Lambert mini-fundraiser update: Thank you, readers, once again, for the instant response, and for detecting the tiny little hat icon and on a Sunday morning, too, before coffee. At last count, 35 of you have chipped in for Water Cooler, and at $900, we are a bit more than a third of the way toward our modest goal of $2500. Here is another go at the modest hat. Click to contribute, and thank you for your interest and support!
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The story of Dune, recreated with Gummi worms io9
Scent off The Economist. “̌Culture, not biology, rules the relation between smell and language.”
First Look Inside The Boston Library’s Astonishing, Colorful Renovation The Artery. I’m not sure I think much of this, compared to the McKim building, which I loved as a child. Do we have any Bostonian readers who’ve been to the new building?
Mindless and Mindful Austerity: Focus Brad DeLong
Faster Real GDP Growth during Recoveries Tends To Be Associated with Growth of Jobs in “Low-Paying” Industries St Louis Fed (PDF).
The billion-dollar companies Silicon Valley investors ought to fear FT
Look at how quickly the values of multi-billion-dollar startups have multiplied The Verge
Forget the tech bubble. It’s the biotech bubble you should worry about Quartz
Under external fire, European private equity opts to specialize Reuters
1,000 join Muslim ‘ring of peace’ outside Oslo synagogue AP
unless your site is about one thing, it’s about everything Fredrik DeBoer. “For a website, or a publication, or a magazine, or a natively advertising content vertical, there is no such thing as a sensibility.” Translation: Blogging is not dead.
Readers, especially those with European ties or sourcing: Since the media coverage of “Grexit?” is, to say the least, contested, we’d be especially interested to hear about non-elite, non-media reactions and framing: Letters to the editor, comments in threads (the sane ones), thoughts by friends and neighbors, what they’re saying in the office, the church, the bar, the café, the sauna… Please share in comments!
Was it worth it? Concessions to Greece relative to the rejected draft of 16 February Norbert Häring. A close reading and explication of both drafts. Concludes it was worth it for Athens to reject the draft of the 16th. Here’s the Häring’s bio.
Assorted Greek links (Greece lost) Marginal Revolution. I’m including this link collection because of point 6: “Should you be afraid of dark matter,” which can only be on-point if “dark matter” is a metaphor. But for what? Some big sh*tpile in German banking?
Syriza’s honeymoon over as Greece strikes debt deal with EU Guardian
Post-Eurogroup meeting Greek government talking points The Greek Analyst, Twitter. “It’s meant for domestic use, trying to sell the @kolotoumba (i.e. somersault) to the electorate.”
Alexis Tsipras: ‘We have won the battle, not the war’ Mehreen Khan, & Ambrose Evans-Pritchard. Somebody tell the sub you don’t need a serial comma in a list with less than three items.
The Real Battle Over Greece Still Lies Ahead Bloomberg
Delphic Demarche Paul Krugman, New York Times
Varoufakis ‘absolutely certain’ Greek reforms will meet approval Deutsche Welle
Three EU dreams that have turned into nightmares Telegraph. Of course, this is the Torygraph.
The Obamacare Subsidy Challenge Is Built on Fox News Soundbites TNR. On King v. Burwell: It’s entirely possible to believe that headline, and to believe that Congress should simply be asked to fix a grotesque drafting error, and to believe that (hilariously bumbling, as well as corrupt) Jon Gruber — before he said, “Kidding! Really!” — accurately described Congress’s intent that denial of Medicaid funding would be used to whip the states into line (to the extent that, so far as public purpose is concerned, Congress can be said to have intent). The Republicans aren’t the only party in DC to live in an “information bubble”; the article is a more than usually sophisticated restatement of the “Republicans are stupid” trope that Democratic apparatchiks have been pumping out, since 2000, without notable success.
Flood of Briefs on the Health Care Law’s Subsidies Hits the Supreme Court New York Times
Deeper Ties to Corporate Cash for Doubtful Climate Researcher New York Times
Carbon Sequestration May Not Work Says Study Reporting Climate Science
Explore a Tapestry of World Ecosystems United States Geological Survey. Awesome. The First Ecological Land Units Map of the World ESRI Insider; the methodology of the map. Great stuff!
Police State Watch
Seeing red: Traffic cameras hot topic in Chicago mayoral race Reuters. Privatized, of course. The word “bribery” appears in paragraph 20. Shocker.
Inmates riot at Willacy County prison Valley Morning Star. It’s a privatized prison; the local story names the owner, Management & Training Corp., which AP and the Times do not do. ACLU interviews from 2012 and 2013: “What we found was overwhelming despair” (PDF, p. 85).
Mixed reviews for task force leader Ramsey WaPo
The man selected to lead President Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing — a group of police and civic leaders charged with telling local and state governments how to appropriately enforce their laws in a period of growing civil unrest — has been sued more than once over questionable police practices. Perhaps most notably, Ramsey, now Philadelphia’s police commissioner, led D.C. police in the early 2000s when officers inappropriately swept up protesters and bystanders en masse — actions that cost the city more than $20 million in legal settlements.
So Ramsey’s qualified, then?
SBI investigating two police shootings in Gastonia WCNC. In both cases, a citizen who called the police was shot and killed by them, but after they picked up a gun. When gun culture and police militarization collide, this is the end state.
We talked to a bunch of millennials about why they use Snapchat — here’s what we found out Business Insider. Interesting.
Iraq’s Oil Bloomberg
US signals likely delay in troop pullout from Afghanistan France24
Once a top booster, ex-U.S. envoy no longer backs arming Syrian rebels McClatchy. “[T[he so-called moderate rebel option is gone” (if it ever existed).
The Neocon Recipe For Iraq — How to Completely Ruin a Country in 13 Years Alternet
The cracks in Islamic State’s business plan are starting to show Reuters. Primitive accumulation phase ending.
U.S. weighs more sanctions against Russia over violations in Ukraine WaPo
The New Anti-Communism? by Michael Uhl Vietnam Full Disclosure (PT). Last Days in Vietnam, revisionist mockumentary up for an Oscar.
What Progress Means The Archdruid Report
Attending a Little Bit of College Is Worse Than Not Going at All Bloomberg
No Pain, No Gain New Yorker. No, not austerity. 50 Shades of Squicky Squillionaire. Zeitgeist watch!
Investment Charges When Mexico Privatized Social Security Conversable Economist (original NBER report). Another day, another neo-liberal infestation.
The Rich Benefit the Most From Tax Breaks Designed to Help People Build Wealth Bloomberg
Big tech companies cause income inequality — but not in the ways you think Pando Daily
U.S. Oil Workers’ Union Expands Biggest Plant Strike Since 1980 Bloomberg
Prolonged US port disruptions loom despite deal FT
Walled World I Love Charts. Handy map.
Time to tear up the paperwork Gillian Tett, FT. The pink paper reviews David Graeber’s new book.
Exploitation in the lab Stumbling and Mumbling. “Exploitation” is a thing.
Antidote du jour:
Spent many hours of my high school years in the main Boston Library. Beautiful building and beautiful murals. When I was a kid the area with the murals was just dark and full of boxes. They did not mind if i went in and looked up at the art work on the walls.
You should mention that the comments after the Gummi Dune story are priceless!
One pun I didn’t see was any reference to the Spicing Guild, or Gummigaters; “Greetings Emperor. We have just folded spice from Twix.”
I’ve had my laughs for a weeks worth of mornings. Thanks.
Better than the movie!
Dune – The Dessert Planet. hahahahaha,
This might have been linked on NC before, but on the topic of Dune, check out the “Jodorowsky’s Dune” documentary – it was very bizarre/interesting:
Wow, Orson Welles. I wonder what part he would have played ;-)
Baron Harkonnen? But what about Dali? I’m thinking along the lines of Wellington Yueh.
here’s the proposed cast…
Mick Jagger as Feyd-Rautha! Unfortunately, I can’t find a complete cast list, so we don’t know who would have played Jessica or Chani. I saw Marianne Faithfull in concert a decade or so ago, so I can definitely see her as the Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam, but not, I think, as Margot Lady Fenring, at any point in her life.
Guest appearance by Keith Richards as Namri?
Jagger would have been good. Lynch cast Sting – but the movie basically sucked so it was hard to tell if the actors were any good or not.
Ya, Marianne Faithfull has a lot of experience with needles.
I watched “Jodorowsky’s Dune” a few months ago, and I don’t think Jodorowsky did ever get around to casting all the roles. It’s been almost 40 years since I read the books and I’m having trouble remembering a lot of the characters and details. That reminds me – I’ve been meaning to read it again!
Jodrowsky’s film would have been a much cooler version than the one Lynch made—In ideas, in personality, and in photography.
Definitely more surreal. But I think he was headed for the same problem Lynch had – trying to pack 6 novels of story into a 2 hour movie.
They needed to do it like Star Wars – make 6 movies!
On that St. Louis Fed study comparing GDP growth and wages, a few points:
1. n=4. Only four recessions and recoveries (1980s, 1990s, 2000s, now) are studied. This isn’t nearly enough to draw a “tend to be associated with” conclusion.
2. We had faster real GDP growth in the first two recoveries than the last two. Goods producing jobs increased faster in the first two recoveries, and slower in the second two. In fact, goods-producing jobs collapsed from 2000-2010. Services jobs grew faster in the first three, slower now.
3. In other words, a simpler explanation for what the authors found is simply that it correlates with the 30-year stagnation, cliff-diving, and bottom in goods-producing jobs.
4. The study is based on only one data point, 66 months into each recovery. It would be much more interesting if the authors measured over more intervals, e.g. 12/24/36/48/60 months into each recovery.
Remarks from the “wall map”
-Taiwan and Singapore should be included in the “rich zone”. Singapore has a quite effective “wall” in the form of a heavily monitored strait (the size of a big river)
– the north of the Arabian Peninsula (where the oil fields are), deserves to be included there too. At least that is what the Saudi think…
Saudi Arabia is also known for its extensive gated communities, such as in Dahran.
I think there’s a dot on the map which indicates Singapore’s status as one of the richies. You’re right about Taiwan tho.
Some reactions to an editorial of the Finnish daily Helsingin Sanomat, which among other things stated that Greece could not win and “that a country that is out of money, is not free and a country that is not trusted, is not free.”
“Greece’s old austerity demands were cancelled, the country got 4 months of financing instead of the 6 it asked for and it didn’t sign anything. I think Greece won this round.”
“Greece pays pack debts, but gets indebted more all the time, because it has to as for ‘rescue packages’. Very “smart”! Fool’s business by the EU. It is possible to extend this again some time but at some point the misery gets so unbearable, that this ‘theatre’ can not anymore by any means be defended by these kinds of defenses.” [referring to the tone and substance of the editorial]
And in response to an analysis by Jan Hurri (“Greece is a too easy scapegoat”), who wrote a good book about the eurocrisis:
The Greek have an unbelievable skill in cheating and ttricking with their euro-membership. Fortunately Timo Soini (leader of the Finns party) is straight man. He demanded the Finnish government to drive Greece out of the Euro. On 15.2. he said in the tabloid Iltasanomat: “Does the Finnish government have the guts to say: ‘There’s the door. It is over.'” That’s men’s talk. Soini has the guts now and in the future.
Soini demands from himself the same as from the government. He can’t be in a government that accepts Greece in the Monetary Union. Of course not, since most [note: qualified in last paragraph] Finn -party members want to show the door to Greece.
“Greece entered the Euro by cheating. Leave honestly.
Katainen’s stupid government wanted to save the Finnish banks with Finnish taxpayer’s money, although they weren’t in that phase in any danger of Greek contagion.Now they [Greece] are asking for debt forgiveness on those loans. This is a non-starter. Finland must also say that after the Finnish elections debt-forgiveness is off the table. If Germany wants to forgive debts, it is their issue.
For all parties it would be best if Greece leaves the euro and returns to the Drachme, If Greece in the future refuses to pay Finnish debts and interest, then we can’t do anything about it even if the debts are in force still.”
“The (Northern European) banks risk assessment failed, that is clear. This was helped by the Eurocountries’ decision-makers’, ECB’s and banking supervision authorities’ statements of risklessness. Guilt is always collective. That’s way the crisis was handled in this way.
This doesn’t remove the fact that Greece’s economy is ineffective and corrupt. Greece didn’t want to put in effect the reforms its creditors wanted. For this reason, the creditors have the full right to handle Greece with a tough line.”
These almost random comments to two completely opposite texts show that there is strong support for a tough line on Greece. But on the other hand, there is also some understanding for how Greece got into the mess (the role of European banks. But if the Finnish parliament has to accept the Greek deal, it won’t pass easily I think.
“Greece entered the Euro by cheating. Leave honestly” Unlike Italy, France, IIRC Spain, and Germany itself, none of whom have treated Maastricht as the letter of the law. Why haven’t the Finns tired of Soini’s manly posturing already?
Well actually the Finns party is trending slightly downwards in polls at the moment. Politicians are fed up with Soini complaining but not suggesting solutions. But the whole issue is very much framed in terms of “profligate Greeks” etc, just like in Germany. And many media and non-media commentators refer to post-war Finland, which was poor and paid war-reparations to the Soviet Union in full (or so it is said). So the Finns very much see this as an issue of moral toughness and winning economic hardship through rectitude and hard work. Finns have a word for this: sisu. It means struggling on even though it doesn’t seem sensible. Finns argue they won the war because of this (but haven’t gotten to terms with the role Nazi-Germany played in this outcome.) So for Finland, Greece’s economic hardship is a moral test in the end…
The Finns interest me, as a non-IndoEuropean language group, in that they may have implicit insights unavailable to the rest of Europe.
Cui bono, cui malo, those Greek citizens who benefited from the cash influx have taken the money and run. Those who made the loans (should have) understood this. How is this to be resolved without doubling down the cui malo on those already suffering?
In leading German papers there is ambivalence about the new “kicking the can down the road”. There is satisfaction that all Euro members were on the side of Germany in the Greek crisis. The agreement is not necessarily seen as a total Greek defeat as Greece does not have to have a primary budget surplus of 3% anymore. Everybody is waiting for the new Greek budget proposals that are expected monday. As for the tone in the commentaries it is predictably pessimistic. I would say it is one to one with the Finnish views cited above.
How about beyond the papers? At the Imbiss, as it were?
Where I live people are very comfortable. Jobs galore, people mostly wealthy but prudently so. It is a small manufacturing town in the Southwest of Germany with lot´s of factories. People here don´t care much one way or another but generally the Euro was unpopular from the start and bailing out the Greeks and the banks is even more unpopular.As far as people think about these things I suppose the general trend would be “throw the Greeks” out or leave the Euro ourselves.
Haven’t been reading newspapers lately, but the social networks here in Portugal have a lot of people raging about the fact that our Finance Minister was so rabid in taking the side of Germany. People are starting to (sadly) identify Germany instead of capitalist interests with their misery, so they see her taking the German government’s side as another betrayal and a reminder of our colony status.
On the left, we see different reactions. More hardline leftists are all saying “told you so”, as in, Syriza was always going to be too social-democratic and weak willed to really stand up to the Eurozone. People aligned with more center left parties (like Left Bloc, who has been trying to paint itself as the Portuguese Syriza or Podemos, without much success) are suffering from cognitive dissonance after placing so much hope on Syriza. When confronted, they either resort to emotional tantrums or convoluted explanations of why this is all a masterful gambit that will pay off in the future. It reminds me a lot of the reactions people had when Obama started betraying his base.
Thanks! Reports like these are very useful!
Interestingly the paper “Die Zeit” which is a fairly high-brow publication has become noteably softer in tone regarding the Greek government (it stopped calling them left wing radical commies which is more or less what the rest of the German media is doing). Also, the coalition government which includes the Social Democrats is starting to push back against Schäuble and Merkel. The social deocrats are I think very worried about getting their arses kicked in the next election like all of the other “socialist” governments who have been enforcing EU neo-liberal austerity politics over the last 5 years. This is purely a matter of cynical self preservation, but makes a difference.
There is also the AFD party which would get out of the EU at the drop of a hat, they support Greece, and well known economists like Hans Werner Sinn who have been saying that greece is insolvent for years now are starting to get some traction.
Just out of interest, take a look at Schäuble’s Bio. He was accused of accepting bribes in 2000 and should have gone to jail, he was lambasted as minister for the interior for trying to turn Germany in to a police state and is generaly regarded by those in the business as a mad man.
So there you have it, Europe being run by a german mad man – sound familiar?
So, the Mad Man theory applies… But we tbought it was Yanis, and instead it’s Schāuble! Speculating freely, it’s no wonder Yanis, accepting the reports, got physical, then. Although, to be fair, both parties could be playing the madman…
That said, got any evidence on Schāuble generally being regarded as a madman? I know about the corruption, but the madman part?
A couple of weeks ago, Schauble noted: “Elections change nothing.”
We know that’s how they all “think,” but to say it puts Schauble in the mad man category in my book. I’m surprised more hasn’t been made of this. Shows you how far gone we are.
1. The following I’ve tried to post yesterday, NC server down
Beg to differ; yes a complete defeat, but for the creditors. Greece got her bridge financing, in exchange for a “negotiation on reforms”, to be mutually agreed between the Greek government and the “institutions”. So no firm conditions but new money. The more crucial issue, IMHO, is the removal of the 4.5 budget surplus requirement. Yep, never reasonable, but a necessary window dressing to pretend “Greece will repay her debt in a timely manner”. The removal is akin to further debt relief in everything but name. So who was defeated here – I rather think it was not Varoufakis. Secondly, I would like you to consider Ambrose’s view – http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/11426378/Greece-averts-bankruptcy-and-softens-austerity-in-last-ditch-deal.html
“The interim accord gives Greece breathing room to flesh out its economic agenda and reform plans, and effectively scraps the draconian fiscal targets imposed by the EU-IMF Troika. ” and
“The rhetoric is intended to assuage German public opinion and smooth the passage of the legislation through the Bundestag. The eurogroup text is drafted in such a way that both Germany and Greece can spin it differently at home. ”
Basically, Varoufakis 1 Schaeuble nil. I just wonder why everybody tries to spin it the other way round – so to delay the news for the German populace who is fleeced – time and again?
2. As per today’s Sunday press, it has dawned on most editorials, that it was another “extend and pretend” exercise; as per FAS front page (Sunday version of FAZ, only paper) [loosely translated – “Brussel’s Spitze” which can be anything from peak to tip, so wordplay intended. Apparently, the Americans banged some heads together, but the Friday accord solves nothing, as the budget surplus requirement is removed – for the time being, the list of (binding?) reforms not agreed on, and everybody is dead weary of the whole thing. FAS, in the economic section, run a long peace on how “tired European” Schaeuble was, and how little upbeat about the result.
The commentary is mainly – we are being fleeced, throw the Greeks out, they’ve got enough, they will not mend their ways… basically, we had enough, we are fleeced, deragotory towards Schaeuble and Merkel, big time. And – for Schaeuble it is not about giving in this time, but about the bigger project and its at the very least questionalbe prospect of survival.
Welt is different, while the semantics are on “Greece was defeated”, they are talking of accomodation.
At this point in time, FAZ has a piece on the internet front page – basically debating the need to subsidise Greece for geopolitical reasons, i.e. keep Putin out.
I.e. it is not only about money, but security, and there is a lot about People suffering.
Resignation is the tone, but for the time being everybody’s main concern seems to be to contine to kick the can, deny the insolvency of most involved and look the other way as best as possible. A little bit like deer staring into oncoming headlights, frozen. Not good, not good at all.
In Spain one of the reactions to the Syriza victory has been accelerating a “Ciudadanos” operation. From a Spanish Nationalist party in Catalonia, called C’s, they have jumped to try a center right party for Spain that takes the votes that PP (and moderate PSOE) leaks like a sieve, and avoid a “leftist” Podemos. A recent, highly cooked, poll. They seem to be 100% aligned with neoliberal policies, but reject the “casta” of current politicians, much like Podemos, and promise renovation of names, honest public servants and an attack to corruption…
This poll by El Pais look inflated by all means, as El Pais is publishing polls pointing in every direction every day, but the fact that the polls change so fast gives an idea on how we follow the Greek changes…
Oops, I sent too fast…
El Pais, always defending TPTB, brings this poll to the Sunday’s first page, and in the web version says that only a “Grand Coalition” can govern the region of Madrid. Obviously they reject Podemos, and propose a Grand Coalition of PP, PSOE and Ciudadanos to “keep the course” of the neoliberal policies. In my opinion the poll greatly understates Podemos, and overstates the incumbents PP and PSOE because of typical biases in polls. It tries to inflate Ciudadanos to show it as a worthy option. My assessment is that if Podemos allies with a CX initiative recently created by people leaving IU, they could have a very solid majority that not even a three party “neoliberal” coalition can defeat at the regional level…
The best I’ve read today.
In bullets, translated
– Athens wins.
A will win in the end, because the remaining European politicians do not want to admit the failure of the bailiout measures
– Greek programme failed, Greece insolvent, Greece cheated to get in, and squandered membership through irresponsible behaviour
– Greek populace and European politians of the non Greek kind fight the insight, the latter because it implies the possibility of the euro foundering, why they prefer “extent and pretend ” to let the one’s after them to pick up the broken pieces and deal with the mess. Greek populace want to keep the euro and ditch austerity after 5 burdensome years.
– Bearing this in mind, Varoufakis strategy is bang on, because if nobody wants Greece to leave, the rest have to subsidise Greece on a permanent basis
– As the money needs to come from the other countries, the ECB comes into play, V keen for Draghi to buy bonds of EIB to invest in the periph
– V can feel as a winner, regardless of the outcome, either he enforces permanent transfers inside the euro, or if the others reject this, Grexit remains an option.
– In comparison, the EU poliician’s play a loosing game – if they allow Grexit, (the word is not used in the original, but carefully circumscribed), the union would be transformed in a like-wise reform-minded block, which would be not in accord with Maastricht and thus debunk the sucessful bailouts as meander.
– If they give in (to Greece), they elevate perversion of justice as ruling principle for the EU, the EU would degenerate into a union of injustice and the European project would really founder. ”
It may not come across, but this is harsh and blunt, and even more so in the original German.
that looks like 50 shades of Moose. There must be 50 shades of gray in that Moose’s face. Is that Moose smiling or frowninng. i’m no Moose expert i’m no expert on lit porn either. It lllook to me like it’s a sly smile.
i just read something on Business Insider — some debrief on 50 shades of gray for guys who just want tthe Execuutive Summary. God it sounds awful. God it sounds stupid. God it sounds like a hideous waste of mind time. Now, it may be well written. i wont criticize that. But still, it sounds like a cartoon of stupidity. Perhaps well drawn, OK. But I mean really. This is what people get off on?? Oh Jesus. It sounds hilariously shallow and vapid.
50 shades of Moose. A young photographer just out of school is lured into a fantasy world of seductive thrills, taking picture of a naked Moose. Yes, he has fur on, but that’s naked for a Moose. He’s a Moose billiionaire and he’s got big Antlers. Can she snap away without losing her soul while he butts and struts in her general direction? This is something sure to put any conscious person to sleep. And the photos are really pretty ordinary (not the antidote, I mean the photos of the naked moose butting and strutting taken by the young photographer just out of school in a rampage of erotic co-creation).
The news of the world marches on. It could go on this way for years at this point, the same stories day in day out. After a while you jjust say “Oh man, I can’t read another. I can’t”. You keep thinking something has to give, sometihing has to break, but no, it just keeps going. It could be time to disengage completely and go live in a trailer in the woods. I don’t know. It takes some creativity and enterprise to do that. It’s not for the faint of heart or the lazy slugs and that pretty much rules me out — I like ease and convenience. It’s hard to know what to do.
as far as i can tell without seeing it (and i intend not to) it is just soft porn, dressed up hollywood style. one of these comes out every so often and generates a lot of fuss and $$$. yawn, rinse and repeat.
Minnesota’s moose numbers drop again; DNR says decline ‘will likely continue’
The first moose I ever saw in the wild was in MN. Interesting though that while they seem to be dying out there, in the Northeast they are at least holding their own if not expanding–there are sightings 50 miles or so north of NYC and also some found in CT.
As odd as “Dune” turned out, it is not fair to compare it to Star Wars. It was written by Frank Herbert, and not as a script. Star Wars was written for children and money, Dune for adults. Sorry George, but you got paid as you planned it.
love the new grouping “police state watch.” or maybe it’s not new and i just missed it.
what is the problem with the comma–you mean the one before “not”? in the headline? surely you mean some other comma(s) in the text?
Is Thom Hartmann in the Alternet Iraq piece proposing a colonial administration for Iraq.?
Yup. It’s right there in his last line (emphasis added)
It’s always about us, somehow. The problem is that we broke Iraq, starting in 1991 if not earlier. Liberals wanted to go in just as much as the neo-cons. Does the name Hitchens ring a bell? Thinking that we, as the abuser, can now somehow make it all better for the abused, seems to be an extremely narcissistic proposition. And note that he doesn’t offer any concrete suggestions apart from vague talk of a “big government solution,” while failing to address how we can create a legitimate government in a foreign country in the first place.
True. We need to create a legitimate government here in America first, then somewhere else.
To create a legitimate government here, we need to go beyond just describing how things work at the present.
We can’t. Not even assuming good intentions. We simply cannot walk into a broken country with our extreme wealth and not introduce extreme corruption into that country.
Government corruption is so pervasive that you have to wonder if it’s not a bug, but a feature, with the way they are set up right now.
Meanwhile in Fukushima http://www.i24news.tv/en/news/international/asia-pacific/61980-150222-fresh-nuclear-leak-detected-at-fukushima-plant
The Yakuza needs to step up recruitment stat!!!
This was linked from slashdot: a speculative thing based on Varoufakis’s old blog posts, saying Varoufakis might try to implement something like Bitcoin in Greece to deal with the crisis. Posted here mostly for amusement I guess.
Slashdot thread: http://news.slashdot.org/story/15/02/22/1453256/will-greek-finance-minister-varoufakis-support-cryptocurrency-in-greece
Bernie Sanders on ABC News This Week
EU to Enrich Hunter Biden?
In early February U.S. Vice President Joe Biden opined:
Vice President Biden offered strong words Saturday against Russia’s moves in Ukraine, suggesting Russian President Vladimir Putin would buck any peace proposal and accusing the leader of “using psychiatric institutions to quell dissent.”
Yesterday Biden made a different call:
Vice President Biden spoke on the phone with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on Friday after a rebel offensive this week threatened increased violence between Russia and Ukraine.
Biden strongly condemned the Russian-backed offensive earlier this week in which rebels seized the eastern Ukrainian town of Debaltseve, according to a readout of his call provided by the White House. The U.S. has said the offensive violated multiple cease-fire agreements signed by Russia.
White House press secretary Josh Earnest on Friday said “it’s possible that there could be additional costs over and above” current sanctions if Russia not abide by its agreements.
At stake are Ukrainian gas fields. Reuters reported:
The European Union will consider “reframing” energy relations based on market conditions with Russia when the time is right and for now is focusing on building a strategic gas partnership with Ukraine.
VP Biden’s son Hunter is involved in Ukrainian gas.
The Vice President is creepy enough when he puts his hands on others.
What might he be capable of in setting up family members for profits?
The U.S. fomented a coup in Iran for Anglo-American oil and another in Guatemala for United Fruit.
What might our government do for Burisma Holdings?
Considering that setting up friends and family for profits and justifying invading others’ space is the entire practical purpose for the Vice-Presidency, the answer is, “almost anything”.
As long as the narrative focuses on EU vs. Greece and personalities, little real progress will be made. There is an aversion to looking deeper because all Western countries have a problem with oligarchs.
This NYTimes article is one of the best I’ve seen in M$M: In Greece, Focus on Justice
Oligarchs, as a group, bleed a society. This is a systemic problem. A toxic ‘externality’ of economic models that economists, wittingly or unwittingly, contribute to. We would do well to draw the right lessons from Greece, Ukraine, and the 2008 GFC (to cite just a few of many examples).
H O P
I imagine if one is used to TV and drama, one would naturally focus on personalities.
Unless you are in the main stream media. In that case, when you only focus on personalities, you are propagandizing, brain washing or diverting the focus from, as you say, oligarchs. .That is, you are just doing your job.
“My fellow Greeks, you will be the heroes we need.”
From within, not without.
Yes, I read this excellent piece last night. Thank you for calling attention to it here. The hyperlink did not “take.” Here’s the web link: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/21/opinion/in-greece-focus-on-justice.html
No personal anecdotes, but veteran World War II member of resistance and current SYRIZA MEP has apologized for being part of the “illusion” of change. Ouch. As was already evident, SYRIZA now has two enormous problems, the Eurogroup (well, that problem was essentially “solved” by caving) and a domestic political whirlwind because, well, because nothing has changed, much less been solved.
I think this is the most damaging criticism because it strikes at the heart of Syriza credibility. This renaming maneuver looks especially bad given: a) what was promised to voters and b) the earlier rhetoric of no can-kicking and respecting Greek democracy.
In classic ‘Third Way’ fashion, Syriza wants it both ways: to represent Greeks and to partner with the ‘Institutions’. Obama is the epitome of ‘Third Way’ in the US and his “Change You Can Believe In” has been legendary BS and betrayal of the public interest.
the truth shall get you fleas…
its in greek…sorry…but this was the purported first time (1984) when the two “heroes” told their
story on TV…everyone needs a “legend”…
the number of greeks who believe this “story” are about the same who believe the warren commission report in america…
there were many heroes who took on real risks during ww2…have two brothers of my grandmother who were offed by nazis on Ithaki…but these two…well…
one should not much worry about the carry capacity of mr. Glezos…if you have a greek friend who can translate for you…go to about 10 minutes in with a photo that purports to be from when these two did what they did (they are awful old looking 19 year olds)…at 41 minutes they talk about how the flag got caught on the flagpole..and that they kept changing outfits since one was wearing black and one white so they wanted to be climbing the flag pole in black and kept having the other one try…oh and then they danced around after they got it down…then they took this flag that was 17 by 10 feet , cut a 3 foot square piece off and threw the flag down a cave on the side of the acropolis on the way down, and then threw down some rocks down some cave…which fully covered it up…and it must still be there…but the archeology dept would not allow anyone to go down into the cave and get it….there is more…but even Glezos, at the end when confronted by the photo of his brother having died in 1944 starts saying, people should not care about us, consider the times and should worry about the many who died who are forgotten…
I really don’t like being someone who counters the standard meme…he is old and even rosa parks staged and planned her refusal to get out of that seat…but I don’t think the average Hellene gives much credence to the torn down flag story…there are no photos and for some reason, the Nazis refused to kill them for it…
Worse off from attending a bit of college.
“A little learning is a dangerous thing…”
Let’s see…applying what, by tomorrow, will be ‘not the best explanation’ today, whta you may generously called ‘partial truth or partial knowledge,’ is also a dangerous thing.
And another thing to ponder – who knows when finishing college, but not completing graduate school, will make you worse off.
Or getting a master’s degree, but not a Ph.D. will make you worse, so on and so forth. When does it stop, when you don’t have capital, have no inheritance (psychohistorian) but have to actually work for the 0.01%’s multinational corporations?
Until you slide down the Ninja scale. You start with Negligible Income Job, and Assets, by the time it’s over you either end up with the first N standing for No, or Negative, while for the 1% it stands for Numerous.
When the Neanderthals were finally gone, some of the genes were absorbed by the winner, us.
Perhaps, that too will be the fate of the 99.99%…some of our genes, perhaps through our daughters, sisters, aunts and wives, will live through the 0.01%.
Still digesting the Archdruid’s Report, but reading the comments there I noticed the Archdruid picked out an apt new coinage a commenter used.
Ruben: … I think the growing numbers of people embracing things from a better time shows that we may have reached Peak Meaninglessness. People are tired of it, and are taking up things that feel real.
Archdruid: … As for “peak meaninglessness,” that’s a keeper — would you mind if I used it, with credit, in an upcoming post? …
That’s a winner! The comment that made the back of my neck go goosy was from jonathan, which also set the Archdruid’s beard to itching a bit. I can’t help but post the whole thing here — every bit is powerful and relevant to the NC mission:
My take on Greece is that the first link above to what Greece gained under the Grexit is the best take for what Varoufakis got and what Schauble got is the most accurate despite the Glezos response today. As a couple of my comments on Calculated Risk will indicate, I have live in Europe for going on 38 years with 12 of them in the middle of the 37 in Portugal and the rest in Greece. Despite my handle, I am not Greek, but, when I arrived in 1978, and folks asked my name I replied.Bob. They immediately told me I was Haralambos, since Bobbis was the diminutive (nickname) for that Greek saint’s name.
I have commented for the past seven years on various sites, mostly under than handle. Here are a few of my takes as I commented based on my Sandals on the Sidewalk.
Sandals on the Sidewalk in Salonica (21 Feb 2015)
As many here will know, this week is the start of the Greek Lenten period. This year it is one week after the Roman rite. Sometimes the celebrations fall on the same day, and some years the Eastern rite can fall five weeks later than that in the Western churches. There are also differences in the calendars in the various Orthodox rites depending on what calendar they observe for religious festivals.
There was some speculation up this past week on various sites that the Greeks might use this bank holiday here to introduce the new drachma. I do not think this will happen. There is not enough time. In addition, there is still much up in the air, and the four months they have, which I think is just kicking the can might be enough to let them do it. The next big Greek holiday it 25 March then there is the two Easter weeks and weekends on 05 April (just about coinciding with the Passover) and 12 April for the western and eastern traditions respectively.
As I often do, I will add a disclaimer or three: I am not Greek despite my handle, and I am not a lawyer or economist. I have, however, had my sandals, shoes and sneakers on the streets of Europe going on 40 years, and in those years I have not lived in a foreign enclave. Nytol and back tomorrow perhaps given what might happen in the interim. http://www.hoocoodanode.org/user/704/recent_comments
Sandals on the Sidewalk in Salonica (20 Feb 2015)
I was out yesterday and today to visit the local ATM since it is time to pay our monthly nut. The machine dispensed fresh notes in series issued by Germany I believe since they bear the country code X: Euro banknotes – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia . This would suggest that there was some attempt to make sure the banks had money to attempt to stave off any more panic. It looks like there is still much up in the air and more to be discussed. It appears that Greece will get four months—more kicking the can?
I recall in the oil crisis in 74 (I believe) with the lines at gas stations in Chicago. Johnny Carson commented on shortages and joked that the next run due to shortages would be for toilet paper. Folks duly created a shortage on the shelves, and I believe he joked about that the folk were stocking up before the hoarders arrived.
I put up a couple of posts back in 2011 recommending this book: BUST: Greece, The Euro, and the Sovereign Debt Crisis by Matthew Lynn. The three scenarios he outlined are still operative I believe. They are a breakup of the Eurozone, a strong Eurozone and a weak Eurozone, and a German exit. I believe a Grexit is still rather likely at some point, but there will be a lot of pain and not just for Greece. Varoufakis has been pointing this out for several years. Be well all.
Thanks to those who have replied on whatever side of this you find yourselves, but I think Varoufakis is not playing a game-theoretic scenario as he explained in his op-ed piece and as he replied in his press conference tonight. Here are two posts by Yves tonight . The comments are worth reading as is her take in both: Varoufakis Charges Eurogroup with Bad Faith Dealing in Negotiations | naked capitalism
Eurogroup Talks Terminated; Greece “Won’t Take Orders on Bailout” | naked capitalism
I posted on the situation yesterday and earlier regarding the extent the various folks at the table have no sense that they are not dealing with a traditional Greek coterie of politicians, the children of privilege and power from among those power-brokers and their clients. SYRIZA is a coalition of over 20 groups or movements. Some of the players come from well-off families, and some come from both the traditional far-left, the alternative left, various progressives, many disgruntled young folks (45 and under), and accomplished academics like Varoufakis. I take him at his word, when he claims that he is not strategizing on game theory. For those who have not followed his career and current position, have a look at his announcement that he had accepted the request that he work with SYRIZA: Why I am running for a parliamentary seat on SYRIZA’s ticket | Yanis Varoufakis
As I feel compelled to note recently, I am not Greek, despite my handle. I have lived here for most of the past 37 years, and my only dog in this fight is the Greek people I know and my hope that the country will manage to honor their pension obligations to me once they do so for the Greeks. Be well all.
If these are useful let me know. I do not want to jack this thread so I will cease and desist for the moment..
Thank you. I am glad to hear your insights and point of view.
RE: The Neocon Recipe For Iraq — How to Completely Ruin a Country in 13 Years
The Bush administration and the 2003 invasion are not the sole reasons for this calamity. The sanctions imposed by the Clinton administration assisted in destroying Iraqi society. Hundreds of thousands dead from malnutrition and through the inability to import basic medical supplies. That isn’t the only thing ridiculously wrong about the article either.
Most parents keep their kids away from IS-run schools because they’re afraid they’ll be brainwashed into becoming suicide bombers. They closed down all the other secular schools so most kids in the Islamic State aren’t getting an education.
In Syria, it’s the Assad government paying the government workers who keep the water and electricity infrastructure functional in IS-occupied territory. This passage is why the War Nerd’s allegation that the pseudo-left is a bunch of jihadis lovers has a degree of merit.
The last thing that anybody in the world needs is a bunch of Americans telling them what to do. The only thing we should be doing is providing assistance in containing the Islamic State.
‘The Bush administration and the 2003 invasion are not the sole reasons for this calamity’
True, there is no ‘sole reason’ for anything, but they are central, and anyway, why not broaden the blame even past Clinton and Albright and simply say the USA is the main culprit for the disaster of Iraq? Do the Iraqis know or care which brand, sorry, party was in power when their country was destroyed by a US-led coalition of thieves and ideologues in breach of international law?
In that context Hartmann’s piece, though you may not agree with his conclusions or indeed prescriptions (which are admittedly vague), makes perfect sense. He is not writing that piece as a Democrat, he is writing it as an American, and it seems to me he is viewing it thru a perhaps old-fashioned and probably naive but morally defensible prism of ‘we should take responsibility for what we have done to these people and help in any way we can’ Powell’s Potter’s Barn rule, but actually meaning it. The very first step should be one which is never discussed and won’t happen, but ‘won’t’ can never negate the existence of ‘should’ – we should apologise. We should say ‘we are so very sorry for what we have done to you and your country’
Pity Christopher Hitchens isn’t still here to bray between sips of cognac that we got rid of that evil man Saddam so the million dead and the 4 million refugees and the chaos and criminality were worth it, and that ‘objectively’ my words mean I support him, or at least his memory. Or something.
Hartmann has a gift for ‘shoe on the other foot’ (a Dershowitticism) analysis, which I first came across in 02 or 03 when he was one of the first out of the blocks to make a direct comparison between 9/11 and the Reichstag fire (When Democracy Failed) and the similar uses to which such ‘catastrophic and catalysing’ events were put. That piece ended this way:
‘Today, as we face financial and political crises, it’s useful to remember that the ravages of the Great Depression hit Germany and the United States alike. Through the 1930s, however, Hitler and Roosevelt chose very different courses to bring their nations back to power and prosperity.
Germany’s response was to use government to empower corporations and reward the society’s richest individuals, privatize much of the commons, stifle dissent, strip people of constitutional rights, and create an illusion of prosperity through continual and ever-expanding war. America passed minimum wage laws to raise the middle class, enforced anti-trust laws to diminish the power of corporations, increased taxes on corporations and the wealthiest individuals, created Social Security, and became the employer of last resort through programs to build national infrastructure, promote the arts, and replant forests. To the extent that our Constitution is still intact, the choice is again ours.’
That is even truer today than when it was written. In that piece and this, he is able to bring home to readers who may not be across all the mind-numbing details and counter-arguments, what the subject at hand means via comparisons that cut close to the bones of their own lives and experience – i.e., that they can relate to and understand. This may not be terribly subtle, and at times involves simplifying complex moral questions but that’s better than not addressing them at all.
Which is what I think an attitude that says ‘we should just leave them alone’ is, precisely. True we should help kill ISIS but that should not be the end of it. True our track record suggests the last thing Iraq needs is more Americans/Westerners telling people what to do… but for a change what about asking ‘what do you want us to do, how can we help’? Don’t unilaterally ‘create a government’ or even worse try more ‘market-based solutions’; give the UN the dough and get them to set up expert multi-national panels drawn from non-Coalition nations for overseeing infrastructure and education disbursements to Iraqi groups, local and professional, who make project proposals of clear benefit to all citizens of whatever religion or race (each panel must have all relevant groups represented; those that refuse to join other groups miss out)
God knows, as ambit says upstream, that the US ought to clean up its own backyard before trying to tidy anyone else’s, but to use that as a rationale for inaction is the ultimate in can-kicking. If we made the mess we can’t just walk away from it.
I can be too vague. My subconscious was in control when I said that. I was suggesting that America doesn’t know how to help anybody set up a functioning democracy because we have forgotten how to do it ourselves, if we ever knew how to do so in the first place.
Your suggestion that the world use “crowdsourcing” to design and implement nation state building programs is fine if building functional and independent nation states were the primary goal of the West’s elites. (Indeed, the Eastern elites are now getting in on “the action,” as Chinas’ moves into the South China Sea demonstrate.) It appears, however, that weaker nation states is the true goal of the International elites. Trade deals that short circuit national regulations and financial anti regulations that facilitate the avoidance of social responsibilities by corporations all point in that direction. In such a world, the emergence and effectiveness of quasi states like the various “militant groups” proliferating in borderline failed states, is a clear manifestation of the need for effective local governing instrumentalities. The push back against Boko Haram in sub Saharan Africa points to ‘Regionalism’ as one useful strategy. Several regional states have combined to assist each other against this threat without resort to posturing and bombast concerning the niceties of the sanctity of national borders.
All this is just a way of saying that American Hegemony is breaking down. America cannot enable multi power solutions to the problems, because that would require America to change the system presently in place in Americas’ political sphere. Perhaps the best we can do for now is to stop meddling. That, in and of itself, will be a sea change. As the old saying has it; “There’s nowhere left to go but up.”
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You can use PayPal to use a regular credit card, although you have to pay attention to see how to do that.
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Thanks for your support and sorry for the trouble!
Manolis Glezos statement: is covered here with the reply from the Prime Minster’s office. This covers his background: . He is an iconic hero for many Greeks for his resistance to both the German occupation and the junta. My Sandals on the Sidewalk in Salonica thoughts over the past several years have been have recurred to two bits of Greek history that many folks learn in their studies of Greek history. One is the traditional injunction of Spartan mothers to their sons to either “Come home bearing your shields or on them” and to the “Melian Dialogue” as reported by Thucydides:
Greeks my age (65) and 30 years younger know these bits of their history. Some will act and vote on them, and some have chosen other paths. I think those who have internalized them are often supporters of SYRIZA, and those who have chosen other paths have attached their wagons to the stars of ND and PASOK for the past 40 years. My acquaintances and friends span these options and both fear and reject Golden Dawn. I fear the trend is moving toward the those who support Golden Dawn, especially some of the teenagers my wife and I work with helping them to deal with the alphabet soup of exams for study in the US, UK and beyond. Greece reminds me of Ireland in the early 80s:
‘if “dark matter” is a metaphor. But for what? Some big sh*tpile in German banking?’
‘So a bank which has €54.7 trillion, or a little over $62 trillion at today’s exchange rate, in derivatives – a number that is 20 times greater than the GDP of Germany – just failed a central bank stress test due to lacking governance and risk management controls and, just maybe, has insufficient capital? What can possibly go wrong’
ZeroHedge on Deutsche Bank: http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-02-20/are-two-big-problems-deutsche-bank-failing-feds-stress-test
Amid controversy, oil trains quietly rerouted through Virginia towns
When I worked for the railroad in the 70s and early 80s, any placarded dangerous car had to be 6 cars from the engines, 6 cars from the rear end and no more than 6 dangerous cars in a row.
Now, because of the greed of the oil traders and the railroads, we have entire 100 car unit trains of extremely dangerous cargo. And the federal regulators go along with this…
We also used to have scientists that were concerned that dangerous chemicals, explosives for the military, etc were being transported by rail and truck and if in an accident were to happen, it would cause a catastrophe in densely populated areas with railroad terminals and port facilities. The development of binary chemical formulas which allowed stable, relatively safe, but definitely not explosive or poisonous cargoes to pass through cities and towns, like Philadelphia during its industrial peak in two separated cargoes and only when safely removed from population areas be recombined back into their original dangerous formulation, demonstrated a care and concern for people who had to live next to rail yards, ports, trucking depots and other warehousing areas. There are dozens of pressure filled tanker cars, fuming with methane and butane gassing off from crude inside of steel tanker cars, bombs ready for any spark. And not even the slightest consideration for safety. Philadelphia holds its breath waiting to be napalmed by CSX so that the Carlyle Group and Delta Airlines can process dirt cheap crude from the Bakken in decrepit old refineries that are over half a century old and even older than that.
Another one jumps ship at First Look Media:
If it sounds too good to be true, it is?
Alexa O’Brien summed up her own thoughts about Glenn Greenwald on Twitter:
Besides making Greenwald rich; his meager, redacted releases to the public of NSA documents have mostly served to inure people to mass surveillance. Since Snowden is a former CIA operative, there is no reason to unquestioningly trust that Snowden has good intentions, either.
Attending a little bit of college is worse than none at all, I think the Bloomberg article is misleading period. My source? The BLS!
But wait wasn’t the BLS the Bloomberg source as well? I think they are measuring the delta, how much wages have changed whereas the link above measures overall wages and unemployment and still shows some college is better than none in overall wages. Measuring the total wages rather than the delta is the way to go on coming to such a conclusion (although IMO the benefit is probably less due to the schooling than other factors likely to be correlated with having attempted college but whatever).
Wow – Paul Mason, economics editor for British Channel 4, has picked up Yanis’ FT-coin idea (very similar to TAN’s), and shouts out to MMT:
Regarding Greece and commentaries, I particularly liked this source:
As for earlier commentaries on the Greek efforts to renegotiate the bail out program:
With Yanis’ background in game theory, this example from ‘split or steal’ summed it up quite neatly (h/t … i forgot who shared this; it was one or two weeks ago. It sure is fun to watch): http://youtu.be/S0qjK3TWZE8