Links 3/26/15

Conservationists Attempting To Get Head Start On Mars Onion (David L)

Ford cars slow when they see speed-limit signs BBC (furzy mouse)

Drugs companies unite to mine genetic data Financial Times (David L)

Ethics Rules Keep DeCode Genetics From Revealing Cancer Risks MIT Technology Review (furzy mouse)

China Bank Blues Just Getting Started Wall Street Journal

US risks epic blunder by treating China as an economic enemy Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph (Scott)

In Search of European Government Andrew Duff. Some very sound observations. Swedish Lex: “There cannot be a European currency without a European federation. In any event, Greece will be dead ten times before anything happens, if anything ever happens. To be read in conjunction with Deescalating Europe’s Politics of Resentment, Project Syndicate.”

Europe crisis spurs corruption crackdown Financial Times


Europe once more sleep walks towards the abyss Telegraph

Lies and Deceptions on the Left: The Politics of Self Destruction James Petras (Andrea1). Blistering.

Diary: The Theorists in Syntagma Square London Review of Books (Nikki)

World thinkers 2015: the results Prospect. Swedish Lex: “As we have discussed, Varoufakis has won the PR war although I admit that it is difficult to see how this is helping Greece right now.”

Europe blocks desperate Greek attempt to stay afloat Telegraph (Scott)

Why Greece is Stuck With the Worst of All Worlds Right Now WSJ MoneyBeat

Greek Rescue Needs to Be Long-Term Wall Street Journal

Moscow-Friendly Greece Could ‘Paralyze’ NATO Defense News


Pentagon Sending Troops Into Ukraine In April DSWright, Firedoglake

An oligarch brought to heel Financial Times



Netanyahu’s Spying Denials Contradicted by Secret NSA Documents Intercept

Opening New Iraq Front, U.S. Strikes ISIS in Tikrit New York Times

Cornell dean says ISIS welcome on campus in undercover video New York Post (furzy mouse)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

NSA Doesn’t Need to Spy on Your Calls to Learn Your Secrets Wired

White House: No plan B if NSA deadline passes The Hill

Mandatory data retention passes Australian parliament ZDNet

Trans-Pacific Partnership Seen as Door for Foreign Suits Against U.S. New York Times

Judge rules teenage girl sparked California wildfire Reuters (EM)


Oil prices surge after Saudi air strikes in Yemen Reuters (furzy mouse)

The 18-mile wide Bab el-Mandeb strait in #Yemen is one of the world’s most important #oil chokepoints @JavierBlas2

Fed Should Push Unemployment Well Below 5%, Paper Says WSJ Economics

GDP Projections Drop Yet Again, Still Too High Michael Shedlock

Auto Title Loans: Like Payday Loans, But Larger and Riskier Credit Slips

Class Warfare

Is Jobless Growth Inevitable? Project Syndicate (David L)

Since 2000, the number of jobs within commuting distance of an average American resident has fallen Gawker

Noam Chomsky blasts the assault on labor: “‘Right to work’ means ‘right to scrounge’” Salon

Antidote du jour:

geckko links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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    1. JEHR

      Good Lord! There is no way that Greece can meet these debt payments! So now I see what Michael Hudson means when he says, a debt that cannot be paid, won’t be paid. Will everything in Greece be privatized? Will the people starve? Will the Germans be gleeful? What is going on here?

      Talk about irrationality: The bankers only want their money and to h**l with the people and their environment!

  1. Jim Haygood

    Comrades, the war situation in Yemen has developed not necessarily to our advantage:

    In support of GCC actions to defend against Houthi violence, President Obama has authorized the provision of logistical and intelligence support to GCC-led military operations. While U.S. forces are not taking direct military action in Yemen in support of this effort, we are establishing a Joint Planning Cell with Saudi Arabia to coordinate U.S. military and intelligence support.

    At the same time, the United States continues to closely monitor terrorist threats posed by al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula and will continue to take action as necessary to disrupt continuing, imminent threats to the United States and our citizens.

    We strongly urge the Houthis to halt immediately their destabilizing military actions and return to negotiations as part of the political dialogue.

    Bad Houthis! BAD! It is not fair to attack with our own weapons that we left behind as we scurried away strategically retreated.

    Give them back immediately, or feel the wrath of Obama’s drones!.

    1. Jef

      Funny how no one even questions anymore how actions in the Arabian Peninsula constitutes a continuing, imminent threat to the United States and our citizens.

    2. Neapolitan6th

      ah yes, so much better for the yemeni state to crumble so that Saleh and his cronies can return themselves to power. /s

      why do you support family-run, legacy dictatorships and their right to profit from the Saudi-Iranian regional proxy war for their own gain? it’s disgusting, and framing it as having anything to do overtly with US imperialism is intellectually lazy at worst and contrarian at best.

      this is to say NOTHING about the validity of Houthis feeling marginalized or the efficacy of the yemeni government, but if you honestly think that violently dismantling the state and society so that you can thumb your nose at the military-industrial complex (while ordinary yemeni people die in the streets) is preferable, you’re a lost cause.

      1. hunkerdown

        Tell me, what is our legitimate sovereign interest in usurping other nation’s sovereignty, and why shouldn’t the USA get kicked in the face repeatedly until it learns to STFU and STFD? This is a serious question, and I hope that you, as someone who celebrates American arrogance, have a serious answer.

    3. mark


      “Sana’a is badly affected, too. Supply is already so poor here that municipal taps function on average only once a month. Its 2.6 million residents have long relied on rooftop cisterns filled with water expensively tankered in from elsewhere. According to a study commissioned by the World Bank, the city could be unsustainable as soon as 2019. Unless action is taken soon, Sana’a’s residents may be forced to leave the city to wither and die. The wars of the future, it is often said, will be fought not over oil but over water. Yemen offers us a glimpse of the coming apocalypse.”

    4. BondsOfSteel

      I don’t think the situation in Yemen is about us. It’s about the Saudis.

      In creating and exporting the moral teachings, inspiration, and funding for al-Qaeda and ISIS, they have also exported their internal sectarian problems: The Saudis may blame Iran, but it’s failure of the Yemen government to control anti-shia Wahhabis that lit the torch.

      The Houthis are chickens coming home to roost.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Yeah, over a century of steady effort to destabilize and subvert and render tributary all the whole set of “tribes with flags” in that part of the world, efforts that those really smooth and competent jackals,, and sneaky-petes,, could produce, and “giving weapons and training to ‘moderate terrorists insurgents’, and the Victoria Nuland types all over the place, and of course the antics of those staunch, nuclear-armed Bestest Friends and Allies in Israel (too many cites to list), who would never ever act against US interests, and of course the well established point that our spies consider, for good recent reasons as well a history (remember Jonathan Pollard, et al.?), that Israel is the greatest security threat to the US “in that region,”, all that churning and burning and droning and bombing and GIs being used as IED detectors and ambush triggers and the kinds of unfortunate sacrificial bullies that do such a bang-up job of kicking in doors in Kandahar and Fallujah, all that weighs how much against the activities of the Whahappentoists in Saudi Arabia, again? Or that “we” in the West have so trashed our own political economies that even some of our very own dearest soon-to-be-hellfired children are going over to ISIS in search of identities and the fun, for real, that they have so enjoyed playing combat simulations like “Call of Duty” and DoD’s recruiting version, “America’s Army,”

        The Game is so out of kilter with the mythology that people, maybe a lot of them, are actually starting to notice. Never fear or worry, though, because the War Department has it all planned out and contingencied and covered, with its role-to-be as the Operator-in-Chief of the Grand Global Network-Centric Interoperable Babblespace, running all those little militaries and national police forces our Rulers are training up and “supporting” all over the planet, and one has to read all of this rather lengthy who-cares-if-the-mopes-see-it-what-can-they-do-about-it document to really get a flavor of how bad it is:

        But Wait! There’s more! !! Is there a similarly sized group, other than maybe an Air Force ICBM Squadron, that wields a similar quantum of power? Lots more fun links here too, so one can see how one’s tax money and the debt being dumped on our grandkids is being employed…

    5. cwaltz

      Wait…….so Al queda is now the enemy again? I thought they were the “moderates”? I need a friggin score card for our foreign policy. In one country they’re Freedom fighters, in the next they are terrorist cells. Anyone else find this insane?

    6. Pepsi

      Every time Saudi and Egypt attacked Yemen in the last 100 years, they have left with their tails between their legs. This time will be no different. Their militaries are pathetic. Saudi cried to Pakistan, their wahabbi colony, for help, and Pakistan refused, because they knew it is a hopeless fight over nothing.

  2. sleepy

    I consider the Petras article on the failure of the left in Europe and Latin America to be a must read. Depressing as hell though. Almost makes me believe there really is no alternative, or if there is one, it will come from the far right.

    1. diptherio

      Might I suggest that the problem on the left lies in our inability to overcome our “daddy complex.” Like a bunch of helpless step-children, many on the left pin their hopes on one father-(or mother-)figure after another. This charismatic, telegenic politician will fix everything…I just know he will! If you don’t vote for him, you’re helping the right win!!!!

      What the left needs is some actual f#@%ing democracy. Not the BS that passes for it. If people actually want to wrest control of their governments from the oligarchs and robber-barons, they need to become discontented with politics as usual; they need to not only demand, but to create a truly representative and democratic system. Continually leaving it up to some social-climber who makes appealing mouth-noises while taking money from campaign contributors and keeping an eye on future job opportunities is a recipe for getting repeatedly screwed.

      We need a bottom-up politics: a directly democratic politics. It will have to start at the party level–Podemos is the current model for this mode of politics. They are attempting a radically grassroots approach using the online collaborative decision-making tool Loomio. That way lies salvation, if indeed it lies anywhere. Everyone who still places hope in politicians deserves to be manipulated, lied to and fleeced; just like if you’re not smart enough to walk away from the three-card monte table you deserve to have your wallet lightened for you.

      1. Oakchair

        i agree. Is Podemos advocating a restructuring of society in the form of more workplace democracy? Are are they like every other modern left party that simply advocates the government tweaking current systems of which results in no real change.
        Its disappointing how no left wing movements that gain power do so. Especially given that meta analysis of unionization find that it raises productivity, and that there are plenty of studies finding that worker co-opts, control, inclusion in decision making processes, improve productivity and happiness and that country wide those things correlated with better economies.
        It would be nice if a left wing party that took power said “You know what we don’t really want more power but we’re going to give workers more power to do what they decide for themselves in their workplaces, be in voting against large compensation for CEO’s etc etc.”

      2. Eclair

        “We need a bottom-up politics: a directly democratic politics.”
        If we realize that an all-powerful ‘daddy’ figure, or a small class of professional politicians, are not going to save us or create a world that we want to live in, we’re going to have to do it ourselves. I agree, diphtherio.

        But organizing and maintaining functioning social structures takes time … lots of it. And, that’s what most of us don’t have these days. Maybe by design. We’re all so busy making money for our corporate masters that we don’t have the time to sit for hours and mediate disputes among neighbors, or work out an equitable system of food distribution. Instead, we contract it out.

        Probably, if we were doing this right, most of our days would be spent building and repairing and maintaining the social bonds that enable our community to function. Such bonds would enable us to produce the necessary food and shelter, but “work” as we currently define it would not be the overriding raison d’être of our existence.

        1. Bill Frank

          True. Too many desperately cling to the misguided hope that elections still matter. They don’t.

      3. hunkerdown

        Skip the representation — that’s the source of all our problems. If one really must base the next iteration on the defective-by-design first iteration, replacing the Legislative Branch with a direct democracy and leaving the administrative portions of the Executive Branch in place, then recognizing a positive right to peaceful and quiet enjoyment, would be a fair first attempt, I think.

        As for the daddy complex… that’s the disaffected, disenfranchised, infantilized population, and I think it extends well into either side of the aisle.

    2. MartyH

      Sleepy, (I feel like Dopey this morning), I have to agree with the first half. Petras points a finger at “professional organizers” in the name of the left, but not really of the left. What I suspect is that such “professional activists” flock to where the action (money) is and soak up all the oxygen. They are welcomed, unfortunately, because of their inflated resumes. Former positions held are held in high esteem even if accomplishments weren’t associated with their tenures. The Non-Profit Industrial Complex runs on money attracted by the ideals of others.

      As to the feelings of TINA (there is no alternative), I want to disagree. I try real hard to disagree. Syriza attracted an electoral mandate that, in a sovereign national setting, would have meant something. In the EU/Euro-zone context, it founders.

      Let us remember that Syriza may be “the left” but there are those well to the left of Tsipras and friends who continue to be an alternative to The Right.

      1. diptherio

        I think it may be less a failure of “the Left” in general and more a failure of Left leadership, à la the “Black misleadership class.” Of course, who is it who keeps following these (mis)leaders?

        Kudos on bringing up the NPIC, too. I like your formulation:

        The Non-Profit Industrial Complex runs on money attracted by the ideals of others.

        Indeed. The passion and ideals of the many are converted into six-figure salaries for a few…but it’s nothing to fret over: they’re doing well by doing good!

        1. hunkerdown

          Vestiture is a right-wing concept. Vested authority, doubly so. In a nation whose ambient culture is irredeemably right-wing, dynastic and so convolutedly hierarchical one has to discursively meditate on the whole mess for days they might not have to spare in order to understand their coordinates and relative positioning within the system, people trained in the fine art of pretending they’re in charge need only appear on the scene and start barking orders, and the wayward flock run to them like iron filings, regardless of which pole said barkers may represent.

          Ancient societies do seem to have a less coercive, less essential form of leadership — the Pashtun are the canonical example. Among them, leadership is more task-based, not class-based.

      2. sleepy

        I agree with you for the most part, particularly on the issue of leftist electoral politics and the multitude of professional hustlers and conmen who see personal opportunity in social desperation. Actually, that’s disaster capitalism played out as electioneering.

        As far as Greece goes, I wonder if the far right isn’t next up as the “alternative”. Seems to be the way things are going, and that’s the real tragedy that Petras mentioned: that so-called leftist solutions didn’t work or the leftists lied, so leftists are now hopelessly discredited.

        Like obamacare being fake-pitched as government healthcare set back any single payer solution for years.

    3. YankeeFrank

      I agree. His diagnosis is interesting too. He basically says this “left” leadership are limousine-leftists with no connection to the people they supposedly represent and hence no real skin in the game. They become captured essentially, if they weren’t already, once they start negotiating with the glitzy, powerful fascists they are supposedly opposed to. He really lays into Varoufakis as well. I know he’s kind of a friend of NC, at least to the extent some of his work has been posted here, but I wasn’t aware Varoufakis was involved in the PASOK government too, and his position that Greece could not leave the Eurozone undermined any leverage he may have had to begin with. These fake lefties give up even before the first shot is even fired. I think Petras is right to think people disillusioned with this fake left will flock to the far right. Great job.

      1. cwaltz

        It’s been pretty apparent for awhile that many with possibly good intentions are pretty clueless about the complexity of those on the bottom rung. For years the conventional wisdom was the poor have bad habits that essentially keep them in poverty. While it isn’t entirely untrue that bad habits can keep someone in poverty, it isn’t responsible for the poverty because there are plenty of the rich with equally bad habits. Meanwhile we’ve been busily dismantling things that traditionally do allow people to potentially escape like schooling or social safety nets.

      1. Swedish Lex

        So ground control needs to be able to override pilots’ commands, effectively transforming jetliners into drones.

        1. kj1313

          Or just mandate 2 people in the cockpit like the FAA does and an override code for both pilots. Seems like there was a serious design flaw with the Airbus cockpit door that can bar anyone from entering if the one at the controls does not allow them to.

          1. Jim Haygood

            Reinforced cockpit doors were mandated after the 9/11 crashes, to prevent hijackers from breaking in. But the possibility of a rogue pilot, which has arisen on several occasions since then, was not considered.

            1. kj1313

              Oh yes but the FAA does not allow anyone to be alone in the cockpit so maybe they gave a bit more thought to rogue pilots. Then again Egypt air 990 happened in their jurisdiction.

              1. optimader

                Oh yes but the FAA does not allow anyone to be alone in the cockpit so maybe they gave a bit more thought to rogue pilots

                Two people in the cockpit is not an FAA regulation! A wise airline procedure? probably yes indeed.

          2. optimader

            Or just mandate 2 people in the cockpit like the FAA does
            That is not an FAA mandate, some airlines have the procedure that a second person be in the cockpit.

            CAT.OP.MPA.210 Crew members at stations
            Flight crew members
            1.During take-off and landing each flight crew member required to be on duty in the flight crew compartment shall be at the assigned station.

            2.During all other phases of flight each flight crew member required to be on duty in the flight crew compartment shall remain at the assigned station, unless absence is necessary for the performance of duties in connection with the operation or for physiological needs, provided at least one suitably qualified pilot remains at the controls of the aircraft at all times.

            3.During all phases of flight each flight crew member required to be on duty in the flight crew compartment shall remain alert. If a lack of alertness is encountered, appropriate countermeasures shall be used. If unexpected fatigue is experienced, a controlled rest procedure, organised by the commander, may be used if workload permits. Controlled rest taken in this way shall not be considered to be part of a rest period for purposes of calculating flight time limitations nor used to justify any extension of the duty period

          1. optimader

            “I don’t think that anybody could have predicted that these people would take an airplane and slam it into the”…Alps em>
            Oh wait wait. the shit of unintended consequences

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I ran this by a pilot, since they cooked up this theory on thin evidence. His reaction:

      The French prosecutors were outrageously quick off the mark with this claim and it is very French prosecutor to blame the pilot, that’s for sure. Pilots are a pretty stolid lot but it’s not totally unheard of in fact. Usually people do it solo and you just get a mystery light plane crash with a suicide note afterwards at best. But there has been at least one previous case where one fucked-up bastard decided to take a bunch of passengers with him as he went, and a couple more where it has been alleged. I just found this round up of the prior cases.

      My take: far, far too early to judge, French prosecutors full of it as usual, but possible.

      1. LifelongLib

        The theory appears to be based solely on a quick listen to the cockpit voice recorder, not on the flight data recorder which would give much more complete info on control inputs etc. It wasn’t clear how they could tell from the CVR (especially without careful review) what the pilot did.

  3. Jim Haygood

    Saddam’s hometown, comrades: some hooligans are still shooting up the place, despite our generous gift of democracy:

    (Reuters) – U.S.-led coalition warplanes launched their first airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Tikrit on Wednesday, officials said, coming off the sidelines to aid Iraqi forces fighting alongside Iran-backed Shi’ite militia on the ground.

    The decision to give air support to the Tikrit campaign pulls the United States into a messy battle that puts the U.S.-led coalition, however reluctantly, on the same side of a fight as Iranian-backed militia in a bid to support Iraqi forces and opens a new chapter in the war.

    It also appeared to represent at least a tacit acknowledgement by Baghdad that such airpower was necessary to wrest control of the hometown of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein from Islamic State fighters, after its attempts to go it alone stalled.

    Fortunately our friends the Iranians are there to help. (Iran has always been our friend.)

    “We have opened the last page of the operations,” [prime minister] Abadi said on state television.

    1. cwaltz

      To be fair to Iran, I’d be pretty pissed at them too, if they colluded with the Brits to overthrow our government and installed a puppet who would be pro Iran without any regard to our well being. Essentially that’s what we did to them.

  4. fresno dand

    “Most of the stuff that comes in is totally reusable,’’ says Anthony Grant, a supervisor at the transfer station who has a front-row view of the detritus of our acquisitive lives.
    For a while, transfer staff would yank items from the trash piles and set them aside for re-use by whoever was willing to haul it away. But then bureaucracy interfered — the usual stifling concerns about liability — and everything became trash again.

    For the hyper cynical, like me, I see the usual suspects – the FED, Chamber of Commerce, Amazon, and lawyers – why reuse when we need demand to fuel job growth (ahem, all the jobs making this stuff are in China, while all the recycling jobs would be in the US, but why let that fact stand in the way???)

    Of course, that is minor compared to:
    Other cities that have not banned it outright have put so many requirements on those that want to feed the homeless (acquiring expensive permits, taking food preparation courses, etc.) that feeding the homeless has become “out of reach” for most average people. Some cities are doing these things because they are concerned about the “health risks” of the food being distributed by ordinary “do-gooders”. Other cities are passing these laws because they do not want homeless people congregating in city centers where they know that they will be fed.
    Somebody more eloquent than I could turn a phase about disposable stuff, disposable people…and how it truly is unsafe and unsanitary to sleep under bridges….

    1. James Levy

      Here in the Berkshires in Western Massachusetts the ethic is very much reuse. Many towns have special enclosures at the transfer station where you can drop off things that can be reused. People also free-cycle a great deal. They also drop stuff off at the Congregational Church so that they can sell it for a few bucks to the needy. The sad thing is when you see valuable things thrown into a dumpster, it is almost always someone with a summer home doing the deed. Local people are too poor and/or too frugal to waste much.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Mono no aware – from Wiki:

        The phrase is derived from the Japanese word mono (物?), which means “thing”, and aware (哀れ?), which was a Heian period expression of measured surprise (similar to “ah” or “oh”), translating roughly as “pathos”, “poignancy”, “deep feeling”, “sensitivity”, or “awareness”. Thus, mono no aware has frequently been translated as “the ‘ahh-ness’ of things”, life, and love. Awareness of the transience of all things heightens appreciation of their beauty, and evokes a gentle sadness at their passing. In his criticism of The Tale of Genji Motoori noted that mono no aware is the crucial emotion that moves readers. Its scope was not limited to Japanese literature, and became associated with Japanese cultural tradition (see also sakura).[1]

        “…all things heightens appreciation of their beauty…”

        Why throw away things?

      2. hunkerdown

        Didn’t it used to be the case (or is it still?) in Massachusetts, that universities couldn’t sell on their obsolete computer equipment as surplus, but were required by law to destroy it?

    2. different clue

      In my small university city people put big unwanted things by the side of the road with a “free” sign on them.
      Sometimes they get picked up by people who want to give them a home.

  5. DanB

    From the James Petras article on sell-out “leftist” governments: “One afternoon, Finance Minister Varoufakis would pose for a photo spread for Paris Match depicting him, cocktail in hand, on his penthouse terrace overlooking the Acropolis; and several hours later he would claim to speak for the impoverished masses!” I’m serious in asking, Can anyone justify why Varoufakis, who is supposed to be in PR/propaganda battle for the high ground, would do this other than out of vanity? Otherwise, I’ve got to go with Petras on this one.

    1. Eureka Springs

      Don’t sweat the small gossipy stuff. Passing through Athens years ago we spent a few nights just below the Parthenon with a similar view. It’s an experience which captures you like Ephesus, the Golden Gate bridge viewed from Sausalito, a campfire, ocean tide or waterfall. I find such settings to be a rather humbling human experience/photo at harmony with such grandeur. If anything I admire people who choose such settings.

      One word for Yanis… Default!

  6. craazyboy

    “Fed Should Push Unemployment Well Below 5%, Paper Says WSJ Economics”

    How many years or decades will it take for these idiots to admit that the Fed doesn’t “employ people”?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Do they really ‘push?’

      Seems to them they ‘siphon’ off workers with the way they define ‘unemployment.’

      1. craazyboy

        Worse than that actually. Leveraged buyouts with cheap junk bond financing by PE firms – followed by layoffs, cheap mergers followed by layoffs, cheap financing for that new plant in China or Mexico, cheap money in general so Wall Street can lever up and blow up the financial system and economy better and better each time….

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Savers will accept that money simply be returned to them.

      No apologies necessary.

      “Just give my money back. I will charge you (extra) interest.”

    2. different clue

      Isn’t the superlow interest rate on savings engineered to torture and extort savers into taking their money out of savings instruments and spending it on stocks to artificially raise the price of stocks? Wasn’t that part of the point? So as long as savers can hold out and stand the pain of slow steady losses of interest income, they can frustrate the FedRegime’s intended plan for their saved money.

  7. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    The number of jobs within commuting distance…an average American resident…since 2000.


    It’s hard to commute to India every day.

    1. craazyboy

      That’s why we need H-1Bs. Now if we could get all of ’em to sleep in the parking lot at work, that would be even better!

      1. cwaltz

        Sleep in the parking lot? We can put cots back in factories-er businesses, and just go back to pre industrial age when folks were pretty much expected to work around the clock.

  8. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Euro crisis spurs corruption crackdown.


    Still waiting for our hero(s) in Athens to go after those $50 billions in Switzerland.

  9. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    US treating China as an economic enemy?

    Is China treating the US as an economic enemy?

    First, universal disarmament.

    Then, we talk about economic peace.

  10. Jim

    In response to the debate about the “Left” above, James Petras argues in his “Lies and Deceptions on the Left” that:

    “The debacle of left governments is a result of deliberate political decisions, which break decisively with the progressive programs, promises and commitments that political leaders had made to the great mass of working and middle class voters who elected them.”

    He adds that “Syriza is a party led by affluent, upwardly mobile professionals, academics and intellectuals. They rule over (but in the name of) the impoverished working and salaried lower middle class, but in the interests of the Greek and especially, German bankers.”

    Petras almost gets it–but doesn’t quite see that it is not simply a betrayal of policy but that there is also a structural dimension to the failure of the “left.”

    This is primarily because the “Left” never developed a democratic political theory of the State (a political theory of how to use power).

    Instead, it has allowed (when in a position of control) a continued concentration of power in the State itself– more and more under the firm control of parasitic intellectuals, think-tank experts, and bureaucrats ultimately aligned with Big Capital interests.

    Therefore, as I have argued for the past seven years, both Big Capital and Big State are the joint political/cultural/economic problem.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      A voice not heard often enough.

      I agree about the risk of any form of power concentration.

  11. alex morfesis

    gladios best friend ? Petras james petras…did you bother reading the thesaloniki program ??

    what part of “gradually reversing…” and “gradually restoring…” and mandate “with the goal to…” did you not bother paying attention to…

    not that you are alone, mr petras, in reading into Syriza like a tv preacher paying 37 bucks an hour to rent channel 547 on a sunday morning to ramble on for 45 minutes on two sentences in a parable, because you know, the unwashed need to have things “reinterpreted” for them…god, allah and buddha need humans to reinterpret what they “really meant”…

    nowhere is there anything about unilateral anything…so are you having some intern read this for you and have them write your work or are you just using the wrong reading glasses…or worse…forgive me…but this make believe noise about being disappointed…especially by all these non greeks…I don’t see anywhere anyone who was a syriza supporter crying about anything…only those syriza defeated taking on a defeatist attitude…please correct me if I am mistaken…in anything I have said or suggested…I am actually shocked at how much syriza has fought…I really thought they were going to roll over and play dead without a fight…I had limited faith in them…ten days from now the situation will be stable…and then the summer will arrive…and 21 million people will be dancing and breaking plates…and enjoying tsipouro…and real greek yogurt made from goats milk…not the cow junk foisted on americans…

  12. Oregoncharles

    The current Harper’s has an extremely important article on Citigroup by Andrew Cockburn, “Saving the Whale, Again”. Here’s the magazine’s own precis:

    “Andrew Cockburn’s Letter From Washington investigates the nefarious regulatory influence of the megabank Citigroup, which, he writes, has been “involved in every speculative catastrophe of the past few decades.” In 1999, an earlier incarnation of Citigroup lobbied successfully for the repeal of the Glass–Steagall Act, and just last year the company overturned one of the most important provisions of the Dodd–Frank Act. It’s no wonder. As an outraged Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) pointed out in a speech on the Senate floor, seven current or recent high-level policy makers in the Obama Administration have close ties to Citigroup. What does this mean for the average American? To quote Dennis Kelleher, of the financial-reform group Better Markets, “taxpayers are now on the hook for high-risk derivatives trading.””

    Among other things, it does a good job of indicting both the Clintons and the Obama administration. Could be important, with Hillary running for Eight More Years.

    URL: Unfortunately, it’s behind a paywall. I could do a review, but it should really be on NC. I hope Yves, or somebody, can get permission from Harper’s to do that.

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