Links 3/3/14

Talking Neanderthals challenge the origins of speech Science Daily

No Signs of Stock Froth in the Tea Leaves WSJ

Stocks sink, oil prices jump on Ukraine war threats Reuters

Williams Paper: Median estimate of NAIRU 6.6% The Center of the Universe. Unemployment problem solved!

Here’s The Story About The Economy That Liberals Don’t Want To Hear Joe Weisenthal, Business Insider. The labor market is tight.

A bull’s-eye for Fed accountability Econbrowser

Robert Samuelson’s Bad Math on Generational Equity CEPR

China emerges as India’s top trading partner: Study Financial Express

China’s services, manufacturing sectors diverge in February Reuters

Why are UK firms bringing manufacturing back home? Telegraph

Global Unrest

Here’s What Is Going to Happen With Ukraine Kevin Drum, Mother Jones (SW; this article provides much illustrative material).

Whoops Stop Me Before I Vote Again

Ukraine crisis: even a less menacing Russian leader than Vladimir Putin would not let Ukraine go easily Daily Telegraph (RS)

Kerry to visit Ukraine on Tuesday, threatens sanctions if Russia doesn’t pull forces back WaPo

Ukraine’s navy chief Denis Berezovsky defects as NATO convenes emergency meeting ABC

Ukraine Turns to Its Oligarchs for Political Help Times

Ukraine’s leader urges Putin to pull back military, mobilizes reservists WaPo

Russia Gas Threat Shows Putin Using Pipelines to Press Ukraine Bloomberg

Senator John McCain: “We Are All Ukrainians” Time. Missiles for the Czech Republic! Gee, I guess McCain was crazy pants after all.

The expected rate of return from denuclearization has fallen Marginal Revolution

“White Ribbon” Armed Men Explain Russia’s Crimea Reaction? Moon of Alabama

The Ukrainian Grand Delusion Billmon

Shutting down the shutdown Economist. Thailand.

Libya MPs shot and wounded as congress stormed BBC. “[Y]oung people armed with knives and sticks.”

Tired of protests, Venezuelans take politics to the beach Reuters

Obama to Israel — Time Is Running Out Jeffrey Goldberg, Bloomberg (interview).

Obama Plan for Cyprus – Vanishing Cyprus Greek Reporter

Cyprus bailout hit as privatisation bill fails BBC

To see the problems of emerging markets look to Turkey FT. Smart locals flee first.

Political Union In Europe: Governance Of, By, And For The Elite Testosterone Pit

Whither the Euro? Interational Monetary Fund

Who Else Besides Hillary Clinton in 2016? Times. Hmm. 

Republican hopes for vote victory mask presidential poll fears FT. Hey, I’ve got an idea for the Democrats! Stop sucking!

Democrats Try Wooing Ones Who Got Away: White Men Times. Oh good. More identity politics.

Port Authority officials: Battle over toll hikes was all for show Newark Star-Ledger. Christie (R) and Cuomo (D) get a room.

Those fighting region’s hunger are fighting each other Philadelphia Inquirer (PT)

California farmers hire dowsers to find water Houston Chronicle

Glyphosate, Hard Water and Nephrotoxic Metals: Are They the Culprits Behind the Epidemic of Chronic Kidney Disease of Unknown Etiology in Sri Lanka? International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (heresy101). ​Monsanto’s Roundup may be linked to fatal kidney disease.

Where Have All the Lobbyists Gone? The Nation

Social powers? Understanding Society. Note Common Pool Resource reference at end.

The psychology of hate: How we deny human beings their humanity Salon

Crimean Dreams LRB

Antidote du jour (Lysa):


Bonus antitode (RS):

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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.


    1. cwaltz

      I’m trying to understand what exactly this person thinks is fair to the Russians who live in Ukraine(How they got there matters less to me than the fact that they DO live there and have for YEARS). Is she suggesting they should have to leave if they disagree with the idea of joining the EU instead of continuing the alliance with Russia? I also think its interesting that a politician saying one thing and doing another is now grounds for usurping democracy. If that’s the case we, here in the US, should be staging a coup weekly. I guess what I don’t understand is why the opposition party didn’t wait for election time and then ask for international observers to come in to ensure that neither side was strong arming.

      1. Synopticist

        I would normally be OK with an obscenely corrupt government being overthrown, but if the country was previously ruled by Yulia Tymoshenko, and her partisans are supporting the movement, then not so much.

      2. hunkerdown

        Maybe you’re asking the wrong question. Not “why”? That’s asking for a just-so story. “To whose benefit is it that”. The opposition party didn’t want to wait because they don’t want a fair election; they want a result. Usually this means they have the strong arms and the fix in already.

        “Democracy is messy” is just the devout liberal aristocrat’s version of “The Lord works in strange and mysterious ways”. Maniche is all just for the rubes. Machiavelli really runs the joint.

        Anyway, Ms. Chalupa is just another starf—ing imperialist courtier vending celebrity gossip and manufacturing consent, and can safely be shouted down as such.

    2. Murky


      Do you know any basic history about Ukraine? Few people do. I recommend Robert Conquest’s ‘Harvest of Sorrow’, if you ever have time to read it. It’s the true story of how 4-6 million Ukrainians were starved to death by Stalin.

      In the late 20s and early 30s, Stalin ‘collectivized’ agriculture in Ukraine. All the independent farmers in Ukraine were rounded up and placed in agricultural slave labor camps. No exaggeration. The independent farmers of Ukraine resisted ‘collectivization’. Stalin forced the issue. He extended his police apparatus to take complete control of the Ukrainian countryside. A cordon was formed around Ukraine. Transit routes put under control. Internal passports were issued, so that nobody could travel without authorization. All agricultural products were seized as state property, including seed grain. Livestock was also seized. Slowly over a period of 3 or 4 years approximately 4 to 6 million Ukrainians were deliberately starved to death.

      When Nazi Germany invaded Ukraine in 1941, many Ukrainians greeted them as liberators. What would you do, after millions of your countrymen had been murdered by Stalin’s regime? Yes, it’s a fact; some people in western Ukrainian actually sided with the Nazis. This is the basis from which Ukrainian nationalists today are being branded as ‘fascist’.

      WW2 was 70 years ago. And it wasn’t only Ukraine that collaborated with the Nazis. Russia did too. Read about the Molotov-Ribbintop Pact. Other European nations that collaborated with the Nazis include Albania, Belgium, Netherlands, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, France, Greece, Norway, Poland, Belarus, and Yugoslavia.

      Andrea Chalupa’s article that you link to is quite cognizant of this history. It astonishes me that some people here take it as propaganda with falsified content. For example; what she says about western media covering up the Ukrainian famine is also true. Read the Wikipedia article on Walter Duranty. He was the New York Times man in Moscow. And treated with great deference by the Stalin regime! He wrote the following. “Any report of a famine in Russia is today an exaggeration or malignant propaganda.”

      Many people voice very poorly informed opinions about Ukraine, but it’s not so hard to become informed. Read some real history. Here is a link about the Ukrainian famine from Wikipedia. It really happened. It might give you some sympathy for what the Ukrainians endured.

      And don’t think I’m siding with Ukraine. I’ll be glad to defend Russia’s seizure of Crimea, if that’s something of interest to you.

      1. AlliGator

        Murky, yes, this does sincerely interest me. Please expound on your siding with Russia and defending Russia’s seizure of Crimea. Thank you.

        1. Murky

          Well, I’ll be quick with this as I’ve got piles of other work. Let me first backtrack a couple hundred years. Russia started out pretty land-locked. It was only Peter the Great who established Saint Petersburg in the very early 1700s. Peter built Russia’s first navy there, giving access to Europe through the Baltic Sea. Murmansk is the other port in the far north of Russia, but it’s ice-bound for a portion of the year and is pretty useless for business with Europe. What Russia needed was a warm-water port, and if you read Russian history this is a constant theme. It was Catherine the Great in the late 1700s who acquired Crimea through military conquest. Crimea gave Russia perfect access to Europe through the Black Sea and the Bosphorus. There is no better place for the Russian navy than Crimea.

          To keep it real simple, Russia is NEVER going to give up its primo naval base in Crimea. It doesn’t matter so much that it’s in Ukrainian territory, because Russia’s security needs far outweigh any legal obligations. There was some treaty 20 years ago, the Budapest Memorandum, in which Ukraine gave up its nukes for promises about it’s territorial integrity, and Russia signed on to that. Sure, Russia may break that treaty now, and suffer a few years of international sanctions. Losing an established naval base for the Black Sea fleet would in fact be much worse and vastly more costly for Russia. It’s true that Russia could pick up all its marbles and retool its navy, say, in Novorossiisk, but that would be prohibitively expensive. The Novorossiisk port is much too shallow for a big fleet and would require colossal scale dredging operations.

          Just based upon two hundred years of Russian naval operations out of Crimea, I think Russia has acquired some rights to continue doing business there. I do not believe Ukraine’s territorial claims are strong to permit ejecting Russia from Crimea. Strong enough only to collect rent. I’ll back that.

            1. Murky

              What I cannot comprehend is all the vitriolic rant from people who know so precious little about either Russia or Ukraine.

              1. alliGator

                Fantastically wonderful reply Murky! Thank you for the time. I consider myself somewhat educated on Russian/European history but was still unable to connect all the dots. The MSM seemed to only supply with me info about Sarah Palin’s comment six years ago. My follow-up question to you is: you say that Russia gaining control of Crimea is reasonable to you; what about Russia taking over ALL of Ukraine. Would that be going to far, in your opinion, or is that also an understandable action on their part?

  1. John Jones

    I see when Turkey invades and also brings along settlers to Cyprus it is made legitimate. What hypocrisy.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Under Frank Roosevelt’s Agricultural Adjustment Act, my great uncle went round his rural county, destroying livestock so that the meat would be unusable (and thus driving up prices for the smaller supply that remained). He admitted to occasionally setting aside some meat and delivering it to hungry families.

      To those who maliciously claim that Rooseveltism is back, I say this case is totally different: you can’t eat houses.

    2. Oregoncharles

      You do know the population of Detroit has cratered, don’t you? No industry left there.

      They’re trying to restore farmland – in the city.

  2. Ignim Brites

    Maybe Putin will really throw a curveball by inviting France, Germany, and Poland into a military alliance, call it NETO, to supplant NATO. All problems solved.

  3. Jim Haygood

    Hate to mention Kurgman (‘you should pick on somebody your own size, Jim’), but he’s still at large and his communiqués are becoming increasingly erratic. This one, titled ‘Inflation Obsession,’ appeared in yesterday’s NYT:

    ‘During the fateful year of 2008, Fed officials were obsessed with the wrong thing. The economy was plunging, yet all many people at the Fed wanted to talk about was inflation. In August 2008 there were 322 mentions of inflation.’

    What had just happened in August 2008? That’s right, class. Crude oil had just reached a record $147 a barrel. That proved to be the peak, but we didn’t know it at the time. Fortunately charts and data aren’t necessary for Kurgman’s rhetorical economics.

    Speaking of demon inflation, go to, call up a chart of GCC (which tracks the 17-member Continuous Commodity Index), and tell me what you see. Like Wrong-Way Charlie, Kurgman is an infallible investment guide, if you do the opposite of what he says.

    1. sd

      A commodity spike is not “inflation” and labor has not seen an increase in wages in a very long time, close to 3 decades in fact. Now, one could argue that there is inflation up there for the 1%

  4. Hugh

    Who’s Joe Weisenthal (Labor Market Tightness)? He comes across as a troll. Liberals (a term he uses generically for not conservative–whatever that means) were right about a lot of things since the meltdown but now re unemployment, they’re wrong because more and more economists (you know the guys who didn’t see the housing bubble, meltdown, or its aftermath, lickspittles to the rich and keepers of the sacred fire of their charlatan science) well they think 6.6% seems about right for a new structural rate of unemployment. So since so many of them think this way they must be right, because they have such a great track record of getting so much wrong.

    This is all just a rehash of a bunch of standard devices which the powers that be and their economic propagandists recycle from time to time. It is another invitation for us not to believe our lying eyes. First, you define millions of workers out of the labor force by using a restrictive job seeker model for unemployment. These workers are treated like they left the labor force instead of being kicked out of it to make politicians’ lives easier. The new reduced number becomes the “official” rate. Second, you raise the level of whay you call structural, that is permanent, nothing a politician can do about it, unemployment toward the official unemployment rate. The goal since the December 2007 recession hit and never went away for the bottom 80% of Americans has been to reduce a jobs crisis down to a problem, but a relatively minor one. The chutzpah here is that Upton Sinclair men like Weisenthal are selling this wheeze to eliminate the unemployment problem entirely.

    Of course, what they don’t talk about are jobs. Most of the jobs created since the beginning of the recession are crap jobs. The pay is poor and they have few or no benefits. In the absence of a strong union movement in the private sector and given the nature of these jobs, somehow employers are going to be pressured into raising wages, and (this being the standard neoliberal narrative) initiating a new cycle of inflation. That workers’ wage share has been falling or that wages don’t even keep up that well with inflation, forget that. It doesn’t fit into the “story”. That Goldman and Morgan Stanley jack up commodities prices, well that’s apparently not any kind of inflation worth talking about. That the Fed has blown an enormous bubble in stocks. That too doesn’t seem to be inflation. No, inflation in the kleptocratic neoliberal world can only come from workers’ wages, and apparently is so virulent that action, or as here inaction (no push for more jobs), must be taken even before any sign of it.

    If all this sounds bogus, that’s because it is. It’s kleptocratic propaganda. The point is to get it out there to shape and direct the debate so that we don’t think to ask why we should support an economy and a political structure so destructive of our needs and dreams, both individually and as a society.

    1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

      Whenever one encounters “X” “thinks,” in commentary, the straw man is in place. No need to read further.

    2. roadrider

      Thank you for saying that – so I didn’t have to :-)

      I lost my job in a merger 7 months ago. I have never seen a worse job market in my career (> 25 yrs). I had more opportunities when I was just starting out and didn’t know shit than I do know. And its not a matter of outdated skills. The problem is that employers are being incredibly selective. You not only have to have the right skill set you have to have highly specific experience in their industry (down to a very detailed level) or you can’t even get to first base. In the past I was easily able to get jobs where I had to learn quite a bit once I was hired and most companies were fine with that – they were recruiting talent and were actually invested in you for the long term. Now there’s been a massive shift towards contingent and disposable labor so no one wants to hire anyone who has to learn anything because they’ll be looking to dump you in a couple of years.

      You’re absolutely right. The kind of thinking expressed in the link is nothing less than an excuse to walk away from anyone unfortunate enough to have lost their job during this employment crisis by labeling them as structurally unemployable. Unfortunately, politicians of all stripes will most likely jump on this rationalization to abandon extending extended unemployment benefits and doing anything to reduce the enormous slack that still exists in the job market.

      1. craazyman

        I went through a difficult period on the employment front a decade or so ago and used to darkly joke that if I applied for a job to shine shoes they’d ask “But have you ever shined brown shoes?”

        people talk about numbers like the structural this and long-term that to explain the unemployment rate, but the real problem is the “job offering rate”. Nobody ever talks about that. It’s probably at a century low. Mostly because lack of imagination has settled over the putrid corporate cesspool like a stench-ridden darkness on a summer evening filled with flies.

    3. susan the other

      And worse – tightness is completely choreographed: Oh dear the job market is tight, very tight… that means that wages, aka inflation that does not benefit the rich will go up soon…. (in the meantime – 1920s silent movies music)… President Obama, in an effort to raise the minimum wage so that people can actually eat has signed a finding that mandates federal workers be paid $10.00 an hour… Oh, see, I told you so: wages are going up!

    4. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      What is inflation?

      What is money?

      More words thrown around without much meaning.

      I keep telling myself when they say they are fighting inflation, they mean wage inflation, not the food and energy inflations that matter to most people trying to survive, but ‘let’s; excluse these volatile numbers from the core rate calculation.

      As for counting unemployment, see Modern Disenfranchisement Theory below.

    1. Oregoncharles

      There is recent strong evidence of cross-breeding, though it may have been limited. There are Neanderthal genes in the Homo sap. genome, outside Africa.

      1. Synopticist

        I had this really long running argument/discussion (like for around 20 years) about neanderthals with a friend of mine.
        He maintained they could breed with us (that is homo sapien sapiens), while I vehemently disagreed. I had to admit defeat.
        Bastard scientists.

    2. susan the other

      Since everything from potguts to parrots have language, it’s implausible that Neanders were mute.

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      ‘…the configuration of their vocal tract was sufficiently different from H. sapiens to strongly isolate the two gene pools.’


      By ‘isolate,’ do you mean they did not talk to each other or they did not interbreed with each other?

      Maybe the Neanderthals made speechlike sounds and with them, ‘talked’ to humans?

      Maybe they made speechlike sounds and were not able to ‘talk’ to humans, and therefore not able to interbreed peacefully, but the possibility was there still for some ‘involuntary’ interbreeding?

      1. Optimader

        When i was young i apparently went a long time w/o embracing language beyond a one syllable utterence. i would use it with various inflections and augmented it with pointing and other physical cues. It was apparently sufficinet for my simple needs. It continued to the point where my mother took me to the pediatrican to explore what the heck my problem was. The pediatrician asked my mom what the problem was and she explained i would just point to stuff ( probably food mostly ) or my block of wood or whatever. The Dr asked, does he get his point across, do you give him what he wants? She said “well, yes i guess, sure” the Dr said “well…stop giving it to him!”.
        This was the beginning my forced journey into more complex vocalization.

        Modern people i think tend to denigrate Neanderthals i think largely due to our own ignorance. Neanderthals existed a veeery long time at a stable level of existence. To me this suggest they were probably very elegant in there mutual interaction (communication) or they would not have survived. Now due to DNA analysis it is proposed many of use have neanderthal code. This legacy reinforces my opinion that they had very elegant communication skills or they would not have survived and ultimatly blended into a Rev 2 variation of our modern species.

  5. bob

    “Christie (R) and Cuomo (D) get a room.”

    Dick morris had to be hospitalized for priapism.

  6. diptherio

    Friends, NCers, New Yorkers, lend me your ears–I will be coming to NYC in exactly one month’s time. And I’ll be hanging out in the Big Apple for an entire month (scored a job painting a couple buildings for the Ganas Community on Staten Island). I’ve got meetings scheduled for the 6th and the 26th-27th already, but other than that I should have plenty of time for a “meet-up”, if’n anyone is interested.

    So, if people are up for having a few beers and a few laughs in April, let me know (if I don’t meet at least one NCer during my month long stay out East, I’m going to be sorely disappointed).

    What say you all? Meet-up in April? Pretty please! [crosses fingers and looks about imploringly]

    1. Jackrabbit

      IIRC, there was some talk of another get-together in the not-too-distant future at/after the last get-together.

      Not sure how such gatherings are put together but “some time in April” may be a little too vague for planning purposes.

      1. Propertius

        I vote for “late May”, since Dr. Mrs Propertius and I were planning on a trip to NYC at the end of the semester ;-).

      2. EconCCX

        Left Forum takes place the weekend of May 30 – June 1. I think it’s $60 earlybird for the three days.

        Dr. Hudson was on two of the panels last year. Chomsky and Oliver Stone in the big room. Memorable (for me) chats with Hudson, Barbara Garson, Doug Henwood, and Public Banking supporters.

        NC folks should be able to figure out how to find each other there, and/or meet up nearby.

    2. nobody

      I won’t be in NY, but was there for the meetup in January and have contact info for several of the other meet-uppers. Got an email address or something? I could email them with your contact info so they could contact you if they are interested.

  7. squasha

    A friend brought me along to a dowsing convention somewhere in Oregon years back, and a fine time it was, too. Lovely old twinkly-eyed 49ers inamongst the rainbow chakra glasses & country-fair granola gods, one of whom told me the legend of the prospector who’d hit upon the mother of all motherlodes. He was struck down with rocky mountain spotted fever and the location of his El Dorado went with him to his grave. Then there was a peacepipe ceremony in which all but the menstruating were invited to circle round & puff out well-wishes, then we drove home.

    Nothing whatsoever to do with Ukraine, Je vous prie de m’excuser.

    1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

      In the late ’40s, my granddad owned a 1,400 acre farm in the Northern Neck of VA (surrounded by fresh water). The well that served the house on the property went dry, and my granddad was going broke digging wildcat water wells, and even hiring several hydrologists to determine the best place to drill, in the hope of finding potable water. At his wits end, he asked one of his employees if he had any idea what to do next. The employee introduced him to a dowser, who charged him $50 to find good water. The man came out to the farm, and within a half hour, told my granddad not only where to dig, but how far they would have to drill to hit water (around 50′). My granddad thought the fellow was a scammer, but having no alternative, told the well driller where to drill next. Sure enough, the hit fresh, drinkable water at around 50′.

      Think what you want. My granddad was always a skeptic, but he could never explain how the old dowser found that water when everyone else came up dry.

      He said it was the best $50 he ever spent.

      1. squasha

        great story, always love the granddads. Just occured to me, how’s this dowsing thing going to work over a fracked aquafer? Also, it’s interesting the way dowsers use their techniques/gifts to find both water and gold, wonder if it works on other substances?

    2. heresy101

      50 years ago, my father got a dowser friend, who didn’t know what chakra or granola was, to look for the best place to put a well in the back yard to water fruits and vegetables. While the water table was often at ground level in the winter, summer was a lot drier. The dowser found a spot for the well and a 20 foot section of pipe was driven in and hit water. There never was a shortage of water.
      The engineer in me says that it was a lucky guess, but my father’s farmer background makes me wonder if there is something to dowsing.

  8. neo-realist

    I may be coming to NYC mid to late Sept–between dining out, theater, museum and gallery hopping, some live music, a Met game? and a little family visitation, will anybody accomodate me?

    1. annie

      i posted this link to snyder’s piece on nc a few days ago but comments, such as zephyrum’s below, have been the norm here.
      don’t know why this at least might be place for civil arguing instead of raging disparagement and name-calling.
      to call snyder ‘truly ignorant’ of 20th century history is ignorant of his work. as for calling it ‘evil propaganda,’ do stop.

      1. zephyrum

        Annie, with respect to your even-tempered comment, I still believe it is “truly ignorant” to say that the Russians did not suffer at the hands of the Nazis. I don’t know snyder and don’t have any comment on the man himself. But his statements diverge from the truth enough to be indistinguishable from “evil propaganda”. I don’t see this as an attack, or name-calling, but rather my assessment of the veracity of his words.

        1. annie

          after posting, i read through the thread under the michael hudson post and found this nc debate a quite informative give and take.

        2. Murky

          Zephyrum, ain’t it great we have a sandbox to play in? So glad we can play. You claim Timothy Snyder spouts ‘evil propaganda’. So let’s make an assessment of his and your expertise. Timothy Snyder is a professor of history at Yale University. Check. He specialty is Modern East European history. Check. He has written half a dozen books on East European history. Check. Now, who is Zephyrum? An anonymous blogger. Hmmm. Ranting out disparaging opinions. Uh-oh. Moreover claiming that distinguished historians like Snyder are mere propagandists. Yikes! Well, Zephyrum, your credibility is ebbing fast.

          1. zephyrum

            I comment anonymously so that I may comment freely, not to develop credibility.
            Please listen to experts. They will tell you all you need to know. And think.

    2. Jessica

      Thank you for this link, Lambert. It rings true to me.
      One reason is that the writer writes compassionately about what is going on now and seems willing to acknowledge difficulties and the dark sides of those he is supporting. It invites an open-minded sympathy for what Ukrainians are trying to do, not an obedient blanket support for one side or another.
      I have been less convinced by other pieces I have read that use events of 70 years ago to generate hard-hearted attitudes and that try to force me or emotionally manipulate me into complying with their specific simplified vision.
      Lambert, by the way, I have appreciated how you have humanized and made understandable the anti-government side in Bangkok even while making clear your disagreement with them.

      1. OIFVet

        You think Snyder is not trying to emotionally manipulate his readers? “The protesters might be seen as setting an example of courage for Americans of both the left and the right. Ukrainians make real sacrifices for the hope of joining the European Union.” Both emotionally manipulative (‘example of courage’, ‘real sacrifices’) and wrong (‘hope of joining’ the EU). Most Ukrainians do not want any part of the EU, which actually speaks very highly of them.

        Not that Russia is the solution to their problems, it is not (but at least they do get much cheaper gas from the Russians than the Euros do). The cold, hard fact is that Russia will never let Ukraine go, and the US and the EU can’t do anything about it short of starting a nuclear war. Russia needs Ukraine as a buffer zone against NATO; throughout history Russia has always traded space for time against invaders given the lack of natural defensible terrain features in that flat Russian steppe. The West lied to Gorby in 1989 about NATO expansion and Putin has internalized that lesson. He will not trust the West’s good intentions, given the demonstrable lack of the same over the past 25 years. What we are witnessing is realpolitik at its most real and ruthless, with Ukraine as a hapless pawn which failed to learn from Georgia’s 2008 misadventures.

  9. Cal

    “Realistically, winning votes from working-class white men has just been a very tough political challenge for Democrats,” said Geoff Garin, a Democratic pollster.”

    Yeah, decades of affirmative action and notices posted on job advertisements
    like “Women and Minorities strongly encouraged to apply” creates lifetime embitterment.
    F* the Democrats and the Republicans who screwed over White Working Class men with their pro F.I.R.E. agenda.

    We need a third party alternate in this country. I encourage everyone, especially White men to register as “Independent” or “Decline to state party preference”.
    Vote for whatever party truly represents our “community”.

    1. neo-realist

      Ya think after a few centuries of white affirmative action that there would be some willingness to share some opportunity?:/

      We need a third party alternative that will change the framing of the issues so that if your black/brown brother/sister obtains opportunity and everybody else gets opportunity, the boats of all nationalities are raised by increased SS payments, decreased governmental assistance and a decreased in the social problems created by lack of opportunity.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Affirmative action on wealth sharing >>> affirmative action on equal employment opportunity.

        When we all share in the wealth of the nation, more of less equally (you pick up tolerances), i.e. no concentration of wealth, equal job opportunity will present itself.

        When a race is more or less totally powerless, and one member of that race ascends to the top, it could be

        1. for show
        2. miracle

        You decide.

        In any case, you get

        1. trickle-down empowerment, hopefully, (one man/woman lifts a whole race)
        2. kabuki

        You be the judge.

        On the other hand, if you have wealth equality among all races, it will not be a puppet show or a miracle for a minority member to race to the summit.

        When that day comes, it will be the most natural thing in the world. No one will need to get excited about anything.

        If you feel you had been excited falsely, this may be why (that’s my best guess).

      2. Jessica

        I’ll support any initiative that reduces the power of oligarchs and the elites of any color, gender, sexual orientation, body configuration, age, height, or weight.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          You have the white race, the black race, the brown race, etc.

          Then you have the green race. They have always lived at the top with lots of green stuff.

  10. TarheelDem

    One of the things that I’ve noticed over the past three decades is that when the business press starts talking about labor market tightness, it precedes by a year another major recession that throws more people out of work. I think our illustrious CEOs are about to create another economic crisis do drive down costs and increase profits. Given the situation of most people and the current anger, that might not be a wise idea for the powers that be.

    The world condition is getting a very Weimar-like air about it. And I’m not a big fan of Godwin’s law. Nor am I making predictions. But there seems to be a lemming-like move for global failure among those with the power to make the big decisions.

  11. zephyrum

    Excellent piece, seriously? From the link:
    The future of this protest movement will be decided by Ukrainians. And yet it began with the hope that Ukraine could one day join the European Union, an aspiration that for many Ukrainians means something like the rule of law, the absence of fear, the end of corruption, the social welfare state, and free markets without intimidation from syndicates controlled by the president.

    This article is just shilling for the neoliberal economics agenda, including IMF-imposed austerity, VAT increases, and generally impoverishing the country to make sure western banks get repaid with excessive profits. Yanukovych was just one more US-backed bad guy in the fine tradition of the Marcos, Noriega, and all the other sleazeballs we’ve installed over the years. He made the mistake of going against US interests and…he’s gone.

    Or how about this:
    Ukraine is full of sophisticated and ambitious people. If people in the West become caught up in the question of whether they are largely Nazis or not, then they may miss the central issues in the present crisis.

    So it’s OK for the government of the moment in Kiev to be fascist, erh, “nationalists”. Check out this YouTube video where one of the “revolutionaries” in Kiev is “holding discussions” with a government attorney general. (from Club Orlov, which you should definitely check out for an alternate view of the events in Ukraine.)

    And then:
    Apart from the Jews, whose suffering was by far the worst, the main victims of Nazi policies were not Russians but Ukrainians and Belarusians.

    I dare anyone to go to Moscow and say this in public. You will be besieged by the stories of lives and loves lost. This is truly ignorant, or more likely just evil propaganda.

    Terrible, terrible article.

    1. squasha

      thanks for this response, I too found that article pretty infuriating for many of the same reasons you cite, in addition to a stream of steady circumstantial, causal leaps of faith & the idea that anyone owns, and is capable of holding stationary, collective memory, that historical accounts and discourse around the Holocaust are not in themselves evolving dialectics, nor are they the particular property first and foremost of Jews (tell that to the Roma, Sinti, gays, handicapped, communists, Andersdenkers, and Slavs who happened to have been living in the Lebensraum) Seems to me the author himself is at the very least just as guilty of reducing “the social tensions in a complex country to a battle of symbols about the past.”

      Orlov’s article is a bit too bedazzling of Putin for my taste, but it’s certainly been interesting to watch the rhetorical ping-pongs lob back & forth.

      Democracy Now hosted a debate btw Mr Snyder & X-CIA analyst Ray McGovern:

      …in which a palpable sense of ulterior motives, echos of white house press secretaries & big kids playing Risk for keeps permeates

      1. zephyrum

        Agree with you on Orlov’s views on Putin, but he conveys a point of view not widely available here in the US. Thanks for the Democracy Now link; very interesting.

    2. Jess

      Thank you for pointing out that absolutely no one, not one single person, in those early days of protest in Kiev was a young person, or even an older one, who wanted a better economy and some real democracy instead of Yanukovych and his “family” getting filthy rich by looting the country. And it’s equally great of you to point out that a country or its citizens cannot possibly ever want any trade with western countries without being tools of the western elite and craven austerians, not to mean fascists. Glad you hold all the Occupy types in our country in the same light. After all, if we don’t like how we’re being exploited by our own fascist oligarchy through austerity (as well as outright looting) that makes us tools of those very same fascist oligarchs, right?

      And before I forget, thanks for pointing out that no true democracy or republic has ever removed a freely elected president for violating that country’s constitution. (Richard Nixon being a fictional character and not real-life.)

      Oh, you didn’t point any of those things out? How could I have been so wrong? Maybe I got the wrong impression just because you trashed the article thoroughly without pointing out any possible truths in it, or merits to its arguments. But I get the basic takeaway: all revolutions are instigated by the CIA-oligarch complex. Never again in world history will everyday people rise up against domestic political and economic oppression just, like, you know…on their own. Got it.

      1. OIFVet

        Right, our government is all for the Ukrainians to revolt against their oligarchs but it doe not approve Occupy’s revolt against our own cleptocracy. Got it. Could you imagine the extra vitriol if Russia had provided $5 billion in support for Occupy? The crackdown would have been even more brutal. Nice try but some of us are rather fed up with the hypocrisy and bellicose self-righteousness of our foreign policy. “Freedom” and “democracy” have no meaning coming out of the mouths of political elite. What is happening in Ukraine, regardless of whether the protests began organically or not, is the attempt of the West to bully the Russian bear and to take chunks of its defensive perimeter. To pretend otherwise is to be deaf and blind.

  12. Oregoncharles

    “Here’s The Story About The Economy That Liberals Don’t Want To Hear”

    I see a number of obvious problems.
    For one, “most economists” are neoliberals; they also “missed the bubble”, suggesting that their positions are fundamentally counterfactual and that their competence is, well, suspect – to be polite about it.

    There is a very serious question whether the Fed’s QE has any real effect aside from inflating the stock market and banks’ balance sheets.

    The fundamental suggestion here seems to be that we should just abandon the “long-term unemployed” and those who’ve dropped out of the labor force. That isn’t just ruthless; it would reset the economy at a much lower level.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It used to be that some people were deemed non-existing as far as voting was concerned.

      Now, some people are regarded as non-existing as far as how their suffering might affect politics is concerned.

      There is my Modern Disenfranchisement Theory (MDT).

  13. hunkerdown

    Yes, he was democratically elected (and he lied to get elected), but he delegitimized his power when he violated the […] constitution by […]murdering his own people.

    Why yes, Ms. Chalupa, let’s do talk about that.

    Proving once again that no comments section = partisan gasbag. Shame about Arthur Silber, in that light.

    1. Vatch

      The Chalupa site has a comments section, but unfortunately, it’s Disqus, which fails to run on some computers.

  14. Wayne Reynolds

    I would like to pose a question to all here at Naked Capitalism. While following the events concerning Ukraine, a commenter on another blog posed a question in light of the USA’s threat of economic sanctions against Russia of what would be the repercussions in the world economy if Russia demanded that it’s gas exports to Europe be paid in either the ruble or the yuan? The euro would be unacceptable. Any speculation on my part is way beyond my ability. I hope this question will be of some interest. I hope I am not violating any house rules.

    1. financial matters

      They don’t seem to be widely traded currencies but that may change.

      February 24, 2014
      By L. Randall Wray

      “I have no doubt that China would eventually be in a position where floating (her currency) would not only be desired, but it would be necessary.China will probably float long before it reaches such a position. China will become too wealthy, too developed, to avoid floating. She will stop net accumulating foreign currency reserves, and will probably begin to run current account deficits. She will gradually relax capital controls. She might never go full-bore Western-style “free market” but she will find it to her advantage to float in order to preserve domestic policy space.

      If she did not, she could look forward to a quasi-colonial status, subordinate to the reserve currency issuer. China will not do that.”

      So Russia or China would have to turn into importers in order to export their currency to the EU. So they would have to pay their workers enough to afford imports. Maybe it could be called a race to the top.

    2. zephyrum

      Wayne, I think it’s a great question. Lacking expertise to answer this directly, I can only speculate that perhaps there are too many rubles out there. Nobody wants to redeem their own paper, if they can attract payments in a more useful form. I suspect Russia finds euros to be a very valuable forex asset.

  15. Bruno Marr

    Bonus Antidote:

    If that was directed in my direction, thanks ;)

    Until the close-up of the rider, the broader landscape view conjured the Nevada hinterlands. In any event, riding on the back of a raptor (falcon?) is sweet, indeed!

  16. allcoppedout

    I wish there was a beach like the one 25 miles from Caracas here. It’ll be me and the dog tomorrow in the weather we get. Beach protest sounds good.

Comments are closed.