Links 3/19/15

South Carolina to California: Cat Found 2 Years, 2,000 Miles Later Newmax (EM)

DRM; Or How To Make 30,000-Hour LED Bulbs ‘Last’ Only One Month Techdirt (Chuck L)

Rangers’ new deep-fried food-only stand to feature Fried S’mOreo Sportress of Blogitude (EM). Only in America…


Big Data shocker: Over 6 million Americans have reached the age of 112 Register (Chuck L)

The myopia boom Nature (EM)

An Influential Voice Slams U.S. Handling of New China-Led Infrastructure Bank WSJ China Real Time Report

The ‘Juncker plan’ does not offer a genuine route to boosting the Eurozone’s recovery EUROPP

ECB Says Asset-Purchase Program Has Eased Eurozone Conditions Wall Street Journal


Parliament adopts new anti-poverty law Agence France-Presse (mpr). This is the first good political move the Greeks have made in the last few weeks. Yes, they are really asking for it by flagrantly violating the memorandum of February, which clearly states no unilateral measures that have budgetary impact over the next four months. But the Eurocrats will look like utter idiots to make an issue of this, since there was a general agreement that Greece would be allowed to budget in humanitarian relief. And I believe it was elsewhere reported that this bill was all of 200 million euros in spending.

EU to tell Greece time, patience running out Reuters

Greece and creditors fight before summit Financial Times

Greece: Phase Two Jacobin (ohmyheck)

Varoufakis und der Finger: Ist der „Stinkefinger“ gefälscht? FAZ. So the video may indeed have been faked. Watch the German media get tied up in knots debating whether this confession is legit. I refused to link to it until I had to because the contretemps struck me as ridiculous. Even if true, so what if Varoufakis years ago had said the right Greek negotiating posture was to tell Germany to fuck off? That is pretty much their position now, with much more diplomatic veneer put on it to make the message go down a little better. And the German press has regularly been demonizing Greece and Greeks for years. Can Germans not take what they so freely dish out?

It’s What Jesus Would Do, Right? Ilargi

Sweden Pushes Rates Further Below Zero Wall Street Journal

French Parliament Debates Weight Standards for Fashion Models New York Times


US slams Netanyahu’s ‘divisive rhetoric’ Financial Times

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Texas Lawmaker Wants To Make It Illegal To Film Cops From Less Than 25 Feet Away Techdirt (Chuck L). In the “you can’t watch back” category.

State Department Is Asked to Explain Handling of Hillary Clinton’s Emails New York Times

House Republican budget: There’s a mysterious $1.1 trillion in spending cuts in the House GOP’s budget Washington Post (EM)

Blue Shield of California loses state tax-exempt status; health insurer has big cash stockpile Green Field Reporter (EM)

Black Injustice Tipping Point

UVA Students Plan Protest Over Alleged Police Brutality Against Black Student Bloomberg


Yellen Strikes a Dovish Tone Tim Duy

Dovish Fed indicates weak economy: Expert CNBC. Duh.

A Strong Dollar Forces the Fed To Rethink Its Next Move John Cassidy, New Yorker

Dollar recovers ground after dovish Fed Financial Times


OTC derivative rules delayed for 9 months Financial Times

Top Wall Street Lawyer Slams Regulatory Environment Wall Street Journal. You really must read this but not within close proximity of having eaten. Cohen is surprised and unhappy that banks and regulators no longer play happily in the sandbox any more? Pray tell, where exactly was he during the global financial crisis when we got the results of all that collegiality? And does it not occur to him that things are now confrontational because his clients have gotten used to having their own way, which includes breaking a lot of rules, and are now mad that this is no longer on?

Class Warfare

Higher minimum wages are associated with greater financial well-being EUROPP

Target Is Raising Its Minimum Wage To $9 An Hour: Report Huffington Post

Starbucks Initiative on Race Relations Draws Attacks Online New York Times

Antidote du jour:

baby otters links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. diptherio

    From “It’s What Jesus Would Do, Right?”

    See, my problem is, I don’t want to live in this kind of world. It doesn’t just degrade Greece’s, and San Francisco’s, and the world’s, poor, it degrades me too. And I’m not even a religious person.

    Here, here. Our whole Western culture and mindset is just downright shabby and embarrassing. We talk a good game about human rights and social responsibility, but when it comes down to brass tacks, it’s all about greed–all about serving the financial interests of the already-wealthy–and the poor we blame for being poor. “Advanced civilization,” my heiny!

    And if your sentiments are a little more noble, your soul more sensitive and refined–it you are foolish enough to actually do what Jesus would do, in other words–our ostensibly Christian nation will reject you as a fool. And if you can find no joy in this degrading and degraded society of ours? Don’t worry: we’ve got a pill for that.

    People wonder what’s behind the extended adolescence of people in my generation–the unwillingness to “grow up”–but I don’t think there’s much to be wondered about. A lot of us looked at the way our parents “did” adulthood and decided we didn’t want any part of that nonsense. It’s not that we don’t want to grow up, it’s that the options we’ve been provided for becoming adults are uniformly unfulfilling, if not down-right degrading. “He who dies with the most toys, wins” may have been an adequate philosophy of life for our folks in the ’80s, but the sentiment (and the culture that spawned it) no longer moves us, their children.

    1. Ulysses

      I’m not sure that this generational analysis is truly helpful. There have always been greedy and selfish people throughout recorded history. The dangerously sociopathic among them have often been able to achieve shocking levels of power and influence. Conversely, the vast majority of decent people have far too often meekly endured injustice instead of pushing back and speaking out.

      In working for social and economic justice I have seen heroic efforts put forth by people of all ages. Where I think those of us, in the U.S., born in the 1960’s and earlier differ from those born later is that we were alive before the current profound transfer of wealth from the middle classes to the kleptocrats began kicking into high gear during the ’80s. Some of us have reacted with dismay to this change, while others struggle mightily to join in the looting. Very many of the generation you dismiss are more profoundly skeptical of neo-liberal ideology than you might think. The real tragedy is far too many of these people– who do recognize something is amiss– are too heavily propagandized, and confused by misinformation, to figure out what to do to make things better.

      I guess what I’m saying is that what you interpret– as the moral superiority of your generation– may actually be just the reality that you all have never lived in an economy where working people might be fooled into believing that “a rising tide lifts all boats.”

      1. diptherio

        Always have to tread lightly with the generational stuff….I’m not implying that younger people are morally superior–I’m trying to point out that the culture we’ve got now is pretty uninspiring–well, at least to me. Of course, I can think of plenty of people my age that do totally buy in to the consumerist mentality, so it may just be a matter of observation bias on my part. Still, it is a continual topic of conversation for me and my friends in our 30s. Most people my age that I know are loaded down with debt, don’t have much use for the (crappy) jobs that are available to them, and don’t see the white-picket-fence and the two-car-garage as anywhere close to obtainable. In this situation, a lot of us seem to be casting about for a more acceptable–and more obtainable–version of adulthood. Most of us have yet to find it.

        The same basic feeling has expressed itself in many of my recent conversations: we’re ready to grow-up, we just aren’t quite sure how to go about doing it. The old methodologies no longer seem relevant and the new ones have yet to come into being. While it’s completely anecdotal, I would guess that this dynamic plays into the recent major up-tick in interest that I’ve heard about from a number of intentional communities.

        1. low integer

          As someone who is also in their 30’s I wholeheartedly agree that the culture the western world has embraced is seriously uninspiring. It also feels like there is a rush to seal off the few remaining exits to a fulfilled existence. The dominant ideology is rigged towards rewarding narrow perspectives and poor ethics. These days, having an inquisitive, critical, and independent mind is not an attribute that leads one on a path to contentedness with the nature of our greater tribes, unfortunately. Too many struggle to satisfy even basic needs, and others are forced by the prevailing economic and political head-winds to make a no-win choice between being able to look themselves in the mirror and financial stability. Sad.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            And so, the government comes by and says to you: “Let me spend so you will have some trickled down to you.”

            Alas, you are too weak to ask, ‘Why don’t you just give me that magic elixir so we serfs, together and sharing equally (guaranteed by the government’s administering of the money), can heal ourselves?”

            1. low integer

              Last time I checked the western governments of the world weren’t really interested in what disenchanted 20 and 30 somethings have to say. Calling someone ‘weak’ is not particularly endearing either, though I accept that this attribution may just be a by-product of your vague writing style and not directed at me personally. In my opinion, at least some of the (very) many posts you make here (including the one I’m responding to now) are a little ill-thought-through.

          2. norm de plume

            ‘I don’t want to live in this kind of world’

            ‘It’s not that we don’t want to grow up, it’s that the options we’ve been provided for becoming adults are uniformly unfulfilling, if not down-right degrading’

            ‘I wholeheartedly agree that the culture the western world has embraced is seriously uninspiring’

            I think this conviction is a major factor in why so many young people from the West, not all of them of middle Eastern descent or Muslim background (Hicks and Lindh spirng to mind), are opting to join ISIS or some other direct opponent of our ungodly neoliberal empire. They are very often abnormally sensitive and intelligent and must make the calculation that if not actively opposing our evil trajectory they are supporting it. Now you may think that their choice of affiliation is equally or even more evil, but that doesn’t alter the fact that they are making this judgement.

            Most are of either Muslim or M/E background, and so there is the additional overlay of outrage at the racism and religious prejudice that characterises Western political interference in their erstwhile homelands.



            Responses from academic experts such as this:

            ‘”If they were switched on to questions of global injustice and seeking answers, not just angry young men or alienated young men but passionate idealists, then they can just as easily be targets of the predatory recruitment by Islamic State,” said terrorism expert Greg Barton, from Monash University’s Global Terrorism Research Centre. “It is deliberate, targeted, predatory recruitment.” ‘

            are therefore incomplete for me, and therefore potentially misleading. Recruitment can only work if the environment permits it.

      2. GlassHammer

        “Conversely, the vast majority of decent people have far too often meekly endured injustice instead of pushing back and speaking out.”

        People are highly adept at convincing themselves that nothing is wrong with their environment.
        Denial and repression are powerful coping mechanisms that gives us time to adjust to distressing situations. But there are a few problems with these coping mechanisms.

        “I think those of us, in the U.S., born in the 1960’s and earlier differ from those born later is that we were alive before the current profound transfer of wealth from the middle classes to the kleptocrats began kicking into high gear during the ’80s.”

        It may have kicked into high gear in the 80s but the ideology was born in the in the mid- to late-1950s. If you are a member of the older generation then you had some exposure to guys like Barry Goldwater and groups like the John Birch Society. Whether or not you took them seriously is a different matter.

        1. JEHR

          Some of the differences in the generations might be due to their different experiences. Although I did not go through the Great Depression, my mother did. As a single parent with two children when there was no health care or welfare, she told me the stories about how families tried to survive in the 1930s when things were really rough. The lessons were not lost on me and I still have a guilty conscience if I throw anything away that can be used by someone else. I shop at discount stores; I recycle food scraps; I grow some veggies in a garden; I save before I spend, etc. In the back of my mind, I still dread returning to the lifestyle that my mother “enjoyed” in her youth and it prevents me from being only a “consumer.”

          As generations lose the stories of these hard times, they do indeed fall for the propaganda of politicians who say things will be better with growth, for the propaganda of big retail stores that say you are only important as a “consumer,” and on and on.

          I also have a theory about institutions: when good institutions (like banks) become old and large, they also become pompous and arrogant and lose sight of their original public purpose. Then the institutions become the opposite of what they were intended for. As people learn to manipulate the institution for their own purposes, the decay begins. We are in the last stages of “institutional decay” on a massive scale.

          1. GlassHammer

            “Some of the differences in the generations might be due to their different experiences. Although I did not go through the Great Depression, my mother did.”

            How much you adhere to the advice of the previous generation is going to depend on the strength of your relationship with them. The environment/culture you are exposed to in your adolescence also plays a role. Not everyone is going to adhere to the guidance of their parents. Even those that do will find life challenging if that guidance runs against the dominate (consumer) culture.

            “they do indeed fall for the propaganda of politicians who say things will be better with growth”

            I don’t think there is anything wrong with growth but I do acknowledge the limitations of available resources. Growth can be a great thing for society but we do have to keep track of who benefits from it.

            “We are in the last stages of “institutional decay” on a massive scale.”

            We are in the nadir of “institutional corruption” not “institutional decay”. There is nothing inevitable or natural about the current rot infesting our institutions. It is and has always been preventable.

          2. Carla

            Banks were never “good” institutions. After they caused the Great Depression through which your mother (and mine) suffered, they were reigned in by laws. Following the Depression and the (very profitable) 2nd World War, bankers did not so much “manipulate the institution” of banking as much as simply gradually change the law to suit their purposes, effectively de-regulating and internationalizing the sector before placing the jewel in the crown: the repeal of Glass-Steagall in 1999. The decay you smell is the rule of law rotting.

            In other words, the bankers did not manipulate banking; they manipulated us.

      3. sleepy

        Those economic changes from 40 or so years ago which continue to decimate the middle class were of course also accompanied by a dramatic rightwing shift in politics by both dems and repubs. LBJ with his medicare and medicaid would be considered even worse than a Kenyan Marxist by today’s standard. And it was well-known before his death that 60s rightwinger Barry Goldwater was beginning to have doubts about the rightwing slant of the goppers. I dont even think St. Ronnie would have looked too kindly on the present crop of goppers’ approach to government shutdown.

        Now, I was born in 1951, so dems like LBJ were to me the baseline for dems–and I and most of my peers still opposed him for Vietnam. And look at Nixon–proposing universal healthcare, a guaranteed national income, the epa, etc.

        I wonder who by today’s standards do young people consider a left-liberal dem? Obama? Hillary? It’s a new norm that must constrict many young people’s sense of any political possibility for good, imho.

      4. myshkin

        It may or may not be generational. It is more about the limitations of humanity and how civilizations or societies coalesce. The gathering of wealth from the many and its concentration among the few, the resulting power structures that arise that perpetuate malevolence has been operational for many hundreds of generations. It is grossly unjust but it is accepted generation to generation. How to explain that. Kierkegard is quite right, “Life can be understood backwards but must be lived forwards.”

        I recall the sixties and seventies and my contemporaries and our callow embrace of revolutionary fervor. The dynamics of the synchronicity of a large post war generational cohort, the end of the McCarthy era resulting in a distrust of authority, opposition to the Vietnam War, the long journey of the Civil Rights Movement cresting, environmental concerns raised by Rachel Carson, Schumacher in “Small is Beautiful”, Murray Bookchin, the Club of Rome and also explorations of consciousness via drugs and cultural cross pollination East to West and culture to culture led to an explosion that could hardly be contained by the establishment.

        As you say there was a turn by the generational herd away from that counter cultural moment, from non consumerism to embrace the establishment and consumption in the seventies and eighties. One problem was that the counter culture had meager alternatives but to buy into buying and all the trappings of consumerism. Egress toward a progressive caring culture was blocked and only unmapped trails into the wilderness were available compared to the vast deceptively glittering well known avenues of commerce the establishment offered.

        The unwillingness to “grow up” is not unique to any generation that is faced with hypocrisy and the established order’s offer you can’t refuse, that is, accept the choice of slotting your life into the valorized drudgery of building pyramids for the pharaonic elite or spend your life wandering in the wilderness.

        1. Llewelyn Moss

          “It is grossly unjust but it is accepted generation to generation. How to explain that.”

          IMO Seems easy to explain. The Oligarchs rig the system heavily in their favor, then violently put down any attempts to reverse the rigging. Occupy Wall Street is a good example (among many examples). NYPD (enforcers of the Oligarchs) clubbed and pepper sprayed peaceful protesters. Then jailed and convicted them of [fill in any convenient felony here]. The teevee as a willing accomplice made sure the masses saw the bloodbath. Cue the meme “I left him there as a warning to the next one to come along”.

          It’s a careful balancing act for the Oligarchs. How far can they rig the system without causing wholesale revolution.

          1. myshkin

            Violence against dissent is a very effective tool in the establishments tool box. The police have traditionally been permitted resort to clubbing, gassing and dogs; TPTB approved and journalism was complicit. The omnipresence of the new media technology illustrating what had been accepted, routine police brutality is unprecedented and having an effect.

            I also recall the shocking B&W TV images in our living room depicting the brutality visited on civil rights marchers and protestors mid last century. Perhaps the first time a mass national audience was exposed to moving images (moving applies here in both meanings) of the violent capacity of the state to suppress non-violent protest. At the time they were catalytic.

            Cointelpro in the sixties was used to cut the head off the movement, the police were used for the body blows. However it was of course not new and it recurs once again, this time there are more witnesses.

            Meant to say the unwillingness to “grow up” is not unique to any generation; each is faced with the hypocrisies of the established order and the offer that can’t be refused, that is, either accept the choice of slotting your life into the valorized drudgery of building pyramids for the pharaonic elite or spend your life wandering in the wilderness.

      5. vidimi

        i agree with you but, i think what diptherio is getting at specifically is that more and more youth are rejecting their parents ideals: that is, it used to be that if your parents were conservative/liberal, so were you with not a whole lot of variation. naturally, the truly intelligent/inquisitive would ask more questions and deviate a little more, but nowadays, there seems to be a paradigm shift.

        it might have more to do with the ubiquity of information on the internet and key events such as 9/11 and the GFC more than generational change, though.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          It’s always puzzling to me, that in, say, a largely Hindu country, a new generation will come and be still largely Hindu, or in, for another example, a largely Catholic country, it stays largely Catholic for generations.

          And the same goes for other countries, until maybe the rulers or conquerors decide otherwise.

          If there were genuine searching, wouldn’t we see, for example, a new, largely Protestant generation replacing a largely Jewish generation in a country?

          1. reslez

            Religion is basically a tag, a tribal signifier. You can’t turn away even if your beliefs change because it would mean rejecting every other member of the tribe.

            Religion is exceedingly good at indoctrinating the young. Even if they turn away from it in adolescence you generally find them in old age turning back to the comfortable beliefs they learned in youth.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Intuitively, I believe spirituality is innate, while religion is acquired.

              Maybe it’s more complex than that. I don’t know.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      On a planet where even pretending to give a sh*t about the poor costs more money than those that have most of it want to spend, the concept of “Jesus” is becoming an inconvenient anachronism.

      They know that that whole “eye of the needle” as the gateway to “heaven” is as hokey as the 21 virgins waiting for them once they get there. And even on the off-chance that there WAS a needle, they figure they’d just “invest” in a bigger one.

      If “Jesus” is to survive the 21st century, he’d better get a philosophical makeover and fast. Maybe he could start “tweeting” about how he “misspoke” about “the poor” all those years ago, and how he never meant to imply that “the poor” should not be held “accountable” for their situation, and how “un-jesus-like” it is for “slothful” poor people to lay claim to the fruits of the “hard work” of the REAL children of god like Lloyd Blankfein.

      Oh, and that loaves and fishes thing? It’s a conspiracy theory–never happened.

      1. DanB

        I think Bill and Hillary -given their expertise on the verb “is”- could help Jesus develop the neoliberal version of, “the real meaning of the Beatitudes”.

    3. Llewelyn Moss

      I took a trip to Rio Brazil in the ’80s. The wealth inequality was horrific. There were several soldiers on every street corner with rifles to deter kidnapping of tourists for ransom. Turns out that starving people will do desperate things for food. That’s what the New World Order is going to look like in every city on the planet.

      And this new Militarized Police State with pervasive Stasi Surveillance is not being constructed to fight The Terraists™. It is for enforcing the New World Order. ( Sorry I have no link to prove this. It is my cynical hunch.)

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Starving people…

        The assumption is that members of the People must not be given anything free, lest they lose the ‘motivation’ to work.

        The way to help starving people, while keeping that motivation to work, is to move ‘minimum wage’ up and down the scale, or through some welfare programs and hungry people don’t care about stigma.

        In fact, we are all on welfare…when we accept that the government has all the free money in the world to spend (by printing) and we, the people, have to earn it, can’t never be given free money, unless it is trickled down from some omnipotent entity from above.

    4. sleepy


      “He who dies with the most toys, wins”

      As I recall, that was a slogan of 1980s bond daddies. No one I knew then identified with the slogan, and their reaction to it was similar to yours today. There are no doubt hedge fund managers today who are millennials who would mouth similar sentiments, but I don’t attribute those sentiments to any age cohort but rather to their class, same as most did in the 80s with bond daddies.

      1. ohmyheck

        I must beg to differ. That slogan seems to be alive and well in the fly-over states. I live among countless white, male Yahoo’s, who are committed to an endless cycle of buying, on credit, the coolest RV’s, the biggest snowmobiles, the fastest jet-skis and the most powerful speedboats, not to mention 4×4 trucks so massive that one cannot even enter without a ladder, all in an effort to see who has the biggest dick. (see article-“The Big Dick School of American Patriotism”-for why I use that analogy).

        Of course, their dirty little secret is not only are they suckers for the “Over-Compensation Syndrome”, but they never have enough income to keep up with the payments. They always manage to quietly either sell their toys, default on the payments, or flat-out declare bankruptcy.

        And, you guessed it, thanks to the good-old-boy banking system, they always manage, after waiting it out a for a year or two, to start their toy acquisitions anew—because dick.

        Now along comes 2008, major reality check for these Fox News-loving Ameri-Morons, and alot of them are taken out and betrayed by the System. This is a huge wake-up call and a good thing. Alot of them will simply never get back in the game, no matter how hard the System tries to shove Liar Loans at them.
        I, for one, have little sympathy for them.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Take out these people and banksters, who do you have left?

          Savers, sorry, hoarders and Less Consumption people, I believe.

          Unfortunately, what the banksters are doing to these un-sympathy-worthy people has collateral damage for savers, sorry again, hoarders and Less Consumption people.

        2. sleepy

          My reference to “he who has the most toys wins” was a disagreement with poster diptherio who attributed it to a generation, the one previous to his. I attributed it to a certain economic class of the 1980s rather than a generation.

          When I first heard that saying decades ago, it was derided as belonging to “The Bonfire of the Vanities” crowd. Consumerism has held sway for decades, but I think that statement goes way beyond that.

          As far as flyover country goes, I live in Iowa and find far less ostentatious displays of wealth than I have on either coast. In the upper midwest that sort of show is socially frowned upon, at least outside big cities.

          1. ohmyheck

            My bad, sleepy. Apologies for mis-reading.
            I guess one can say pockets of this, throughout fly-over country.
            I still have little sympathy for them.
            Willful ignorance is a choice.
            Consequences can be a b!itch…..

      2. diptherio

        My public-servant father had a mug with that slogan on it when I was a kid…in his woodshop. The sentiment, sadly, seems to have spread far and wide. Obviously, it made an impression on me.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Sorry to hear that about your public servant father. In the end, we are all victims, thinking that we are doing it all for our families, instead of realizing the abundance of Nature, if we don’t abuse her, and that they are free to us, instead of having to ‘earn’ them all the time.

          And newly created fiat money is one of them. It’s free to the people, to be shared equally, and not free to the government.

    5. Jef

      First in peoples mind – No money = you die!
      Next – Small amount of money = you live an extremely uncomfortable life and die terribly.
      Then – low income = you live a grueling life of a slave with an unsure future.
      Next – Middle income = you work a job you hate to spend money you don’t have to buy stuff you don’t need to impress people you don’t like. And you still worry about retirement and having enough money at the end so you can die comfortably. Health expense related bankruptcy looms large.
      Then – Your rich = You really pulled it off but constantly worry about all the stories of formerly rich who have lost it all and gone back to the beginning.

  2. TomR

    Re: Target Is Raising Its Minimum Wage To $9 An Hour: Report Huffington Post

    And, according to CBS news, Target is also, very generously, going to:
    “Target agrees to pay $10 million to data breach victims
    MINNEAPOLIS — Target has agreed to pay $10 million under a proposed settlement in a class-action lawsuit stemming from a massive 2013 data breach, the company confirmed to CBS News.

    But alas, all this comes at some cost:
    ..The news comes as Target recently announced layoffs of 1,700 employees — or 13 percent of the workforce — at its Minneapolis headquarters, reports CBS Minnesota.

    1. curlydan

      uh, that’s less than $0.25 per card number stolen. To misappropriate some Who lyrics, “I’d call that a bargain the best I ever had”

  3. Jim Haygood

    Fallout begins from Netanyahu’s campaign admission that Israel was never negotiating in good faith:

    After years of blocking U.N. efforts to pressure Israelis and Palestinians into accepting a lasting two-state solution, the United States is edging closer toward supporting a U.N. Security Council resolution that would call for the resumption of political talks to conclude a final peace settlement, according to Western diplomats.

    Washington might be inclined to support a Security Council resolution backing a two-state solution as an alternative to the Palestinian effort to hold Israel accountable at the ICC. [The US could raise] the pressure on Jerusalem by abstaining from a U.N. resolution condemning Israeli settlements.

    In 2011, the United States vetoed a resolution demanding that Israel’s settlement activity cease immediately — even though it was in line with U.S. policy. The measure was sponsored by nearly two-thirds of the U.N.’s membership and received a 14-1 vote on the Security Council.

    Nothing is ever as simple as it appears. Israel has partitioned the West Bank into so many discontiguous fragments that it is not a viable state. America’s idée fixe of a mythical two-state solution could serve as a continued foot-dragging tactic while more settlements are built.

    One note of hope is that our first black president has perceived Netanyahu for the racist, ethnic-supremacist thug that he is. Obama might just be willing to defy the chokehold the Lobby exerts over Congress, and actually act in America’s best interest for once in our lives.

    1. Brooklin Bridge

      Obama might just be willing to defy the chokehold the Lobby exerts over Congress, and actually act in America’s best interest for once in our lives.

      Precedent? Besides personal animosity between Obama and Netanyahu, I suspect Obama has simply been caught in an awkward position by Netanyahu’s extreme right wing election gymnastics. He has no more intention of a viable two state solution than he does of sacrificing elitism for human decency.

      As to Obama doing something in America’s best interest, I suspect that would happen only if he had absolutely no other choice (along the lines of Greece’s choice in accepting the water boarding of the firm the institutions). For Greece, resisting -insisting on actual choice – is a matter of humanity. For Obama, resisting such a choice is a matter of pride.

      If truth be told – and yes, it’s really and truly twisted – Obama would perceive doing something for the rubes as,…well, for the rubes. If forced, he’ll be gagging all the way.

      1. Demeter

        I suspect that Obama and Bibi are too much alike to get along. The world isn’t big enough for the both of them.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      So, we’re all supposed to believe that, up until a few days ago, the US was “unaware” that israel was NOT negotiating in “good faith?”

      Give me a break. The first clue should have been the non-negotiable position that, “god says he wants US to have it.”

      As for the hope that ” our first black president has perceived Netanyahu for the racist, ethnic-supremacist thug that he is,” he’s only HALF black. The white half feels Netanyahu’s “white man’s burden, manifest destiny” pain.

      And a zionist white guy’s gotta do what a zionist white guy’s gotta do.

      Then there’s that aipac thing……

      1. Antifa

        The right wing Jewish citizens who have made a two-state solution out of the question do not stop at Israel’s expanded borders.

        They want a Greater Israel, they dream of owning all the land that Yahweh promised them, which includes most of Jordan, half of Lebanon, the wet parts of Egypt, and all of Syria. That’s what God gave them, and that’s what they will have.

        Yes, the nimrods in Washington, DC are already well aware that this is the political trajectory of the Israeli state.

    3. sleepy

      It’s been evident for years that Israel has no interest in a 2 state solution and Netanyahu’s recent comments confirming that are no surprise.

      The US should be pushing for a one state solution rather than renew the dead end 2 states. Even the Israel
      rightwing has broached that idea on occasion. While the Israeli govt would seek to “manage” a single state through a 2-tier citizenship system, I think that idea would be far more difficult to implement and continue internationally than even the present occupation.

      1. Jim Haygood

        ‘The US should be pushing for a one state solution.’

        Agreed, but that would defeat the whole purpose of zionism, of establishing an ethnically exclusive state.

        It’s not materially different than the popular 19th century delusion of deporting black people in order to create a White America. MLK put paid to all that. But colonialist Israelis still fantasize, in the 21st century, that they can deport several million Arabs into Jordan.

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          Not to mention that “aryan race” thing that happened a few years back in, let’s see, Germany, wasn’t it?

        2. sleepy

          There are rightwing zionist parties in Israel that have proposed a one-state solution, in the belief that Palestinian citizenship can be “managed” and that Jewish birthrates among the ultraorthodox can keep a Jewish majority.

          Bibi has already said there will never be a Palestinian state, so one-state it is. Just formalize it and move on. But once that happens, Israeli efforts to restrict Palestinian citizenship will result in far greater condemnation than the present occupation.

          Getting rid of the present Palestinian leadership and having the PA vote to dissolve itself and return whatever “sovereignty” it has back to Israel would be the starting point.

        3. optimader

          BeBe is right for the wrong reasons. A two-State solution is not a solution, even the sort that polite “fair-mined” racists like Urey Avnery advocates.

          So how did Bantustan work out for South Africa?

          Israel is deferring the inevitable redress of the inequities that occurred w/ the expropriation of Palestinian property and freedom that created the failed State of Israel.

          If South Africa is a reasonable case study, even if they earnestly start now, integration of Palestinians on an equal and fair basis will take generations to make right.
          So I think this latest election is brainstem voting out of fear of the unknown, the maintaining of a degenerating status quo. Let it Bebe

          1. James Levy

            The whole thing is a farce. The Palestinians are so relatively weak compared to the Israelis that they haven’t got a chance, while the whole “poor little Israel” propaganda organ blares on inexhaustibly. Ironically, if the Palestinians were the “threat” the Zionist Noise Machine makes them out to be, they’d get a better deal, but as it is they can’t force the Israelis to concede a damned thing, and Netanyahu felt powerful enough to even speak the unspeakable and admit that Israel’s “peace” negotiations are a sham. Pointing this out, however, will bring a slurry of muck onto the head of anyone with such bad taste as to actually quote what the man said, so we will be back to being the “honest broker” in the “peace process” whose failure will inevitably be dumped on the heads of the “fanatical anti-Semite” Palestinians any day now.

          2. three eyed goddess

            Interesting that the history of the founding of South Africa is so little known and never discussed especially since it reveals the foundations of the curious state of Israel an excellent source is _The Randlords_ by Geoffrey Wheatcroft
            This book is kept at the call desk in the main branch of San Francisco Public Library where it can only be read in the presence of the staff and can not be checked out.

    4. sleepy

      @Jim Haygood

      I hope you’re right, but I have already read some bits and pieces online that tend to downplay Netanyahu’s racist jingoism as just so much campaign rhetoric. The NYTimes apparently rewrote a piece specifically to begin his rehabilitation.

      “New York Times published piece about Netanyahu’s racism, then rewrote all of it”

      Of course, that’s just one article and we’ll see how things play out overall. Normally, you would expect Netanyahu to begin some PR campaign and try to reestablish some measure of good will with the Obama admin, but the pending Iran negotiations/agreement may mean no backing down from confrontation with Obama. In that case, just perhaps Obama might swing that big stick and let Bibi and Congress howl.

  4. financial matters

    An Influential Voice Slams U.S. Handling of New China-Led Infrastructure Bank WSJ China Real Time Report

    Robert Zoellick talks about how Obama is missing an opportunity to coax China into the neoliberal camp. I think Obama has missed a lot of opportunities but wouldn’t include this.

    The US is pitching the USD. China at least is pushing for a multi-currency approach on several fronts.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      First, multi-currency approach to infrastructure financing (hey, still dangerous, as it implies possible borrowing in another currency).

      Then, multi-currency approach to financing global commerce (hence no more one single global reserve currency).

      Unlike Grexit, the consequences of an USxit may not be contained.

      Especially, if we have to ‘earn’ other currencies.

      1. financial matters

        One of the main points of Michael Hudson’s work is that countries have gotten in trouble borrowing in foreign currencies, mostly the USD lately and largely facilitated through the World Bank and IMF.

        Also the Triffin dilemma deals with the problems of having a reserve currency the same as a sovereign currency in needing to satisfy both domestic and international needs. (Not that the US plutocracy seems to be that concerned with its population.)

        An SDR is in some respects like a ‘gold standard’ or the ‘euro standard’ in that it seeks to maintain a stable value but it is not meant to be limited but is meant to supply liquidity demands as needed to balance global trade so as to avoid currency devaluations due to foreign exchange speculation.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          We can print as much money as we want, but there will still be dollar shortages. So, the current dollar shortage has nothing to do not enough money in the system.

          And then we look at all the dollars the Chinese have spent to buy Treasuries, one realizes that we have exceeded the Triffin dilemma. We have imported way too much…way over what is necessary for facilitating global trades. The excess US money ‘has’ to come back here, to buy Treasury bonds.

          1. financial matters

            Yes, these trade imbalances can be damaging to both sides. We lose manufacturing jobs. Chinese workers aren’t paid enough to buy their own exports.

            And as you say we have a distribution problem tied to a democracy problem.

  5. ohmyheck

    Much as I love getting a hat-tip, it should go to “salvo”, who originally provided that link. And an excellent one at that! Read it, folks.

  6. charles 2

    The FAZ article in German may be intimidating to your readers, but actually the video released by Jan Bohneman is worth a link on this page .

    The interesting thing is that, after all, Bohneman could have done the doctoring in his show and let the organizers of Subversive festival to release an undoctored version to let the few who were actually curious about this footage to check if it was genuine (I did) and that would have been the end of it. But no ! He conspired with them to release a doctored video under a quite respectable youtube id showing other footings from the festival, with a clear intent to deceive the fact checkers. It was a trap, and Jauch fell into it.

    But now ask yourself that question : do you really think that the organiser of the festival, obviously sympathetic to Varoufakis’s cause, would release a video containing quite strong, (and real !) words of Varoufakis without asking him first, and even telling him why ? I don’t think so, and that means Varoufakis may be less “naive” in terms of PR that he is commonly said to be by pundits.

    Kudos (a greek concept…) to him on that one.

    1. susan the other

      Es ist eine grosse Schade dass wir haben nur fuenf Finger um den Stinkefinger zu geben. Wir brauchen zwolf fingern auf jede Hand um zu sprechen huetezutage. sorry about my awful German grammar…

    2. generic

      We really don’t know whether the original video or the confession video are fakes. And it doesn’t matter even if the first version is a lot more fun.
      Having the finger in the video does not change that the original context made it perfectly innocuous. So yes, the video was doctored by Jauch’s team to make it appear he was talking about defaulting on official creditors now instead of on private creditors in 2010, then Jauch asked a question that only makes sense in the first context. Then the collective German court press pretended that the controversy was about the finger being photo shopped instead of blatant lies by one of the highest paid hosts in German public TV.
      In conclusion, the video might be photoshopped or it might not be but that doesn’t change the fact that all serious manipulation was done by Jauch’s people.

  7. Brooklin Bridge

    Obama might just be willing to defy the chokehold the Lobby exerts over Congress, and actually act in America’s best interest for once in our lives.

    Precedent? Besides personal animosity between Obama and Netanyahu, I suspect Obama has simply been caught in an awkward position by Netanyahu’s extreme right wing election gymnastics. He has no more intention of a viable two state solution than he does of sacrificing elitism for human decency.

    As to Obama doing something in America’s best interest, I suspect that would happen only if he had absolutely no other choice (along the lines of Greece’s choice in accepting the water boarding of the firm the institutions). For Greece, resisting -insisting on actual choice – is a matter of humanity. For Obama, resisting such a choice is a matter of pride.

    If truth be told – and yes, it’s really and truly twisted – Obama would perceive doing something for the rubes as,…well, for the rubes. If forced, he’ll be gagging all the way.

  8. tyaresun

    On the big data shocker:
    My mother passed away on Jan 22 but she keeps getting summons for jury duty, health insurance, etc. I called the good ACA folks to report her death but the lady refused to acknowledge the information saying that she had not nominated anyone to make changes on her behalf. She said that if I knew her username and password I could do it online. I went online and logged in, however, death is not one of the life changing events that I can click on their list.
    Kafka, your world is still alive and well.

    1. Jess

      Condolences on your mother’s passing. Hope she had a long, happy, fulfilling life. But if she was of the working class, it might not have all been so rosy.

      Interesting part about the ACA: I wonder if their computer screw-ups will fail to coordinate with the Social Security administration’s Death Notices. (Given six million folks technically still alive at age 112 according to the SSA, I’m not sanguine about the prospects.)

        1. craazyboy

          Disembodied spirits may need money too.

          Stimulus spending, perhaps. Even if it’s not stimulus spending, they still might like buying things. Or going to a restaurant and watching a nice meal fall to the floor, once scrumptious fork full at a time. Maybe hang around a dark movie theater and go boo, or whatever else they do for fun.

          The last thing I’d expect them to do is log on to some gubmint website and cut off their funds!

  9. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: French Parliament Debates Weight Standards for Fashion Models New York Times

    Well, this is just BIZARRE!

    “The struggle over the appearance and health of fashion models is hardly a new one.”

    So, France wants to pass a law that forces models to eat, while, recently in Florida, they passed a law that prohibits feeding the “homeless.”

    How do the poor and homeless get some of this “against the law not to eat” action? Does anyone else see a “two birds with one stone” kind of a solution here?

    I mean I’m thinking that the “fashion industry” could recruit from the homeless/poor population. Some of ’em might clean up pretty good, and no one would give two hoots that they’re not eating and look unhealthy. Fashion industry jobs could come to Florida where it’s against the law for certain people to be fed.

    It’s high time that the “fashion industry” fight back against this anti-capitalist regulatory “assault” with some outside-the-box thinking, if you ask me.

  10. wbgonne

    TPP Propaganda Watch:

    Get this:

    Progressives — including Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) are criticizing the administration’s push for a provision in the TPP that would create an investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) board, an international arbitrary body that would settle disputes. Rep. Alan Grayson (R-Fla.), DeLauro and several other progressive members argued after the meeting that ISDS would benefit corporations by allowing them to challenge U.S. regulations and statutes, including the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law.

    Linda Dempsey, vice president of international economic affairs at the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), said that ISDS would not decide “whether Dodd-Frank is good or bad.” “[ISDS] would decide whether an investor has been treated unfairly or discriminatory or some other basic rejection of very basic property rights,” Dempsey told The Hill. “There’s lots of fairy tales and lots of hypotheticals,” Dempsey said. “[But] they have no power — never have and never will — to change any U.S. law or regulation. Period. Full stop. The only thing investor state panels can require is the payment of monetary compensation.”

    So the United States can pass any law it wants but may have to pay vast sums in damages for doing so, which — according to this propaganda — means U.S. sovereignty is unaffected. Really? Look at it this way: as an individual you can DO anything you want but if it’s illegal you will get thrown in prison and/or fined. So is your liberty, i.e., your personal sovereignty, impinged by those legal prohibitions and their attendant penalties? Normal people would say yes.

    And consider this: just how long will it be before regulatory opponents use the mere threat of ISDS penalties to argue against regulation in the first place? One can hear the argument already: are we really going to pass this law when there is a risk that the American taxpayer could be on the hook for millions of dollars in damages by doing so? If you think the “job-killer” anti-regulatory attacks are effective, just wait until the neoliberals get this tool in their arsenal.

    1. andyb

      From what I have read of leaked portions of the “super-secret” TPP, it is a massive sovereign grab by globalist corporations (i.e. those that fund the off-shore accounts of the pols), that would place any sovereign country in an inferior position when negotiating a trade dispute with a major corporation. The ramifications of this are huge for any worker anywhere that does not have a job with a major corporation; who will be his/her advocat?

  11. down2long

    Blue Shield of California is an organized criminal operation. I had their PPO coverage for 25 years. Used it only for biannual physical, and one emergency room/ambulance shebang when I fell out of a tree. Once I turned 50 the organization began a systemic plan to oust me. They would hold my payments for weeks, and then say I was late on the payment and cancel me. I fought them back once with the help of the California Insurance Commissioner (who I have since found out is specifically excluded from involving itself in health insurance matters – that law may have been passed subsequent to my situation, in our bought and paid for Assembly.) Started sending every payment certified return receipt. Blue Shield did it again – held a check for two weeks, then canceled me for non payment. I continued to pay my premiums since this was just prior to Obamacare, it was difficult for a 55 year old man to get insurance, and I knew that if I got hurt or ill I could sue and no judge (well, given the purchased state of our judiciary, it was a bet) would force Blue to honor the contract. I paid 10 months of premiums, almost $10K, during which time I filed a complaint with the CA Divison of Managed Care to force Blue to re-enroll me.

    Once we hit the $10K mark Blue voluntarily stated they would re-enroll me, but of course would not refund the $10K. I argued with them that they had not in fact provided any services for the $10K.

    Meanwhile, I enrolled in Kaiser. Managed Care forced Blue to give back my $10k. 3 months later, Kaiser canceled my coverage without telling me (once again for a late payment, which I had made under their guidelines, with an agent.) Kaiser took 4 more payments, made over the phone with an agent by pay by phone. It was only when I got a partial refund check of a payment made 4 months previous did I learn I had been without coverage for4 months. I called Kaiser, and while I had met all the terms of my agreement, and the agent couldn’t understand why I was cancelled, I was indeed cancelled.

    Now I am fighting to get those thousands back.

    As a result, I am now with Blue Cross, but I expect shenanigans from them too.

    I think it is safe to say that with my horrific and fraudulent dealings with banks and health insurers that fraud is rampant in this country. But at least no one is selling individual cigarettes in Cali, to the best of my knowledge. Go Blockupy!!!

    1. jack

      I’ve always thought that the people that think there is no problem with our healthcare system have never been sick.

    2. Nealser

      Thanks for sharing your story. I have similar experience with California insurance companies, taking premiums and denying coverage. The new wrinkle is blaming Covered California for errors setting up policies/changes to policies, all the while Anthem Blue cross is taking the premiums.

    1. low integer

      I expect most here would be very happy to encounter objective evidence that Fukushima isn’t as big a problem as has been speculated. At the very least though, there is some information that contradicts the conclusions reached by this article floating around, and I am not sure how much weight to give an article published in Forbes on this type of subject matter. I say this sincerely, as I am not a regular reader and always had the impression that it was more of a self-congratulatory money/business/economics magazine.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        That’s state of where we are today.

        No one can be absolutely sure of the many issues we face today.

        We can’t, not the ability nor the time/budget, to verify for ourselves.

        We have to rely on the reputations of others.

        I talk to my doctor friends about radioactive Pacific fish, for example,, and their first instinct is to worry about my tin foil hat.

        I guess, if, somehow, a small area of science, or technology in this case, is challenged, they are impaired to a degree.

        They have not verified themselves, and instead, relying on argument by authority, they just assume their scientific brethren are on top of it.

        They have forgotten their first duty, in any intellectual inquiry, is to doubt.

    2. optimader

      Sorry Kurt,
      I am calling BS on the article (written by a guy that is in the waste remediation business).
      Your friend apparently has forgotten that there is no safe threshold dose of ionizing radiation, period.

      In the context of the Oped, it would be reasonable to first quantitatively differentiate between
      1.) “not very disastrous”;
      2.) “disastrous”,
      3.) “very disastrous”

      “Fukushima has, and continues to irrevocably introduce artificially produced ionizing radiation into the environment with no technical fix in sight. By my metric this falls into the “very disastrous” bucket.
      Setting aside the irrevocable environmental affect, just the commercial consequential of the disaster and ongoing cleanup into perpetuity pegs the “very disastrous” meter IMO ( maybe not for someone in the waste remediation biz?)

      Basically the first comment after at the end of the OpEd fatally rebuts the content. Somewhat simplistic, but to the point

      On another subject, if you do audiobooks, this is very good, check your local library
      The Modern Scholar: In Michelangelo’s Shadow: The Mystery of Modern Italy Audiobook

    3. optimader

      The premise is qualitative so it’s hard to challenge as far as that goes. I will say that foisting the notion that there is any “safe” exposure level to ionizing radiation is simply wrong. There is no safe threshold exposure level…Period.
      The fact that there are no technical fixes on the table to arrest the radiation leakage nor is there any strategy for removing the radiation contamination that has irretrievably plumed away from the disaster site, IMO it is appropriate to characterize this as a fantastic environmental disaster. Set all that aside, from a commercial consequential damages perspective, IMO this pegs the disaster meter in Japan.

      Further, I think he utterly misrepresents the epidemiological risks from this going into the future.

      That fact that the author is in the business of nuke waste remediation suggests to me that he is less than an unbiased observer, From that perspective I can understand that he may consider this a consulting opportunity that has the potential to keep on giving in perpetuity and in this context it personally may represent a great commercial opportunity rather than a disaster.

  12. Jagger

    Illegal to film cops?

    A man, Dendinger, served papers to a police officer in front of the District Attorney, 2 staff lawyers, a police chief and 4 police officers. All then made written statements that Dendinger assaulted the officer while serving the papers and Dendinger was arrested shortly afterwards.

    “He was booked with simple battery, along with two felonies: obstruction of justice and intimidating a witness, both of which carry a maximum of 20 years in prison. Because of a prior felony cocaine conviction, Dendinger calculated that he could be hit with 80 years behind bars as a multiple offender.”

    “In the end, the two videos may have saved Dendinger from decades in prison. From what can be seen on the clips, Dendinger never touches Cassard, who calmly takes the envelope and walks back into the courthouse, handing Wall the envelope.”

    This victim wasn’t black but a 47 year old white, disabled army vet. A district attorney, a police chief, 2 staff lawyers and 4 police officers, all present when the papers were served, colluded to vindictively attempt to railroad this man into prison for potentially decades. You have to read the article and the witness statements to believe it. District Attorney, police Chief, staff lawyers, claimed they directly witnessed an assault and all lied. And then film shows up.

    And now we understand why political forces want to make it illegal to film cops.

    1. Jagger

      What stands out to me in this case is the sheer vindictiveness of the charges and the level of officials involved. It is clear they were simply upset that the man had served papers to the police officer. They were attempting to put this man in prison for decades for no other reason than vindictiveness. And the district attorney of two parishes/counties and the city Police Chief participated in attempting to destroy this man by making false witness statements. And they might have got away.

      No one should wonder why people in America fear the police and don’t trust the judicial system.

    2. Light a Candle

      Wow, that was worth watching. A guy almost railroaded into jail by a perjured police report, with perjured testimony from 7 police offers and staff, until the cell phone video snippet clears him.

      1. Jagger

        A district attorney, staff lawyers, a police chief were all physical present when the incident supposedly happened. WITHOUT A DOUBT, THEY KNOW DENDINGER DID NOT ASSAULT THE POLICE OFFICER. THEY KNOW NOTHING HAPPENED. Think about that for just a minute. Was there no fear at all that they might be putting their careers in jepardy with false statements? No fear they might not get away with it? No concern that one of all those people might not go along with the story? Clearly there was no concern about the injustice of their actions. Apparently they had absolutely no fear at all about getting caught and paying consequences of any sort. Just mind blowing.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            If one is to believe that all life is interconnected, from the non-punitive imperial adventures to this, one fears to be out of line with those in power.

    3. Llewelyn Moss

      Unquestionably, it was a police conspiracy to frame Dendinger. Smart guy video recording his encounter with cops.

      But good luck getting justice if this case is handled locally. As we know, grand juries and local DAs have a habit of looking the other way when it is police corruption. Plus this is Louisiana — need I say more.

      1. Eureka Springs

        No. This is the USA. While I am familiar with the South (born in AR with family in LA), I am also familiar enough with many other areas of the country to know from experience that this is not an uniquely LA occurrence. Why aren’t each and every one of those ‘officials’ both fired with lost pension and in jail without bail?

        1. Llewelyn Moss

          I agree, police corruption pervasive and is in all 50 states. I guess the Louisiana gained special status in my mind after the LA Route 10 conspiracy was uncovered where cops were stopping innocent motorists on BS traffic infractions to seize their property using the Civil Forfeiture scam.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Why is that?

            I believe police pensions are quite secure, often the last to be impacted in a muni downsizing or restructuring (and if not so, it should not justify for the brutality and corruption), and they are not paid worse than what many Americans are getting today.

      2. Jagger

        —Unquestionably, it was a police conspiracy to frame Dendinger.—

        But why? Dendinger was paid $50 to delivery the papers. He was just doing a job. Railroad him into prison for decades for that?

        Just shocking and especially when you include in the District Attorney and Police Chief. The District Attorney is suppose to be keeping his prosecuters in line with the law. And the same with the Police Chief.

        “The district attorney (DA), in many jurisdictions in the United States, represents the government in the prosecution of criminal offenses. The district attorney – an elected or appointed official – is the highest officeholder in the legal department of the jurisdiction – generally the county in the U.S. – and supervises a staff of assistant or deputy district attorneys.”

        Just corrupt, petty, brazen….. Can’t think of enough words to describe how ugly this incident reflects on our police and judicial systems. It is not like a couple cops lying about what happened in the middle of nowhere but the whole system colluding to destroy someone for no good reason.

      3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        That’s the price we pay for believing the government is monolithic, lumping and stereotyping them so that we speak of the public sector vs. private sector.

        But there are many, many parts of the government we should be against bigness and unrestrained powers/budgets, and demand cuts.

        We talk about the police here. Then there are the overseas adventures, surveillance, corruption, giveaways by grafters, etc.

        That’s why it’s unwise to say the government can spend as much as it likes, believing some sage leaders will keep the abuses in check. That’s a belief in luck, in rule by man, not rule by law. The wise choice is to incorporate as many checks as appropriate into the system. If there is anything that is unlimited, it should reside with the people, but just with the majority, for it too can be tyrannical, but equally among all.

  13. Max

    From the “Tell us how you really feel” department:

    Napolitano Says ‘We Don’t Have To Listen To This Crap’ As Students Protest Potential UC Tuition Hikes

    SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – University of California President Janet Napolitano remarked to a fellow regent that they “didn’t have to listen to this crap” as protesters denounced potential tuition hikes during a meeting Wednesday in San Francisco.

    Napolitano was sitting next UC regent Chairman Bruce Varner as a group of about two dozen protesters shouted loudly, denouncing potential tuition hikes when she made the remark, which she may not have known was being recorded.

    As the protests began, the cameras stayed on the regents. There was some confusion over what to do. That’s when Napolitano leans over to Varner and said, “Let’s just break. Let’s go, let’s go. We don’t have to listen to this crap.” Her hot mic caught the comment.

    Kristian Kim was one of the students protesting the 5% tuition increases every year for five years. “It’s an insult to have her as the president of UC,” said Kim.

    To make their point loud and clear, a group of the protesters, including Kim, pulled their clothes off down to their underwear during the demonstration, revealing the words “Student Debt” written on their bodies.

    “I don’t know where she’s coming from, but I’m assuming she’s never had to deal with these issues personally. So I can understand why there would be a disconnect there,” Kim said after learning about the “crap” comment.”

    Shortly after Napolitano’s remark, the regents left the room and continued their meeting later.

    The comment was a different tone from Napolitano at the very same meeting. “They want to be sure that their voices are being heard and I want to commit to them that their voices are being heard,” she said.

    Governor Jerry Brown and Napolitano said they were finding common ground during talks on the university system’s budget. The pair are the only members of a committee charged with recommending changes in how the university system operates and spends its money.

    Protesters suspect the meetings were scheduled during a busy week of midterms, but they say they won’t stop protesting until their message is heard.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Didn’t Berkeley have a huge exclusive search deal with British Petroleum, for like $500 million?

      They should double that deal so they can skip the tuition increases, or they should accept more rich, out-of-state applicants.

      I would help but I have lost faith in that institution.

    2. Max

      She’s sorry for the choice of words, but not the sentiment:

      Napolitano apologizes for calling UC student protests ‘crap’
      UC President Janet Napolitano publicly apologized Thursday for describing a disruptive student protest as “crap” the day before.

      “I’m sorry for using a word I don’t usually use,” Napolitano said at the start of Thursday’s regents meeting at UC San Francisco. Her choice of the word, she said, was “unfortunate.” But she also asked for “empathy and understanding” in what led Wednesday to her videotaped tart remark she had meant as private.

      As student protesters interrupted Wednesday morning’s UC regents meeting with chanting and partial disrobing, Napolitano turned to UC regents chairman Bruce Varner and said: “Let’s go. We don’t have to listen to this crap.”

      With all the yelling in the room, few others probably heard her at the time but her comments were caught on a UC video stream of the meeting that is posted on the regents website.

      A group of about 30 students had started loud chanting and some stood up on chairs and stripped down to underwear or exercise clothes to symbolize what they said was having to give the shirts off their backs for higher tuition. After police warnings, they left the room and no arrests were made. Napolitano and the regents, who had left the room, then returned and resumed the meeting.

      During her apology Thursday, Napolitano noted that the protest had interrupted the public comment period and regents discussions that were meant to help solve the budget problems facing the university. She said that “protecting the accessibility, affordability and quality” of UC education is the most important work ahead.

    3. Jess

      Ah, but you’ve missed the backstory about these tuition hikes. Governor Lying Jerry Brown spearheaded a ballot measure two years ago for “temporary” tax hikes which, he claimed, would provide billions exclusively for increased education funding and prevent the need for tuition hikes in the UC system. Voters swallowed the lies and approved the measure.

      Guess what?

      Every stinking penny of the new tax money went to back-filling unfunded pension liabilities. Even then, it wasn’t enough, so local school districts up and down the state were still on the hook for an additional $6 billion in aggregate CalSTRS pension assessments. And, as this article points out, the UC system just enacted a 25% tuition hike over the next four years.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        We need one single pension for everyone in the country.

        That will unite the 99.99% and then we can focus on what we should be focusing on.

      2. bruno marr

        Every stinking penny of the voter approved tax increase was never intended for the UC System. The education funding was for K-12 schools. While the costs of higher education in California is rapidly getting unaffordable, the CalSTRS (teachers pension) is not the problem. The pension Directors are not teachers, but higher level financial administrators in state government. In the words of David Crane: ” The problem wasn’t caused by teachers, students, taxpayers or California residents. It was caused by politicians who made — and are still making — promises without contributing sufficient amounts to meet those promises. “

        There are very real problems being encountered in providing everyone (K-12) with a good education. Even larger for higher education. But teachers (and their pensions) should not be made scapegoats.

        1. Jess

          Au contraire. The tax bill was sold as doing two things:

          a) Putting more money into K-12 classrooms. Nobody admitted that it was really about pensions.
          b) That it would forestall the need to raise UC tuition.

          And FWIW — My mother was a teacher, and later a municipal employee, and retired with a public pension. Of course, she didn’t get a six figure one, which cannot be said for my little city’s last two fire chiefs, whose combined pensions total almost $400K a year.

  14. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    EU to Greece, patience running out.

    Welcome to America. We are not impatient. We can’t afford to, lest we scare our stock market speculators, sorry, investors.

  15. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    French parliament debating weight standards of fashion models.

    Does that happen only in France?

    What a fashion model wants to do with her body is her business, isn’t it?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I have a feeling they want to turn this into fight against the cults of personality.

      And our heroes, or at least one hero, is helping them out with posing for a Parisian publication.

      Talking a lot in public, giving a lot of interviews may be necessary for your cause, and you don’t want them to dictate whether you should wear a leather jacket or not, or your choice of wife, but I think you hand them a weapon unnecessarily with the above.

      1. throwaway

        I entirely agree. Yanis even used the Varoufake video to double down on his statement that the original video was a fake. It makes him look unwilling to concede that he is wrong and will be read as a sign of untrustworthiness by the German public. The denial is much worse than the actual ‘crime’, which is really a complete non-issue.

  16. reslez

    Ellen Pao gets hit with the “abrasiveness” trap:

    He characterized her as hard to get to know and “not the warmest person,” adding that she spent a lot of her time acting more senior than her other colleagues at Kleiner. She was entitled, he testified, and didn’t know her place at the firm. Even early on in her career, Pao was “a bit too opinionated.”

    When they can’t get you on performance they get you on personality.

    The people who foster these environments don’t know what a woman in a senior position ought to look like or act, they impose their own feeling of difference and blame their own discomfort on an imagined personality defect. And then you end up with entire industries that are 80-90% male, worsening all the way up the payscale.

    1. vidimi

      i have mixed feelings on this case.

      on the one hand, i think it’s much more believable than not that there is some systemic misogyny at firms like kleiner perkins and i would like to see them punished for it.

      on the other, i don’t want to see a plutocrat (already the ceo of reddit) get a $10m windfall. the rest of us don’t get that kind of cash when we get abused or discriminated against.

  17. reslez

    Costas Lapavitsas illustrates why a Syriza-managed Grexit will fail (from “Greece: Phase Two”):

    Neo-Chartalism has got very little to do with what’s happening. We’re not talking about state money being created other than as IOUs to deal with the immediate needs of liquidity as we discussed previously. So-called modern monetary theory, this kind of neo-chartalism, is weak monetary theory; it has very little to offer to the understanding of the eurozone and modern capitalism generally.

    MMT has more work to do.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Food for thought, from the 1st paragraph, from a man the article describes as a socialist activist for most his life:

      They don’t come much bigger! I have two points to make on this. First of all, the actual period of election — the electoral campaign and so on — was an incredible process because really for the first time in my political life I came into contact with what we might call, in a genuine sense, the people, of a particular area, of Greece.

      How often can any of us say we come into contact with the people, in a genuine sense?

      And how does that relate to our talking and discussing about our current problems, other than our own individual experiences (or those immediate to them) only in an abstract sense? Does it matter not too many of us have come into contact with the people in a genuine sense? How can we improve on that? More village meetings?

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      MMT has much work to do.

      When there is new fiat money, we have 2 choices:

      1 Let the government spend it, according to the orthodox MMT, in order to, stimulate the economy, help the people.
      2 Let the people have it, all of it, equally. They can spend it or save it according to their individual needs. Some consumption may trickle up to the government, for it to, I don’t know, fund regulating banks, or defense.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Here, we have a great insight, but it saddens me to see how we intend to apply that.

    3. financial matters

      I think the important thing about Costas Lapavitsas is that he is a heterodox economist. This gives him as well as Syriza as a whole a realistic outlook which I think is resonating well.

      This reality is not to satisfy bond holders but is to be anti-austerity. I think the financial crisis has given more credibility to groups now that stand up and say, ‘this is not the reality we want’.

      He comes to the same conclusion as Bill Mitchell does in his new book on the Eurozone that to accomplish this a ‘negotiated exit’ is needed.

    4. hunkerdown

      MMT’s fine where it is. It’s the other monetary theories, most or all of which incorporate some long-debunked moral rationalization of elitism, that need to be kicked down into their rightful station.

  18. Oregoncharles

    I’ve had some (I hope) deep thoughts about the Grexit meme.

    Yves has done us all a service with her intensive reporting on the crisis. It’s one of the biggest things happening right now, both exciting and frustrating. But it’s easy to get caught up in current events and forget that this is a very long game. For one thing, it involves a series of elections over the rest of this year and next; for another, it involves the ultimate fate of the Euro. I’ve been reading for years that the Euro was a dangerous botch; that neo-liberal policies had been built into the currency itself. Now those chickens are beginning to roost – but only beginning, I suspect.

    On the other hand, the Syriza government is caught between their mandate, which is to stay in the Euro if at all possible, and which probably corresponds with their own ideals, and the grim reality of a botched currency and a new German occupation. If their government survives and gains some amelioration, they’re doing well. If not, they make Lapavitsas finance minister and the collapse begins. That’s why the interview with him is so important. In the meantime, they’re essentially stalling, playing for time and trying to call up more resistance in the rest of Europe – not without some success. The Left is rising in Germany, too.

    Greece also has some very deep history at stake. They have always, since classical times, considered themselves part of Europe in distinction to Asia – meaning, in practice, what is now Turkey and the Middle East. They invented Western culture, and they know it. They can hardly forget. I think that, more than financial calculation, is the reason they’re determined to stay in the Euro and the EU, and perhaps a factor in their leaders’ ideals. The question remains: how much are they willing to suffer for Europe? Evidently a limit is fast approaching.

    But then, I’ve wondered for years what it would take to break the spell of the “2-Party System” here in the US. Whatever it is, so far we haven’t reached it, and I shudder to think what it might take. My worst fear is that we’ll go right past any hope of electoral change and wind up like Syria, only with even more weapons and more at stake. A lot of Europeans must be wondering something very similar, only they see more real movement.

    Hard as it is, we need to be patient. It’s the long game that counts.

    (When I start a post like this, I never know just where I’ll wind up.)

  19. Marianne Jones

    The Texas 25 feet filming rule would prevent people in direct interaction with police to film their own citizen & police interaction. Think traffic stops. Not to mention filming cops with from inside the home if they bust in the door.

  20. norm de plume

    Malcolm Fraser, conservative Australian PM between Whitlam and Hawke (75-83), party to and beneficiary of the Dismissal of the former but in later years one of Australia’s leading progressive voices, has died. He was 84.

    His death comes only a few months after that of Whitlam, his old rival and great friend. They notably led the opposition to the takeover by TV mogul Kerry Packer of the independent Fairfax media empire in 1991 and were close thereafter, sharing a belief that Australia must reconsider its alliance with the US. The fact that Rupert Murdoch’s organs have been even more hostile to him than to Whitlam in his post-parliamentary career speaks volumes. Though his ire was catholic, he was more pointed in his criticisms of his Liberal successors, Howard and Abbott than he was with their Labour counterparts.

    Paul Keating, one of Whitlam’s ministers and PM himself from 91-96, had this to say:

    ‘The death of Malcolm Fraser underwrites a great loss to Australia.

    Notwithstanding a controversial Prime Ministership, in later years he harboured one abiding and important idea about Australia – its need and its right to be a strategically independent country. He detested what he saw as our strategic subservience to the United States and our willingness to be easily led from the path of a truly independent foreign policy. His public life also enshrined other important principles: no truck with race or colour and no tolerance for whispered notions of exclusivity tinged by race.

    I always thought Malcolm would be around a lot longer. I must say, I wished he had been.’

  21. John Jones

    Even if true, so what if Varoufakis years ago had said the right Greek negotiating posture was to tell Germany to fuck off? That is pretty much their position now, with much more diplomatic veneer put on it to make the message go down a little better. And the German press has regularly been demonizing Greece and Greeks for years. Can Germans not take what they so freely dish out?

    Well said Yves and to add

    When we have been demonized and racially vilified long before this crises even began. When Europe and America has always worked against Greece and painted us as always wrong with any trouble the country and the people have faced when we are not in the wrong. Always painted as wrong and a joke and racially vilified in bigoted media. Spoken to condescendingly buy media, politicians and people from these countries.

    When they treat us like shit take our gold our money our pieces of our history our lives destroy our people and villages and help others take our land. Help others commit genocide or ethnically cleanse us from our land. And never return anything or admit been wrong. Basically they have been giving us the finger before Greek independence while doing all this and more. Any well respected historian could tell you this. Yet this is seen as ok when done to us. And Germany and other Europeans get offended by the finger of a Greek finance minister? Every damn self respecting Greek should be giving the finger to any people and countries that do this to them. And only Greek politicians that have the capacity and strength to give the finger to people and countries that do the same to us should be elected.

  22. Sam Kanu

    What a boorish reaction to Starbucks’ attempt at decency. It reflects badly on Americans – from all sides. We remain a plantation culture at heart, which is a uniquely primitive state of affairs for supposedly a world leader.

    And we are not going to get out of it by sticking our heads in the sand.

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