Links 7/21/15

If you haven’t had a chance to catch our talk with Harry Shearer about Greece, please listen to it here. It got high marks from our readers and on Twitter, so I hope you’ll enjoy it.

I’m also a bit late on Links today. Check back at 7:30 AM to 8:00 AM for your full ration.

Ashley Madison infidelity site’s customer data stolen BBC. Hahaha.

Here’s the type of info hackers have after breaking into the extramarital hookup site Ashley Madison

Combating fatal mange among Australia’s wombats YouTube. Only 4 views of a BBC video when I checked in!

Fossil fuel emissions will complicate radiocarbon dating ScienceDaily. Chuck L: “Atmospheric testing of nuclear explosions during the 40s thru the 60s also affected carbon dating but they figured out a way to compensate for it.”

Fake Hotel Booking Sites Stirring up Turmoil for Travelers CNBC (furzy mouse)

Speculators smash gold as dollar squeeze tightens Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph

Untold music festival in Transylvania: ‘Pay With Blood’ for free tickets New.com.au (furzy mouse)

Japan ramps up warnings over China Financial Times

Japan sharpens censure of China disputed sea activity BBC

As Markets Swing, Beijing Steadies Yuan Wall Street Journal

‘Sarawak Report’ defies Malaysian censors with alternative web address Asian Correspondent

Hollande proposes a Eurozone government Open Europe

Hollande calls for vanguard of states to lead strengthened eurozone EUObserver (guurst)

Poles Suddenly Far Less Interested in Joining Euro American Interest

The European Project is dead Bill Mitchell

Grexit?

Zoo animals in Athens at risk as crisis hits feed imports ekathimerini

Greece: Thousands of migrants and asylum seekers stranded in precarious conditions across islands Médecins Sans Frontières

Nearly a quarter of Greek firms seek move abroad, survey shows ekathimerini

Greece’s Entrepreneurs New York Times. Lambert liked this video but was struck by how tiny these ventures were.

Europe’s Vindictive Privatization Plan for Greece Yanis Varoufakis, Project Syndicate

Greece’s Debt May Not Be So Daunting Bloomberg. Basically, why the IMF analysis might not mean what it appears to mean (aside from the fact that the numbers don’t matter, since DSK got the initial lending through to Greece despite the initial loans not meeting IMF standards). But the much bigger problem is no matter what debt ratios you think Greece has, they aren’t sustainable when you apply austerity to a deeply depressed economy.

Greece’s Costly Health Care Craze New York Times. Wow, the creditors cracked down on poor pensioners rather than more affluent doctors.

German public opinion is caught between scapegoating Greeks and love-bombing them EUROPP

Syraqistan

Turkey to strengthen Syria border BBC

Obama Simply Switched from One War Crime Which Increases Terrorism to Another George Washington

Imperial Collapse Watch

The military is wasting tens of millions of dollars on satellite communications Washington Post

Wesley Clark Calls for Internment Camps for “Radicalized” Americans Intercept

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

How Human Resources Manipulates and Spies on You, Even When You’re Not at Work Alternet

Americans favor Supreme Court term limits Reuters/Ipsos poll Reuters (EM)

Clinton’s capital gains tax plan aims at long-term investment Reuters. EM: “Predictably, no mention of the hedge-fund carried-interest loophole. I know, ’tis mere hot blatherous wind in any event, but she could have at least bothered to lie about wanting to address that issue.”

The Only Realistic Way to Fix Campaign Finance New York Times (furzy mouse)

McCain urges Trump to apologize to U.S. military families Reuters. EM:

I say it is John McCain who needs to apologize to U.S. military families, for being a perma-warmongering-for-even-the-most-transparently-corrupt-reasons douchebag, and for being complicit in the gross underfunding of the post-combat-support aspects of the defense-related budget. A lot easier to send the fresh-meats overseas to get blown up for whatever the pretext du jour is than it is to give a rat’s patootie about them afterwards, isn’t it, Senator McCain?

Walker and the Evils of Preventive War American Conservative (resilc)

Black Injustice Tipping Point

New Details Released in Sandra Bland’s Death in Texas Jail New York Times

NYT: Obama Picks Michigan Professor for Fed Board Angry Bear. Recall that Kevin Warsh was also on the Fed board. “Nuff said.

Burst of summer rain dampens car-torching California blaze Reuters (EM). When rain is a news story, you know it’s bad…

Oakland-Based Imperfect Will Sell Only “Ugly” Fruits And Vegetables Dogo News (EM)

Will the World Ever Boom Again? Bloomberg (resilc)

Fed calls for $200bn of extra capital buffers in US banks Financial Times

Wall Street Lenders Growing Impatient With U.S. Shale Revolution Bloomberg (resilc)

Interest-only mortgages: They’re baaack CNBC (furzy mouse)

Signs of Overheating in the Single-Family Rental Market WSJ Economics

Class Warfare

Right Wing Slant to Non-Partisan Progressive Think Tanks Angry Bear. This is hardly a new technique; see our post on Bribes Work: How Peterson, the Enemy of Social Security, Bought the Roosevelt Name and Some Background on How the Roosevelt Institute Got Into Bed With Pete Peterson, the Enemy of Social Security (Updated)

New York paupers’ cemetery opens to mourners for first time Reuters. EM could not resist: “Nice, but visitors better keep a wary eye out for the pauper-azzi.”

Look Who’s Gawking: Inside Nick Denton’s phony, hypocritical class war against tech workers Pando

New Orleans Katrina Pain Index at Ten: Who Was Left Behind Common Dreams

Paul Smith’s alumni protest the college’s decision to change its name for $20 million Syracuse. Bob: “Just simply mind-blowing in its audacity.”

Antidote du jour. Snow monkeys, featured in the Washington Post (hat tip Lambert):

snow monkeys links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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93 comments

  1. MikeNY

    LOL at your McCain commentary. Troo dat.

    The Donald sure does put a bee in the GOP’s bonnet!

      1. Gareth

        From an old piece on McCain by the late Alexander Cockburn:

        “McCain flew 23 bombing missions over North Vietnam, each averaging about half an hour, total time ten hours and thirty minutes. For these brief excursions the admiral’s son was awarded two Silver Stars, two Legions of Merit, two Distinguished Flying Crosses, three Bronze Stars, the Vietnamese Legion of Honor and three Purple Hearts. US Veteran Dispatch calculates our hero earned a medal an hour, which is pretty good going.”

        The Horrors of John McCain: War Hero or War Criminal?

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Eddie Albert only earned a bronze star at Tarawa. All he did was fight all day again at Tarawa, a particularly nasty engagement, and saved the lives of 100 marines.

          What heroic deeds did John McCain accomplish? They must be staggering. Where’s the movie? Perhaps I’m being too skeptical.

        2. alex morfesis

          and let us not forget the special piece of legislation that was passed by congress as a first birthday present just for john mccain since he was not born on us territory proper in panama…

        3. Ron

          Trump is the outsider, way beyond the typical Washington insider and his comments and actions have been directed to enhance that position. The dissatisfied GOP base has a champion for there beliefs shocking the Republican establishment as they realize an independent run by Trump or another wealthy American with similar views may further weaken the national party.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            Trump being denounced by the establishment left and right will only help raise his star. If I was the GOP establishment, I would hang his democratic donations and friendship of sorts with the Clinton around his neck.

        4. micky9finger

          Well he was an officer.
          BUT, as a Viet Nam vet from 1968, I say you cannot bad mouth McCain’s war record. Just can’ t say a word.
          Of course his record in Congress is another story.

    1. Jim Haygood

      What would truly finish off America is turning the 2016 election into a ‘subway series’ between Hillary (whose campaign is headquartered in hipster Brooklyn) and Donald ‘Brass, Glass and Class’ Trump, whose monolithic residential towers block the afternoon sun over much of Manhattan’s Upper West Side.

      Both these jaded urbanites have adopted the world view of that old New Yorker poster, in which the space between the right bank of the Hudson and the Pacific coast is just a thin purple line on the horizon, occupied by bands of negligible hewers of wood and drawers of water, who likely subsist on roots and berries.

      Depublicrats, comrades: they’re in a New York state of mind.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        It is not as bad as a unity ticket of two co-presidents (Donald and Hilary) who then relocate the capital to Manhattan, away from hewers and drawers…easier for them to commute to work (energy saving).

    2. Peter Pan

      Perhaps it’s just my imaginary perception, but it almost seems as though Senator McCain is suffering the effects of PTSD as a result of being a POW for which he never received proper medical and counseling treatment. It appears that his main efforts to ward off these effects is to “grip that pen tighter, John, grip that pen tighter”.

      In the mean time his main contribution to the USA to recommend crazy-ass foreign policy ideas that have no foundation in reality which will lead to war.

    3. Susan the other

      I know! I loved it. Hopefully we’ll have more Links with great rants. I’m going to listen to the rest of Trump’s crazy comments in the hope that he will cut through more crap. But I’m not voting for him until he realizes that he himself is an idiot about economix.

  2. CB

    What’s mind blowing about buying colleges? Rowan Univ used to be Glassboro State College. Vanderbilt was bought. Stanford is a rich man’s start up, Univ of Chigo, also, I believe. Putting wealth into colleges and universities is nothing new.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      How much can Greece get for selling her name, apart from selling islands?

      It’s interesting that one can own islands, and lake(s) within it.

      Can one own parts of an ocean?

      Note also that attempts had been made to create sovereign nations on atolls (ht optimador, the Republic of Minerva, for example), i.e. something solid, but why can’t one create a nation over an area of water, without any islands within that area? Why must there be land, for a nation to exist?

      Apparently, there were 8 nations about to go underwater, back in 2010. Can they still be nations after submerging?

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          It’d be different had it been owned by a giant corporation, something like the British East Indies/North Sea Company, as a way for corporations to own nations.

          It could then sell diplomatic passports as its principle source of revenue.

          I bet a lot of tourists would pay mucho money for that privilege.

          The thing is, I don’t think you even need a rig to have a nation.

          1. vidimi

            i’m not sure about passports but i know that you can buy a title of nobility if that’s what rocks your boat.

        1. alex morfesis

          although returning rhodes to the order would not be a bad idea…but it would negate their current special sovereign status…or maybe better said…enhance. it…and return them to just a plain old country again…

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          From Wiki:

          Following the loss of Christian held territories of the Holy Land to Muslims, the order operated from Rhodes (1310–1523), and later from Malta (1530–1798), over which it was sovereign.
          Although this state came to an end with the ejection of the order from Malta by Napoleon Bonaparte, the order as such survived. It retains its claims of sovereignty under international law and has been granted permanent observer status at the United Nations.[9]

          So, you don’t have to own land to be a sovereign, even if there are only 3 citizens in your sovereignty.

          I think under the situation, their currency can have value, among the 3 citizens, by gentlemen’s (and ladies’ if applicable) agreement, without having to resort to the threat of taxation.

          1. vidimi

            rhodesia was the name of the colony in what is today zimbabwe.

            rhodes (rodos) is the greek island. the old city and the templar walls surrounding it are spectacular.

  3. vidimi

    Re: “Will the World Ever Boom Again?”

    i have a bad feeling that it will indeed BOOM! again

  4. alex morfesis

    wesley clark is way too funny…

    first off…germans were interned…hardly…

    mostly to not make it look like it was only against japanese americans….

    first off…there were over one million germans born in germany in usa and 11 million who had at least one parent who was born in germany at the outbreak of ww2…

    the nazi party global (NSDAP/AO) recruited between 35 thousand and 100 thousand (depending on how much german swiss fbi director hoover was trying to cover up) to join the party officially…

    of those a measly 11 thousand were interned in work camps where many were then allowed to go out and “trusted” to come back at night…

    oh…and then after the “war” is over, general clark can visit the jihadi cemetery in some corner of america celebrating the “stay behind” recruits

    what you have never been to the hometown high school of football great joe theismann

    south river new jersey

    the one with the nazi cemetery openly celebrating the belarus nazi govt operation paperclip clowns we let into america…

    democracy…what a concept…

    1. Susan the other

      Wesley is so unpatriotic he is a danger to the republic. Until he can shake off his corporatist-meritocracy blinders, until he can stop tooting his own squeaky little horn, until he can see the value of democratic ideals, we should put him in a nice comfy white collar Topaz where he can learn arts and crafts to keep from going completely insane.

  5. Gabriel

    Apropos Wesley Clark, whom the Intercept piece describes as “making a name for himself in progressive circles,” I recently came across a post in the excellent Fabius Maximus website, where Clark is presented as an example of “Careerism and Psychopathy in the US Military”, what with such Colonel Cathcart outbursts as,

    “How do you think I could have succeeded in the military if everybody didn’t like me? It’s impossible,” he said. “Do you realize I was the first person promoted to full colonel in my entire year group of 2,000 officers? I was the only one selected. Do you realize that? . . . Do you realize I was the only one of my West Point class picked to command a brigade when I was picked? . . . I was the first person picked for brigadier general. You have to balance this out. . . . A lot of people love me.”

    Whole post not long, and very much worth a read in terms of understanding how the military’s officer personnel system has for decades tended to select for that kind of general or admiral.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      West Point draws a type. After all, what kind of 16 year old (when they start preparing) wants to go to West Point? For me, this is the best argument for the draft. The military needs good officers who aren’t drawn to that kind of life when they are 16. ROTC probably helps.

      Yes, it was 150 years ago, but Grant, a mediocre west point cadet who was admitted through luck, went from a drunk with combat experience who couldn’t find a job to Appomattox in four years. How did Grant advance? Wingfield Scott drafted R.Lee to lead marines at Harper’s Ferry instead of an active officer. I know Lee had a reputation, but there were other active combat veterans available even marines not artillery officers.

      1. optimader

        After all, what kind of 16 year old (when they start preparing) wants to go to West Point?

        No kidding. Some militaristic variant of an OCD child?

    2. Gabriel

      PS. “I take my waking slow” while first reading the AM links, so only now remember two additional nuggets from Clark’s storied army career.

      First, how the British ground element commander in Kosovo had to disobey a direct order from him to occupy Pristina airfield ahead of the Russians on the grounds that “I’m not going to start the Third World War for you”

      Second, an old Newsweek dissection of how Clark handled inconvenient truths about exactly how effective the Kosovo air campaign had been at destroying mobile Serb military targets (certainly relevant today if the guy’s is indeed being brought on TV to opine on air attacks against ISIS):

      At the end of the war the Serbs’ ground
      commander, Gen. Nobojsa Pavkovic, claimed to have lost only 13 tanks.
      “Serb disinformation,” scoffed Clark. But quietly, Clark’s own staff
      told him the Serb general might be right. “We need to get to the
      bottom of this,” Clark said. So at the end of June, Clark dispatched a
      team into Kosovo to do an on-the-ground survey. The 30 experts, some
      from NATO but most from the U.S. Air Force, were known as the
      Munitions Effectiveness Assessment Team, or MEAT. Later, a few of the
      officers would refer to themselves as “dead meat.”

      The bombing, they discovered, was highly accurate against fixed
      targets, like bunkers and bridges. “But we were spoofed a lot,” said
      one team member. The Serbs protected one bridge from the high-flying
      NATO bombers by constructing, 300 yards upstream, a fake bridge made
      of polyethylene sheeting stretched over the river. NATO “destroyed”
      the phony bridge many times. Artillery pieces were faked out of long
      black logs stuck on old truck wheels. A two-thirds scale SA-9
      antiaircraft missile launcher was fabricated from the metal-lined
      paper used to make European milk cartons. “It would have looked
      perfect from three miles up,” said a MEAT analyst.

      The team found dozens of burnt-out cars, buses and trucks but very few
      tanks. When General Clark heard this unwelcome news, he ordered the
      team out of their helicopters: “Goddammit, drive to each one of those
      places. Walk the terrain.” The team grubbed about in bomb craters,
      where more than once they were showered with garbage the local
      villagers were throwing into these impromptu rubbish pits. At the
      beginning of August, MEAT returned to Air Force headquarters at
      Ramstein air base in Germany with 2,600 photographs. They briefed Gen.
      Walter Begert, the Air Force deputy commander in Europe. “What do you
      mean we didn’t hit tanks?” Begert demanded. Clark had the same
      reaction. “This can’t be,” he said. “I don’t believe it.” Clark
      insisted that the Serbs had hidden their damaged equipment and that
      the team hadn’t looked hard enough.
      Not so, he was told. A 50-ton tank
      can’t be dragged away without leaving raw gouges in the earth, which
      the team had not seen.

      The Air Force was ordered to prepare a new report. In a month, Brig.
      Gen. John Corley was able to turn around a survey that pleased Clark.
      It showed that NATO had successfully struck 93 tanks, close to the 120
      claimed by General Shelton at the end of the war, and 153 armored
      personnel carriers, not far off the 220 touted by Shelton.

      Newsweek piece worth reading in full for anyone interested in a detailed case study of how the Pentagon handles this kind of problem.

    3. Jack

      I had to look it up, just to confirm my suspicion. It turned out I wasn’t misremembering: Wesley Clarke, here calling for ‘radical’ Americans to be interned, is the father of Wes Clark Jr., regular on TYT. Or at least he was a regular as of a year ago, when their unthinking regurgitation of the ‘Putin = Hitler’ narrative over Ukraine made me drop them altogether.

      But my point is, would his own son qualify as ‘radical’? Hell, just look at who the group is named after! TYT is in large part a Democratic apologist organization (‘vote for the lesser of two evils’ variety), but has a pretty solid record of being harsh on the dems and Obama and they’re at least covering Sanders.

  6. IsabelPS

    Re corruption:

    I do wish something more serious than this Corruption Perception Index was used.

    1. vidimi

      agreed, it’s completely meaningless. not only is it subjective, but the understanding of what corruption is varies from place to place.

      1. IsabelPS

        I hate those sexy indexes that don’t explain clearly and upfront how they are made.

        Besides, when a country has a stratospheric corruption perception and when asked if them, or somebody in their household, has been involved in bribery in the last 12 months, people give an answer that is quite decent, something is definitely very wrong.

  7. Vatch

    “Wesley Clark Calls for Internment Camps for “Radicalized” Americans”

    In the unlikely event that it is appropriate to have internment camps, the people who are most deserving of being incarcerated there are those who enthusiastically support the creation of such camps.

  8. Jim Haygood

    Is Chicago America’s Athens?

    Take a gander at the astounding 10.25% sales tax about to go into effect in Chicago and the rest of Cook County.

    The city of Chicago alone has a $20 billion unfunded liability and when Moody’s Investors Service dropped the city’s debt rating to junk, it forced $2.2 billion in accelerated debt payments.

    So Cook County has to borrow more money now at higher interest rates to pay those newly due bills AND it has to increase sales taxes to that whopping 10.25% rate effective in January to help pay the interest on it all. It’s an endless cycle.

    http://www.cnbc.com/2015/07/16/sticker-shock-sales-taxes-in-chicago.html

    A sales tax of 10.25% is among the worst in the U.S., other than the swingeing 11.5% levy that just kicked in, in bankrupt Puerto Rico.

    Austerity, comrades: it’s worked so well in Greece!

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      They talk about sustainable debt.

      Can we also talk about ‘sustainable tax?’

      Is that sales tax sustainable for non-billionaires of Chicago?

    2. cnchal

      In Ontario, the combined federal (5%) and provincial (8%) is 13%

      We are in third place for the sales tax race to the top. Quebec and Nova Scotia have a combined federal – provincial 15% sales tax rate.

      When the federal tax was shoved down our throats, it was called the GST (Goods and Services Tax) but people call it the Gouge and Screw Tax.

      1. Robert Dudek

        Of course brought in by the second most right wing federal government since wwii, with the current one being first. I still remember Chrétien promising to scrap it – he never got around to it.

        1. cnchal

          We have been suckered into believing politicians lies quite often, and gullible Canadians fall for it every time.

          I have come to the conclusion, that for practical purposes, politicians are lying self serving narcissists or worse. The odd one that isn’t, is drowned out by the ones that are.

          In Canada’s next federal election, my desire is to have a minority government, so they can fight with each other, and leave the rest of us alone.

          Herr Harper has installed a zipper onto the mouths of Tory ministers and backbenchers, that only he operates. Thank him for the silence.

      2. Jim Haygood

        Canada’s sales tax outlier is Alberta, with a provincial rate of zero and a combined rate of 5%. By no coincidence, Alberta sports the strongest groaf in Canada:

        Alberta leads all other provinces for population growth.

        Since April 1 of last year, Alberta’s population has grown 2.17 per cent, from 4,086,639 residents estimated April 1, 2014 to 4,175,409 estimated a year later. Canada’s growth rate for the same period was 0.94 per cent.

        Ontarians made up the largest group heading west, with 3,177 new Albertans arriving from Ontario.

        http://calgaryherald.com/news/local-news/alberta-continues-to-lead-canada-in-population-growth

        Refugees from Canada’s eastern tax hells — these days, they arrive in SUVs instead of covered wagons.

        1. cnchal

          Something about that Calgary Herald article set off my bullshit detector.

          Here is some information from http://economicdashboard.albertacanada.com/NetMigration

          PUBLISHED – Jun 17, 2015

          In the first quarter of 2015, net migration into Alberta totaled 7,723, compared with a net inflow of 19,326 in the same quarter of 2014, which translates into a drop of 60%. Net inter-provincial migration into Alberta was 6,732 in the first quarter of 2015, down 29.7% from a year earlier. Net international migration was 991 in the first quarter of 2015, down 89.8% from the first quarter of 2014, because of a sharp decline in the number of non-permanent residents. Alberta’s net inflow of international and inter-provincial migrants in the first quarter (7,723), though down substantially year over year, was still the second highest in Canada behind Ontario’s net gain of 9,896.

          The Calgary Herald article never mentions how many are leaving Alberta.

          Alberta recently elected an NDP government, something I though might happen when the sun exploded. A provincial sales tax for Alberta is sure to follow. Oil revenues are down, so the money to run the province has to come from somewhere else.

          Nobody goes to Alberta to escape the tax hell of the rest of Canada. The real reason is to go there and make some money, and get out before you freeze to death some winter.

    3. Robert Dudek

      Most countries in Europe have long had much higher sales tax rates. In Poland, VAT is 22%, though consumers don’t think about it often because it in included in the sticker price. I’m sure that a number of small businesses grossly underreport their sales to reduce the effect of this tax.

    4. craazyman

      where’s a supply side economist when you need one?

      Isn’t the University of Chicago in Chicago? Aren’t they against this kind of thing?

      What’s up with that?

      Nothing makes sense if you think about it long enough. Sometimes it doesn’t take very long either.

  9. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Ugly vegetables…

    It’s not the superficial outer appearance.

    It’s whether they are organic or not.

    Though I have had enough of smooth-talking, suave candidates, the bottom line is still what they will do to serve the people.

    It wouldn’t hurt, either, to have news readers, or movie actresses/actors, who score higher on the ‘ugly looking’ scale. Balance, you know.

  10. Ulysses

    The neoliberal, totalitarian zeal of this penultimate paragraph in a recent WaPo piece literally sent chills up my spine:

    “Another potential solution, the brainchild of Internet pioneer Vint Cerf and entrepreneur David Nordfors, is to develop A.I. software that matches jobs to the skills, talent, passions, experiences, and values of each individual on the planet. They say that there is an almost infinite amount of work that needs to be done and that only a fraction of all human capacity is being used today. People hate their jobs, consequently losing tremendous amounts of productivity. With jobs tailored to a person’s passions, we could create a work environment in which people give 100 percent of their capacity to work and the economy expands because more is being done. This is indeed a utopian dream; but it’s something we can and should aspire to.”

    Hey, you there in sector 7, unit 17! Cease daydreaming immediately, or face instant elimination by the peacekeeper drone heading towards you 100 yards to the northeast. What part of devoting 100% of your capacity to work don’t you understand?!!??

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/innovations/wp/2015/07/20/we-need-a-new-version-of-capitalism-for-the-jobless-future/

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      Go to few of the career sites at large corporations and go through the mechanics of applying for a job. Virtually all the sites I’ve been on are using one of a few large database programs to track job applicant “data”. It is no leap to guess there is a side of this program devoted to tracking job specification data. How much stretch is required to guess there is a semi-automated or fully automated matching program? Now label it “A.I”.

      WaPo is just creating utopian dreams to put a smiley face on what is already going on. But the efficiency of this process is an attribute of the utopian dream, not the reality of what has happened.

      The consequences of this latest thrust of the “Managerial Demiurge” are already affecting the skills shortage driving US Corporations to push for more H1-B Visas. It is already turning jobs into a set of certifications and years of experience in an extremely specific area compelling greater and greater specialization. The specialization has the benefit of making what jobs there are more precarious and making what workers remain more frightened.

      These changes server other dreams of a different kind of Utopia.

  11. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Nearly a quarter Greek firms thinking relocating (HQs) abroad.

    It reminds one of the Pontic Greeks, the Bactrian Greeks, those who settled in Marseilles, Southern Italy, Sicily, etc.

    1. Ulysses

      Just a quick comment on this snippet from Orlov’s piece:

      “Given that the price is so high, perhaps it would be better after all if we just sat quietly, allowed the rich get richer as the poor get poorer, watched listlessly as the environment got completely destroyed by capitalist industrialists in blind pursuit of profit, and eventually curled up, kissed our sweet asses good-bye and died? Good luck selling that idea to young radicalized hotheads who have nothing to lose—except maybe you, if you happen to stand in their way as they change the world! No, revolution is here to stay, and one of its main weapons is terror. No matter how well we remember, the annihilation of counterrevolutionary social elements is bound to recur.”

      I am completely in agreement with Chris Hedges: who says that he far prefers incremental reform, in a genuinely democratic and transparent system, to sweeping, indiscriminate revolutionary change. Any sane person, with anything left to lose in this world, should be working hard to overthrow the tiny, revolutionary cadre of transnational kleptocrats who have seized control over our globalist system. They, in the words of assassinated U.S. President John F. Kennedy, have made peaceful revolution impossible, and thus make “violent revolution inevitable.”

      http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=9100

    2. EmilianoZ

      As Richard Kline, a former influential commenter here used to say: Revolution is for the very young. Greece was never gonna do a revolution with a population of pensioners.

      For not so young people (like most of us at NC I suspect) a revolution does not make sense. If it works at all, it will takes a few decades of broken eggs before things get better. The young will still be around to reap the benefits, but the old won’t. The young have to be the heart and soul of the revolution. The old will support it not out of hope but out of a sense of justice that apparently even animals possess.

      1. neo-realist

        My concern is can you get enough young people off their myopic occupations with their I-phones, their twitter accounts, their instagram accounts, and their snapchats, to take stock of the dire bigger scheme of things with respect to their economic lives and their liberties? Some of the actions with #BLM and the police brutality demonstrations are somewhat encouraging, but beyond some of the street actions, nothing much more in way of attempting to penetrate the system to really effect institutional change.

  12. Blurtman

    HSBC must face U.S. lawsuit over failed credit unions

    A federal judge rejected HSBC Holdings Plc’s (HSBA.L) bid to dismiss a U.S. lawsuit claiming that its failure to perform its duties as trustee for $2.37 billion of residential mortgage-backed securities contributed to the downfall of five federal credit unions.

    U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin in Manhattan on Monday night said the National Credit Union Administration had standing to sue even though most of the debt had been resecuritized, and the new trustee refused to sue HSBC on its behalf.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/07/21/us-hsbc-creditunions-lawsuit-idUSKCN0PV1WX20150721

  13. dante

    No Capital Controls for Oligarchs – Warren Buffett Buys Greek Island

    If you want to see what unrestrained parasitic financial oligarchy ultimately looks like, look no further than the humanitarian crisis in Greece turned unprecedented billionaire opportunity. With global wealth becoming more and more systemically concentrated in the hands of “insiders,” empty flats bought for tens of millions of dollars in London and Manhattan no longer cut it. These guys have billions of dollars, which means they need to start buying countries, or at least parts of countries; after they’ve been intentionally run into the ground via vulture financial colonialism of course.

    Enter Warren Buffet. Sure, he’s a harmless old grandpa, just like yours. He loves cherry coke, hamburgers, Dairy Queen, America and, you know, Greek islands.

    From Newsweek:

    Billionaire investor Warren Buffett has joined up with Italian real estate agent Alessandro Proto to purchase a Greek island off the coast of Athens.

    Consistently ranked as one of the wealthiest men in the world, Buffett and Italian millionaire Proto, acquired the island of St Thomas for €15m last Thursday, Proto Enterprises confirmed today.

    http://libertyblitzkrieg.com/2015/07/21/no-capital-controls-for-oligarchs-warren-buffet-buys-greek-island/#more-25591

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I think it’s safe to buy now that the Sea Peoples no longer roam the area.

      1. vidimi

        it was great upheaval that stirred the pelasgians initially and it looks like we’re heading in that direction again. of course, when the looting is done by the poor and opressed against the rich and powerful, then it becomes unacceptable.

  14. Chauncey Gardiner

    Seems that JPMorgan’s CEO is not responding well to the Fed’s requirement of $12.5 billion of additional capital at JPM mentioned in today’s linked article from the Financial Times. Perhaps somewhat related, the article also dryly notes, “The banks must comply with the rules to avoid being hit by limits on their dividend and bonus payments.”

    … And here’s former FDIC chair Sheila Bair regarding Mr. Dimon’s latest line of attack against financial reform:

    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/sheila-bair–will-regulators-cause-the-next-crisis–a-response-to-jamie-dimon-141839724.html

  15. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Hollande, a European government.

    Eventually, does the EU just have one seat at the UN, eliminating all the individual national seats?

  16. Robert Dudek

    Re: Poles souring on the euro… While the destruction of Greece indeeds serves as a warning to others in the Eurozone, it logically warns those outside to stay out. After all, if you are told about the nature of Hotel California, you’re going to think long and hard about booking there in the first place.

    Poles generally were enthusiastic entrants into the Eu because of the clear tangible benefits: being able to travel and work freely in other parts of Europe and common agricultural policy (Poland is among the least urbanized countries in Europe) being chief among them. Adopting the euro has very pale tangible benefits in comparison. Poles can easily hold multiple currencies in their bank accounts, and inflation history being what it is that is a prudent thing to do. As well, because of the low margins in the highly competitive foreign exchange market in Poland (a “kantor” within a short walk in most cities), there is little efficiency to be gained by eliminating the need for most foreign exchange. Against that, the loss of currency sovereignty is a huge negative and the events in Greek have provided definitive proof of that.

    1. Bridget

      I visited the Czech Republic in 2005. At that point they had joined the European Union, but had not yet adopted the Euro. It was, however, expected that they would do so within a few years. The Euro was definitely in circulation all over the country, accepted everywhere by merchants, restaurants, cabs, etc. I was also able to use Dollars for cab rides, as cab fares were at that time negotiated with the driver before beginning the trip. When the Greek troubles intensified a few weeks ago, I checked to see if the Czech Republic had ever gotten around to adopting the Euro. They have not, and are apparently very reluctant to do so at this point.

  17. JTMcPhee

    Two little bits on “debt sustains corruption:” First, query the assumption that the US is an “advanced economy.” “Sophisticated,” maybe, under the older definition of that word that has itself become “sophisticated” by usage abusage —

    SOPHISTICATE
    1: to alter deceptively; especially : adulterate
    2: to deprive of genuineness, naturalness, or simplicity; especially : to deprive of naïveté and make worldly-wise : disillusion
    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sophisticate; “Hillary Clinton is sophisticated and so is most of the rest of the politicalcorporate class” (That last bit is mine, of course) http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sophisticate

    Item B, regarding the categories of clientilistic corruption in Greece (and elsewhere, on vaster scale): Where is the entry for “Military expenditures and its bribery and fraud and waste and self-licking asymptotic idiocy”? It’s not like the numbers and behaviors and effects are not visible, with a little looking, and massive:

    “New report: no austerity for EU military spending,” http://roarmag.org/2013/05/new-report-no-austerity-for-eu-military-spending/

    And “Greece — Military Spending,” http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/europe/gr-budget.htm — “buy” a lot of (mostly German) war toys, greased by massive bribes, http://globalinsolvency.com/headlines/so-many-bribes-a-greek-official-can-t-recall-them-all, but trash the “actual defense” part of the military, the troops and readiness and operational capability and morale (leaving, of course, completely out of consideration the actual NEED for all that military stuff and costs, other than serving the NATO-Neocons’ dreams of Incirliking Global Power, http://www.incirlik.af.mil/, and the egos and advancement of the officer class and graft of their version of the Pentagon and contracting)

    One source’s opinion on how the “humanitarian crisis” and debt mountain came about: “Greek Debt Crisis Caused by Military Spending, Deficits, and Goldman Sachs Corruption,” http://aljazeerah.info/Opinion%20Editorials/2015/July/6%20o/Greek%20Debt%20Crisis%20Caused%20by%20Military%20Spending,%20Deficits,%20and%20Goldman%20Sachs%20Corruption%20By%20Erik%20Fair%20and%20Beat%20Balzli.htm

    And from 2012, this from the Guardian: “German ‘hypocrisy’ over Greek military spending has critics up in arms,” http://www.theguardian.com/world/2012/apr/19/greece-military-spending-debt-crisis

    Where, in all the accounting for the politcal-economic transactions between Greece and Germany and the rest of the world, does the idiocy and corruption that is the global military-corporatocratic Great Game monstrosity? Which of course has no connection to the Great Financialization and Crapification, does it?

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Please note we state that it’s against our comments policy to make comments on an unrelated thread. We also stated in our post where we announced our recent change in comments policy (and we urged readers to be sure they’d read it in Links for days after) that:

      We will continue to allow comments on Links, Water Cooler, original reporting, and media appearances by site writers. However, we are going to be strict about conversations on those posts. They are not an alternate venue for offering your views on posts where comments are closed. If you do that once, you get a warning and go into moderation. If you do it a second time, you will be banned.

  18. Susan the other

    Bill Mitchell. The EZ Project is Dead. But it never really lived. The fixed exchange rate and then the euro was the equivalent of a gold standard. Why doesn’t anybody look at that as the concept to get rid of? A protected currency protects an arbitrary value in order to protect money. Oxymoron to begin with. And it seems like only small degrees of difference whether it is a gold standard or a fixed exchange rate or a floating exchange rate. It is all used to maintain strong currencies. A total mirage. Devaluation of a currency is revaluation of labor. And labor can be all green.

    1. c (too)

      just a speck from the article:

      Fintan O’Toole’s column (July 14, 2015) – Tormenting Greece is about sending a message that we are now in a new EU – outlines the way that the European Union has been destroyed by the recent events.

      He says that “whole notion” of a “closer union” was built on “three conditions”:

      1. “the process of European integration was consensual – each member state would pool more and more of its sovereignty because it freely chose to do so.”

      2. “these incremental steps were, to use the terms applied to monetary union in the Maastricht treaty, ‘irreversible’ and ‘irrevocable’ – once they were taken, there could be no going back.”

      3. “unspoken but completely understood, was that Germany would restrain itself, accepting, in return for the immense gift of a new beginning that its fellow European countries had given it, that it must refrain from ever trying to be top dog again”.

      He considers the way that Greece has been treated in recent weeks “torched” these “fundamental conditions”.

      It is hard to disagree with him.

      Greece has become a colony of Europe and the IMF. Technocrats will now be allowed to march into Greeek ministries and demand access to documents and strategic intelligence.

      Remember, these characters are likely to be jumped-up graduates of some deeply flawed mainstream economics program who have little judgement, poor knowledge and an advanced sense of their own technical skills.

      Psychologists have concluded that mainstream economists display the same sort of antipathy towards their fellow citizen as sociopaths. Their students are prone to inheriting this cruel view of humanity.

      Greece will also have to submit its legislation to the Troika editors for their approval. Since when has a democratic nation had to do that?

      While Greece has been an important ideological experiment the faulty foundations were revealed long before the actual GFC manifested and go to the heart of how the ‘European Project’ has destroyed itself.

      Even as early as July 4, 1991, the European Commission issued a Communication to the European Council – Resuming Progress Towards Convergence of Economic Policies and Performances in the Community – in which they which expressed the concerns that it had for the lack of progress towards economic convergence, given that Stage II of the transition to economic and monetary union was “‘only two and a half years away”.

      The Commission identified “worrying set-backs” among some countries in terms of rising fiscal deficits in the face of an acknowledged “less favourable economic situation”.

      What they were finding almost immediately was that the fiscal rules envisaged under the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP) were not suitable for the swings in the economic cycle that European economies encountered and the impact those fluctuations had, via the automatic stabilisers, on the fiscal outcomes of the Member States.

      The Groupthink that has destroyed Greece in recent years was well advanced in 1991.

      The Commission, extraordinarily, claimed that it was appropriate for Member States to enact harsh fiscal cutbacks in the recessed environment of 1991 because:

      … the policies required to strengthen growth fundamentals are also those necessary to improve convergence.

      This is an early statement of the ‘fiscal contraction expansion’ mantra that has been at the forefront of the imposition of fiscal austerity during the current crisis.

      The fault lines in the monetary union thus were evident even before the Maastricht Treaty was signed. The austerity mindset was established by the Delors Report in 1989 and the denial has only intensified since that time.

      podcasts on arte (joint french/german cultural tvchannel):
      http://info.arte.tv/fr/tags/alexis-tsipras (french version)
      http://info.arte.tv/de/tags/alexis-tsipras (german version)

    2. micky9finger

      Well he was an officer.
      BUT, as a Viet Nam vet from 1968, I say you cannot bad mouth McCain’s war record. Just can’ t say a word.
      Of course his record in Congress is another story.

      1. vidimi

        that depends on whether accusing him of war crimes for bombing civilians is badmouthing or not.

  19. -jswift

    Thumbs up on the Harry Shearer presentation, some new material and insight, even for hardened NC readers.

  20. Oregoncharles

    From “The European Project is Dead,” Billy Mitchell:
    ” if Syriza had have shown leadership consistent with its mandate to end austerity it would have discussed with the Greek people the benefits of exit.”

  21. financial matters

    I thought Milios made some good points in his recent Jacobin article, Ending the Humanitarian Crisis.

    “The question is not recession versus growth in general, but redistribution of wealth, income, and power to the benefit of the working class; in other words, growth for the many, not growth for the sake of profits.”
    ——

    In this regard it seems that one of the worse things of the memorandum is the VAT tax. What is it for? To help the working class, to pay back loans or as punishment? It doesn’t work for the first 2 as it takes money from people that need help and it reduces demand so less money is ultimately available to pay back loans.

    If the VAT tax was abolished pensioners could be paid in scrip. This could be used to buy food and other necessities and therefore increase demand leading to an inequality reducing type growth. It could be given legitimacy by being accepted for payment of a tax such as a property tax.

  22. ekstase

    Your interview with Harry Shearer was really helpful in clarifying the issues on Greece. This topic can seem a little daunting, and I think this would be a good introduction for a lot of people.

  23. micky9finger

    Re:Why doesn’t anybody look at that as the concept to get rid of?
    Funny you should mention Bill Mitchell. He bangs on about that and more 5 days a week.

  24. ewmayer

    Re. the Flower Mountain – erm, I mean Bloomberg – ‘Wall Street Lenders Growing Impatient With U.S. Shale Revolution’ piece:

    I’ve been growing increasingly impatient with the Cold Fusion revolution – may I have a federal bailout of my bad bets on that, please? I promise to spend it on GDP stuff.

  25. BEast

    I have no problem with produce that’s quirky shaped. But I am getting tired of getting scolded about not wanting to buy fruits and vegetables that aren’t “perfect.” Often the flaws end up being more than cosmetic, particularly things you don’t eat right away, like fruit you have to wait to be ripe. Fruits and vegetables are too dear for me to buy the ones I know will be bad by the time I want to eat them, or ones I will have to cut away half.

    Carrots that branch, eggplant that twists, apples too pale or too lumpy? Yum. Fruit that’s already bruised, will be moldy when I want to use it, and probably already harbors fruit flies? No, and stop trying to guilt me into it.

  26. ewmayer

    BTW, a really good way to lengthen the shelf life of mold-prone fruit like strawberries – after rinsing, place into a sealable plastic container (either a tupperware-style one or a saved empty screwtop like many Costco items come in), add a small amount of vodka or tequila, then gently rotate to make sure the booze wets all the fruit surface, killing the bugs. You should use only a small amount of booze if you want the fruit to not taste liquor-y (i.e. just enough to wet the fruit, then collect at bottom of the container), more if you want a longer preservation time and don’t mind the ‘soused fruit’ taste. (In the latter case the liquid takes on the color and flavor of the fruit, e.g. yummy ‘Tequila de Fresa.)

    I used the above trick on a pound of sale-price ‘must be eaten today’ strawberries from the local farmers market – even put into the fridge they would have normally gotten very dodgy within 48 hours, instead they lasted a full week with 0 sign of mold, despite plenty of bruising.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      Put it into a blender and add a little more vodka and some ice and you won’t need to worry about mold or taking up space in the refrigerator.

    2. BEast

      Good idea! Of course, if not using booze, one shouldn’t rinse fruit like strawberries or raspberries until right before ready to use.

      I was more thinking of things like nectarines and peaches which need to ripen in paper bags outside of the fridge — if you buy those still hard (as they’re often transported, even to farmers’ markets), you want to make sure they’re not already bruised or broken-skinned, or they’ll be bad before they’re good. Or tomatoes, which of course you can refrigerate, but which taste much better if you don’t.

  27. Anonymous II

    The article How Human Resources Manipulates and Spies on You, Even When You’re Not at Work is very timely. I started posting here anonymously after I was slammed at work for comments I made in regard to the industry I work in. See, I won’t even tell you what industry that is because I will be hit again. No need to go into details, just suffice to say that I paid dearly for what the paymasters at my job considered to be an indiscretion. I was critical of the way the industry has captured the American public.

    However,
    We live in a corporate police state.
    However, many people are not willing to admit that because it. is. so. very. depressing.
    However,
    American workers need to draw on every ounce of inner strength as that will be required in the coming revolution.

Comments are closed.