to discourage its use through the imposition of fees.

        Drivers who decline alternate transportation and continue to drive in the downtown are free to do so. They can continue to pollute the air with fumes and noise, crash into people or things, or call the police when their cars have been stolen. They can continue to impose their avoidable externalities. They’re just gonna have to pay the price.

        That seems fair to me. Now, regarding pioneers fording a river…This seems to me to be an entirely different kettle of fish. N’est-pas?

  4. Ep3

    Re: retirement health care tab

    Yves, I was thinking about the often quoted stat that doomsayers of SS say ‘today there are 10 workers for every retiree, where in the future it will be 3 for every retiree’. So let’s think about this. 10 workers means there are ten ppl with jobs. In the future, 3 workers. Well doesn’t the economy generally continue to grow? So, what happened to those 7 jobs? Now I realize that what happens is the denominator rises while the numerator stays the same. But if you think about the baby boomers, who are an anomaly of the population, then our economy had to grow larger than normal to accommodate them working. So if a normal population has 5 jobs, the boomers had to have 8 jobs available to not drive unemployment nuts. The assumption tho is that once the boomers exit the working world, then wouldn’t there be a worker shortage? And that is my hypothesis regarding workers to retirees. I think that in the future, either two things would have to happen to the economy when the boomers leave the labor market. One, we have a shortage of workers. Or, the economy shrinks significantly to a size relative to the number of workers where unemployment is at a number determined by the powers that be. I don’t think that would happen or be allowed to happen. Everyone has a stake in the economy continuing to grow, regardless where the wealth is distributed to.
    So we have a shortage of workers. What are the solutions? Well, we are already “importing” labor for “those jobs Americans don’t want to do”. Or, wages rise significantly and we have another period of baby boom, only after a period of severe hyper inflation. Or, finally, we don’t allow people to retire. We “coerce” them into working until they die therefore solving both problems; our labor shortage and retirement costs.
    Yves, I dont think my hypothesis is a conspiracy theory. I think we humans tend to look at life on such short timescales. Ya know, ‘the universe wasn’t created in a day’. I try to look at things in that way. Especially in our world of planning and budgeting, it’s not unreasonable to think that there are ppl in positions of power in the gov’ts of the world that want to maintain the American way of life regardless of the future.
    Thanks

    1. LucyLulu

      From link (see below post for reference) referenced inside “Fixable Error, New Insight, and Social Security” posted from Angry Bear from yesterday’s (5/11) list of links by Yves

      “In 1950, there were 16 workers per beneficiary;
      in 1960, there were 5 workers per beneficiary.
      Today, the ratio is 3:1 – and by 2025, there will
      be just 2.3 workers “paying in” per beneficiary.”

      One reason unemployment isn’t higher is due the to decline in birth rate. Women now have an average of 2 living children, falling from 3 children over the last several decades. This is the primary driver of our future social security shortfall. I’ve heard it said that this is one reason behind the push for immigration, or guest worker programs (or even illegal workers that can scrounge up fake ss cards). Non-resident workers typically are younger and could boost social security figures through the babyboomer retirement years. Hispanic women also have higher birth rates. In addition, the increase in years lived beyond retirement serves to significantly lower the ratio as well. On average, babyboomers will spend 7 years longer living in retirement than those who were retired in 1960, or 85% longer (8.5 yrs for those born in 1900 vs. 15.7 yrs for those born in 1950), while the numbers of years spent working increased by only roughly 30%.

      Interesting paper, with some quick charts on demographics influencing SS for those who are time challenged:
      http://www.epi.org/page/-/old/briefingpapers/BriefingPaper287.pdf

      1. Aquifer

        Note also that we can fix this “problem” with what amounts to a 40 cent per week hike in the payroll tax …

  5. wunsacon

    Thank you for the cute antidote. Wunsa much prefers this over a snarling tiger. :-)

  6. Marley

    ~sigh~ Does Tsipras really think the Troika are effectively going to let Greece “go Iceland” (quit austerity) and stay in the EZ?! Has he no clue about the macroeconomic reality of the Euro (no LOLR, everyone CAN’T run trade surpluses, no fiscal unity)? There is only one way out… and no one (in the EU apparently) wants to admit it. Is it too much to ask for someone with the balls to tell the Troika to eff off (and get back on the drachma)?!! I’m going to put my cupcakes on hold again… this could get even weirder if Syriza rises to the top after the (by now almost certain) next election.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Quite so. For Greece to end austerity while retaining the euro means the rest of Europe must step up its aid to Greece. New (post-default) Greek bonds yield nearly 20%, so Greece has no ability to finance itself.

      Since Greek productivity is low, staying in the euro zone would mean reducing Greek living standards to Albanian levels to achieve competitiveness. Election results signal that the Greeks won’t stand for it. But the rest of Europe certainly is not going to open its checkbook to finance Tsipras’s welfare-Cadillac dream of ‘the end of austerity.’

      With leaders this clueless, Greece is approaching the point where the weakest link breaks. When the aid stops, the euro link snaps, period. Probably this summer.

      1. curlydan

        or maybe he’s being a politician and trying to win votes with a nice sounding message

        1. Flying Kiwi

          Or maybe he’s being a politician trying to achieve what the people who voted for him want.

  7. René

    97% Owned

    “97% owned present serious research and verifiable evidence on our economic and financial system. This is the first documentary to tackle this issue from a UK-perspective and explains the inner workings of Central Banks and the Money creation process.”

    http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/97-owned/

    1. chitown2020

      Its all in your mind. Stop believing their lies. They have no legal lien on anything. They are hijackers and IMPOSTERS. They commit fraud, get rich from fraud and recycle their ill gotten gains. They are the borrowers and the debtors.

  8. Verizonsucks

    Yves,

    Perphaps a detailed history of the Verizon strike and the demands of its workers, details about its board and other tidbits would be ample reward for them to get your service back up to speed?

    “The longer I wait, the more I tell”

  9. Marley

    <3 the "Momentum of Lies" piece. The unscrupulous fleecing of taxpayers takes a back seat to the dictates of the markets. To wit:

    "The sovereigns could have gone to the ECB themselves and borrowed money themselves from the ECB for 1%. Instead the sovereigns let the private banks borrow from the ECB at 1% and then the sovereign borrowed from the private banks (remember when a sovereign sells bonds/debt the buyers of that debt are lending to the sovereign) at 5%-6%. Why? Answer – so they could say, ‘We’re not having to get bailed out by the ECB. No, we are selling our debt successfully to the market, who love us.’ "

    Who gets stuck with the 4% difference?! When people wise up to things like this, heads in gov't should roll.

    1. Procopius

      I think he’s mistaken that “the sovereigns can go to the ECB themselves.” The story I heard was that the whole point was that the ECB would not/could not lend directly to the sovereigns, citing the treaty which created them. Of course one of the factors in play here was the desire to give the banks profit to help them deleverage (they’re still insolvent) and of course it’s at the taxpayers’ expense. Check out the history of Alexander Hamilton persuading the national government to issue bonds to take over the residual debt from the Revolutionary War.

  10. Verizonsucks

    BTW,, the D Plus addendum with all the text and links is visually cluttery, distracting from your message and is slipping into petty partisanship. Keep it simple Yves, that’s what makes your blog great.

  11. craazyman

    Las Meninas

    Next to my office building there’s a Spanish cultural institution with a backyard garden that nobody knows is there, open to the public, where you can take your lunch and sit among the overhanging trees and birds and the quiet pools of sun. It’s a secluded little place with a slate stoned patio and ivy brick walls and you can easily persuade yourself your on the back porch of a Spanish villa, someplace in La Mancha even.

    There’s a Spanish woman there who manages the facility and its exhibition space, which hosts shows about Spanish literary figures, photographers and contemporary Spanish art — often covering hard-hitting stuff like photojournalist exposes of war and terrorism. She rolls her own cigarettes and describes herself as an “anarchist” and looks the part — earthy and artistic in that European way. She nearly spits when she talks about current economic policies in America and in Spain. She’s no friend of neoliberalism or the European elite.

    So yesterday I took the opportunity to do some macroeconomic research about the Spanish debt situation. I figured I would see if she thought Spain could collapse into civil violence, which at times seems inevitable to me, but what do I know? Not very much.

    So I asked her if she has family in Spain and keeps in touch with the politics. Yes to both questions. I asked if the place would erupt into rebellion against austerity, descending into a violent and bloody rebellion. She has a thick Spanish accent and an animated and slightly chaotic way of speaking, gesticulating with her arms and unlit cigarette as her eyes look in all directions, but what she said surprised me.

    Even though the unemployment rate is high, she said many people work off the books. They say they’re unemployed but really are not. She said the restaurants and shops are lively and full of people, albeit mostly wealthier types, but full anyway. I asked if there was any possibility of civil unrest. She didn’t seem to think so, except the usual tensions between the autonomous territories and the central government. What about the Indignados, I asked. The sort of faded away, she said.

    What about a civil war? I asked. Something like the 1930s? No she said. It’s a very different country now than then. It’s not primitive any more. She said people know it was too good for too long over the last decade or so, and that it had to stop. Even now, she said, it’s better than it used to be, better than it was for a long, long time.

    So no chance of a civil war like the 1930s? No. Violence and chaos? No, she said.

    Well then what? I asked. People will just deal with it, she said. No convulsion, death, blood, chaos or explosions? The phone rang and she had to get it. Then, no and no and no.

    It was interesting and somewhat illuminating. I had a theory that Spain’s tortured and bloody historical schism between royalty and serf, landowner and peasant, royalist and republican, church and liberal state, might find violent expression and bloom again in some 21st century Guernica. The old wound of injustice, the impossible dialectic between capital and labor, bleeding once again from a system which seems to have found, in its incomprehensible complexity, a new and creative way to strip from a population what is rightfully theirs, under the guise of a politcal-economic theological lexicon so tortured by illogic and obfuscation that the Latin Bible and its archaic and mumbling priests seem models of lucidity and rationality.

    But no. It seems unlikely, according to my expert correspondent, the anarchist. What is going on there and why is something hard for me to fully understand. I suppose that ultimately there really is no alternative. No communist movement, no third way, no grand structure of social thought proven to be capable of organizing a people who number in the tens of millions, at once, and move them to a concerted action. A repudiation of the euro and return to the peseta would leave the political tensions between region and capital in place and unresolved. The relative fortunes among the regions wouldn’t change.

    But perhaps most significantly, the unconscious binding force of a “European” identity, the one ritual that collects and coheres the fragments of the place into an optimistic self-description that seems to be the very last thing anyone wants to lose — one that even Greece seems unwilling to lose — would be all but lost. And that’s about the most terrifying thing anyone can face, to lose their highest idea of themselves, to lose the very essence of who the believe they are, to be abandoned by their dreams of transcendence, without a cause or a refuge or any system of belief capable of sustaining their group identity of mind and physical survival of body.

    The tribe is dead. The nation is almost dead. Their corpses twitch from time to time, and give the illusion of life, but the life instinct itself overwhelms them, as it flows beyond borders and beyond boundaries like a flood tide. The only thing left for the tiny and fragile pysche to hang on to, the only mirror into which it can look and see itself — beyond the hollow and asphyxiating gladiatorial chaos produced by the fight for self-definition by possession of money — is the idea of being a European. It’s no wonder they are so confused and so silent.

      1. PQS

        How glad I am that you did write all that!!

        I loved the last paragraph.

        I’ve been thinking for a while that people Just Keep Going, which I think is what you are saying. (I think it’s what drives the elites crazy: we’re still here, m-effers. Still in your garden munching away!)

        Recently I listened to “The Worst Hard Time” on CD in the car….about the Dust Bowl and those who stayed behind in it. Great book, and I was struck by how people just kept going (not all, of course – there were terrible suicides and deaths from dust pneumonia…), but so many stories were people just moving ahead as best they could, far apart from the machinations of Big Money. (There WAS no money. Of any kind.) And the government, until Relief showed up, several YEARS into the dust storms.

        Great story, Cman.

      2. JEHR

        Great story, CMan. Thanks for that. European history is so much longer than the history of whites in North America. There were continuous wars in Europe from the Dark Ages onward. It must have seemed like continuous turmoil for centuries of families. The European Union was a great thing when it was created because it gave all the European countries hope that there would be no more European wars and devastation.

        I think it was a fine idea and I hate the thought of its being dismantled. I hope the Germans come to their senses and either have a Jubilee for all or print enough money for everyone that needs it. I have a feeling that when the Europeans figure out what is the right thing to do, the world be become a better place.

        North America inherited the domocratic ideals from European social democracy. Maybe Americans will then know what to do about their own kleptocracy.

        1. lidia

          One thing that’s for sure is that Europeans can often be more cynical about parties, ideologies and forms of government than Americans, with good reason.

          Americans have perceived the last 230 years or so as a monolith in terms of government—rightly or wrongly—whereas Italy has gone from a non-country: much of it coming off of Spanish rule and having been the various property of the Hapsburgs, the (again Spanish) King of Naples and Sicily, Napoleonic France and the Papacy, to a “revolutionary” monarchy involving the Savoias (French again, and without experiencing this “revolution” as a contradiction in terms), to modern fascism, with a brief flirtation with modern communism and socialism into its current settled political gridlock (not unlike our own) as a mere client state of the USA.

          Americans think of Italy and Italians as a given, but in 1861, Massimo d’Azelgio famously noted that “we have made Italy; now we must make Italians”.

          To highlight a similarly confounding circumstance, I was reading an interview with a scientist who, when asked where he was born, said “Vilnius”.

          IIRC, when HE was born, Vilnius was in Poland. When his father was born, it was in Russia. When his mother was born, it was in Germany. I could have messed up the timeline but, anywhoo, now it’s the capital of Lithuania. A family can grow up in the same place and have four nationalities applied to them, or worse, as it more usually happens, “claim” them, in the course of a lifetime.

          We can see this in our own amnesiac struggles against Mexican “immigration”. No one seems to remember that we prosecuted a war of conquest against Mexico to obtain what we now claim as the states of Texas, California, New Mexico, etc. This only happened a little more than 150 years ago.

          “Nation”, “State” and “Government” constructs are far less meaningful than we give them credit for—far more malleable and fleeting.

          As Solzhenitzyn said: “Don’t believe them, don’t fear them, don’t ask anything of them.”

          They really cannot be dealt with on their own terms. It is best just to try and ignore them and to get out of their way. To withold sustenance from them whenever possible: just don’t encourage them, whatever you do.

        2. lidia

          Oh, and I forgot about the timely elephant in the room: the rush to embrace EU non-sovreignty!

      3. Jim

        Craazyman, you say, “The tribe is dead”

        But history indicates the opposite. Technology has enabled “The Tribe” to gain traction. Look at the USSR and the resulting many nations. What about the two countries that evolved from Czechoslovakia? And even in Spain, certain regions want nothing to do with Madrid.

        The fact is, the average citizen of Spain and Greece wants LESS Europe, relative to how they felt 20 years ago. This is a fact. Heck, Greeks and Germans hate each other today, compared to how they felt even one decade ago.

    1. Hugh

      Well, I liked it. I think it’s true that there is a lot of discontent out there, whether we are talking the US or Europe. Yet despite the indignados and OWS, this hasn’t coalesced into a real mass opposition. In many ways, this represents a victory of the elites in the class war they are waging against us. The whole point of that war is to keep such an opposition from forming.

      Social cohesion and safety nets may also be delaying the creation of a real opposition. I vary between thinking that given the right seed this opposition could crystallize overnight to nothing will happen until conditions get much worse and then when it does, it likely will be much more violent and destructive.

    2. Marley

      Bravo. Well reported and written indeed. Yes, to our bewilderment – those of us outside the EZ – this “highest ideal” (of being European) has become the one thing not worth losing. It is a tragic reality.

      1. Jim

        Why is being “European” the highest ideal? According to a recent analysis conducted by an investment bank (can’t recall which one), of all the monetary unions attempted throughout history, the Eurozone is the one in which the countries have the LEAST number of factors in common with one another.

    3. SR6719

      Good one, craazyman.

      Comment of the day, so far.

      And my money was on jsmith’s rant against libertarian techies (at 11:21 AM, in the “Robert Shiller is Wrong” thread) which had a strong showing at a mile and an eighth, but then your horse had the stronger finish.

    4. Kevin de Bruxelles

      Great stuff C-Man – I think you’ve expressed here some fundamental truths about the situation in Europe.

    5. Flying Kiwi

      Hmmm. Unemployment is high but many people ‘work off the books’ and so don’t pay taxes. So while they might be very aware that the state’s taxes are being used to pump money into the banks and thus upwards they can be serene about it because they are not the ones being screwed.

      This is the Greek path – the State looted from above and abandoned from below. The Spanish centre might still be large enough to carry both ends of the social spectrum but the longer it goes on the more it is eaten into from both ends – the wealthy moving or hiding their wealth, the peons ‘working off the books’ – and the centre moves towards extreme political parties who promise to stop the rot at the other end, or both ends.

      Sans a circuit-breaker of some sort that doesn’t end well, and even circuit-breakers can be hightly undesireable.

      1. Up the Ante

        Someone else’s version of things is never good enough, nor should it be a substitute for your experiencing it yourself.

        It’s the objectivity w/out subjectivity thing, basically.

    6. Aquifer

      craazy,

      Great piece! Wonder though how long the Spaniards will accept the German definition of “European” – do they have their own? Or is that the problem?

    7. tiebie66

      Interesting, thanks! I have long wondered how much merit there was to the GEAB/Leap2020 viewpoint that Europe was moving towards greater cohesion, not away from it. The anecdote seems to confirm their view in contrast to the Anglo/American assessment of the situation.

      I have also long wondered about the propensity for black economies to occur in Europe vs. North America and your comment, as well as lidia’s, strengthen my view that they originated as defenses to tax extortion by occupying powers. After a few generations and various occupations it must become second nature.

  12. Abelenkpe

    I refuse to buy a smartphone doesn’t make you sound like a crotchedy old person at all. And of course Verizon sucks.

    1. Aquifer

      Agree – have Verizon DSL – it sucks, but it’s only $15/month, so what the heck. Have a $10 K-mart cell phone, no camera, with a Virgin Mobil $20/90days minimum, which is all i ever pay. Refuse to be “internet/phone poor”…. My land line phone even has a cord! How quaint …

  13. Hugh

    Re Clooney, Hollywood’s A list are just celebrity plutocrats. Supporting a corporatist defender of wealth like Obama is just voting their book. Much the same could be said about those supporting Romney. It all just depends on which way the cachet, not the substance, is blowing.

    1. Aquifer

      Methinks Clooney got all puffed up when he got to testify before Congress (Clooney on Koney) and he wants to be invited back …

    1. Flying Kiwi

      If it happens the real lesson is going to be whether the rest of Europe – and maybe the US too – comes to the aid of the Greeks in making transition in humanitarian ways or whether the desire of the bankers and the economists with eggs on their face receive the support of ordinary people in making the Greek people suffer as a lesson to other potential backsliders.

      I guess it depends on whether you’d go to the aid of neighbour who’s barbcue set his house on fire or stand back and let it burn because you think him a feckless, irresponsible idiot.

      1. Abe, NYC

        The biggest danger, I understand, is vital imports like foodstuffs and medicine. Iceland was in a similar situation back in 2008/2009, and managed well. But it already had its own currency, Greece will need to reintroduce the drachma, and that is very disruptive. But as Paul Krugman has been saying, at one point the costs of staying in are outweighed by the costs of getting out.

  14. Up the Ante

    Couldn’t resist posting this. Was looking for Chlorella products and this was one of the top search results,

    “Our Organic Broken-Cell Wall Chlorella is 100% USDA Organic and harvested from the pristine waters of Hainan Island, off the southern coast of China.

    Hainan Island is designated a “Special Economic Zone” to utilize its superior clean air and water and promote sustainable agriculture, environmental protection, pollution control and tourism.

    Hainan Island has some of the best surface water quality in all of China resulting from hundreds of natural springs fed by China’s largest and most well-preserved intact tropical rainforest. In addition, all industries on Hainan Island are required to be pollution-free, with no damage to the environment, so you can be sure you’re getting a pollution-free product. ”

    Hainan Island is also home to a Chinese nuclear sub base. Grow your chlorella someplace else ?

  15. Aquifer

    Markets and morals – mutually exclusive?

    Have for sometime bemoaned the market model of life ….

    Re the example of the nuke dump in Switzerland – interesting, but apparently not unusual response by the community. Daniel Pink has done interesting stuff on what makes people tick – and, beyond a certain level of satiety, it ain’t, on the part of most, money. His book “Drive” is pretty interesting … Actually, as demonstrated here, money gets in the way …. we do our best work when money is out of the equation – ironically sort of like on those Master Card commercials, some things are indeed “priceless” and will, hopefully, remain so ..

  16. Maximilien

    Re: Greece

    Current yield on Greek 1-year bond (GGGB1YR) 1143%. One thousand one hundred and forty-three percent. Matures in August. Will it make it to the finish line?

    As they say in curling…..SWEEP! SWEEP!

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