Links 7/9/15

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The New York Stock Exchange goes down: inside the dystopian aftermath Guardian (Lambert). OMG, too funny.

Diving dolphins are exhalation champions PhysOrg. The dolphins were sports and cooperated with the research.

Exxon knew of climate change in 1981, email says – but it funded deniers for 27 more years Guardian

Are Uber and Lyft Driving Recalled Cars? American Prospect

Dog Needs a Walk? There’s an App for That New York Times (David L). Uber for dogs. Ugh.

Coal habits die hard as Australian miners boost exports Sydney Morning Herald (EM)

Meditating Portuguese actor mistaken for terrorist on Paris plane Reuters

China Stock Market Meltdown

China’s Efforts Fail to Contain Market Plunge New York Times

China bans major shareholders from selling their stakes for next six months Guardian

China stock market surges in volatile session BBC

Is that what China’s “whatever it takes” looks like? FT Alphaville. “A mangled, half-frozen , market up 6 per cent?”

5 Reasons Beijing’s Market Stabilization Has Failed WSJ China Real Time

Monkeys Fly in China Streetwise Professor

China Rout Spills Into Debt, Currency Markets Wall Street Journal

What’s known, unknown in money trail to Najib’s accounts – The Malaysian Insider

Tube strike: London grinds to a complete halt Telegraph

Lagarde: Development Role of the IMF C-Span (Kevin C)

Government expenditure accounted for 48.1% of GDP in the EU Eurostat. IsabelPS: ” Some are counterintuitive and some are downright surprising, like the social expenditure re unemployment (I’m comparing PT and GR, which have similar numbers in many things)”

Grexit?

Greeks Spend in Droves, Afraid of Losing Savings to a Bailout New York Times. Wow, this is sad. The earlier hard asset purchases came in February and March, of foreign cars. The appliance purchases in particular again are of goods that would be effectively denominated in Euros after a drachma introduction. From the article: “Panicked doesn’t begin to describe how people feel.” And mind you, this is the mainly somewhat to better off people doing what little they can to protect themselves.

No money, no supplies, no workers: Life for Greek small business ekathimerini

Countdown to Grexit deadline day Financial Times. Important. And you can see how many of the rigidities are driven by treaties. And in comments, someone suggested a mechanism for expulsion of Greece, although that hardly seems necessary (as in de facto, by virtue of forcing Greece to resolve and recapitalize its banks, would seem more than sufficient for their purposes for now). But would they use this to tidy up the de jure matters later? Let’s hope it does not get there. Reader thoughts? The comment:

An international treaty (such as the TEU) does not need to make explicit provisions for the expulsion of a signatory (for violations of treaty provisions) for this is regulated in Article 60 of the Treaty of International Treaties, Vienna 1969.

The EU *can* kick Greece out were it to violate the TEU (by eg introducing a new currency). In fact, it would have to go to some length to prevent such expulsion and I am unsure that the collective will would be there to prevent it.

ECB chief: It will be ‘really hard’ to prevent Grexit – and Russia won’t save them Telegraph

ECB Weidmann: Freeze on Emergency Loans to Greece Should Continue Until Deal Reached WSJ Economics

Syriza leftwinger opposes Greek bailout deal with creditors Financial Times. Not news for NC readers.

Alexis Tsipras loses Sigmar Gabriel, his last best hope in Germany Financial Times. Also not news if you have been paying attention, but important to bear in mind: “He has also all but eliminated the prospect of Europe’s centre-left parties rallying around an initiative by France’s socialist president, François Hollande to try to snatch a last-minute deal.”

What Greece Can Expect Carmen M. Reinhart, Bloomberg. Mind you, this looks ONLY as severe currency depreciation. We’ve stressed a Grexit entails far more dislocation due to the need to resolve all banks and get a new currency functioning.

Greek Bank Union President Louka Katseli told state ERT TV, that “money at the ATMs will be sufficient until Monday night” Keep Talking Greece. IsabelPS: “Second comment very telling.”

Greek crisis: Athens racing to deliver reform plan to avoid Grexit – live Guardian. Live blog. Greece has until Friday at 8:30 AM (at least according to Juncker on Tuesday) to deliver a detailed proposal. And see this subsection: Greece falls deeper into deflation

Setting a Deadline for Greece Proves Much Easier Than Sealing a Fate New York Times

Greece Is Merkel’s Failure Too Clive Crook Bloomberg

Syraqistan

Syrian refugees: four million people forced to flee as crisis deepens Guardian

In Tunisia’s Wild South, Dozens Slip Away to Join Jihad Bloomberg. Reslic: “No hope, no jobs, no chance to get married, except is2 offers wives too”

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Gestures Will Be the Interface for the Internet of Things Harvard Business Review (David L)

Medicare Plans to Pay Doctors for Counseling on End of Life New York Times

How Making Patients Pay for Drugs Breeds Superbugs Bloomberg (reslic)

The Silly Analogizing of Bernie Sanders to Ron Paul Angry Bear

VIRAL VIDEO: Cops Called After Kentucky Gay Couple Denied Marriage License Alternet

Google News Is Better at Collecting Data on Cop Killings than the F.B.I. Alternet

California Farms Are Using Fracking Wastewater to Grow Crops Bloomberg (Robert M)

New Mexico Cops Bummed They Can’t Just Steal People’s Money Anymore Alternet (YY)

Baltimore Fires Police Chief in Wake of Unrest and Crime Surge New York Times

The surprising decline in US petroleum consumption VoxEU

Goodlatte and Marino Statement on Recent Developments Regarding Puerto Rico House Judiciary Committee (Credit Slips)

Bad Math and a Coming Public Pension Crisis New York Times. BTW private pensions are a mess too but they can keep that hidden better.

I.R.S. Cracks Down on Hedge Fund Tax Strategy New York Times (reslic)

Oregon Becomes Second State To Offer Free Tuition To All Graduating High School Students Consumerist

Class Warfare

Data point to poorer global middle class Financial Times

Immigration and America’s Urban Revival American Prospect

Obama Unveils Stricter Rules Against Segregation in Housing New York Times

Chase settles many debt collection abuse cases — but not California’s Los Angeles Times. This settlement is pathetic.

Antidote du jour (furzy mouse). We featured one of this sculpture quite a while ago and thought readers might like seeing another one. The background:

South Dakotan sculptor John Lopez creates life-sized scrap metal sculptures with a uniquely Western American twist. In his hands, old discarded farm equipment is recycled into sculptures of iconic creatures from the American West like a bison, a horse plowing a field, or a Texas Longhorn. Lopez already had a career as a bronze sculptor, but after creating a family grave for his deceased aunt using scrap metal, he began creating recycled metal sculptures out of found or donated pieces of metal as well. “My favorite part about these pieces is the texture,” explains Lopez. “I just start grabbin’ stuff from the pile and welding it in, and if you weld enough of the same thing on over and over it creates this really cool texture that I’ve never seen in these kinds of pieces before. I think that’s what draws people in.”

metal horse links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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102 comments

  1. Yonatan

    “What’s known, unknown in money trail to Najib’s accounts”

    Why has the corruption allegation appeared now in this manner?

    The US (via its EU poodles) is looking to hold a rerun of the Yugoslav Tribunal against ‘suspects’ in the MH17. Malaysia was excluded from the so-called investigation, even though its citizens and aircraft were involved. It has called for a proper investigation. So Malaysia is not following the US script. We know what happens to governments that disobey the US’ demands.

    The Yugoslav Tribunal was very dodgy, amongst other things allowing for trial in absentia without input from defense, and the use of hearsay evidence. In short, a show trial.

    Given the air incident investigation is not yet complete, how can ‘suspects’ be ‘tried’. Even more, when one of the potential real suspects has a veto over what information is made public regarding the incident.

    At the moment, this strikes me as phase two of the Economic Hitman process (persuasion, regime change, assassination) outlined by Perkins.

  2. JohnB

    Came across this additional link on Greece – an anonymous interview with a ‘senior member’ on Syriza’s negotiatiing team:
    http://www.mediapart.fr/journal/international/080715/we-underestimated-their-power-greek-government-insider-lifts-lid-five-months-humiliation-and-blackm

    Gives some detail of Syriza’s point of view, and touches on some technical details I haven’t seen written about so far, but conflicts with other things I’ve read (such as Ambrose Evans-Pritchards recent writing), so maybe some of it is PR.

    An important read though,

    1. JohnB

      Tried to send this to the Corrente links page as well, but the ‘are you a human’ verification game isn’t showing.

    2. Robert Dudek

      This is a very interesting read. If accurate, it paints a grotesque portrait of the stonewalling tactics from the creditor side, leading me to believe that the Greek side had no chance of succeeding in getting less austerity. It also strongly suggests that Syriza did not comprehend the level of malevolence they were facing until very recently.

        1. Stelios Theoharidis

          Re: Grexit. I know this topic has been covered here. But, I don’t recall it being emphasized as much as may be justified. The role of unsustainable military expenditure in the Greek debt crisis is a lot more significant than even I would have believed.

          It is feasible to suggest that if Greek military expenditure would have been close to the average percentage of GDP of other European states that this crisis wouldn’t have been a reality at all. As it stands Greek expenditure is roughly twice the average, but it was actually higher in the early years of Greece joining the Euro. It appears that military expenditure was roughly 100 billion since joining the common currency, maybe significantly more if you take interest payments on those additional debts into consideration. I would say that 50 to 60 billion Euro is certainly not a drop in the bucket.

          So that brings the other European states into the conversation as they made it pretty clear for the Greeks not to reduce purchases of advanced weaponry or suspend payments on some of their larger purchases (tanks, submarines, and aircraft) after the debt crisis began. Even at this point the significant proportion of reductions in military expenditure has been reductions for military personnel rather than equipment (which is problematic in may ways for the Greek economy). They obviously had interest in selling the Greeks weapons. The Americans (the largest single supplier of weaponry, after which are the Germans and the French) even had interest in inflaming the Greeks against the Turks by fanning the flames between them. As a rule they would sell the Turks 10 dollars of weaponry for every 7 dollars of weaponry they would sell the Greeks, while NATO officials stressed the need for continued expenditure. Add the evidence of corruption, kickbacks, and bribes to Greek officials from European military contractors, it makes the situation significantly more damning.

          Anyway, it may be an aside, but I thought it was a very curious aside in the context of the current crisis.

  3. hemeantwell

    Re Syriza’s loss of support from Sigmar Gabriel, it’s important to consider just what kind of support the SPD was offering. From the FT article:

    Over the five years of the Greek crisis, the SPD, a decades-long fan of EU integration, has consistently backed the common currency’s vulnerable economies. In the Bundestag, it has voted for every Greek aid package, in contrast with Ms Merkel’s conservative CDU/CSU bloc, which boasts a growing band of Greece sceptics.

    Since 2001 the SPD has collaborated with German manufacturers to keep wages down and maximize German intra-EU competitive advantage against periphery industry. From the standpoint of writers like Lapavitsas and Flassbeck this is like offering transfusions to someone you’ve deliberately run over. And recently Mark Blyth, in accepting an award from an SPD organization for his book on austerity, used the occasion to shame them for this destructive collaboration.

    “http://https://www.jacobinmag.com/2015/02/germany-austerity-blyth-speech-spd/”>

  4. Carla

    Re: free tuition in Oregon.

    A few years ago the state of Massachusetts announced free tuition (all four years) in the state university system for high school students with good grades. My nephew qualified and decided to attend UMass at Amherst. Although tuition was free for him and his cohorts in the “good student” category, they were charged “fees” and of course room and board, which together at the time totaled $20,000 a year. As I recall, the room and board accounted for about half of that.

    1. Robert Dudek

      LOL,

      “Fees” of $10,000 per year.

      In Canada, tuition for most undergrad programs (in Quebec for locals, much cheaper) is between 4,000 and 5,000 CDN per year. And there are a lot of people that grumble about this.

    2. vidimi

      unfortunately, i don’t see this as a step in the right direction unless the for-profit nature of these institutions is seriously curbed. as it stands, the enormous costs of tuition are just transferred from students to the general public. in fact, when previously there was a limit to how much universities could raise tuition, they now have a buyer that is able to keep up with ever increasing rates. instead of this solving problems, i expect it to create an even bigger divide, albeit between the studious and the slacking.

      1. craazyboy

        I guess if the state will pay the tuition and you can get a student loan for the $10,000 in fees and maybe another few thousand for a season’s pass to the football games, then university revenue has some upside yet.

        This is one of those cases where the self styled “liberals” start to really annoy normal people.

      2. sleepy

        The statutes here involve states dropping tuition at state schools, not the for-profits.

        A problem I foresee at state schools is sort of the opposite—that the state will not make up the lost tuition dollars with general revenue, leaving a huge hole in the universities’ budget.

        So what will they cut? Academic programs, student services, employees’ pay and working conditions–boom times for adjuncts! What won’t they cut? lavish building projects, admin pay and working conditions, privatization deals with cronies, etc.

        I am all for no-tuition universities. I suppose I’m just being cynical here because I always figure that the powers that be will find a way to screw up something good.

        1. vidimi

          thanks for clearing that up. i didn’t see anything about that in the article although i did speed-read my way through it, which makes it easy to miss things.

      3. NotTimothyGeithner

        The states don’t have those resources. UMass (not Amherst so much) use to be an afterthought in the state house, so this is a positive step the state can make. It would be nice if they matched this move with a call for real change, but given the state of Team Blue in DC, there won’t be mass reforms. They use to let Billy Bulger collect tribute until he refused to testify about communications with his brother.

    3. Larry

      I recently learned about this fee process at the Massachusetts state level. Tuition is capped by the state legislature, and is pooled among all the state institutions. Fees are uncapped and stay at the local campus that collects them. So you’re right, tuition is now a small percentage of what makes up the cost of attending a residential college. Even if you do not reside and attend part time, you will be hit with fees. So free tuition is a nice headline, but can be meaningless in terms of cost of education.

      1. Brooklin Bridge

        Right. Tuition is free!!!! You only have to pay for shipping and handling…”

  5. Carolinian

    After 13 hours of debate the SC House votes at 1 am to remove the Confederate flag from the State House grounds. The Senate had already overwhelmingly approved.

    https://m.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2015/07/09/south-carolina-house-votes-to-remove-confederate-flag-from-statehouse-grounds/

    No word on whether they will now erect a Chamber of Commerce flag instead but we knew it was gone when BMW and Milliken came out for removal.

    The diehards will kvetch–yesterday I spotted a pickup truck with a giant battle flag in its bed–but could this be the end of the Southern Strategy? The Repubs, like the Dems, are running on the fumes of old strategies.

  6. JCC

    On the Wag! article, I’m not so sure that “Ugh” is the appropriate comment.

    My friend from LA recently told me about a girl he knows, recently unemployed, that is doing the Wag! thing (Uber for dog walkers). She has had $1K weeks and averages well over $500/wk. She loves it, spends most of her days getting good outdoor exercise walking nice dogs in nice neighborhoods and parks… instead of 2 hours or more a day on the I-405 on top of the 8 to 10 hours a day in an office cube.

    Not to mention happier dog owners trapped at work doing what she used to do and with less hyper dogs.

    What’s not to like?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The only thing not to like is that we don’t have enough rich or just not-so-rich dog owners, that we can’t scale it up in the world.

      And it’s a big world, with a dazzling array of life’s mysteries – like, for example, some dogs can afford doctors and treatments, and some humans can’t.

    2. Jerry Denim

      I’m a bit skeptic but might be willing to give Wag a try. Can you select a walker by rating or do you have to let the App select a walker for you by availability?

      Unlike taxi service apps where the client/passenger has the opportunity to bail out at any point if the driver appears to be intoxicated, or otherwise dangerous, dog walking entails the act of temporary guardianship and stewardship of a beloved animal that is more like a family member to most dog owners. Dogs are completely stupid (no offense intended, I love my Boxer but he would jump into any open car door with strangers without any thought of the consequences or how he would return home later, same goes for chasing squirrels into traffic) and they need to watched over by a responsible person with good judgment. Shortly after moving to LA last year my wife and I left our dog with the highest rated sitter on Dog Vacy for two nights and he came back looking half-starved, traumatized and missing a tooth. We weren’t impressed. Knowing that Uber doesn’t even bother to vet the criminal backgrounds or ensure the insurance status of their drivers what are we to assume about the operators of a dog walking app? What’s the barrier to entry? A pair of shoes? At least Uber Drivers have to be together enough to procure ownership of a car and a driver’s license. Sounds dicey.

    3. reslez

      Is this a serious question? What’s not to like is the hefty percentage Wag chops from your friend’s income, plus the fact she has pretty much zero leverage in negotiating with them– they can choose to end their association with her or decrease the amount they charge for her services at any time. Why should Wag’s executives engorge their bank accounts at your friend’s expense when all they do is provide a matchup service with rudimentary network effects. How is that adding productivity to the economy when a user or employee owned coop could do the same thing at much less expense and more freedom for everyone involved?

      1. JCC

        Sorry for my poor decision in liking Waq!. I had no idea that there were user or employee owned coops in the LA area for dog-walking. Obviously that would be anyone’s first choice for a temporary or part-time position, especially in a perfect world.

        Really, though, I’m not sorry at all. And apparently people missed part of my comment… she just lost her job, i.e., she has no income. I’m assuming (based on my own personal experience) it’s until she gets a new full-time job. And I also think that Uber/Lyft has given this model a very bad, and quite possibly in this case, undeserved reputation.

        I’m making this assumption as someone who has been in a no job/no UI position with a mortgage, utilities, car maintenance and gas for job hunting, food, etc., in the past. It’s frightening. Even with a degree and working as a very poorly paid public school substitute teacher when possible, I found myself borrowing money from friends and family to get by until the next job was secured. Those that criticize Wag! as being exploitative should try the unemployment gig with a mortgage/high rent and no UI sometime.

        It’s easy to armchair criticize something like Wag! and compare it to Corps like Lyft or Uber, but there is very little comparison relative to the investment required by the dog walkers vs. the drivers. My walking shoes cost multi-thousands less than my car and its maintenance, insurance, and depreciation costs. Also, walking with a dog in the park is a far healthier lifestyle both mentally and physically than carting inpatient people to LAX.

        If they end their association with her, what has she lost exactly compared to what she had while unemployed and before she took the contract? Income? She didn’t have any. Ability to negotiate? She didn’t have that with anyone? Equipment investment? A $40.00 pair of decent walking sneaks, not a car and it’s attendant costs.

        That networking infrastructure that the Wag! owners are supplying is not cheap and the networking available to her is probably far more valuable than anything she could have put together in time for the next rent due statement. And it did not cost her a dime.

        As a part-time job with minimal to no investment while running the job search to get back in the market, and until the coop exists that would allow a temp to join, I think it’s a pretty darn good alternative for keeping the other wolves from the door. I would take it over Lyft or Uber, or no job at all, 8 days a week.

    4. jrs

      I guess let her enjoy it if she wants but if it’s really all that much better than the average daily grind, with just about no barriers to entry (what are the barriers to entry, clearly you don’t need to pass exams like the bar, meet difficult certification requirements, or even have an increasingly worthless degree to dog walk right? Not everyone likes dogs but enough people do for that to probably not be a barrier), and no collective bargaining either, it won’t last.

      Wouldn’t labor market competition alone drive down compensation? And also no benefits. That type of stuff appears to work when you are young, hey no benefits but Obamacare is cheap for a young invincible, not using any real job skills, but pay and job are great for now. It often works less well in time. Of course if she uses it while training for a future career that would tend to work.

  7. Tammy

    Yves I spent the majority of yesterday late morning and early afternoon reading a commentary titled Listen Anarchist! by David Harvey, which compliments some of your and your readers common concerns. It is twenty-five pages in pdf format but worth your time, knowing you are feeling over taxed from the demands your site requires.

    I just want to say that you for all your (and your fellow columnists) work that is much appreciated–in agreement and at time disagreement. I hope you feel better soon because your health comes first.

    (The commentary by David Harvey can be read or downloaded at the link below:
    http://davidharvey.org/2015/06/listen-anarchist-by-david-harvey/#more-1871)

  8. vidimi

    re: California Farms Are Using Fracking Wastewater to Grow Crops

    geez, as if there wasn’t enough reason to avoid california produce. now i can’t think of any other origin i would less like my food to come from.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      That article is all over the place.

      The main point I take from it is that frackers/drillers are looking to recycle (cheaper now/near-future to treat) wasterwater from fracking for use at their drill-wells.

    1. ChrisFromGeorgia

      That certainly is an abomination – when the game doesn’t quite go the way you want to, just change the rules.

      If that kind of thing isn’t enough to swing a bunch of votes to Sanders and/or third parties, I don’t know what is.

  9. allan

    David Sirota: Senate Passes Bill Letting Schools Give Education Money To Financial Consulting Firms

    The legislation was tucked into the Senate version of a massive K-12 education funding bill currently up for congressional reauthorization. The amendment from Sens. Mark Warner, D-Va., and John Cornyn, R-Texas, would allow local officials to divert money from the federal government’s multibillion-dollar fund for low-income school districts and use the cash to hire financial consulting firms. Both lawmakers are among the U.S. Senate’s top 10 recipients of campaign money from the financial industry, and Warner is a former venture capital executive.

  10. Chris in Paris

    On the ref to Art. 60 of the Vienna Treaty of Treaties, Greece would have to be in “material breach” of the TEU to be expelled (I can’t see how that could be, unless Greece were practically in a state of war with another Member State…).

    Also, expelling Greece would require a unanimous vote of the other Member States. I’m dumbfounded as to how Grexit can happen except de facto. Unless something truly extraordinary occurs in the meantime, this coming Monday morning, Greece will still be a member of the Eurozone and a Member State of the European Union.

    Perhaps brighter legal minds here can enlighten me.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Can the parties claim not paying EU dues in Euros or an accepted currency represents a violation of the treaty if they moved to a new drachma in the sense that the European super government has no use for dramas? Right now, Greece hasn’t missed an EU payment and generally accepted terms which over the long term have made it impossible to work towards European unity which is the goal of the treaties.

      Obviously, this will never fly, but Greece has never harmed the signatories.

  11. Blurtman

    From Senator Murray:

    Dear Blurtman,

    Thank you for writing to share your thoughts on trade legislation that Congress recently considered. The Senate recently debated the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015, more commonly known as TPA, and the Trade Preferences Extension Act of 2015, which includes a long-term extension of Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA). I appreciate hearing from you on this important issue.

    As your United States Senator, one of my highest priorities is fighting for policies that create jobs and economic growth in Washington state. I believe the federal government should be working to grow the economy from the middle out, not the top down, which is why I have been fighting to raise the minimum wage, expand access to paid sick leave to all workers, and make sure women earn equal pay for equal work.

    As you may know, Washington is the most trade dependent state in the nation. 40 percent of all jobs in Washington state are tied to international trade. I believe it is critical for our economy that trade agreements move us in the right direction when it comes to leveling the international playing field for our businesses, protecting our workers and the economy, and holding other countries accountable for environmental protections and fair labor standards.

    I voted in favor of TPA to give President Obama the authority to negotiate trade agreements that are good for Washington state, create jobs, and help Washington state businesses sell their goods overseas. I also voted to help support workers who have been adversely impacted by trade-related transactions. Both TPA and TAA passed the Senate on June 24, 2015, and were signed into law on June 29, 2015. I also voted in support of a companion bill, the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015, which includes customs and enforcement provisions that will allow the U.S. government to ensure that other countries are holding up their end of the bargain when it comes to international trade. I believe that it is important to work with our trading partners to ensure that they comply with internationally accepted norms with regard to labor, environment, human rights, and intellectual property standards.

    The bills that passed through the Senate with bipartisan support lay out a framework for future trade agreements, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which is currently under negotiation. TPA simply empowers President Obama to fight for a good deal. It is now up to him and his negotiators to get that done, and then it will be up to Congress to determine if it is good enough.

    The provisions of TPA will help the United States negotiate trade agreements that encourage innovation, protect the environment, and support economic growth. For the first time, trade agreements must be made public for 60 days prior to Presidential signature to ensure Americans have an opportunity to review the deal, and when trade agreements come back to Congress for review, I will evaluate them based on the impact they would have on jobs and economic growth in Washington state and across the country.

    Again, thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with me. If you would like to know more about my work in the Senate, please feel free to sign up for my updates at http://murray.senate.gov/updates.

    Sincerely,
    Patty Murray
    United States Senator

    1. allan

      I believe that it is important to work with our trading partners to ensure that they comply with internationally accepted norms with regard to labor, environment, human rights, and intellectual property standards.

      Which is why we just threw Malaysia’s workers under the bus:

      WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States is upgrading Malaysia from the lowest tier on its list of worst human trafficking centers, U.S. sources said on Wednesday, a move that could smooth the way for an ambitious U.S.-led free-trade deal with the Southeast Asian nation and 11 other countries.

  12. Chris Geary

    What I’m interested in is even if Tsipiras can present an “acceptable” plan to the creditors, can he get it through the Greek parliament? One week after the Oxi vote? Without imploding Syriza in the process?

    1. Jim Haygood

      The WSJ quotes a 72-year-old Greek pensioner:

      “I voted ‘no’ and now look at this,” he said. “I can’t get my medications, and next week we may be using drachmas.”

      http://www.wsj.com/articles/fear-grows-in-greece-as-decisive-hour-nears-1436399935

      Lots of Americans gonna be saying the same in 2017: ‘I voted Depublicrat and now look at this. I’m off my meds cuz they tripled my Obamacare premium.’

      Meanwhile, America’s Greece (Puerto Rico) isn’t even thinking about introducing a PR peso. Years of ‘free’ Medicaid, Medicare and SNAP induces complete dependency.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Remember, it’s not always the darkest before the dawn.

        For example, at the dawn of the Dark Ages, it just got darker and darker, as one entered deeper and deeper into the, er, Dark Ages.

        1. Lambert Strether

          I’ve heard the argument made (by Graeber?) that for Roman slaves, becoming a feudal peasant was a big step up.

          Of course, that transition didn’t happen all at once, but at least peasants had some rights, instead of just being bought and sold and then used for any purpose whatever.

          So, “dark” for whom?

          1. Vatch

            It’s correct that serfdom was an improvement over slavery. But some people who became the precursors of serfs were tenant farmers who had previously been free. During the reign of Diocletian (284-305 CE), taxes were based on both the land and the land’s inhabitants, so the government had an incentive to inhibit the ability of people to sell their land or move. The full development of serfdom took centuries, but it was partly based on restrictions on the freedom of non-slaves.

          2. alex morfesis

            which peasants had what rights ??

            peasant is a term handed out over the last three centuries that people have had a chance to read things, to create this illusion that they were not slaves…

            printing press creates opportunity to expand neanderthal mind…

            neanderthal mind needs to be serenaded with pleasant words lest the memories of the past create hostilities…

            first nights anyone ??

            1. alex morfesis

              almost seems like a monty python skit…

              slave…???

              you are not a slave…

              “yers szirs I ams a slave…”

              no…no…slavery is for slave people…

              “butz i havz no rites nar freedumbs…”

              freedumbs…???

              you have lots of freedumbs…

              you are not a slave…

              you are a …

              are a…

              like a pheasant…

              you can fly away anytime
              you want…

              “peasant ???”

              ah..hmmmm…

              yes that is what i meant…

              you are not a slave…you are a peasant…

              so go be peasantee…and do peasant things…

              see, you are not a slave after all…

              “ahnd what about demz fyrst knights ??”

              oh don’t be silly lad, that is not a bug…its a…

              1. alex morfesis

                was tempted to let it go…

                but…

                the charter is for “free men”

                or

                “good and law worthy men”

                not serfs nor villeins

                and that was 1271

                and it describes the existing lands of the free men who were now part
                of the “forest” claimed by the King…and it was a restoration of some type
                of the king having claimed a “forest” that included the lands (woods) of bishops on
                down…

                there was something called

                the black plague

                (not the 1922-1945+ kind that used bullets and gas, not mice and fleas)

                and it gave the world

                the Ordinance of Labourers (1349) followed by the Statute of Labourers(1351)

                there are some sources that claim the term serfdom was brought forth only after the 1848 disturbances…

                either way…

                happy little slave I be…happy happy

                oh..almost forgot the

                oath of fealty

                you bettah woyk

          3. Oregoncharles

            Peasants had rights and even property – until the Enclosures drove them into the Satanic Mills.

            Apparently the Dark Ages get a bad rap. They’re “dark” because there aren’t a lot of records, but I’ve read (sorry, link not to hand) that they were a hotbed of technological innovation – f’rinstance,windmills. And then there’s the Magna Carta, right at the end.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        By the way, I have been thinking about the New World equivalent to the existential threat to the Old World Union (EU) of a Grexit.

        And perhaps it’s not PRexit (Puerto Rico), but Cubexit.

        Looking back, even with the loss of Cuba, Cubexit, over the last 50 years, the New World Union has gotten stronger.

        That event half a century ago did not end the New World Project, as we contemplate on a possible end to the Old World Project.

  13. alex morfesis

    105 stars

    time to redo the american flag…

    it has been quite a while since america added states…

    54 greek perfectures and one commonwealth in the carib…

    oye como va…mihita

    opa opa opa…mulata

    oye como va….

    dollarize the problems…

    big problems require big solutions…

    3 million people needing an extra 250 per month is the shortfall…7.5 billion per year to expand the american foot print…

    wont happen since we live in a time of pea brained self appointed “leaders”…but it is a small price to pay to prove who the real global hegemon is…

    teddy roosevelt and fdr after him were from the oldest banking company of its time

    roosevelt and sons was broken up by fdr with glass/steig…one of its remainder firms is at 55 bway as roosevelt and cross

    the world needs leadership…it is lacking today…with one too many lackeys…or is it lackees…

  14. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Antidote.

    This neo-Luddite could live with a self-driving, solar-powered robot-horse like that.

    Imagine, a Western movie with our hero-cowboy-robot riding one like that, in a parched California arroyo, and overhead, robot-storks delivering not just some parcels of trinkets purchased on-line, but human babies.

  15. craazyman

    anybody experiencing “comment withdrawal symptoms”? I hear it’s sort of like Xanax withdrawal. Your brain chemicals get used to “comment posting gabanucleonic stimuli” and your entire brain chemistry crashes if comments are taken away. It must be hard, that’s for sure.

    Not to be able to pettifog, name-call and nitpick with ponderous, soporific, repetitive, colorless prose. hahahaha. Getting sucked up by the DELETE-IT algo (Drivel Entirely Lacking Edifiyingly Thoughtful Elucidation = It’s TOAST!) and then moaning and groaning.

    Your lucky actually. DELETE-IT is not a critic, it’s a teacher.

    Oh well, Back to logic and eroodishun. No more foolin around with blunt force textual trauma for you PG boneheads. If you wanna get taken seriously now, you have to earn it.

    1. craazyboy

      It shouldn’t be too hard to take, as long as we can still comment on new math and non-classical applied physics in the Links and Water Cooler section. Plus if they could fix The Devoureror to stop eating all youtube links, that would cut down on the moderation workload as well. Ignore the metaphysical at your own peril!

      1. craazyman

        Yeah that stuff interests me more than EGO Nomics.

        I’m good for 2 or 3 comments per day. I can’t wheel back and deliver 20 or 30 like some people. I’m way too spaced out for that. I think too much and care too much about precision and manners.

        Especially at lunch hour. Like now. I can Wheel back and spout 1 or 2. That’s a good afternoon for me in the PG.

        If they get DELETE-ITd. I don’t care. Who cares? Nobody has to apologize or sift through the sewer of SPAM and Moderation. Just delete it all. I couldn’t care less if they get posted or not. There’s more in my head, new ones every day!. hahahahah

        1. craazyboy

          Ya’d think you think you could only poke so many holes in economics, and then you’d be done with it. But I have to admit econ seems to be much more resilient than me, and I don’t think after 8 years or so I’ll miss beating on my keyboard trying to make it go away.

  16. rich

    09 July 2015
    Taibbi: Eric Holder, Wall Street’s Double Agent

    “Holder doubtless seriously believed at first that in a time of financial crisis, he was doing the right thing in constructing new forms of justice for banks, where nobody but the shareholders actually had to pay for crime. You’ve heard of victimless crimes; Holder created the victimless punishment.

    But in the end, it was pretty convenient, wasn’t it, that “the right thing” also happened to be the strategy that preserved Democratic Party relationships with big-dollar donors, kept the client base at Holder’s old firm nice and fat, made the influential rich immeasurably richer and allowed Eric Holder himself to crash-land into a giant pile of money upon resignation.

    What a coincidence! In any civilized country, it’d be a scandal. In America, though, he’s just another guy selling whatever he can to get by. It was just too bad that what Holder had to sell was the criminal justice system.”

    Matt Taibbi, Eric Holder, Wall Street Double Agent, Comes In From the Cold

    Holder was no rogue political appointee. He was very much in the mainstream of the Wall Street wing of the Democratic Party, founded by the Clintons. Obama did nothing to reform it and added Big Healthcare and Big Pharma into the corporatist money mix.

    And so these reformers, throwing their constituency under the bus, have become the facilitators of the deep capture of our regulatory and political system in a bipartisan effort to get rich.

    http://jessescrossroadscafe.blogspot.com/2015/07/taibbi-eric-holder-wall-streets-double.html

    1. flora

      Great Taibbi article. Thanks. It’s govt sanctioned financial predation that we all end up paying for. And as you say: both parties are wholly captured by neoliberal ideology.

      Michael Hudson has an article in CounterPunch about EU and troika’s sanctioned financial predation and lop-sided rules. It makes a good companion piece to Taibbi’s.

      “The Financial Attack on Greece: Where Do We Go From Here?”

      “…Only the banks get bailed out, now that they have become in effect the economy’s central planners.

      “…Today’s guiding theory – backed by monetarist junk economics – is that debts of any size can be paid, simply by reducing labor’s wages and living standards, plus by selling off a nation’s public domain – its land, oil and gas reserves, minerals and water distribution, roads and transport systems, power plants and sewage systems, and public infrastructure of all forms.
      “ Imposed by the monopoly of inter-governmental financial institutions – the IMF, ECB, U.S. Treasury, and so forth – creditor financial leverage has become the 21st century’s new mode of warfare. …
      “…More fatally, the eurozone has no ability – or at least, no willingness – to create money to fund deficit spending. What it calls a “central bank” is only designed to provide money to domestic banks and, even worse, to lobby for the interest of private bankers against the principle of public central bank money creation.
      “…The EU does not even have a meaningful legal system empowered to fight fraud and financial crime, prosecute or clean up insider dealing and corrupt oligarchies. …”

      http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/07/08/71809/

  17. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Tube strike, London.

    If you were thinking about selling your Chinese stocks from your London townhouse, taking the subway to the estate agent to wire that money and close the purchase for that charming villa on a sunny Greek island, well, you can forget about it now.

    You are looking at strike three.

  18. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    BBC – Chinese stock market surges.

    Ban on major holders (>5%) selling for 6 months.

    It’s equivalent to getting $0 for your portfolio for 6 months. Unless you can borrow against that (hopefully at 100% value), you don’t have money to buy that mansion in Manhattan (or building more ghost apartments).

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Well, the velocity of money will suffer – no money for expensive Pu-er tea, antiques and other displays of conspicuous consumption – so they might as well just get those ‘evil’ guys – what were formerly denounced as reactionary capitalist walking dogs – and whoever hacked the American NYSE (well, maybe not the latter – too far away).

        Maybe to wise to have a little Mao’s Red Book handy, just in case.

        1. craazyboy

          Mao would never pledge a trillion $ (for starters) in ZIRP loans to Chinese brokerages for the purpose of propping up the stock market via more leverage. Then we still have to see what contagion transmission paths there are in China from equity markets(and brokerages) back to to banking.

          I have a nagging suspicion this may be an attempt to perfect “MMT From Hell” – where the “currency issuer” endlessly revives the zombies – but inflation remains in check because the 99.9% don’t have any money or adequate income. Then they can keep doing it, because low inflation. Then the zombies live large forever.

          I hope it doesn’t work and breaks somehow. Otherwise the Western world will do it too. Oh wait….

          1. John Smith

            Well, it’s nice to see that no one can make central banking work properly yet but we’ve only been trying since 1694 or so.

  19. financial matters

    I thought this was an interesting interview of Jamie Galbraith by Lynn Parramore. He relates a worn out and frustrated Tsipras calling the referendum. I think seeing pensioners lining up at ATMs takes its toll. Tsipras may have even seen a yes vote as some relief.

    The no vote almost implies that the Greece public is further ‘left’ than Syriza. This could be a ‘new socialism’ response to continued austerity. The ECB is certainly treating it in a harsh manner. I thought Galbraith had an interesting takeaway

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lynn-parramore/jamie-galbraith-the-greek_b_7762244.html

    “This is what terrifies the European elites about the Greek situation. What Syriza did was to wipe out — and the referendum completed the job — the leadership of the previous sort of condominium of governing parties, which were a neoliberal conservative party and a neoliberlized social party. Now what do you find in the rest of Europe? Look at Germany, look at France. You find exactly the same thing. And of course, the elites in those countries fear the same phenomenon. So what we’re seeing is an allergic reaction to what they regard as a political threat of the first order.”

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Looking back at Cuba, again, i think, and I may be wrong, but it was not a political threat of the first order to the jefes of the New World Union, until the Soviets, basically the Russians, came in.

      So, maybe, the European Union people should not over-react over Greece, unless they see a first move by Putin.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        The wiki indicates Cuba was little more than a curiosity for the Soviets until after JFK signed the embargo.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Good point and a lesson for the Old World Union fuehrers not to over-act.

      2. juliania

        This article is posted over at therealnews.com. It makes the sequence of events read as a concealed bailout by European banks transferring their own tax dollars back to those banks by using Greece as a conduit. I can’t speak to the truth of this, but it would explain the inflexibility of the troika. (Scroll down to the articles at realnews, beneath the videos.)

        A Pain in the Athens: Why Greece Isn’t to Blame for the Crisis
        Mark Blyth

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Looking back, perhaps it was my inability at reading comprehension or maybe the referendum was badly designed, but the No vote can have a few different implications:

          1. No, we don’t want the Euro (this claim denied by Tsipras)
          2. No, we don’t want the June 30 ‘final’ offer. We want a less austere one. (commonly assumed one)
          3. No, we don’t like the June 30 ‘final’ offer. We want a more austere one. (Admittedly, I missed this one and just realized I have been tricked).

          The entire episode reminds one of the Oracle of Delphi – A great empire will be destroyed in the coming war.

          1. norm de plume

            Yes, but perhaps Germany makes a more fitting Croesus than Greece.

            Pyrrhus too, for that matter.

  20. shinola

    Re the NYT article about pension funds & bad math:

    I’m not a math wizard but I think NYT let an example of bad math slip by. An actuary (no Less) claims that a pensioner collecting $50k at age 50 would be collecting $250k at age 100 assuming an annual COLA of 3%.
    Odds of living to 100 aside, my crude calculations put that amount at about $212k. So the actuary appears to be overstating the total increase by about 18%.
    (He must have used the tables the pension uses to predict fund gains [snark])

    I know there are some math wizards in here, so if I’ve made an error, please feel free to correct my figures.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It will be great to have a single pension and we can all collect pension at 50, at $50K a year.

      Typically, and i realize everyone is different, but by the age of 50, in a functioning society, the house mortgage should have been paid off, the kids independent, and past one’s the peak consumption years.

      And if we had a healthy Medicare and a sane single payer health insurance (for all, but the pertinent part as it relates to the example under discussion here, that is, those over 50), one should not (or maybe one still needs – I welcome criticisms and facts to the contrary, assuming, as I said at the beginning of this sentence that if we had a sane health coverage for those over 50) need $50K at that age, when a working person makes that much and have to pay mortgage and raise kids.

    2. Jim Haygood

      You can calculate the multiplier exactly as (1.03)^50 = 4.3839. Multiply by $50K to obtain $219.195K after 50 years of COLA.

      The magic of compounding, comrades: don’t get on the wrong side of it.

      1. John Smith

        The magic of compounding, comrades: don’t get on the wrong side of it. Jim Haygood

        Don’t assume there is a right side either.

          1. John Smith

            It’s not the lending but the interest that is the problem according to some Hebrew guys.

            Interest was allowed from foreigners but the purpose was to bring them into subjugation, eg. Proverbs 22:7

            Interest rate suppression by central banking, though well intentioned, replaces one problem, usury, with another one, fiat creation for special interests, the banks, instead of for the general welfare only.

    3. ewmayer

      Yes, 3% is too low, but one only needs exp(log(5)/50) = 1.0327… (i.e. 3.27…% annual appreciation) to get 5x, so 3% is only a slight understatement.

      We should be worried more about the truly heroically bad maths, like the fact that many pension funds still assume 8% long-term annual returns when they compute their ‘needed inputs’.

  21. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Life for Greek small business, ekathimerini.

    I wonder how criminals (and there are criminals in every country) are faring over there?

    Minimal impact?

    Business better than ever?

    Suffering?

    1. THOMAS BARTON JD

      SOME 12 MINUTES AGO THE GUARDIAN LIVE FEED SAID THAT THE GREEK NEGOTIATORS HAD CAPITULATED TO THE TROIKA ON THE MONSTROUS 23 PER CENT VAT WHICH THE REPORT NOTED ALSO APPLIES TO RESTAURANTS. MY GRANDPARENTS RAN A SUCCESSFUL PAINT STORE IN WELLINGTON KANSAS IN THE 1950’S AND 1960’S AND THEY WOULD BE APOPLECTIC IF THEY HAD HAD TO DEAL WITH A 23 PER CENT TAX ON EVERY TRANSACTION. THIS IS MADNESS, DEFLATIONARY BOTH TO THE FLOW OF MONEY IN THE ECONOMY AND DEFLATIONARY TO THE SPIRIT OF BUSINESS OWNERS AND RESTAURATEURS. I CAN ONLY IMAGINE THE FURY RISING INSIDE YOUNG MEN AND WOMEN WHO ARE SEEING THEIR FUTURE BEING GROUND TO DUST. I WILL SAY NO MORE AS I AM ON THE POINT OF BOTH DESPAIR AND FURY. THE TROIKA HAS DEMOLISHED THE PRETENSE OF A HUMANE EUROPEAN UNION.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Tsipras’s own imaginary insane mandate – No to the June 30 ‘final offer,’ we want a more austere one.

        More austere!

        Crazy.

      2. flora

        Micheal Hudson calls the troikas actions a financial attack on Greece the 21st c. form of warfare.

        “A genuine market economy would recognize financial reality and write down debts in keeping with their ability to be paid. But inter-government debt overrides markets and refuses to acknowledge the need for a Clean Slate. Today’s guiding theory – backed by monetarist junk economics – is that debts of any size can be paid, simply by reducing labor’s wages and living standards, plus by selling off a nation’s public domain – its land, oil and gas reserves, minerals and water distribution, roads and transport systems, power plants and sewage systems, and public infrastructure of all forms.

        Imposed by the monopoly of inter-governmental financial institutions – the IMF, ECB, U.S. Treasury, and so forth – creditor financial leverage has become the 21st century’s new mode of warfare. It is as devastating as military war in its effect on population: ”

        http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/07/08/71809/

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I am also interested to hear how Greeks are dealing with the shortage of cash.

      Are they using gold, silver, jewelry, art or other valuables as money?

  22. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Dolphins cooperated with the research.

    The act of studying is an act of aggression.

    No person would like to be others know his/her secrets.

    “I have studied you thoroughly” sounds as ominous as it in fact is. “I surveillance you 24/7 in order to get to know you.” (“And if you are not aware of it, maybe I experiment on you a little bit.”)

    Sorry, I don’t want to be studied.

    And the golden rule is then, don’t study others who are not your enemies, like photons or fruit flies – if you don’t want to be studied, don’t study others.

    Philosophically, then, it’s hard not to do away with a lot of college departments.

  23. Oregoncharles

    “The dolphins were sports and cooperated with the research. ”

    Makes you wonder how much, or just how, they understand their interactions with people. There are cases of sexual interactions, for instance, and the long-standing stories of them rescuing drowning people. What did the dolphins think was going on during this research?

    A case of a deeply alien mind that we have access to. Come to think: that question works both ways.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I read a very good book by a philosopher that argued that dolphins are non-human persons. We can study primates comparatively easily, so we have a good understanding of their intelligence level, but we don’t study dolphins any where near as much due to the difficulty. And there’s a second issue: the importance of echolocation with dolphins. Their echolocation allows them to see into things, as in they can detect densities. For instance, one captive female dolphin would make a particular display when she “saw” as encountered in water, a pregnant woman. She occasionally identified women who did not know they were pregnant!

      One story from the dolphin book that I liked: Some researchers were working on a platform in the ocean and they became friendly with the dolphins in the area. The researchers would leave some gear on the platform. A really big unexpected storm came up and washed everything off the platform.

      One of the women researchers had a kit she had used and she was upset to lose it. It had a lot of very expensive equipment in it.

      When she came back to the platform, one of the dolphins that knew her saw her. He went and dug in the sand in the bottom of the ocean (it was pretty shallow), and came back with her kit on his beak.

      Now get what that means: he understood ownership or maybe had seen her use the tools in the kit and understood that she’d want it back and did her the favor of getting it for her.

      You can say that’s anthropomorphism but it’s hard to come up with another explanation.

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        Please, if at some point you can recall the name of the book and/or its author, I would much appreciate the reference.

        I know nothing about dolphins but I have known many cats, birds and rodents. I believe assertions of anthropomorphism are little more than a self-interested refusal to see and understand plain evidence contrary to a convenient and comfortable belief in human superiority and human right to have domain over other creatures.

        I suspect our minds have much more in common with the minds of animals living in our world than with the minds of animals, like dolphins, who live in and perceive an entirely different world. That combined with their obvious intellect makes dolphins especially interesting.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          It was hard to find the book again (it’s buried somewhere in my apartment and the title does not have “non-human persons” in it), but here it is! It’s short and the author laments that he wishes there was more underlying material. But my recollection is that it was very clearly written.

          http://indefenseofdolphins.com/the-author/

          BTW India has designated dolphins to be non-human persons:

          http://www.trueactivist.com/india-declares-dolphins-non-human-persons-dolphin-shows-banned/

  24. NeqNeq

    RE: “Really hard to prevent a Grexit”

    Reuters is reporting (sorry if already mentioned):
    “Schaeuble, who makes no secret of his doubts about Greece’s fitness to remain in the currency area, told a conference in Frankfurt: “Debt sustainability is not feasible without a haircut and I think the IMF is correct in saying that.

    But he added: “There cannot be a haircut because it would infringe the system of the European Union.”

    I can’t decide if this is 1) a pressure play 2) a signal that Grexit is now done and they are just waiting for the press conference or 3) largely irrelevant. Smarter minds want to weigh in?

    1. Jim Haygood

      Debt that can’t be paid, won’t be paid. If Schaeuble is correct that a haircut would infringe EU law, then a Greek default is inevitable. Too bad it’s taken six lost years and two ineffectual bailouts to reach this conclusion.

      Germany regards Grexit as irrelevant because it will have little fiscal impact on Germany. But the default and impoverishment of a eurozone member will profoundly damage confidence in the EU, particularly its euro currency. From launch in 1999 to shedding a laggard member in 2015: that’s a rather short life cycle for a currency that was supposed to endure perpetually. Time for a rethink!

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      The reporting on Greece has generally been lousy. In fact, Nathan and I have been discussing how a lot of the popular views are based on layers of misunderstanding, which makes it really hard to cut through them.

      The creditors have been really abusive but they are being accused of abuses they did not commit too. It was ALWAYS expected that Greece would get debt relief. The big fight that Greece made (Varoufakis was big on this) was timing. The creditors insisted on the “reforms” coming first. They were part of the “second bailout”, the deal done in 2012. Syriza had campaigned on renegotiating them.

      Varoufakis ALSO wanted debt relief negotiated at that time. The creditors said no, that would be part of the “third bailout”. Everyone thought they’d roll immediately from the deal on the structural reforms to negotiating the debt relief.

      There is also BTW an issue on the debt relief. The Eurozone can’t do it as a debt writedown (reducing the principal amount) without that hitting the budgets of the governments that provided guarantees THIS YEAR. That would be a huge hit to taxpayers and very contractionary. So you would not be getting rid of austerity, you’d be transferring it from Greece to all the other countries in the Eurozone in one big blow.

      What the creditors have been willing to do and have done in the past is reduce the economic value of the debt via extending maturities, lowering interest rates, and deferring interest payments. That has the effect of spreading out the losses to taxpayers over a much much longer period of time.

      However, there are limits to how much debt relief you can achieve that way.

      But the flip side of all the misreporting is that the ECONOMIC value of the Greek debt is way below the 175% of GDP face amount. It’s more like 70% of GDP. That would be sustainable IF Greece were not in a horrible depression. But the IMF and Eurozone rules can’t stomach what it would take for Greece to get out of its horrible depression, which per Bill MItchell is deficit spending of 10% of GDP for quite a while. So if you won’t fix the economy because you won’t spend enough to get growth, yes, you need a ton of debt relief.

      1. norm de plume

        Speaking of Bill Mitchell, he really takes the gloves off in his latest, and while he again takes a hammer to the Troika ‘Recession Cult’, Tspiras and co cop plenty:

        ‘The options were clear:

        maintain the dignity of the Greek people, respect the democratic sentiment (not only in the referendum but also in the January national election outcome, and reject austerity and tell the Eurogroup to jump. Next day, exit and restore growth; OR

        surrender like surrender monkeys, scrap the finance minister who the spivs from the north hated, and sell the Greek people down the drain.

        Apparently, there had been planning whereby the Bank of Greece would issue vouchers (in euros) to keep the system afloat while the Greeks defaulted on their debts to the ECB (next tranche to be due) and fought it out with the Eurogroup. That option was rejected as being “too dangerous”.

        So now we know what has transpired. The simple and easily interpreted story is contained in the documents that the Greek government has now submitted for approval…

        They read like some twisted Baltic-state dreamworld. Vicious, penal, capricious austerity and privatisation as far as the eyes can read. Dirty, neo-liberal austerity that will attack the most disadvantaged and drive the nation back into a deep recession. Filthy austerity that is the exact opposite to what the Syriza politicians said to the Greek people they would do when they went for their ‘job interviews’. They are now all earning their salaries on the basis of a treacherous deception. They should resign.’

        He also links to another tub-thumping speech from Nigel Farage, during which Tspiras looks almost sea-sick.

        http://bilbo.economicoutlook.net/blog/?p=31345#more-31345

        1. financial matters

          I think Bill Mitchell has it right economically that Greece would do fine on the drachma.

          But why should ECB foolishness be able to destroy the EU?

          Bill Mitchell’s policies make perfect sense to me but they are also not being followed by the UK, US, Australia, Canada etc.

          If Greece gets some breathing room maybe we’ll see what it has for an employment program.

  25. Jeremy Grimm

    I found the American Prospect’s “Immigration and America’s Urban Revival” especially troubling. Suppose I accept the assertion of the subtitle, “Immigration has helped reduce crime and revitalize city economies.” What should I infer from that?

    I chose to live in an area with a high proportion of first generation immigrants and temporary immigrants (I suspect chiefly H1-B Visa holders based on my limited exposure to such details of their lives). I expected and found low crime in the area and a high regard for schooling, a value I hoped my own children might acquire. So I am not among the “many” who reject the assertions made in the subtitle. I should point out that many, even most of the immigrants where I live have more, often much more schooling than my lowly B.A. Other immigrants in my community arrived with substantial financial resources far beyond what I might hope to save in my lifetime. Many of them started businesses in the area, including many of the suppliers of H1-B contract workers.

    I am a little softer on the “revitalize city economics” part of the assertion because I am not aware of any revitalization taking place where I live. I think “displacement” better describes the impact the immigrants have had on my area.

    I should also contrast the situation in my area with the situation in other areas like Florida or some of the border towns in Texas or California where the influx of immigrants come primarily from their country’s lower rather the upper middle and middle classes. I suspect the arguments for revitalization as well as the argument for lowering crime might be more difficult. I still remember the discussions about Cuba emptying its prisons and jails to provide us immigrants during the Carter years. Even so, I accept the subtitle assertions.

    But how big an effect has immigration had on urban rival? What mechanism achieved this impact and how? Are there some policy implications suggesting we should encourage more immigration? The article leaves such matters for further study or possibly discusses them in the longer paper which will appear. Finally, I remain very skeptical that whatever positive impacts immigration might have could explain beyond the smallest part of the decrease in crime rates.

    My objections to opening immigration have nothing to do with urban revival, crime or revitalizing cities. I believe immigrants take jobs and drive down wages. Whatever impacts immigration might have on urban revival, crime or revitalizing cities are impacts from other more relevant variables which immigration affects. For example, I believe immigrants are more entrepreneurial, — like they have a choice? — tend to arrive with their own financial backing and start small businesses in the areas where other immigrants, usually other immigrants of similar origins and backgrounds, have settled. Maybe the problem is a lack of niches where non-immigrants might start small businesses? … Maybe a lack of finances for small business, especially in those areas that most need revival? … And it is no secret that small businesses still hire employees.

    Why does the immigration “magic” start to wear off by the second generation? Maybe that question needs more study than efforts to describe what part immigration plays in urban revival. [Should we perhaps encourage the immigration but compel the emigration of the second and higher generation immigrants?]

  26. Robert Dudek

    As per The Guardian, here are the highlights of the Greek proposal:

    http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/jul/09/greece-debt-crisis-athens-accepts-harsh-austerity-as-bailout-deal-nears

    Greece has also dropped its opposition to abolishing the lower VAT rate on its islands, starting with the most popular tourist attractions. Athens also appears to have made significant concessions on pensions, agreeing to phase out solidarity payments for the poorest pensioners by December 2019, a year earlier than planned. It would also raise the retirement age to 67 by 2022.

    And it has agreed to raise corporation tax to 28%, as the IMF wanted, not 29%, as previously targeted.

    Greece is also proposing to cut military spending by €100m in 2015 and by €200m in 2016, and implement changes to reform and improve tax collection and fight tax evasion. It will also press on with privatisation of state assets including regional airports and ports. Some government MPs had vowed to reverse this.

    In return, Greece appears to be seeking a three-year loan deal worth €53.5bn.

    If this proposal passes Greek Parliament (it will surely have the support of the traditional parties) and is accepted by the Eurocriminals (one suspects that if Germany agrees it will be able to strong arm the likes of Slovakia to relent), Tsipras will go from being a hero to being reviled in Greece in one week.

    It’s really a shame that anyone thinks this kind of deal will work. The austerity contained within it is far worse than the previous government had negotiated. There is always the possibility that the Greek government will fudge some of this in practice, but that is very risky, since the Eurocriminals have a very effective enforcer in the form of the ECB.

    My prediction is that even if the Syriza coalition survives or is reformulated, the government is unlikely to last more than a year at which point these austerity measures will be biting so hard that the hard left (it’s a joke that The Guardian refers to Syriza as a radical-left party) and right will gain immensely in the next election. After that, can some form of military rule be excluded from possible outcomes?

    1. financial matters

      I thought Paul Mason had an interesting take on this. He implies this gives Greece 3 years of breathing room to enact some of its programs.

      http://blogs.channel4.com/paul-mason-blog/4131/4131

      “Fourth, it is the work of Euclid Tsakalatos. Tsakalatos, as I’ve been explaining since mid-January, is existentially committed to two things: Euro membership and the use of government to foster widespread modernisation and social change. He wants to stay in power – not lose it to a government of “technocrats”.

      Fifth, the deal comes with a request for a loan to make Greece’s debt repayments over the next three years. If someone else pays your debts for three years, that is a very fiscally beneficial thing, and leaves Greece with money to spend it did not have.

      Most importantly, this is not a done deal. If it gets through the Greek parliament and is then thrown back into the Greeks’ faces it will solidify and prepare Greek society for Grexit.”

      Also as this problem moves to Spain, Italy and France the ground rules have been made clear.

      “First, the Greek government’s hope that a referendum mandate would allow swift negotiations with their creditors, and relaxation of terms, did not materialise. Instead a renewed ultimatum materialised. If they can’t meet it, the ECB and EU will collapse the Greek banking system and throw them out of the Eurozone. Indeed, one of the main “achievements” of the referendum was to flush out that clear threat, from politicians who had never admitted it before.”

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