Links 4/4/16

Russia Prepares for a Big War: The Significance of a Tank Army Sic Semper Tyrannis (GF).

Private Infrastructure Contracting May Be a Quick Way to Round Up Capital, but Does It Create Lasting Jobs? The Nation. Re Silc: “The overall plan by the Koch crew is to degrade USA infrastructure and then rebuild as private for more rent.”

‘There are going to be lots of dead unicorns’ FT

Top JPMorgan Treasuries Trader’s Exit Said to Draw SEC Inquiry Bloomberg

Investors should ignore the hype about fintech FT

Brazil’s president scrambles to avoid impeachment Globe and Mail

#PanamaPapers

PANAMA PAPERS The secrets of dirty money Süddeutsche Zeitung. This is the main site; multiple stories.

Politicians, Criminals and the Rogue Industry That Hides Their Cash The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. Allied site.

Panama Papers: Jurgen Mossack and Ramón Fonseca – the lawyers whose firm is at the centre of global controversy Independent. Mossack Fonseca sounds like one of Daenerys Targaryen’s significant others: “Hizdahr zo Loraq, Daario Naharis, and Mossack Fonseca….”

Intercept model, not Wikileaks model:

Corporate Media Gatekeepers Protect Western 1% From Panama Leak Craig Murray

Selective Leaks Of The #PanamaPapers Create Huge Blackmail Potential Moon of Alabama

And now the mainstream:

Panama leak draws scrutiny to tax havens FT

World Leaders Hid Wealth Via Shell Companies, Report Alleges Bloomberg

Tax authorities begin probes into some people named in Panama Papers leak Reuters

Panama Papers: Mossack Fonseca leaks reveal Xi Jinping’s family links to offshore companies International Business Times. A refreshing change from Look! Over there! Vladimir Putin!

How secret offshore money helps fuel Miami’s luxury real-estate boom Miami Herald

Massive leak exposes how the wealthy and powerful hide their money McClatchy. NOTE: A story headlined “The new offshore haven: Wyoming” is coming up, but not yet online.

The United States seems to be exceptional:

Either that, or there are other shoes yet to drop:

The World’s Favorite New Tax Haven Is the United States Bloomberg (January 2016).

How Delaware Thrives as a Corporate Tax Haven NYT (2012).

Mossack Fonseca’s NZ company and related NZ trust business operate without having to comply with NZ’s anti-money laundering laws Interest (Richard Smith).

Panama Papers Live Update Thread Reddit. Sources, as they come online.

Panama Papers: global reaction to huge leak of offshore tax files – live Guardian

Exclusive: U.N. audit identifies serious lapses linked to alleged bribery Reuters

2016

State Of The Race: Wisconsin, New York, Pennsylvania Down with Tyranny

A Storm Is About to Hit Scott Walker’s Wisconsin Esquire

True confession: Sometimes I feel bad for Hillary Clinton Corey Robin (MR). Robin’s take on Terry Castle’s LRB piece (linked to yesterday, still worth a read).

Bombshell: Clinton Foundation Donor’s Flight From Justice Aided by Hillary Allies Observer

Hillary’s atrocious race record: Her stances over decades have been painful and wrong Salon

Democrats angle for power in Clinton administration Politico

Bernie Sanders’s Cash Keeps Flowing WSJ

Bernie Sanders Took Money From the Fossil Fuel Lobby, Too — Just Not Much The Intercept. $24.

Occupy CNN: Protest Breaks out Against the Lack of Sanders Coverage Alternet

Early Missteps Seen as a Drag on Bernie Sanders’s Campaign NYT. The “misstep” is not spending more time in 2015 in the early states (as, admittedly, Carter did).

Why Trump Can’t Break the G.O.P. NYT

Donald Trump: Foreign Policy’s Useful Idiot? Foreign Policy in Focus

Syraqistan

Russia says demands that Assad should leave hinder Syria’s political process: RIA Retuers

Another Western intervention in Libya looms WaPo

Greece on brink of chaos as refugees riot over forced return to Turkey Guardian

Are ‘democracy’ and ‘human rights’ Western colonial exports? No. Here’s why. WaPo

Class Warfare

These New Co-op Apps Show How to Build Worker Power In the Age of Uber In These Times

Blue collar voters: Trade is killing us McClatchy

An Inconvenient Truth About Free Trade Bloomberg

How the $15 Minimum Wage Went From Laughable to Viable NYT

Almost two-thirds of people in the labor force do not have a college degree Economic Policy Institute (GF).

As states’ work mandates kick in, tens of thousands of people lose food stamps Chicago Tribune

Poor residents were promised Wi-Fi service. The Times found they didn’t get it LA Times

When Zika Hits the US, Poorest Areas Will be Hardest Hit Vice

How Big Pharma Drug Pricing Costs Us Our Health Vice UK

Is There a Crisis in the Economic Theory of the Firm? Participants at Harvard Business School Conference Agree: Firms Try to Change the Rules of the Game Pro-Market

Money, Power, and Monetary Regimes (PDF) Pavlina Tcherneva, Levy Institute. Long must-read, so grab a cup of coffee.

Antidote du jour (via RS):

dog_plane

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.

162 comments

    1. Phase 1

      “An independent coalition of journalists headquartered in Washington, D.C.”

      O RLY?

    2. hidflect

      Mugshots of Putin on every page but where is David Cameron? His father is linked directly.

      1. Rhondda

        Cameron’s father is dead. Probably the reason his involvement was publicized. No perp walk, no prison time.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          LOL we shall see how many actual perp walks there are from this stuff, prosecuting elites for their crimes is so 1998.

    3. EmilianoZ

      If nobody that matters (in the West) is named (and not their deceased fathers), we know what kinda operation that is.

    4. frosty zoom

      from what’s been “leaked”, it seems to me that the selective nature of the “leakees” is because maybe the “leaker” has their plumbing office in fort meade (hi guys!).

      my experience with leaks is that if you don’t wash them well, you get lots of sand in your teeth.

  1. Carla

    They hang the man and flog the woman
    That steal the goose from off the Common,
    But let the greater villain loose
    That steals the Common from the goose.

    The law demands that we atone
    When we take things we do not own.
    But leaves the Lords and Ladies fine
    Who take things that are yours and mine.

    The law locks up the man or woman
    Who steals the goose from off the Common,
    And geese will still a Common lack
    ‘Til they go and steal it back.

    — English folk poem, c. 1764

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Since the Clinton Foundation is in its operational essence an organization to launder money in exchange for influence, it’s inconceivable to me that there’s no overlap between Clinton Foundation “donors” and individuals in the #PanamaPapers trove; I seem to remember the Saudi King being listed, for example.

      That said, this might not be so easy to prove:

      1) Clinton has retained half of her emails from State;

      2) The #PanamaPapers are not open to all researchers, a la WikiLeaks.

      However, I’m sure Judicial Watch is working away on this….

      1. Old and in the way

        I hope some heroine will leak the whole terabyte mess in time with Clinton’s indictment. A month or two from now would be good.

        1. JohnnyGL

          We’re allowed to dream, aren’t we? I’d say the sooner, the better, so as to have time to sink in and swing the polls in some upcoming big states that have yet to vote.

          She’s already vulnerable on corruption, so a big bombshell on this front could yet do real damage.

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Just guessing here, but they would have to update the laws and regulations on non-profit organizations if the Clinton foundation is not capable of doing what the want with their wealth.

          That’s their ‘off-shore’ tax shelter right there.

          That’s why we are not some ‘Third World banana country.’

      2. Jim Haygood

        Craig Murray:

        ‘The corporate media – the Guardian and BBC in the UK – have exclusive access to the database which you and I cannot see. They are protecting themselves from even seeing western corporations’ sensitive information by only looking at those documents which are brought up by specific searches such as UN sanctions busters.’

        Why the caution? The U.S. has laws against hacking. Romanian hacker Guccifer, who first discovered Hillary’s private emails, is being extradited to the U.S. to face a litany of charges including “unauthorized access to a protected computer.”

        Journos trafficking in stolen data — data that could injure influential people in their own countries — may well face legal liability. British journos in particular — thanks to a process-free extradition treaty with the US — can be renditioned to face US “justice” at our beck and call, just like Guccifer.

        Filtering data for “names associated with breaking UN sanctions regimes” sounds like what the ICJ does: prosecuting second and third world thugs like Milosevic, while leaving rich country war criminals like Bush and Blair unmolested.

        This stinks. The MSM is not to be trusted.

        1. Yves Smith

          The Guardian and BBC are not the lead players on this. The Murray article is an abject misrepresentation on that point. Süddeutsche Zeitung is. It looks like they invited other journalistic organizations in to share the burden of going through the ginormous pile of records.

          The Guardian is about as good as you get in the UK. The problem with any UK new organization is the horrific libel laws. That forces them to be vastly more careful than a US-based organization would be.

          What I find way more interesting is that no US paper was invited in. That suggests none was seen as an honest broker of information (or that Süddeutsche Zeitung only considered the Big Names like the Associated Press, New York Times, Washington Post, Bloomberg, Wall Street Journal, and didn’t consider McClatchy, which does seem to play it straight).

    2. aletheia33

      you mean a high enough up, impossible to cover up, Hillary Clinton connection?
      how high up and impossible to cover up, or how widespread across TPTB of the dem party, would the PP facts need to be spewed to make her corrupt machine seize up?
      too bad all those assets going through that one narrow channel can’t simply be seized right there and then put to use for the needs of the people. we’ll have to settle for something less.

  2. allan

    Even our man in Kiev:

    The fact that Poroshenko was setting up new offshore structures while president, at a time when his country was embroiled in a conflict in which at least 9,000 people have been killed, is likely to raise eyebrows. It comes amid rising domestic and international criticism over his government’s failure to carry out reforms.

    I’m sure Victoria Nuland has a perfectly sensible explanation.

    1. tgs

      I doubt she will have to explain anything. Apparently the MSM has decided that the major player in all this is Putin – despite the fact that he is not mentioned in the leaked documents.

      1. vidimi

        i think the putin angle will backfire, for a couple of reasons. first and foremost is the fact that no matter how badly he gets implicated, he will survive. the russian people expect their politicians to be on the take. they would be surprised if they were clean. the kremlin would largely get away with dismissing it as western propaganda anyway.

        second, playing the putin card as the opening gambit will just get more media to pick up the story, putting a mighty squeeze on the tube. while the toothpaste won’t come out immediately, it won’t be put back. generating hype now just builds up interest and makes the inevitable unwelcome leaks later more difficult to conceal. don’t throw stones from glass houses and what not. i wager it won’t take long for establishment figures hostile to david cameron, for example, to highlight the fact that cameron sr is implicated in the papers.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Any Chinese or North Koreans on the list?

          Or Vietnamese? Maybe it will destabalize Hanoi and China can move in, to further secure the South China Sea???

          1. RUKidding

            I think yes to both Chinese & Vietnamese. Unsure re North Koreans. More to follow, but I question how much will actually “happen” from this leak.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Thanks. Just saw the link above by Lambert about Xi.

              Is this the end of their anti-corruption drive, or do we see a new leader?

        2. zapster

          He also has a history and reputation of being squeaky clean and honest. Nobody can get any dirt on him because there actually isn’t any.

      2. RUKidding

        Yes, I agree. I thought the same things, as well, especially in regard to the despicable Kaganate of Nuland. However, the Nuland/Kagan’s will ever get a pass. I doubt that most US citizens have a clue who they are and what they’ve done and continue to do, as well as their link to both Obama and Clinton.

        I did notice Poroshenko’s name on the list with interest, but I also duly noted that Putin got all the big attention. Well, sure. Go after Putin… big shoulders. Won’t hurt him very much. A very very convenient target imo.

  3. Carolinian

    Over to you Corey Robin

    But, still, I find it hard sometimes not to empathize with someone possessing such obvious talent and ambition, doing everything right, yet finding the prize she seeks so elusive. Though this time, of course, she may get the prize, and my sads will be neither here nor there. Besides, pity can be an ugly emotion, and Clinton—a powerful agent in her own right, with plenty of accomplishments to be proud of—neither needs nor wants mine.

    Oh please.

    And that NYT look inside the Sanders campaign is worth a read. It confirms that Sanders began his quest as an issue candidate with little expectation of beating Clinton. Now there are regrets by his advisers–including his wife–that he didn’t hit her harder. He claimed he was “protecting his brand.”

    1. Nick

      That NYT story was interesting, but I can’t help but read it and just think that it speaks even higher to his principles and values that his natural instinct was simply not to be a prick and to focus on what the majority of the population cares about.

      Not to talk up Sanders too much, but I think this clip also speaks to his values. He admonishes another senator who spoke disparagingly about gays in the military. This is on C-SPAN (i.e. he’s not grandstanding to some big audience) and it’s in 1995, right around the time that Clinton (Bill, admittedly) was weaseling around the topic of gay rights.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O49wD6_g_Bs

    2. aletheia33

      hindsight is always 20 20.
      and why focus on regrets now–when the surge is still gathering?

      the sanders campaign’s ultimate role in history is far from clear yet. it has only just become apparent that it has one. when weighed on that scale, the weight of his early realism will amount to a small fraction of what he has managed to do since then, let alone what he has yet to do.

      did anyone at all really perceive a year ago the potential force and size of the uprising that has caught sanders and carries him forward?

      the publishers and editors of the new york times, setting aside what other motives they may have, have not been paying attention, are not paying attention, and will not pay attention. they are missing the main story–or pretending to.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I think he still has time to back up his statement that Obama has been weak.

        He can also reconcile with himself about not being a Democrat all his life until recently, the reasons – very good ones most likely – he had, and why he is one now, when the party has become more and more a shell of its former self.

        It has been said that he decided not to run as an Independent, because he didn’t want to spoil it for the D party, unlike some other people previously. Why try to protect and save the Democrats and the D party – a party he had long refused to join – when he was still an Independent deciding?

        Sure enough, the party machine has turned out their traditional voters, and he is attracting a lot of independent voters.

        It seems like he doesn’t need the D party, and should be able to really, honestly criticize both parties, including the sitting commander-in-chief.

        One guy who can afford to say, ‘the heck with you legacy, establishment Democratic party,’ but has not done so.

    3. Bas

      doing everything right,

      ?1?1?!
      Is he talking about strategy or ethics? Because neither applies to Clinton. So many bad decisions, unless your goal is lucrative chaos for yourself and your cronies.

      1. Harry

        No, he is talking about career advancement.

        And he is right. Who else built up their network so assiduously? You don’t get those international connections, money, and super delegates by sticking to your ethics.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          That’s the state we are in…the system we have.

          The same talent to ‘do everything right’ is essential for all other positions of power under the status quo.

          Will one guy make any difference?

          Is it still a revolution if everyone else in Rome is doing or trying his/her best to ‘do everything right?’

    4. TK421

      On one hand, I hear you, he should have attacked harder. On the other, Hillary Clinton is one of the most unpopular major-party candidates ever. Why sling mud at the ground?

  4. daniel kearns

    Donald Trump: Foreign Policy’s Useful Idiot? Foreign Policy in Focus

    “But let’s focus on the heart of the matter — Trump’s challenge of the bipartisan consensus that the United States should lead the world.

    Democrats and Republicans disagree about many things. But with a few exceptions they all support an enormous military budget, an expensive overseas expeditionary force, and unilateral acts of force when necessary to protect U.S. national interests (understood broadly).

    It’s an odd paradox that Trump, who blathers on about making America great again, departs from this consensus. Probably as president, he wouldn’t. But he’s decided that, as an electoral strategy, bringing the war dollars home to rebuild America is popular among those who have largely lost out during the tech booms, the real estate booms, the financial booms, and all the other economic bubbles that have helped redirect money from the struggling middle class and the working poor to wealthy professionals and a few magnates (like Trump himself). That voters support someone who so clearly doesn’t represent their economic interests speaks not to their stupidity but to the obvious lack of anyone else in either party who actually cares about the interests of those left behind.

    Bernie, you say? Yes, but he’s only been a Democrat for a tiny percentage of his political career. Indeed, he made a name for himself in Vermont by opposing Democrats, and aligning himself with Republicans if necessary. Unions have dwindled in membership. Progressives command little respect within the Democratic Party. And the Republicans long ago became the party of oligarchy.

    This is really what the political mainstream is worried about — not that Trump will win. Or that Hillary Clinton will decide somehow to pursue Obama’s legacy of disengaging from the Middle East, which he articulated in some detail in a set of interviews with The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg. Neither of these scenarios will play out. Trump will lose; Hillary firmly supports the foreign policy status quo.

    No, the mainstream is worried that the political parties will realize that the “bring the war dollars home” message can win a national election and disrupt the comfortable revolving-door consensus. Perhaps Elizabeth Warren will run on this platform in 2020. Perhaps the Republican Party, which will fracture as a result of Trump’s current suicide bombing attempt, will reform around its older, more isolationist tradition.”

    ====================================================
    One can only hope….Trump demolishes the repub party and the era of “indispensable nation” and “leading the world” comes to an end.

  5. Ulysses

    From the Co-op Apps article linked above:

    “Advocates hope that the old platforms will be “deleted” as users embrace new, more equitable ones.”

    Any step in the right direction is a good one, but there is a lot of wishful thinking involved here. Far too many consumers have trained themselves to be very good at minimizing the difference in ethics of businesses they patronize.

    “I’d love to buy that at the local bookstore, but who has the time? Amazon is so convenient!” Apple might have to stretch out nets to catch workers attempting to kill themselves by jumping, but self-described “progressives” still use their products.

    Many of my supposedly enlightened friends and family find it hilarious that I “waste” my time trying to find union hotels, union supermarkets, mom and pop versus chain stores, etc.

    1. diptherio

      While you might have a point, I’d point out that a cab ride isn’t something you can get without direct interaction with a worker, unlike ordering a book from Amazon, which should help with customer recruitment.

      Speaking of co-ops, the maker of a couple of short documentaries on the Arizmendi co-op bakeries in the SF Bay area and the Dual Power co-op in Austin, just passed these along. This is what practical resistance to capitalism looks like:

      vimeo.com/140798859

      vimeo.com/148412506

    2. Gaianne

      Good point. The great sin of the bobocracy (bourgeois bohemians) is utter willful hypocrisy.

      –Gaianne

  6. Nick

    Re: Panama papers

    Editor of Süddeutsche Zeitung responded to the lack of U.S. individuals in the documents, saying “Just wait for what is coming next”

    In other news, the phrase “countries with no US extradition treaty” is coincidentally trending on google today…

    1. Jim Haygood

      Craig Murray again:

      ‘The leak is being managed by the grandly but laughably named “International Consortium of Investigative Journalists”, which is funded and organised entirely by the USA’s Center for Public Integrity.’

      The U.S. still has a fourth of the world’s lawyers. This group’s U.S. domicile means there’s an address for process service. Even if prosecutors don’t pursue them criminally for trafficking in stolen data, injured individuals certainly can institute enough civil suits to drown them in legal defense costs.

      As Ed Snowden, Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras figured out, the U.S. is not the place to be headquartered when you’re slanging powerful people using hacked data obtained under questionable circumstances.

      1. Nick

        Very dangerous waters for sure. But they (well, except for Snowden) managed to avoid prosecution to my knowledge. Greenwald once remarked in “justifying” being backed by a billionaire that people tend to think twice about taking legal action against an organization (The Intercept) that is backed by $250 million. Probably even DoJ.

        I also think that there is more apprehension in prosecuting journalists for revealing what will inevitably be described (by the spin doctors) as “a few bad apples” as opposed to the system. This will be embarrassing for a number of individuals, and will surely elicit some high-minded comments by politicians about the need to crack down on tax evasion etc., but seeing this as a systemic problem in and of itself requires the media to connect the dots, and there’s no “risk” of that.

  7. daniel kearns

    An Inconvenient Truth About Free Trade Bloomberg

    New research confirms what a lot of ordinary people have been saying all along, which is that free trade, while good overall, harms workers who are exposed to low-wage competition from abroad.
    ==============================================

    “While good overall” – if, by good overall, you mean it has disproportionately benefited the 0.01%
    http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2014/03/how-you-i-and-everyone-got-the-top-1-percent-all-wrong/359862/

    When will Bloomberg realize that if 1 person in a million does great, but 999,999 do lousy, that GDP going up doesn’t mean squat. As billionaires seem to exert such a negative effect on the vast majority, I say we exile them, as they seem to have such contempt for the people of this nation.

    1. susan the other

      Having an employer of last resort is unemployment/recession counter cyclical… it’s also MMT

    1. frosty zoom

      actually, that’s part of a new cia (smile!) program to have doggies fly drone missions. who could be anit-doggy?

  8. YankeeFrank

    Regarding the $15 minimum wage victories, Hillary’s now trying to get in front of the parade, staging a victory rally with Gov Cuomo at the Javitz center tomorrow. So I guess $12/hr, which she wants to be the federal minimum, is good enough for most of us, but she’ll happily claim victory for something she did nothing to win and which she won’t even support as president. Of course she has some mealy-mouthed rational-sounding justification for this double standard, as she always does for her small ball approach to anything and everything that actually might help the citizenry climb out of the hole she helped dig and toss us into. Funny how when it comes to war profiteers and monopolistic, tax-dodging corporations her “measured’ approach always seems to go in only one direction.

      1. frosty zoom

        shouldn’t politicians have to wear some kind of uncomfortable polyester uniform like the people working at staples or wendy’s?

        they could be green and purple and itchy.

        1. Carla

          I think they should have to wear outfits emblazoned with the corporate logos of their major donors, like Nascar drivers.

          1. polecat

            there just isn’t enough fabric surface area to ’emblazon’ allll those sponsor/donors! You’d need gasbag filled balloons to encompass the excess…….

              1. polecat

                well….That would certainly constitute a gasbag, quite a large one at that,……but not near as big a one as, say, something like a Paul Krugman, or perhaps Larry Summers…..to name only a few.

          2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            For those with a lot of corporate sponsors, I recommend the hoop skirt – it gives you a lot more surface area to advertise (known as revenue enhancing).

            1. Antifa

              And if a corporate logo appears on a politician’s skirt or suit or toga or muu-muu, they are automatically recused from voting on any bill that might possibly benefit that corporation.

              Right away you’d see bills passed in the House by a majority of 17 to 11. Everyone else had to sit there and rethink their reelection strategy.

              Poor bastards will have to ask the common people for campaign money. Which may require seeing that the hoi polloi have some way of earning said money.

          3. frosty zoom

            you know, there was a time when i thought i had come up with the nascar jacket thing. spend 37 hours searching the tubes and you’ll find my original post. however, i also thought i came up with “pt cruiser bruiser” to replace the now infrequent “slugbug”, but alas, searching the tubes resulted that many had created it earlier (this sentence is in spanglish, by the way).

            anyhoo, my first thought about giving politicians uniforms was to eliminate the fancier clothes nonsense and make them generic, like school kids in uniforms, or maybe even something fancy like sergeant-in-arms things to keep ’em,

            but then i thought,

            no, instead make them wear horrible, uncomfortable uniforms so they could feel some of the anguish of so many of their so-called constituents.

            why don’t we do this:

            I. have a lottery to pick a citizen’s governance committee of say, 37 people. these 37 will listen to the arguments of why applicants should be allowed to make laws and provide guidance to society. everybody gets a ticket and if you win, you do the committee work and afterward receive $17,353,498 and lifetime netflix.

            II. allow any proven brainiac with at least 37 years spent brainiacking to apply for one of our 37 CITIZEN GOVERNANCE positions. selected candidates will do the work detailed in the citizen’s constitution as provided to us by common sense.

            III. citizen governors shall be paid the current “living” wage and wear uncomfortable purple and green polyester uniforms. they must take public transit and take out payday loans at least 3 times a year.

            IV. at the end of their five year term, retiring governors will receive an annual pension of $17,353,498 (indexed to the “living” wage) thanking them for their service. (they can pay for their own netflix on that cheque).

            so there ya’ have it. fixed that one.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      JUST WAIT.

      That sounds a lot like trickle down.

      Just wait till we have finished bailing out the big banks.

      Just wait till the master is done with his droit du seigneur.

  9. Jim A

    Re: the antidote… I find myself looking at the TC to see whether he is is slipping… “coordinated turn, good boy.”

    1. RMO

      “OK, if you had an engine failure right now, where would you land?”
      “Woof, rrrrrrrrr, woof, woof?”
      “Yeah, there are a lot of good fields around here, aren’t there?”

      I just finished two busy days instructing, most of it giving season check flights and solo flight checks at my gliding club so my brain’s stuck in instructor mode.

      Anyone else remember the joke about the latest, most advanced airliner? In the cockpit there will be a computer, a pilot and a dog. The computer flies the plane. The pilot watches the computer. The dog is there to bite the pilot if he or she tries to touch anything.

  10. rich

    Opinion: How the Teamsters pension disappeared more quickly under Wall Street than the mob

    This is the first of a two-part series on the Central States pension fund. The second part will look more closely into why its investment performance suffered.

    Real estate investments in Las Vegas casinos and hotels once threatened the integrity of a Teamsters pension fund that the federal government wrested away from corrupt trustees and organized crime after five years of legal battles.

    A quarter-century later, the professionals who replaced them—Central States Pension Fund administrators; the Goldman Sachs & Co. and Northern Trust Global Advisors fiduciaries; and Department of Labor regulators—stood watch while the financial markets accomplished what the mob had failed to: which was to smash the fund’s long-term solvency with massive money-losing investments.

    The debacle unfolding at the $16.1 billion Central States fund in Rosemont, Illinois, is a cautionary tale for all Americans dependent on their retirement savings. Unable to reverse a decades-long outflow of benefits payments over pension contributions, the professional money managers placed big bets on stocks and non-traditional investments between 2005 and 2008, with catastrophic consequences.

    When the experiment blew up, rather than exhume the devastated portfolio to better understand the problem—and perhaps seek accountability—Central States administrators lobbied Congress to pass legislation giving them authority to cut retirement benefits by up to 50% after Treasury Department approval.

    http://www.marketwatch.com/story/how-the-teamsters-pension-disappeared-more-quickly-under-wall-street-than-the-mob-2016-04-04?

    hmmm…and the winners are?

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      $16.1 billion.

      A mere puny preview of the “privatization” of social “security,” the holy grail of “wealth managers” everywhere that hillary will be hired to deliver.

  11. EndOfTheWorld

    “Steal a little and they throw you in jail/ Steal a lot and they make you a king.” Anyway, it seems like some of the entities on the outskirts of the MSM are starting to turn against the big HRC machine. Of course all the journalists hate her, deep down inside. But their primary objective is keeping their job. Can they print the truth about the Clinton Foundation and the e mail scandal and still keep their job. Yes, if Bernie wins.

  12. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: How secret offshore money helps fuel Miami’s luxury real-estate boom Miami Herald

    “Cash deals accounted for 53 percent of all Miami-Dade home sales in 2015 — double the national average — and 90 percent of new construction sales, according to the Miami Association of Realtors.”

    Climate scientists have questioned the wisdom of developing south Florida real estate on land that will disappear due to rising sea level resulting from climate change. It’s also been suggested that storms–hurricaines–will increase in intensity for the same reason.

    Does this mean that the american taxpayers will be expected to mitigate the losses of these “investors” through federally financed “flood insurance” or FEMA “disaster relief?”

    Exchanging bribes and drug profits for “assets” that, when inevitably destroyed, will be made good by americans who will “borrow” the required “funds” and repay them, with interest, through budgetary “austerity” by sacrificing their social security, healthcare and education which will no longer be “affordable,” seems somehow more than just “money laundering.”

    1. rich

      Just how safe is the ‘safe’ world of syndicated mortgages?

      The condo boom has seen investors pour billions into syndicated mortgages. They’re pitched as high return, low risk investments—but is that too good to be true?

      So how exactly do syndicated mortgages work? A few hundred people agree to lend money, usually a minimum of $25,000 each, to a developer in exchange for a fixed annual interest rate of between eight and 12 per cent over a term of two to five years. Unlike other pooled real estate investments, syndicated mortgages allow investors to pick which projects they want to be involved with and secure their portion of the mortgage on the property in question. If the project performs well, investors may be eligible to receive extra payouts. If it goes bankrupt, investors can theoretically recover the principal amount of their loans following the sale of the property.

      It’s this combination of fixed returns and the promise of  “security” that’s proven to be a winning marketing formula. “Fortress Real Capital allows you to invest directly into large-scale real estate development projects with real security and earn real returns,” advertises an earlier version of the Fortress Real Capital website. A video explaining syndicated mortgages on the website of FDS Broker Services, which sells syndicated mortgages for Fortress projects directly to investors, kicks off by asking: “What if there was a way to safely invest in your neighbourhood, your neighbours and your community? Well, there is.”

      The problem, however, is there’s nothing particularly “safe” about a syndicated mortgage. As Fortress suggests on its website, the money is typically used by developers to cover so-called “soft costs” like obtaining permits and building sales centres—basically everything a developer needs to pre-sell enough units to attract financing from a bank. But even in a hot market like Canada’s, there are no guarantees a given condo project will get off the ground, regardless of how quickly buyers snap up the units. “I’ve been exposed to multi-million-dollar projects where things have gone bad really fast,” says John Bargis, a Toronto-area mortgage broker. “It’s not because it’s not a viable project, but there’s just so many moving parts. You’ve got construction managers, contractors, builders—so many things that can go wrong from an investment perspective or a sales perspective.”

      The myriad risks explain why syndicated mortgages pay interest rates approaching double digits at a time when a five-year Guaranteed Investment Certificate, or GIC—a truly “safe” investment—offers only 1.5 per cent annually for a five-year term.

      There’s another problem, too: if something goes wrong with a project, syndicated mortgage investors are subordinate to banks and other primary lenders, meaning they’re further back in line for repayment—assuming there’s enough money left over after other lenders have received their share. The Collier Centre project in Barrie, Ont., for example, filed for bankruptcy protection last year despite selling all of the available condo units and leasing a third of the retail space. The developer, Mady, owed roughly $30 million to Laurentian Bank, the primary lender, and nearly $17 million to the Fortress loan syndicate. Yet the value of the land in 2012 when Mady purchased it from the city, in a deal that included promises to provide parking and office space, was just $4 million. Even though property values have appreciated since then, it’s far from certain reselling it would have fetched enough to repay the project’s primary lenders, never mind syndicated mortgage investors.

      http://www.macleans.ca/economy/realestateeconomy/syndicated-mortgages-and-the-coming-condo-market-crash/

      1. Jim Haygood

        ‘The [syndicated mortgage] money is typically used by developers to cover so-called “soft costs” like obtaining permits and building sales centres—basically everything a developer needs to pre-sell enough units to attract financing from a bank.’

        This isn’t really a mortgage — it’s pre-construction financing.

        Investors may get a mortgage on the land, but without an income-producing building on it, the land collateral alone is of little value — perhaps none, if the real estate cycle turns down.

        Sounds like Canada is set up for an epic real estate bust. Shouldn’t we start building a wall on the 49th parallel to stop the predictable invasion of desperate refugees from the wasted north?

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Land sellers may finance.

          A smart land seller can resell the same plot several times (over several cycles).

  13. Rory

    Only a coincidence I am sure, but the Panama Papers have certainly pushed Unaoil and bribery off the little bit of attention they were getting in the news.

    1. tiebie66

      Indeed. Not sure about coincidence – looks like a diversionary tactic to me. A diversionary tactic much like the brouhaha created about Carter’s book on Palestine to divert attention from its tragic contents to people’s “hurt” feelings about the book.

      The promise of more to come in dibs and drabs is assured to focus attention elsewhere and eventually provoke that crime fatigue syndrome.

  14. bob

    “The overall plan by the Koch crew is to degrade USA infrastructure and then rebuild as private for more rent.”

    I think it’s much more mundane. The point is to create tax free muni’s, for tax free income.

    Any infrastructure that results is a byproduct.

    Most of the “infrastructure work” and the price tags of such work, makes a lot more sense when viewed with the real product being produced as munis.

  15. Howard

    Re: antidote

    I hear that several US airlines are considering using dog pilots for some shorter routes in order to keep costs down and maintain a competive advantage. :)

  16. Jim Haygood

    In his weekly column, Dr Hussman serves up some hardball bearish tub-thumping:

    We don’t exclude the possibility of a shift back toward yield-seeking speculation, but expect that even that environment would demand a safety net against fresh deterioration.

    In any event, it will remain critical to defend against downside risk that already irrevocably baked in the cake. At best, improved market internals would only change the appropriate form of that defense.

    Regardless of near-term prospects, we expect the S&P 500 to lose 40-55% of its value.

    http://www.hussmanfunds.com/wmc/wmc160404.htm

    In other words, “no possible evidence can alter my set-in-stone views.”

    In the ever-malleable world of markets — where no conclusion, however logical, can hold with high probability — such a rigid stance is a recipe for a meltdown.

    1. Brian

      Hussman’s estimate is low compared to his peers. 70% is closer to the average with NonGAAP boondoggling. Once the penny chasers realize it they will rush for the exit. The stampede may ridicule the idea of value.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          The market is going up, but only before and after it goes down – this, is always true, unless they shut down the market permanently.

    2. craazyboy

      I think Hussman is guilty of being the only sane person in the nuthouse. The market PE is 23 now. That’s at it’s historical cyclical high. But history had it’s 4% GDP growth years. But now we are at an anemic 2%, probably forever, or until climate change or some other asteroid strike chops the economy in half. The market is supposed to be a price discounting mechanism. That means PE 23 coupled with 2% long term growth outlook is a big bubble. However, so far it’s a Teflon bubble. Personally, I don’t like buying Teflon bubbles.

      1. frosty zoom

        “until climate change or some other asteroid strike chops the economy in half.”

        we can rebuild him.

        “Personally, I don’t like buying Teflon bubbles.”

        fluorine is up 6 and 7 eights!

      2. Jim Haygood

        Ned Davis Research found that weak GDP growth (say 1-3%) produces higher stock market returns than strong GDP growth (say, >3%).

        It’s counterintuitive, but the reason is that strong growth provokes a Fed crackdown to ‘take away the punchbowl.’

        Whereas today’s feeble growth has obliged the Yellenites to back off on their “four hikes from hell” plan. One couldn’t ask for more. :-)

        1. craazyboy

          Yes, we know were Teflon comes from. But there are still asteroids and GAAP accounting.

  17. Bas

    Comment from Moon of Alabama

    USaid doing an Assange/Snowden! shouldnt they be arrested?

    Gee, I was hoping this would seriously hamper Clinton and Trump, but not so sure now.

    1. frosty zoom

      if there’s trump in there, you can be sure that leak will sprout like an eager onion.

      if there’s clinton in there, you can be sure that leak will be left to rot in the root cellar.

      1. Bas

        unless the trump and the clinton are inextricably linked. in that case, he’s golden. they did go to his wedding, who knows what else they do together.

  18. diptherio

    Re: Crisis in the Economic Theory of the Firm

    A novel conference at Harvard Business School brought together top scholars in order to answer the question: Is Milton Friedman’s dictum that firms that maximize shareholder value maximize social value as well still relevant in a post-Citizens United world?

    Still relevant??? Where have these goofuses been?

    Another example of facepalm-worthy inadvertent admissions of utter ignorance. As I’ve said so often before (but only because it’s so often true), this is something I pointed out as an undergrad and was all but mocked for by the majority of my profs and peers: good competitors will do anything and everything to destroy their competition and rig the game in their own favor. Which is to say, there is a positive feedback loop between economic success and political power. This is why I was constantly bemoaning the separation of Political Economy into Econ and Poli Sci to anybody who would listen — it was so f#@%ing obvious that I was actually a little confused (and then just angry) that the vast majority of my profs. ignored or outright denied the connection.

    Even Friedman, after all, assumed that firms operate within pre-set rules of the game.

    Friedman was a blithering idiot, as anyone who’s ever read any of his papers while maintaining their grounding in actual reality can tell you. You know, he once argued that the rich actually value a marginal dollar of income more than the poor. His explanation for this counterintuitive claim? Rich people were willing to risk large losses (say, on the stock market) in order to realize just a little extra return, where as a poor person isn’t willing to risk much of anything to make just a little bit extra. This, he claimed, was proof that marginal utility of income increases with wealth. Either he couldn’t fathom that poor people won’t risk to get a little gain because any loss will be devastating, whereas the rich can lose a ton and still be fine, or he was just an a-hole. I think it was probably a combination of both. Also, Vox is stupid.

      1. Alejandro

        A “useful idiot” that gave “supply-side” cognitive fodder to brutal idiots. From an August-76 article in The Nation:

        “The economic plan now being carried out in Chile realizes an historic aspiration of a group 0f Chilean economists, most of them trained at Chicago University by Milton Friedman and Arnold Harberger. Deeply involved in the preparation of the coup, the “Chicago boys,” as they are known in Chile, convinced the generals that they were prepared to supplement the brutality, which the military possessed, with the intellectual assets it lacked.”

        http://thenation.s3.amazonaws.com/pdf/letelier_08_28_1976.pdf

    1. craazyboy

      The real problem is Martin Scorsese is not an economist. Anyone who’s seen “The Wolf of Wall Street” is much, much less stupid than an economist. Besides, there aren’t enough super hot blondes to go around – so that makes you wonder about “marginal utility” a bit more right there. What public good are super hot blondes, really???

      1. diptherio

        To no one’s surprise, the only person who appears to really get it at the Harvard conference is a historian:

        From a historical perspective, one historian claimed that the evidence is overwhelming: firms have always endeavored to change the rules of the game, and Friedman’s theory of the firm is not particularly useful for ignoring it. Firms have always been political actors who depend on the state, and the state depends on them. The codependence between entrepreneurs and the state allowed firms to shape political outcomes and thus the political environment. A separation of firms and politics, he suggested, is “conceptually impossible.” A plausible theory of the firm needs to acknowledge the political character of firms.

        1. Harry

          I thought the issue was that firms don’t act like Victorian entrepreneurs. Instead they act like their shareholders are irrelevant and that actually the firm’s maximize the welfare of the managers.

          See Wolf of Wall Street point.

          I could lend you a book called “the Game theory of the firm” from the 80s. But it’s a little boring.

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Does it follow that firms would like nothing more than a state that can create, as much as it wants, its own money?

          1. TomD

            Only if you assume firms are trying to make as much money as possible and not trying to make more money than other economic actors. Making a million dollars when that’s the median is much worse than making 500k when 50k is the median.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Doesn’t making-as-much-as-possible cover trying-to-make (sometimes successfully, sometimes not) more- than other-economic-actors?

              1. TomD

                Well it’s a subtle difference, but one means simply trying to make money, the other means actively keeping others from making money.

        3. craazyboy

          If Harvard was really serious about this, they’d have the economists attend some Harvard MBA courses. At least Mafioso 101. Then maybe Underwear Gnome 102. Then the wine and cheese guest speaker talk, “Why Private-Public Banking Is Really, Really Cool!” That would be enlightening.

        4. Lexington

          +1 for historians

          Though in fairness s/he is only repeating what this dude named Karl Marx said a century and a half ago.

          But then again most American trained economists get no academic exposure to Marx and even on a good day can barely distinguish Karl from Groucho….

        5. craazyman

          How can there be a theory of something that’s so obvious only an idiot-savant could fail to see it?

          This is why I find Youtube so much more interesting. Especially either 1) old Ali G interviews, those are hilarious and 2) Rhianna music videos, like the one where she’s dancing all around in an Arabian costume and comes up out of some waterhole in a bikini. Whoa! Talk about hot. Also 3) Adele videos and 4) mathematical lectures, some of those are quite good.

          There really is no theory of a firm. There’s a firm. And there’s theory. It’s like having the theory of a banana or the theory of a piece of dog shit on the street. These are empirical realities. They are not phenomenon that one needs a theory to explain. They just are. But if you throw a banana in the air and drop a piece of dogshit from a rooftop, then yes, the properties of motion are certainly analyzable in a theoretical framework. Everybody know that. But it doesn’t mean everything you can see or imagine is something a theory is required to explain.

    2. bob

      ” good competitors will do anything and everything to destroy their competition and rig the game in their own favor.”

      In a business class at undergrad, we had to run a shoe company. It was a computer simulation, decisions were made each week and then the results were gamed out.

      Our team realized early that we needed capacity, then we needed to exploit that capacity to kill off the competition.

      We did. Ruthlessly. We were one of 3 firms still alive at the end, and our stock price was 4x our nearest competitor. Lots of gamed bids and simply looking at the capacity of other firms. Our cornering of the market allowed us, in the last week, to be a ‘price setter’ and we did. Our bid on the generic market, which we had completely cornered, was 100x what the only other group in the area had. We let them take their little bit of the market, at 1% of our price.

      “But you’re not playing fair!” said most of the pedigreed business bound people.

      But we won. You lost. So sorry.

      1. Bas

        So, did knowing the rules give you a psychological advantage in breaking them to win? Do business schools turn out predator/prey graduates?
        I am seeing a parallel in the Sanders/Clinton race now, where Sanders is managing to throw wrenches into the primary rigging, instead of just wringing his hands and crying HRC and the DNC are cheats. His strategy has adjusted to meet that challenge, and it helps that he has been around long enough to see it all. I saw this especially in the Nevada shakedown http://usuncut.com/politics/bernie-wins-nevada-democratic-caucus/

        1. diptherio

          Ah, but you see, there are no rules–or, at least, they are not what you think they are. “Reality is what you can get away with” ~RAW. It’s because his group figured that out first that they won. Let that be a lesson to us all.

          1. Bas

            I am reminded of the book The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. You become the master of your fate when you always know what you are agreeing to and can make a conscious choice.

      2. diptherio

        I discovered during my college days that actually applying economic logic to the game-theory games we played in class was a quick way to lose friends. As some old carpenter once said, “What does it avail a man that he should gain the whole world, if in the process he loses his soul?” or even just his drinking buddies, for that matter…obviously, the man was not an economist.

  19. craazyboy

    It’s a good thing taxes don’t pay for anything, otherwise this tax haven news would be disturbing.

    Ok, so we caught Putin. But Castro is the guy I wanna see brought to justice. I saw we just legalized Cuban cigars, so we might assume Grand Cayman will collapse under it’s own weight due to an oversized gubmint Post Office. But you can never be too sure about these things. Sometimes assuming an outcome just isn’t enough.

  20. TomD

    Is it just me, or is it wild how much mainstream attention is being paid to how “free trade” harms workers?

    Of course file competing against workers making $2/hour with no safety or environmental protections under no shit how did people ever believe this was a good thing.

    1. Dave

      It makes people applying for jobs paying a net effective hourly rate of $4 an hour in the U.S. feel lucky however.

    2. Lexington

      Sanders and Trump have definitely moved the Overton Window on trade, and in a remarkably short period of time.

      Of course it helped that their insurgencies were a wake up call for an establishment -very much including the MSM- that has long been accustomed to exploiting the Team Red / Team Blue dynamic to keep the electorate divided and distracted while they implemented a raft of policies that secured the interests of the country’s elite at the expense of most of the population.

  21. Propertius

    Russia Prepares for a Big War: The Significance of a Tank Army

    I wonder if we can dust off those ERWs.

    1. craazyboy

      Actually, Russia and the US are preparing for World War Safe. The Russian tanks can’t fly to America and the F-35 can’t kill tanks. No one gets hurt. The Forever War is now a Happy War. Even hippies will enlist.

      1. Propertius

        Given that the Russian MIC is an even bigger share of their economy than our is, this could be quite profitable for both sides.

  22. Jess

    Hadda skip all the links and the comments just to say how much I love that antidote picture.

  23. financial matters

    Money, Power, and Monetary Regimes (PDF) Pavlina Tcherneva, Levy Institute. Long must-read, so grab a cup of coffee.

    “This paper defines money as a power relationship of a specific kind, namely a social credit-debt relationship, that is codified by some authority or institution of power”

  24. Dave

    “How Big Pharma Drug Pricing Costs Us Our Health.”

    My bullshit detector sounds an alarm when I read this article.
    Big Pharma actually benefits from the dissemination of this story.

    Homosexuals in Britain are not likely to elicit sympathy from Middle Class and poor Americans, Brits or Canadians, the very people who are actually most affected by the pharma-gouging. Yes, I know there is a NHS angle.

    This reminds me of the anti GMO demonstrations we attended a couple of years ago for California Proposition 37, a ballot initiative to force the labeling of GMOs. (It lost by 1% of the electorate).

    Some loutish guy in a dress, who wore lots of makeup, was making hiself prominent at the head of the line and hogged the cameras. Made everyone who showed up look foolish by association.

    I saw the guy’s head shot a few months later while researching actors. I called his number for a job interview. He admitted to being hired for one day to wear the ridiculous togs and attend the rally by a large chemical distributor in the Central Valley that profited off GMO/pesticide sales.

    I posit that the article is clever P.R. disinformation.

  25. John

    There’s little in politics as enraging as offshore accounting, and that’s really saying something.

    In an era of austerity, when money is taken from the public (increased taxes, cuts to social services and government employment, weakened labor) to pay off creditors, that the .1% can cheat to avoid paying their part is sickening. Imagine if all of that money was transferred back to the economies from which it came. It’d be a huge boost to demand and would go a long way towards solving many of the fiscal crises around the world.

    But there’s literally nothing anyone can do about it and more and more money continues to be siphoned from the real economy and slip through government’s fingers–money that was once ours.

    1. Antifa

      Is it incorrect to say it is still ours, and should be returned to our national economy?

  26. susan the other

    Pavlina Tcherneva. money, power and monetary regimes. All money is state money. And only some states are sovereign. And sovereignty itself can be selective within a state. How’s zat? I can see this playing out in the misbegotten EU, but Argentina seems to have lost its sovereignty several times due to serial defaults. It all sounds like money in search of power to me. Instead it should be money in search of universal rules that allow every state to protect itself from debt collectors. It’s fine if creditors get burned and decide not to lend anymore – but it’s not fine when creditors usurp sovereignty. And why is Argentina such a failure when it is a large country with good natural resources, etc? When a country has an easy out like piling debt and misery on its poorest citizens, then sovereignty still works for the elite – just the poor must suffer. So sovereignty must be governed by rules that prevent undue hardship for the poor. Just the opposite of today’s convenient practices. Sovereignty needs a more detailed definition.

    1. financial matters

      A sovereign needs to have the power to enforce tax collection within its jurisdiction.

      Bernie seems to be the best effort to shift the power structure more to the poor and disenfranchised.

    2. Antifa

      Indeed. The working people hold the real power, but never truly get to use it. A phony choice between the lesser of two evils is no choice.

      The definition of sovereignty should be spelled out in the Constitution — and include the care, feeding, and education of every citizen as the core value of the nation state. Government sovereignty and legitimacy begins AFTER you accomplish that.

      If the core value of a nation is to let pirates run amok amassing humongous treasures to bury on distant beaches, then you get what the modern world calls democracy. It’s just a cover for oligarchy-in-progress, wherever it exists.

      The essay also explained clearly how money is a creation of the state, always. It talked of counterfeiting as, verily, the world’s second oldest profession, yet left unsaid the logical conclusion: the threat of state violence is the final authority behind money, not merely taxes. Those who do not pay their tax, those who do not work, those who beg or loiter learn right away that you will be harmed, you will lose your freedom of movement, and you may be killed for resisting the state.

      “Democracy don’t rule this world,
      You better get that in your head.
      This world is ruled by violence.
      But I guess that’s better left unsaid.”
      ~ Bob Dylan

  27. craazyboy

    There’s this definition:

    sov·er·eign

    NOUN

    1.a supreme ruler, especially a monarch.

    synonyms: ruler · monarch · crowned head · head of state ·
    [more]

    1. Antifa

      It’s fun to trace the origins of the word sovereign back through Old French, Italian, Vulgar Latin, Indo-European, and even Sanskrit. Interestingly, it always carries the meaning of a singular individual held “higher” than all others.

      Whether he/she is a fearsome, bloodthirsty potentate, or a wise and loving protector of the people, whatever he/she says goes. Now everybody jump.

      Le estat ce moi certainly seems to be the traditional definition of a sovereign ruler. He or she was above the law for they made the law. If something wasn’t legal a moment ago, it is now, so there. Jump higher.

      This reminds of Carl Schmitt’s dictum, which Hitler so loved and put into practice, ‘He who can suspend the state is the true sovereign.’ Yep. If you can overrule the law, you is the law, brother.

      Dick Cheney and his meat puppet Dubya put this into practice as well, most particularly with multiple “signing statements” which placed the President above the Constitution and all laws of the country. To save us from terror, it was. Or so he said.

      Nowadays, many, many people are above the law, so we have ‘high-ness’ on every side. It’s an affluenza plague; it’s everywhere.

      1. craazyboy

        Yes. Lately in my recreational reading I’ve switched from the sci-fi genre to fantasy. I’m learning a lot about sovereigns, and I feel like I’m really preparing for the future.

  28. optimader

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2113681/
    The 100 Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared

    Based on the internationally best-selling novel by Jonas Jonasson, the unlikely story of a 100-year-old man who decides it’s not too late to start over. For most people it would be the adventure of a lifetime, but Allan Karlsson’s unexpected journey is not his first. For a century he’s made the world uncertain, and now he is on the loose again.

    classic line:
    Allan Karlsson: If you want to kill me, you’d better hurry, because I’m 100 years old.

  29. Brooklin Bridge

    Re: Panama Papers: global reaction to huge leak of offshore tax files – live

    I can find no comment section in the Guardian’s coverage of this.

  30. Fe

    Antifa re 5:01, Your constitution’s gone. Fortunately, sovereignty is defined in customary international law, which is federal and state common law in the US. As defined in Implementing the Responsibility to Protect, sovereignty is responsibility. When a state accepts its responsibility by acceding to, at the minimum, the UN Charter, the International Bill of Human Rights (UDHR, ICCPR, and ICESCR) and the Rome Statute, then that state is fully sovereign. Otherwise the state is subject to suasion, capacity building, or intervention by the international community.

    1. Alejandro

      I find very interesting how human rights are defined, taxonomized, prioritized, ratified and enforced. Although written in the context of the presidents recent trip to Cuba, Marjorie Cohn wrote a recent piece, that clarified the conflicts that are currently being played out in the US, in real time. I was made aware that the US ratified the ICCPR but has not ratified the ICESCR.

      From Marjorie Cohns’ article:
      “But the US refuses to ratify the ICESCR. Since the Reagan administration, it has been US policy to define human rights only as civil and political rights. Economic, social and cultural rights are dismissed as akin to social welfare, or socialism.”

      http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/03/18/human-rights-hypocrisy-us-criticizes-cuba/

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