Links 2/26/15

Zombie outbreak? Statistical mechanics reveal the ideal hideout PhysOrg. Chuck L: “Someone up in Ithaca is going after an igNobel Prize.”

Himalayan ice shows chemicals ban is working PhysOrg (Chuck L)

Eat at Your Own Risk: Flawed FDA Risk Assessments Strengthen Arguments for Labeling GMOs Truthout

How regulators and legislators make it harder for you to use solar power Computer World (Chuck L)

Multinationals cry foul on China cyber law Financial Times

Eurozone’s Future Remains at Risk, Mario Draghi Warns New York Times


Greece to stop privatisations as Syriza faces backlash on deal Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph. Note this is a revolt within the party that has not yet been carried to the Troika. And AEP points out that the Bundestag has not approved the deal, so this show of uppityness is not well timed.

The Greek Tragedy Counterpunch (margarita)

Greece: Linage of Its Debt Real News Network

All Quiet Now, But Can Greece Really Thrive Inside the Euro? George Magnus (Marshall)

The 300 must stand firm for Greece and Democracy UKIP Deputy Leader Paul Nuttall, UKIP MEPs (Swedish Lex)


Emails From Kiev: Free Speech Vanishes, Total Media Thought Control; US Radar System Falls Into Rebel Hands? Michael Shedlock (EM)

The Cold War And Ukraine Counterpunch

Ukraine’s Central Bank Limits Access to Foreign Currency Wall Street Journal

Russia just signed a deal with an EU member state that gives its military ships access to Mediterranean ports Reuters (Richard Smith). Less to see here than you think, since it formalizes an existing arrangement. But this is a poke in the eye of sorts.


Saudis Said to Aid Israeli Plan to Bomb Iran Consortiumnews (Chuck L)

Not a Bug Splat, Not Chattel David Swanson, Firedoglake

Row between US and Netanyahu worsens BBC

As Cuba Shifts Toward Capitalism Inequality Grows More Visible New York Times (Ryan R)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

US government and private sector developing ‘precrime’ system to anticipate cyber-attacks Lauren Weinstein (Chuck L)

What is Neo-Liberalism? A Revolutionary Analysis of the Final Stage of Imperialism Black Agenda Report (Rich C)

Major insurers are finally revealing one of health-care’s greatest mysteries Washington Post. Not sure how much good this does, since most doctors and hospitals won’t give prices in advance, save for things like a routine office visit for an established patient.

Cracks Starting to Appear in Public Pensions’ Armor New York Times

‘Occupy made it possible’: JPMorgan Whistleblower Fleischmann to Max Keiser George Washington

House Republicans Attack Fed Chief on Stimulus and Speeches New York Times

Morgan Stanley in $2.6bn mortgage deal Financial Times

The Price Paradox Robert Skidelsky, Project Syndicate

Distrust in finance lingers: Jewish persecution and investments VoxEU

Class Warfare

Why rising wages might be bad news Washington Post

Student Debt Strikers Take On Corinthian College Cathy O’Neil

This Billionaire Governor Taxed the Rich and Increased the Minimum Wage — Now, His State’s Economy Is One of the Best in the Country Huffington Post (EM)

Antidote du jour (George P). In Maine, wild turkeys have gone from being remarkably skittish and rarely seen to almost as oft-seen as suburban deer.

George P turkeys links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Ruben

    No strings
    Details of a climate-change sceptic’s links to the energy industry make worrying reading.
    Nature, Editorial, 25 February 2015
    Earlier this week, documents were passed to the news media, including Nature, that link the global-warming sceptic Willie Soon, a researcher at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, to funders in the energy industry and conservative circles.
    Willie Soon has been a poster child for the small community of climate-change sceptics for more than a decade.
    Ruben: Essentially, his contracts allowed provisions to limit disclosure, whereas disclosure of possible conflict of interests is supposed to be absolutely necessary in all publications.

    1. afisher

      Desmogblog is a great source. The news about Soon broke there on 2/23/2015. I can only recommend that people visit and read the articles regarding this news on page one and two are ‘must read”. Soon is one of the very few on the denialist who has published many articles. It was suggested that the reason that Harvard Dept didn’t know about this Big Oil funding was because it was “second stream” of funding.

      Note there is also a great connect the dots for Rand Paul.

  2. New Deal democrat

    The Washington Post article on rising wages is awful. It conflates median household income – which includes households of retirees, and the unemployed – with wages. This is a serious and basic error.

    Its conclusion boils down to, we don’t want fewer unemployed, because that would raise wages, because that would mean that there would be more unemployed. A circular argument, apparently based on the “lump of labor” fallacy.

    1. Ed

      The “lump of labor” fallacy isn’t actually a fallacy. There are limits to the demand for labor just like anything else.

      But I haven’t bothered to look at MSM articles on the labor market in years. They are just really bad in terms of both facts and analysis.

  3. vidimi

    george monbiot on britain’s continuing ecological suicide. also contains a link to an older article he wrote on how subsidies to sheep farms are helping to flood the country.

    stoopid is the policy of appointing chamber of commerce types to every environmental ministerial roles.

    1. hunkerdown

      Chambers of Commerce are as good as terrorist cells anymore. Allowing such people within sight of ANY public trust is just begging to be ripped off. Caveat elector!

  4. Jim Haygood

    CPI was down 0.1% y-o-y, while core CPI (ex food & energy) rose 1.6% y-o-y.

    CPI is a noisy series, moving both above and below (as now) the core rate over time. With crude oil having stabilized around $50 a barrel, headline CPI would be expected to begin converging toward the 1.6% core rate as the year progresses.

    1. craazyboy

      Who needs inflation?

      Just looking at the supermarket ads in the mail. Like to make yourself a roast beef sandwich? Roast beef cold cuts ON SALE for $8.99/lb.

      1. Keenan

        Or, you could go and get yourself one of today’s antidotes, and with a little effort, make yourself a nice dinner and a lot left over for turkey sandwiches.

          1. Keenan

            In my old, close-in suburb of Pittsburgh turkey flock in considerable number, behaving much like barnyard fowl and deer roam the neighborhood like free-range cattle. This along with the crumbling infrastructure gives a third-world feel to the community.

            1. Iolair

              I suspect quite a lot of wild turkeys are semi-domesticated. Quite a number of commercial hatcheries sell wild turkey poults. Being able to fly and being semi wild, they don’t stay put. Unfortunately, they’ve lost their fear of human contact, having been nicely fed before they flew the coop.

                1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                  That’s kicking the unfortunate Greeks while they are down – you are making them feel they are totally surrounded by not just one Turkey, but many, many Turkeys.

            2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              To enhance that Third World feel, our oligarchs have also captured the government, at no extra cost to you and me (really).

              Now, you can experience total 100% banana republic.

        1. ambrit

          Nice try, but states have hunting seasons for most animals, and yearly bag limits, and hunting licenses and extra “stamps” for particular creatures, and on and on. If I were a cynic, I would observe that, when it comes to something the entire public can do, rules and regulation are enforced rather severely. If, however, we were to enter the realm of commercial harvesting of resources, say, a battery farm full of chickens, the opposite could be considered the norm. All this despite the objective factors involved.

          1. Keenan

            Of course you’re right concerning the restrictions, tags, stamp, etc. I was being a bit facetious. In Pennsylvania the Game Commission has been given authority over all wildlife, but its funding comes almost completely from sale of hunting licenses and collection of fines for violations of their rules. So they serve their funding constituency, essentially a special interest group, with scant consideration for the impact of their policies on non-game species in the ecology.

            1. ds

              In rural Pennsylvania, the idea of a hunting “season” is quaint. If you’re hungry enough, you’ll take a deer or two.

              1. Keenan

                Even in this not-so-rural part of the Commonwealth:
                snip: Quietly, discreetly, a few civic-minded archers have been hunting for deer in Mt. Lebanon for years.

                “I’ve taken five does out,” said Dave, a Mt. Lebanon archer who asked that his last name be withheld to avoid upsetting neighbors. “I’ve passed on bucks. What we need is fewer does. It’s safe with archery gear and skilled bow hunters could really help things here.”


                Not my community, but very close.

                1. ambrit

                  I’ve known one or two “stealth harvesters” like that in Louisiana and Mississippi. They are understandably shy about this activity. Some do it to thin the herd, others to be ‘different’, and some to eat. I don’t hunt except to eat. I’m an ‘oddball’ I guess. I’ve never seen the value in trophy hunting.
                  The comment from up thread about Pennsylvania should remind us how much wilderness there still is throughout America. That and the phenomenon of suburban wildlife can remind us all just how close to nature we all really are, if we’d only take the time to look and see.

        2. frosty zoom

          the biggest pheasant i ever saw was at the intersection of the lodge freeway and trumbell ave. beside the shell of tiger stadium. it was thanksgiving day.

          i wished him luck.

  5. craazyboy

    House Republicans Attack Fed Chief on Stimulus and Speeches New York Times

    Dogs bite hand that feeds them.

  6. ScottW

    The Huff Post piece on Minn. Gov. Mark Dayton is instructive. Next door to Wisconsin, it paints of picture of similar states embarking down dissimilar paths. Minn.–increasing taxes on the rich created a budget surplus (with one-third being plowed into public education), created 160,000 more jobs than the failed Pawlenty regime did in 8 years and a 3.6% unemployment rate. Wisconsin–we all know the story.

    Success stories like Minn. need to be written about more often and contrasted with failed experiments like Kansas, Wisconsin, and pretty much the entire South. It is sad to see how a state like Wisconsin is getting so much more publicity than Minn.

    1. bruno marr

      California has done the same as Minnie. Governor Brown asked voters to approve higher taxes (temporarily) and they did. California now has a small (relative) surplus. A state with 36 million residents and the eighth largest economy in the World, is moving away from it’s Reaganesque past.

      1. Jess

        Surplus? Only in the fuzzy world of accounting. Here’s the truth about those “temporary” tax increases:

        They were sold as providing additional funding for education and avoiding tuition hikes at state colleges and universities.

        What really happened? Every dime went to back-fill unfunded pension liabilities, and even then, school districts were still left to come up with more than $7 billion in additional pension fund assessments. And the UC Board of Regents voted to increase tuition by 25% over the next four years. Caused an outbreak of student protests that made the news. Maybe you remember?

  7. Dino Reno

    Ukraine and Cold War.
    “The way to do this is two fold: first we need to stop our military intrusion into Ukrainian-Russian affairs, so diminishing Russian fears of aggression, and, second, wherever possible and in whatever ways are acceptable to both parties to assist the growth of the Ukrainian economy and, indirectly, the stability and sanity of the Ukrainian governing system. A first step in this direction could be for the Ukraine to join the European Union. This, in general terms, should be and for our own sakes must be, our strategy.”

    How crazy is this? Ukraine makes Greece look like Denmark. EU membership is a line pass into NATO. The author, an old cold warrior, wants to avoid a nuclear war. He submits that a proxy war in Ukraine is the first step to mutually assured destruction. So far, so good. But then he attempts to keep his tenured position and his cold war bone fides by saying we can appease Russia and secure Ukraine by going neoliberal on their ass. Funny and sad like an old clown. Why is this article in Counterpunch?

    1. DanB

      You ask, “Why is this article in Counterpunch?” A great question that could be put to several other recent articles. Counterpunch may be attempting to gain broader appeal; and I have speculated for years that they do little editing of their content.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      There are a whole lotta “we’s” in that article.

      I couldn’t help remembering the response to that word many decades ago on the playground. Long before political correctness was even a spark in anyone’s eye.

      “Who is this we, white man?”

      1. bruno marr

        Exactly!. What makes Americans think they have any impact on foreign policy? Or their government in general.

    3. curlydan

      well, the author was a player in the Cuban Missile Crisis, so I guess his stature combined with his calls to realize that the Ukraine is in Russia’s backyard made it Counterpunch palatable to an extent. But I, too, nearly lost it when I saw his recommendation for the Ukraine to join the EU.

      It seemed like the author’s last concession to the fact that the U.S. policy makers will never let the Ukraine go without getting their pound of flesh from Putin or from the people of Ukraine.

      As if Putin is going to let the Ukraine joint the EU! In the Cuban Missile Crisis, Russia could claim to have removed the missiles from Turkey (a minor moral victory even though they were never removed) and left it at that. We ought to find a similar little golden nugget and get out of that cesspool…otherwise, it doesn’t end well for US.

  8. Vatch

    Yet another reason to be concerned about the future: shortages of fresh water. This is probably not news to most NC readers. Most of us know that water is more important than petroleum.

    Angry protesters filled the streets of Karachi last week, clogging traffic lanes and public squares until police and paratroopers were forced to intervene. That’s not rare in Pakistan, which is often a site of political and religious violence.

    But last week’s protests had nothing to do with freedom of expression, drone wars, or Americans. They were about access to water. When Khawaja Muhammad Asif, the Minister of Defense, Power, and Water (yes, that is one ministry), warned that the country’s chronic water shortages could soon become uncontrollable, he was looking on the bright side. The meagre allotment of water available to each Pakistani is a third of what it was in 1950. As the country’s population rises, that amount is falling fast.

    California is now in its fourth year of drought, staggering through its worst dry spell in twelve hundred years; farmers have sold their herds, and some have abandoned crops. Cities have begun rationing water. According to the London-based organization Wateraid, water shortages are responsible for more deaths in Nigeria than Boko Haram; there are places in India where hospitals have trouble finding the water required to sterilize surgical tools.

    Feeding a planet with nine billion residents will require at least fifty per cent more water in 2050 than we use today. It is hard to see where that water will come from. Half of the planet already lives in urban areas, and that number will increase along with the pressure to supply clean water.

    1. Integer Owl

      You’ll be pleased to know that the Bush family owns approximately 100 000 acres of land in Paraguay, sitting on one of the largest aquifers in the world. Can’t imagine there’s any fracking going on there.

      A diabolical family.

    1. Keenan

      Seems to be a consequence of development and prolific deer. Development opens the landscape and deer destroy forest understory:

      snip: “Wild turkeys can live in forests and farmland, but don’t do well in dense thickets — they need open spaces where males can display to females as a part of their breeding ritual, Hughes said.”


  9. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Student Debt Strikers Take On Corinthian College Cathy O’Neil

    Finally, FINALLY, a tiny ray of “hope”–and I do mean TINY–that every american will not sleepwalk through the debt peonage that life in this glorious “homeland” has become.

    This is the COMPLETE fault of the department of “education,” and they should eat every dime of it. Take it out of the “defense” budget or the cold war 2.0 budget or the “israel can do no wrong budget.” Those are, apparently, all limitless.

    “The picture of Corinthian is similar to the subprime lending practices that led to the 2008 housing market crash and financial crisis. The school allegedly targeted subprime borrowers with bad credit, low incomes, and low financial literacy, promising them an education that would help them punch their ticket into the middle class.

    It filled its coffers with federal loans, but when those dried up, it was on the verge of collapse – a “too big to fail” moment. The government released $35m in order to keep the school from going under.”

    So-called “middle class” americans had better come to terms with the fact there are only so many “subprime” types to financially exploit, and they’re already covered with about as many leeches as they can reasonably be expected to support.

    The “needs” of the financial “elite” are great and growing exponentially. They’ll be moving up the food chain soon enough unless somebody draws a line in the sand right here.

    Je suis the Corinthian 15.

  10. Savonarola

    Actually, the zombie outbreak scenario is really useful, fun and interesting – not a runner for the igNobel. From an epidemiology point of view, these are fun to run because they represent a twist on normal contagion dynamics. In an ordinary epidemic, being dead takes you out of circulation — with zombies, it doesn’t. As the Master said in Dr. Who, there are a lot more dead people than living.

    When you add the dead back in as a moving vector, you get a whole different set of fun equations to work with. As a thought experiment, it really is a lot more fun than it sounds. But it also has practical application: there are diseases where the dead are every bit as contagious (in some situations more contagious) than the living, at least for some period after death. Take flea borne illnesses: the mass of fleas stay with the host, but if the host dies, they immediately abandon it en mass and look for a new source of warm blood. The difference with zombie modeling is that the dead don’t stay put.

    Come on – science can be fun. Population dynamics and epidemiology in particular are a very useful science and people learning to work with the models deserve a little play time.

    1. Garrett Pace

      I have a buddy who thinks this sort of internet discussion about how to deal with zombie outbreaks is actually done by people with guns talking shop about their plans for dealing with breakdown in civil order. The zombie talk is just cover to keep the spy agencies at bay.

      1. hunkerdown

        Nah, it’s just the Democratic-bourgeoisie tinted version of apocalyptic fantasizing. Most of the people I’ve seen discussing the matter wouldn’t knowingly share a room with a GOP voter.

      2. prostratedragon

        I have no brief on who the talkers are, but have noticed generally for some time that being a film buff (not only zombies) keeps one ahead of the news.

  11. Larry Headlund

    Antidote du jour (George P). In Maine, wild turkeys have gone from being remarkably skittish and rarely seen to almost as oft-seen as suburban deer.

    The result of the unexpectedly large success of a restocking program which caught on in the late 1970s. A similar program in Massachusetts brought back the state bird, not seen since 1851.

    In Mass, at least, wild turkeys have turned out to have a taste for suburban life, including the more urban than sub Brookline. As some one said about their taste for suburbs: “Who knew? Last time they were around in the early 19th there weren’t any suburbs.”

    1. lord koos

      Wild turkeys are also proliferating here in central Washington state on the east side of the Cascade mountains. Growing up here in the 50s and 60s I don’t remember ever seeing a turkey (they are not a native species). Now they are all over the place. I have no idea of the cause or where they came from, but the environment certainly is supporting them. They are lousy eating though, unless you catch one and can feed it corn for a few weeks before cooking it.

      1. optimader

        3 Reasons Why Millennials are Hunting Game

        Despite recent debates about the role of firearms in American households, the popularity of hunting among young, liberal urbanites is on the rise. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the number of hunters in the United States increased by nine percent between 2006 and 2011. Although some of these hunters are middle-aged, interest in hunting among members of younger generations is growing. Inspired by a cultural message extolling the virtues of eating local and supporting sustainable food sources, these younger individuals are turning to hunting as a source of sustenance and recreation…..

  12. Cynthia

    Krugman writes,

    “Basically, musicians are just like bankers, except for the business about saving our souls versus destroying them.”

    Krugman is partially right. I say partially right because he fails to mention the obvious difference between bankers and musicians — bankers represent capital, while musicians represent labor. This means that bankers can make their billions without having to leave the office. And thanks to modern technology, they can now do so without having to leave their computer screen. Musicians, OTOH, despite having modern technology readily available at their fingertips, still must walk the pavement or hit the road to make their billions. That’s true for most other laborers. Laborers in the IT/AI industry are one of the very few exceptions to this.

    Despite having a well-credentialed PhD in economics, Krugman can’t seem to grasp this fundamental difference between capital and labor. He should have learned this when he studied Marx in undergraduate school. No, he fully understands this dichotomy between capital and labor, but refuses to address it or incorporate it into any of his publications on economics. He can talk in vague terms about “rich vs poor” or “right vs left” without putting his job at risk, but if he were to ever bring up the subject of “capital vs labor” in any serious sort of way, his corporate paymasters on Wall Street would cut him off like a college kid being cut off from his parent’s credit cards. He would then have to kiss and say goodbye to his incredibly cushy gig at the NY Times. But Krugman will never let this happen because beyond all of this vague and meaningless talk of him being a “liberal” economist who supports labor over capital, he is clearly, and above all else, a neoliberal economist who supports capital over labor.

    Unfortunately, the rising tides of neoliberal economics has caused the freshwater in Chicago to spill over into the saltwater at Princeton. Princeton guys like Paul Krugman have become one and the same with the Chicago boys like Robert Lucas.

    1. lord koos

      Wild turkeys are also proliferating here in central Washington state on the east side of the Cascade mountains. Growing up here in the 50s and 60s I don’t remember ever seeing a turkey (they are not a native species). Now they are all over the place. I have no idea of the cause, but the environment certainly is supporting them. They are lousy eating though, unless you catch one and can feed it corn for a few weeks before cooking it.

      1. Integer Owl

        Obviously a misplaced post, however it works quite well where it is. Except the last sentence, that is.

    2. lord koos

      Is there any musician that is a billionaire? I don’t think even Paul McCartney has that much money.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I think a lot of billionaires are artists, at least they think they are.

        Not surprising then, that some billionaires are musicians.

        If so, then the reverse is true as well – that is, there are *self-appointed, I suppose) musicians who are billionaires.

      2. prostratedragon

        Don’t know, but Sir Paul is pretty rich and has been for a long time. So are Herb Alpert and Quincy Jones, but most of their money comes from related activities and not their actual playing or composing. As Mr. Jones is quoted in wikipedia,

        We had the best jazz band in the planet, and yet we were literally starving. That’s when I discovered that there was music, and there was the music business. If I were to survive, I would have to learn the difference between the two.

  13. TedWa

    RE: “Eat at Your Own Risk: Flawed FDA Risk Assessments Strengthen Arguments for Labeling GMOs”
    Our FDA errs on the side of corporate profits over food safety while the European equivalent of the FDA errs first on the side of food safety – hence GMO’s being banned in most European countries. Makes one seriously question the efficacy of having an FDA overseeing food safety here in the states when you know they can be bought.

  14. vidimi

    very bizarre article on drone warfare from the guardian.

    Atkins remembered watching on another occasion, as a canine member of a special forces team died: “During a raid, one of the suspects went out the back door and we were told to follow them. All of a sudden we see one of the Blue Forces K9s [dogs] going after them, and the man had a suicide bomb on and blew up with one of the dogs on him.” For the first time on the job, Atkins cried that day.

  15. JohnnyGL

    I’ve been wondering what to think about the death of the prosecutor Nisman in Argentina who was about to bring cover-up charges against Christina Fernandez for the 1994 bombing of a Jewish Center in Buenos Aires. Fernandez’s government suggested the nation’s spy agencies did it to frame her. It was hard to see who was lying.

    I saw a Gareth Porter write up saying that whoever killed the guy, his case was a complete nothing-burger. It seems now that a judge in Argentina agrees and dropped the case. Perhaps Porter had it right.

    1. vidimi

      the fact that his case was a nothing-burger is what makes it most likely that his death was indeed a suicide and there’s no need to conspiracy-theorize.

  16. NOTaREALmerican

    Yeah, “What is Neo-Liberalism”? I sure wish somebody would explain how the teaming-masses are supposed to understand what is happening to them when the (uh) enlightened-people keep throwing around the words Neo-Liberal and Neo-Conservative for the last (how long now?) 20 years?

    The teaming-masses are still using the words “liberal”, “conservative”, and “Progressive” (altho, most have no idea what “Progressive” means, even the “Progressives”). How are the teaming-masses supposed to led to the promised-land if the (uh) enlightened people keep using words they don’t understand:

    Those Koch Brothers are neo-liberals. Dude, I thought you said they were Republicans 5 minutes ago?

    1. craazyboy

      I deplored the language too when I first came across it. My entire life things were thus! (which I thought was BS too, but whatever)

      conservative = “right”
      liberal = “left”

      Ergo, the Koch bros are the New Left

      After a little reading finally I got the hang of it – even learning that “liberal” meant an early flavor of “Libertarian” – except not the kind for little people. The kind for Robber Barons w/ government provided Pinkertons.

      But after learning this myself, I vowed to never speak this word in public, for fear of sounding like a babbling lunatic.

      1. craazyboy

        I just realized the Poly-Sci guys now have an opportunity to move in and explain how the Koch Bros ARE in fact the new left. Overton Window?!

    2. trinity river

      I totally agree with you, NOTaREALmerican. The vocabulary is a real hindrance to communicating to the average person. Both Ds and Rs have fouled our language to such a degree that it is very difficult to communicate except in a closed community. Hopefully, we can overcome this problem eventually.

    3. skippy

      Had this discussion with a NL member yesterday…

      left-libertarianism is a synonym for anti-authoritarian varieties of left-wing politics, either anarchism in general or social anarchism in particular.[1][2] It later became associated with free-market libertarians when Murray Rothbard and Karl Hess reached out to the New Left in the 1960s.[3] This left-wing market anarchism, which includes mutualism and Samuel Konkin III’s agorism, appeals to left-wing concerns such as feminism, gender and sexuality, class, immigration, and environmentalism.[1] Most recently, left-libertarianism refers to mostly non-anarchist political positions associated with Hillel Steiner, Philippe Van Parijs, and Peter Vallentyne that combine self-ownership with an egalitarian approach to natural resources.[4]

      As for myself – Persoanly I get lost on libertarianism with Locke, promotes freedom whilst giving validity to slavery at the same time. Yet cracks a fat over authority, but, is slavish to it, if its his personal preference. The fact that he uses a Judaic Christian foundation to support his arguments, yet seemingly forgets its a political document created as an act of Empiric Government from inception.

      Skippy…. the meta burns so hot that with a wee bit of pressure…. we could all be bright shiny diamonds

  17. Andrea1

    From Switzerland, following interest for news from the ground. About Greece.
    Both these stories are critical of Greece, past Gvmts.

    GR-CH relations have always been good, were excellent before GR joined the EU. Swiss press has countered the German (Nordic etc.) Greek bashing, *nobody* here believes that BS, opprobium was directed at PASOK, oligarchs, the Church, powerful families, etc. rather than Greece/Greeks.

    Just last week one of the main CH Unions, UNIA, sent a request to the CH Gvmt. to stiffly implement a hunt for GR tax cheats. These requests are taken seriously, say, the press / TV has been full of it. Greeks are our bros!

    A poster on NC wrote about cleaning up, or finally setting up, creating, a land registry. CH contributed generously (or even instigated that program, but that might be self-aggrandizement) to the tune of several million CHF for years (5-7), last year it quit, as nothing at all had been accomplished. CH offered to send experts and computers, but there was no follow-up (maybe some went, idk) and the sums alloted have never been accounted for, no progress or results.

    Imho, a case of ‘modernizing experts’ who enter a complex socio-cultural milieu with new standards to be imposed — resistance is rigidly stiff. Everyone is adapted to the old system and the new will naturally disturb and cause losses to some, who then resist strongly. The potential losers are often those with money, a lot of property, clout, so have means to obstruct.

    Those who might have better lives, via better tax collection and more redistribution, e.g., pensioners, chronic disease sufferers, school children, don’t envisage a positive result for them, down the road, quite rightly. (Better to pay no tax on the family home, etc.)

    Imagine if the Swiss, who have so-called complete private health care, a kind of model neo-liberalism, run by private cos. went into the US to clean up the health system….!

    A ‘tax’ agreement between Greece and CH, an old, serpentine, story. Some readers will think oh the Swiss bankers their greed and secrecy .. OK .. CH has proposed several times to Greece an agreement on exchange of info (before automatic exchange can or will be implemented), similar to the agreement it has, for ex. with Italy.

    Since 2010, all communications on this matter to Greece have received zero response. Nothing has been signed, even though the Swiss Parliament ratified some initiative, no word from Greece.

    Tsipras, and previous Gvmt types have bashed ‘fraudsters’, and Swiss banks, in public, promised to track and condemn the disgusting immorality …with no results, screaming about individuals is good press…see the hyper buzz around the present scandal, Lagarde list – HSBC …

    Greek media proclaims hidden, non-taxed assets, in Swiss banks of 200 billion Euros. Germans / Germany have lodged in CH about 250 b., so that sum seems exagerated, as GR is minuscule in comparison. Those sums are for individuals, corps, holdings, etc. and don’t detail what is ‘undeclared ‘ or ‘illegit’ (money laundering, etc.) One study in CH showed Greek deposits at 24 billion, of which only 200 milion undeclared. Experts familiar with the matter stated the sum is closer to 30 billion and the undeclared part can’t be figured.

    In 2014, Swiss authorities (FINMA) received 500 requests that were followed up, for information on accounts. These came in the main from France, Germany and the USA. Greece: 0.

    > From Swiss Press , I am not in finance or affiliated in any way, and the nos. are surely wild estimations etc. but that is what we read here.

    How is Syriza to deal with all this? So far it hasn’t said much.

  18. paulharveyoswald

    The Computer World article on solar power is encouraging. A factor missing is third party financing–which can take the bite out of the upfront cost. I’m interested in following up on it myself–but I cannot as third party financing is not allowed in Wisconsin. Because markets.

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