Links 5/20/15

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Four koalas officially unveiled at Singapore Zoo ChannelNewsAsia

When Birds Squawk, Other Species Seem to Listen New York Times (Fred A)

Antony Beevor: ‘There are things that are too horrific to put in a book’ Telegraph (Bob H)

Organic farming ‘benefits biodiversity’ BBC (David L)

The Night the Ali-Liston Fight Came to Lewiston New York Times

Regulators warn of cyber threat to financial stability Financial Times. OMG, is this desperate. Sony by all accounts was so poorly protected that they were the corporate equivalent of a luxury car parked unlocked in a bad neighborhood with its keys in the ignition. And Target? Since when does a raid on a retailer’s credit card files say bupkis about systemic risk? Did someone designate Target a SIFI when I wasn’t looking?

Why is the New England Journal of Medicine Scolding “Pharmascolds”? Health Care Renewal

U.S. Wakes Up to New (Silk) World Order Counterpunch (Chuck L)

Creeping censorship in Hong Kong: how China controls sale of sensitive books Guardian (Bob H)

US accuses Chinese professors of spying Financial Times

Hong Kong to get new crowdfunded independent newspaper Guardian

Japan GDP Growth Is Fastest in a Year Wall Street Journal

“Cash Is Coined Freedom”: War on Cash Becomes Official in Germany, Reaches G-7, Draws Withering Fire Wolf Richter

Podemos may struggle in poll but it has ignited Spanish politics Financial Times

Europe faces second revolt as Portugal’s ascendant Socialists spurn austerity Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph. The piece is vasty better than the headline. Germany and the creditors are aware of political contagion risk; that’s why they are trying to proceed in a manner in which a negotiation failure can be pinned on Greece, or at least not be depicted as solely the creditors’ doing. If Greece continues to defy the creditors, the cost of that defiance must be seen to be high to discourage centrist voters from supporting anti-austerity parties. That appears to have worked in Spain where Podemos’ popularity has dropped markedly. And it may be more true in Portugal than AEP lets on, although he points out that the Portuguese Socialist party has distanced itself from Syriza.

Grexit?

Lapavitsas: 15-20% devaluation for the new drachma! unbalanced evolution. Not sure I buy this, since Lapavitsas says that the current account is at zero, when recent data suggests Greece’s trade position has deteriorated versus the same months in 2014.

UPDATE 1-Greece can not make June 5 IMF payment without deal- lawmaker Reuters

E.C.B. Said to Be Unlikely to Cut Greece Loose New York Times. The article has good detail and makes clear the ECB is really not happy but does not want to destabilize the situation. But also makes clear that the ECB is on a hair trigger if circumstances change.

The hidden cry for help in Greece’s Eurovision song MarketWatch

Ex-ECB Bini Smaghi: Greece Contagion Risks Are Unpredictable — Les Echos @livesquawk

Greek Deception, Greek Tragedy, German Farce, German Myth Steve Keen, Forbes. A good recap.

Greece says deal near, again Politico. “According to a University of Macedonia survey collected on Friday, for the first time since Syriza took office a majority of Greeks believe the government has taken the wrong strategy in negotiations with its creditors.” See also the estimate of economic costs at the very end of the article.

Ukraine/Russia

Neocons 2.0: The problem with Peter Pomerantsev Mark Ames, Pando (ilpalazzo). Important. On the new Red Menace: Russian propaganda.

Syraqistan

Cheney Thought al Qaeda was Bluffing Intercept

The Kagans Ramadi Jeremiad by Walrus Sic Semper Tyrannis (Chuck L)

Hundreds of academics call on State Dept to revise its definition of anti-Semitism, respect criticism of Israel as protected speech Mondoweiss (JB)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Unlike Congress, Majority of Americans Oppose NSA Spying Juan Cole

Snowden Sees Some Victories, From a Distance New York Times

Imperial Collapse Watch

Government Seeks ‘Emergency Stay’ of Decision Ordering Release of Thousands of Torture Photos Kevin Gosztola, Firedoglake

T E Lawrence naivete lives on Aljazeera

Tomorrow’s News Today Tom Engelhardt

Trade Traitors

Obama on the TPP: Beckoning Us to the Graveyard Counterpunch (Bob H)

Debate Over Currency Cheating Intensifies in Trade Talks New York Times. Keep your fingers crossed. This makes it more complicated to get to a trade deal. Obama is deeply opposed to doing more on the currency manipulation front.

Preventing Currency Manipulation Simon Johnson

Hillary Clinton’s State Department Staff Kept Tight Rein on Records Wall Street Journal

Once a sure bet, taxi medallions becoming unsellable USA Today

Secular stagnation: The history of a heretical economic idea VoxEU

Class Warfare

This Is How Insane San Francisco’s Housing Bubble Really Is Wolf Richter

Los Angeles Lifts Its Minimum Wage to $15 Per Hour New York Times

What do insanely wealthy people buy, that ordinary people know nothing about? Reddit (Chuck L)

The second job you don’t know you have Politico (margarita). Important.

Antidote du jour:

bears in snow links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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138 comments

  1. PhilK

    To be honest, Manchin is just about the last person I’d have expected to join Warren. More power to both of them!

    Two Senate Democrats have sponsored a bill demanding the White House reveal the terms of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) to the public at least two months before Congress could give President Obama fast-track authority.

    Joe Manchin of West Virginia joined Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts in proposing the two-page Trade Transparency Act, reports The Hill. If adopted, the bill would require the White House release the “scrubbed bracketed text of any trade agreement” no less than 60 days prior to a vote in Congress on fast-tracking the treaty.

    Show us the deal: Senators Warren, Manchin demand Obama disclose TPP

    1. Carla

      “reports the Hill” — but I can’t find it anywhere on The Hill’s website. Can anyone else?

    2. Ed

      Manchin is from the “left on economics, right on most other issues” school of thought that has just about disappeared from the American political ecosystem, so people like him are usually labeled as “right-wing” by the media.

      1. hunkerdown

        “Right-wing” is the Good Democrat’s Mr. Yuk sticker. That’s why the media applies it, lest some bright kid get poisoned by economic leftism and Something Tragic Might Happen.

    3. Brindle

      Kerry visits Seattle to promote TPP. Kerry reeks of condescension when talking about concerns over TPP.
      Washington state Labor leader Jeff Johnson has the right attitude.

      Seattle Times:
      —-Johnson said he was personally insulted when White House officials recently suggested during a phone call that he and other critics stop dividing Democrats with opposition to the deal.

      “If I was in the same room with them, I would have decked them,” he said. “We’re not pulling apart the Democratic Party. They are — by pushing it.”—

      http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/politics/john-kerry-defends-tpp-during-controversial-boeing-visit/

  2. craazyman

    is that a real bear or some nut job in a bear suit risking his life like a moron?

    It’s very hard to tell what’s what these days. Everything deceives. Everything lies. And Even the lies are lies. How can that be? isn’t that mathematically impossbile for a lie to be a lie? Not really.. It’s just itself to an infinite degree, like “l” for lie, raised to infinity.

    What’s a righteous man or woman to do in such a bacchnalia of beastiality? You need to trust your instincts and not your senses. The instinct would say, in that little voice in your mind only you can hear, “Don’t dress up in a bear suit, put on a bigfoot suit and you’ll get more page views and the bears will keep their distance because they’ll think you’re a lunatic.”

    1. gene

      I also wondered about the standing bear, though it looks real. In North Adams, MA last week an incident occurred which prompted police to issue a public warning to refrain from chasing bears through the woods, especially if you are drunk and carrying a hatchet.

      1. Brooklin Bridge

        It’s hard to explain to bears all the things they can’t do. Also in MA, last year, a mature bear went up a tiny apple tree (probably 10 or 15 years old) and sat in one of the branches like a bird. Just as incongruous as Willy Coyote standing puzzled in mid air. No one went up to the bear and explained that it simply couldn’t do what it was doing. And the apple tree didn’t collapse. And eventually, the bear climbed down and went his way.

  3. Ben Johannson

    Simon Johnson’s contention the best way to fight currency manipulation comes via voluntary compliance is child-like in its absurdity. There is nothing our competitors (despite what some allege nations do compete in trade, as evidenced by national policies to run surpluses) would like more than signing in crayon an agreement with no automatic enforcement mechanism. Nothing short of an automated “you accumulate X number of our currency units and we’ll accumulate X number of yours” program has the potential to put a stop to the practice.

    1. frosty zoom

      why can’t we just have “money”? why should my labour be worth more than a burundian’s just because i was born here (ask the nsa where)?

      stupid humans.

        1. jrs

          That material living standards are lower in some poor country, I think may be obvious. But the degree is very poorly stated (in fact is noise not signal) in terms of currency conversions as the U.S. has a very high cost of living. The correct way to do a calculation would be something like wages to food, wages to housing etc.. (hard as it’s may not be the same housing but neither are they necessarily sleeping in cardboard boxes like our homeless are).

            1. Lambert Strether

              Silly, otherwise there couldn’t be labor arbitrage. I suppose a worldwide minimum wage would be one answer; perhaps our “high standards” trade deals could add clauses to that effect.

              1. frosty zoom

                oh, i understand why it exists and why it will be a long time before it’s gone.

                one world currency, my patootie – a few folks make a whole bunch shuffling their kroner for yen for euro for ruble.

                when we are finally nice enough to have just one currency ¿can we please call them quatloos?

        2. Mojah

          I think the idea at the core of frosty’s comment was the unfairness of someone’s demand to more of the world’s share of resources than someone else due to arbitrary and purely luck-based reasons, something that is totally understandable.

          1. hunkerdown

            Then who’s going to take the bullet when the richies loose their inner raging toddler because I can’t afford to provide them the lifestyle to which they’ve become accustomed?

            If the entire world would simply get together and bring regime change to the USA, almost nobody in the world would have anything to complain about and those who do simply have no other social currency. That’s the purpose of the “democracy” lie: to blame the victims and keep the regime in power.

            1. Lambert Strether

              You are. In fact, you already are. That’s why the 1% systematically disinvested from the United States under the neo-liberal dispensation starting in the mid-70s.

          2. frosty zoom

            that is true, but what i’m saying is that because my “coin” says peso i can get less stuff than if my “coin” says dollar.

            a bean is a bean is a bean.

            1. Optimader

              Not all beans are created equal,some have more value added making it to the mouth some have less.

          3. Mojah

            Although to be fair, I’m talking about a demand over and above basic needs for a happy life, since my argument can also apply to the unlucky…

        3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Not every one eats kidney beans, but we all drink water (potable or not so potable, unfortunately)

          In some poorer countries, they are paid less and, yet, water is more expensive — especially when they have to walk miles for it.

          Just because it’s a poor nation, it does not necessarily mean it’s cheaper to live there.

          1. frosty zoom

            but if we only had one money, then everybody would have a much clearer idea of how much they are being scammed.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Interesting idea.

              But political union should come before monetary union?

              1. frosty zoom

                no. countries are an anachronism. just a bunch of phony lines drawn up on a map so that the rich folks know whose is what.

                if we are so enamoured with democracy, why not just let all 7 billion plus people vote in the same election.

                1. spooz

                  Its working so well for Europe…why not go global? Never mind the cultural diversity! We are the world!

                  1. frosty zoom

                    countries are artificial constructs. europe is an excellent example. there, many ethnic regions are sliced up to make artificial regions.

                    we are the world, but we let a few sociopaths convince us that we should die for a bedsheet (flag).

                    i believe in localized decision making; the more local the better. however, somethings, especially regarding the environment and working conditions can have worldwide regulations.

                    isn’t murder pretty much illegal everywhere? why can’t burning tires or paying people 34¢ a day be illegal everywhere, too?

                  2. frosty zoom

                    are you american?

                    the u.s. is the somewhat perfect example of how people of all sorts of traditions and beliefs could possibly maybe kinda get along with just one currency.

                    think big!

            2. hunkerdown

              Okay, now I see where you’re going with that… and that’s a good point: a single currency makes currency arbitrage impossible. Now, how to get that without effectively creating a single, global sovereign and currency issuer, who would essentially direct all labor and resources globally, with effective discipline and facts on the ground separated by thousands of miles and more layers of bureaucracy?

              Or, I suppose *everyone* could pick a global reserve currency and peg to it. As long as it’s not the pre-decimalized pound sterling, I guess any will do.

              1. frosty zoom

                Okay, now I see where you’re going with that… and that’s a good point:

                •• thanks.

                a single currency makes currency arbitrage impossible.

                •• only fair.

                Now, how to get that without effectively creating a single, global sovereign and currency issuer,

                •• why not? what’s wrong with having one bank?

                who would essentially direct all labor and resources globally, with effective discipline and facts on the ground separated by thousands of miles and more layers of bureaucracy?

                •• isn’t that what these locos are doing with their tpp/ttip/topp/trap? screw them, let’s just erase the lines and make our own bank.

                Or, I suppose *everyone* could pick a global reserve currency and peg to it. As long as it’s not the pre-decimalized pound sterling, I guess any will do.

                •• quatloos.

        4. frosty zoom

          but why have two different monies?

          all those numbers are just artificial impositions on the cost (entropy). why have so many different sets of numbers instead of just one?

          a bean by any other name..

      1. hunkerdown

        To ask that question is to absolve an employer from the duty to *reproduce* the labor power they’re buying. (See under the “sharing economy”.)

        Some things should not be for sale. Basic needs, for instance.

  4. Ned Ludd

    David Llorente, a Podemos candidate in the previous elections to the European Parliament, wrote that Podemos’ new primary rules scrapped their open primary system and replaced it with a top-down, presidential plebiscite on Pablo Iglesias’ handpicked list. It is becoming more like the parties of “la casta” than the Financial Times lets on.

    1. Santi

      Huh? Your second link is to the same link that Yves sent, the first link is from November last year and does not make much sense to me, just a criticism to the internal process from a loser politician. You seems to be buying the standard neoliberal propaganda against Podemos. While it is not perfect, I’d give Podemos 4 years in power to clean up the mess, much like Syriza is doing.

      1. Ned Ludd

        For the E.U. primaries, people voted for candidates. For the Podemos congress, the process was changed to vote for lists. In such a system, the most popular politician ends up with absolute control since their hand-picked list wins every seat. This is less democratic than the internal process of the Communist Party of China.

        1. Santi

          Podemos might not be perfect, as I said, but at least they have primaries, voting goes on and results are respected. PP, for instance, uses the index finger of Mariano Rajoy for making the lists; IU did primaries and subsequently broke into pieces when the Madrid organization did not accept the results and nominated a different candidate. PSOE got it about right with Pedro Sánchez, except nobody believes them anymore after so many treasons the themselves… and so on and so forth. If Podemos is less democratic than CPChina, let’s figure the others… Also, Podemos does not ask for financing from banks for electoral campaigns, which is a huge bonus in Spain where all political parties owe their soul to the corrupted Spanish bank; the Bankia systemic corruption in Madrid is a good examples of the consequences.

          Podemos is not perfect, but it is a huge step beyond. And, as we use to say in Spanish: “The perfect is the enemy of the good.” Meaning (not sure if this is common saying in English) that waiting for the perfect makes us loose the opportunity to improve.

          1. Brooklin Bridge

            “The perfect is the enemy of the good.”

            Yes, assuming you’re not kidding, we have some experience with that phrase (Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good). It was used extensively to sell Obama care regardless of all the sell-outs and not so secret, secret deals with insurance giants, and as such has left a very bad taste in the mouths (and opinions) of many.

            This is not to disrespect your assessment of Podemos, but rather to explain why that particular phrase can be loaded with meaning you may not be aware of in many discussions.

          2. Ned Ludd

            This all sounds familiar.

            • Critics are sore losers.
            • Wait 4 years before judging.
            • The perfect is the enemy of the good.

            1. Lambert Strether

              To which I would add:

              “He’s been only President ___ months; give him a chance.”

              “His heart is in the right place.”

              and the localized variants of:

              “What do you expect when Republicans are so mean?”

              and “What about the Supreme Court”?

              1. Optimader

                “There’s a War on, right or worng you support him unless of course you’re a fifth columnist? “…oops wrong president!… Ohh wait…

          3. hunkerdown

            Any party that “moves to the center” will move to the right. I’m afraid Podemos is poisoned, and that you’re using rhetoric nearly identical to that of the USA Democratic Party to refute that assertion makes it all clearer.

            Reject the center. You can’t afford those people’s political customs and you can’t afford them. Nor can we.

          4. Doug Terpstra

            Is Podemos really any better than Syriza? Brooklin’s comment reminds me that “¡Si, Podemos!” (Yes We Can!) just has such a nauseatingly familiar ring to it, especally now after Grand Betrayal 2.0 in Greece, that voter cynicism must be an enormous hurdle. Still, the left seems so credulously hopium-addled that maybe they’ll pull it off. (One of these days I hope Charlie Brown kicks Lucy instead)

            1. Jackrabbit

              Jury is still out on Syriza, but they seem to be holding firm in their resistance to the Troika. In that way they seem to be better than Podemos but Syriza had to soften their positions and be more centrist before elections also.

  5. MikeNY

    Re: the Kagans and Iraq.

    These people belong in restraints. They are sociopaths. Their answer is always more war. WH Auden captured the truth of the situation:

    I and the public know
    What all schoolchildren learn,
    Those to whom evil is done
    Do evil in return.

  6. Jim Haygood

    Who will be the Palestinian Rosa Parks?

    JERUSALEM — Responding to intense criticism, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel on Wednesday abruptly shelved a contentious pilot project introduced this week that prohibited Palestinians returning to the West Bank from riding on the same buses as Israelis.

    The plan was conceived by the Israeli Defense Ministry in response to pressure from Jewish settlers in the Israeli-occupied West Bank who have long demanded separate transportation for the Palestinians.

    Mustafa Barghouti, a Palestinian leader in the West Bank, said that the plan for segregated buses was particularly “blunt,” but that other forms of segregation were still in place, pointing to the existence of roads in the West Bank that are exclusively for use by Israelis.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/21/world/middleeast/bus-palestinians-netanyahu-suspends-west-bank-settlements.html

    Apartheid ain’t cheap, comrades. That’s why we send Israel over $3 billion a year to keep the P-words from gettin’ uppity.

    1. Carolinian

      More to the point, who will play the role of the Supreme Court?

      The campaign lasted from December 1, 1955—when Rosa Parks, an African American woman, was arrested for refusing to surrender her seat to a white person—to December 20, 1956, when a federal ruling, Browder v. Gayle, took effect, and led to a United States Supreme Court decision that declared the Alabama and Montgomery laws requiring segregated buses to be unconstitutional.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montgomery_Bus_Boycott

      Civil rights happened because forces from outside the conflict stepped in.

  7. PhilK

    Somehow, I’d gotten the impression that the US attacked Iraq and killed about a million Iraqis, but boy, was I ever wrong! Turns out that Iraq has been ensnaring our presidents and taking trillions of dollars of our money! Those dirty bastards!

    . . . barring a miracle, whoever wins the White House will become the fifth consecutive American president ensnared by a nation that has consumed trillions of U.S. dollars and thousands of American lives. It has also blighted a string of high-flying political careers.

    Candidates struggle with Iraq political quagmire

    1. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®©

      Iraq set a fiendish trap for us on 9-11 by having nothing to do with it.
      ~

    2. Brindle

      CNN article shows a pure fantasy-land view of U.S foreign policy, other sovereign nations (Iraq) and of the presidency. The confounding reverberation—must be hard to sleep at night, one would hope anyway.

      —“Iraq’s enduring power to confound American presidents — and to reverberate in successive presidential campaigns — is a reminder that when America goes to war abroad, anything but a swift, clear-cut victory unleashes an unpredictable cascade of political consequences at home.”—-

      1. hunkerdown

        For real! If “history” is the study of fanfic like CNN’s, no wonder a) the present looks so dismal b) we’re so messed up.

  8. mad as hell.

    Antony Beevor: ‘There are things that are too horrific to put in a book’

    My father didn’t talk about WWII until he was in his sixties. When he did he didn’t open up about it to me but to my son. My son then came to me and said ” Did you know about what happened to grandpa during the war?” A few of the stories would then finally leak out.

    One of the stories which at the time was shocking to me was the American soldier’s treatment of German prisoners. He went on to talk about some instances that he witnessed during the Battle of the Bulge.

    “We didn’t take prisoners. The Sargent came up and told us to shoot them. They were shot and killed.”

    I never asked him what he did. He was in the artillery and I assumed he was an onlooker. After all he’s my father. His battle fatigue(now PTSD) manifested itself in the 1950’s. However the trauma stayed with him his whole life.

    Another thing that he told me was “Don’t ever believe that patriotic bullshit about fighting for your country. The only thing your fighting for is for you and your buddies to get out of there and get home.” That was another statement that I never questioned.

    1. theinhibitor

      My grandfather was in the Pacific theatre during the War. He described much the same about prisoners on the islands.

      He was once part of a cleanup crew at one point that dragged corpses from the beaches into the waters so the sharks could eat them.
      Prostitutes “comfort women” were common and paid with cigarettes.
      Captured prisoners were sometimes horrifically mutilated on both sides of the war(genitalia cut off, scalped, etc).

      Antony Beevor is a true historian. Those that focus on the politics focus on those exempted from the horror show they created.

    2. Jagger

      Every war throughout history has its share of atrocities.

      At Nuremberg, instigating Wars of Aggression was considered “the supreme international crime, differing only from other war crimes, in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole”.

      So was the invasion of Iraq a war of aggression? Of course. But only the leaders of defeated nations are hung.

    3. Jack

      ‘Writing about such things has not always provoked kind reactions among his critics. Fellow historian Niall Ferguson once accused him of writing war pornography’

      Hah. Why am I not surprised the pro-empire historian doesn’t like it when focus is put on the nitty-gritty of what war actually is? Incidentally, a videogame very recently released, within the last two days in fact, The Witcher 3 (wasn’t there some discussion here recently about Polish contributions to the world? I’d say the Witcher is a pretty interesting franchise) features early on an encounter with a wandering historian, chronicling the ongoing war. If you confront him about recording the rapes and mutilations common in war he’ll respond with something to the effect that “those details are not pertinent to the course of the campaign”.

  9. Bill Smith

    U.S. Wakes Up to New (Silk) World Order

    “Each S-500 missile can intercept ten ICBMs at speeds up to 15,480 miles an hour, altitudes of 115 miles and horizontal range of 2,174 miles. Moscow insists the system will only be operational in 2017.”

    LOL… gibberish

    1. optimader

      LOL… gibberish
      indeed, stated as if it is some sort of remedy.
      .. Each S-500 missile can intercept ten ICBMs “So the Assurances Science guys that rolled their orange on the keyboard told us” :o/
      …..what they didn’t tell us is that OTOH it may just sit on the truck, or it may go up 250ft and then go sideways at 1,000mph ’til it blows up into confetti, or…

  10. Carolinian

    Get ready for 6/29?

    In his last speech the Islamic State Caliph announced something bigger then 9/11 probably during Ramadan which will be mid-June to mid-July. A big event on June 29, the date Caliph Baghdadi announced the creation of the Islamic State one year ago, would make for a great anniversary.

    http://www.moonofalabama.org/2015/05/obama-administration-dilly-dallying-on-islamic-state-action.html

    While I’m not a big believer in CT, the handling of ISIS–as described by “b”–does make one wonder if the MIC’s passive-aggressive desire for a provocation might be in play. After all mass surveillance may indeed be about to expire in Congress. And there are grumblings about the military budget in some quarters. $$$ are at stake should peace ever break out.

    1. Andrew Watts

      In that recording the Caliph did kinda “Babe Ruth” the fact that Ramadi would fall and 72 hours later… but hopefully it’s just propaganda.

    2. hunkerdown

      It’ll take two days for the New Improved Patriot Act to make it through Congress.

      Clearly, Baghdadi is a US asset. Seed this spoiler far and wide.

  11. PlutoniumKun

    Antony Beevors interview is important. I’ve always found it striking how different ‘official’ histories of wars, especially WWII, are from stories you hear from people on the ground. As a teenager I remember a war veteran who fought for the Canadian army – or to be precise, he was a behind the lines engineer, telling a story about some pretty barbaric acts done not by front line troops, but by regular engineering support units. He said you could only guess what the guys at the front line were doing. There are plenty of accounts of course about the barbarities in the Pacific War – started of course by Japan, but willingly continued by US and British servicemen – there is on youtube some shots of US sailors casually machine gunning Japanese merchant seamen in the water. The information is there – it does seem to be fundamentally dishonest that so many historians simply try to pretend its not. It is feeding a false notion of the nature of war, which is the very last thing any military historian should be doing.

    1. Ed

      I recommend any of Beevor’s books, he is able to incorporate the experience of the front line soldiers and the higher level strategy and operations, like few other historians.

    2. Garrett Pace

      Never mind historians, the stories the soldiers themselves tell make it clear how subjective such a big event as WWII was. The boys who had to slog it out on the big fronts had it a lot worse than my granddads, comparatively safe on large ships and air patrols over usually empty oceans – punctuated by brief spasms of great violence, but still at a distance. There’s anxiety and sleeplessness, but it’s not the same. If your ship doesn’t sink or your airplane doesn’t get shot down, the war is observed more than experienced – cinematic even.

  12. PlutoniumKun

    The Politico article is indeed very good. Of course getting consumers to do the work paid workers used to do has been going on since at least the invention of the supermarket. But it does seem to be accelerating in all sorts of sectors. Ironically, I think France is the most advanced country in this – traditional high labour costs has meant a lot of automation in unexpected places. But it does seem that we are all doing more and more things ourselves, which was once done by a paid employee. I do wonder if this will continue as a gradual process, or whether there will be a major tipping point where entire sectors of employment are just wiped out in a very short time.

    1. Ivy

      Shadow work can seem at times aerobic, as in when you’re reduced to yelling at the clueless call center pawn in an attempt to get someone, anyone, to make a decision, admit to being able to make one, or to let you through the maze instead of to a seemingly endless automated response loop.

      The healthcare world has its own special circle of shadow work. Add up all the time spent on hold, reviewing forms, filling out requests, contesting decisions and otherwise just trying to lead a healthy life. Then recall what it used to be, take a deep breath, and see where it is going.

      Having vented all that, I must say that I was amazed at a recent experience at the DMV. It was as though I entered an alternate universe, where the employees smiled, were helpful, and genuinely cared about their customers. That made my day, and appeared to be a pretty common experience based on others there. Yay DMV. Who would have imagined that a few years ago?

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I think they want more people to get a license…more people to drive.

        “Don’t take public transportation. It’s very EZ to get a license. You want to drive, trust me.”

        Why is my glass half-empty?

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      They used to have to brainwash us.

      Nowadays, we brainwash ourselves. In fact, we crave to wash ourselves.

    3. Oregoncharles

      There’s considerable variation in consumer benefit. DIY is very often quicker than standing in line (personally, I’ll take a cashier if one is available). Of course, the company has considerable power over the length of those lines – unless they’re space-limited. That’s true in airports, for instance. It’s even true to a degree of supermarket cashiers. And restaurants that ask you to order at a counter and bus yourself are generally cheaper – they used to be groovier, but I don’t think that still holds.

      OTOH: Oregon has a law against self-serve gasoline, which has survived several referendums. There is no evidence that gas costs more here. Pumping gas is a nasty job, though. If the people who do it had alternatives, allowing self-serve would be kinder. But this is not a high-employment state.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        You think if we human consumers don’t cooperate, refusing to do it ourselves, they will replace us with robot consumers?

        “Robot consumers can be programmed to not complain. Just takes a few keystrokes, like creating fiat money.”

  13. Brooklin Bridge

    The second job you don’t know you have -Politico

    We need to move away from “jobs” as any test of legitimacy (and illegitimacy) within our system. As it stands, the whole concept of work, and in this case having or not having a job, is used as an economic weapon to control vast numbers of people in highly irrational ways.

    Our darker side perfects an ideology in which any form of population control is taboo and then rewards the resultant population with staggering misery and untold suffering locked in place by a Medusa like series of pathological tentacles (mostly made of of false perceptions and misconceptions objectified into the real world) of which jobs, joblessness and having a high enough paying job is one of the more insidious and powerful.

    1. Brooklin Bridge

      One idea might be to build into any of our “trade” agreements, obligations taken on by any participating corporations or entities that all people over which these treaties have any effect geographically or otherwise, are to be given, at the expense of the entities, lifetime economic stability as a condition of being born.

  14. alex morfesis

    drachma cost 22% in 1994

    those who cry for the return of the drachma have short memories as to what “the market” thought of the drachma

    as forbes article points out from chart by debtdeflation blog

    Greece could be an economic powerhouse. Firms owned by Greeks dominate shipping globally. Last I checked, it was a Greek running JP/Chase. It is lightly populated and could grow by 50% without creating overcrowding by becoming a Florida type retirement destination. It could come to peace with Turkey and develop the natural gas sitting fallow. They could develop an LNG hub for importing gas. They could open up to credit unions and financial firms globally. It could do many many things…

    but it needs to move into the 21st Century financially. When Minister Varoufakis talks about the useless media in Greece, part of the problem is the pedestrian conversations about finance that take place in Greek media. There is no Bloomberg, Wall Street Journal, or Investors Daily. And certainly no economic blogs like this one.

    go find me a list of actual greek yogurt companies with contact information to do business with.

    I could hop over to a half dozen sources of information in and for most OECD countries.

    LEGAL TENDER…the EU prescribes that as Legal Tender, the Euro MUST be accepted for payment of contracts. this gives a strategic advantage to Germany which has over a thousand sources of Euro based credit enterprises between its landesbanks and other government connected entities. They burp up a line of credit in euros in Germany and those must be accepted in Greece. Legal Tender…But, the Euro allows internally instruments that are not Euros to be used, if the native government so chooses. That is how France can live off of the economy of its former African Colonies with the French Governments backing of its CAF via its treasury department. The Swiss have the WIR, and Greece could create its New Draxma (although it should not be set as one draxma replaces one euro as there are still contracts in draxmas at the rate established when greece went to the euro) but it would be good in Greece and anywhere else anyone wanted to accept it…BUT it WOULD NOT be LEGAL TENDER. You could not FORCE a german bus manufacturer to accept draxmas, and Dr. Strangeluvauble will walk again like Peter Sellers before he allows the German Economy to accept the New Draxma. But who manages the new WIR/Draxma ? Who will trust how many have been issued or how much in Draxma credits are outstanding ? Who will trade in it ? Greece could move to a dollar economy as the parallel currency. It would be a lot faster and an accepted medium. Or it could move to a Yuan currency as the parallel currency. Or the Yen, or the Rupee. Or all of the above. The myth of ancient greece was that it was a polytheistic society. No, it was like America is today. You could worship the god of your choice. There was no State Religion that had to be adhered to by everyone. Perhaps the Greek Economy could take advantage of that in respects to using various currencies internally to strengthen its position. It would be a sneaky way for China to get its currency to be further expanded in Global trade…or better yet, since Prime Minister Modi insists he wants to get ahead of China, might it not be useful to have the rupee as an additional currency in Greece. There are many products India could substitute for Germany in the Greek Economy.

    1. William C

      I am wondering if the British election result has transformed the Greek outlook.
      My reasoning? It is now clear that the UK will have a referendum on EU membership. The new UK government probably want to stay in the EU after obtaining some changes to the UK position vis-a-vis Europe. The Germans will definitely want to keep the UK in as they are usually allies in negotiations in Brussels.
      To give the UK a deal, the EU member states will have (?) to reach unanimous agreement, so the Greeks can now say ‘you want unanimous agreement, you have to give us what we want on our financial position.’
      Is there a flaw to this reasoning, or is it game, set and match to Greece?

      I could see there could be some timing issues, as the Greek finances are more urgent than the UK negotiations, but could not these be finessed by the Greek government telling their people that this is now the plan and they just have to be patient to collect the fruit as they fall from the (German?) tree?

  15. roadrider

    Re: the second job you didn’t know you had

    Makes good points concerning all the work we’re doing in retail establishments that used to be done by entry-level employees but falters into the “skills gap” trope by the end of the piece.

    Yes, technical skills are good to have but the job market has a perverse way of obsoleting these skills a lot faster than it takes to acquire them. Trust me, I have excellent technical skills and tons of experience but have been jobless for nearly two years. Having technical skills isn’t going to save anyone. I don’t pretend to know the answer is but I know from personal experience what it isn’t.

    1. Lambert Strether

      Yep, the “creative destruction” of the dot com crash took care of the entire industry into which my technical skillset fit; I then developed an entirely new technical skillset, but (for personal reasons) went out on my own, and discovered I hated dealing with clients. In between, other attempts. I tried to play by the rules, but I guess I’m just a loser because markets [sob]. Not that I’m bitter.

  16. Santi

    Re: the strategy against anti-austerity contagion working, and from the field (of the battle)… Please wait for the election results next Monday, let’s not count Podemos’ chickens too soon. I think there is heavy campaigning going on at all levels: against each party in the country, in Greece internally, and disinformation in all Europe about what is going on in Greece. This should give us an idea on how important is the battle. It is being tough, but we are advancing fast. The electoral campaing is done outside of the media, using mouth to ear and stickers done by individuals, facebook, twitter, … . It is working well. People is too tired of the corrupt regime and austerity in Spain also.

    1. Lambert Strether

      It would seem simple, natural, and highly educational for the NC readership were you to provide hash tags to back up your claims re: Twitter. Of course, by this time readers know to expect so such thing, so cum grano salis, sadly, and by the truckload. Personally, I hope you're right, but from the evidence I can see, that will be a matter of chance.

      1. Santi

        It is not simple, as hashtags are really ephemeral, but right now there is one related with the Madrid campaign that is in the Spain Trends tab: Enamorados de Carmena (in love with Carmena). She is our probable new Major (El Pais in English about the recent debate), excluding a pact between PP and Ciudadanos that would kill them for the general elections or other combination, as the poll results seem to be very divided.

        In the debate, Aguirre did all her classics: she accused Carmena of having no program, while the Ahora Madrid program site is collaborative and excellent and, on the other hand, the PP has literally no program for the town hall… She also accused her to collaborate with ETA (a classic for the Spanish right, all that is not them is literally ETA)… but she looked tired, angry and resourceless, she looked like a loser.

        Doing the same effort re: Cádiz, Zaragoza, Valencia, Barcelona, … would literally take me hours that I don’t have right now. I was in this meeting just before the campaing started and very close to home, between several of the main “confluent” big cities candidates.

      2. Santi

        The hashtag and the campaign prompted this article from Juan Luis Sánchez about the process by which she got called as a candidate.

        Other article from the same media, eldiario.es, a highly successful posterchild of the new Spanish media, and both Escolar an Sánchez respected journalists: an interview with Albert Rivera, the leader of Ciudadanos. The clue to know that he is the neoliberal fresh candidate, apart from the fact that he is supported enthusiastically by all media of the current status quo, is in the question about the VAT tax. Do you find sustainable the proposal of your party of reducing the maximum VAT rate and raise instead the basic product’s one, covering things like bread and milk? [This proposal, BTW, goes exactly in the same direction that the troika is forcing Athens to do. They remove deflation by raising a little bit taxes on bread and milk and, in the process, the make the poor poorer and the rich richer ;)]. Rivera’s answer is:

        Electricity is also a basic product: in fact there is now a lot of people under energetic pauperty. And your children cloths, no matter if you are affluent or not, is a basic product for a lot of families. What we do here is a similar proposal to what they have done in Germany: two rates, a reduced one and a general one, smallers to reactivate the economi. We have shown, with numbers, that our proposal is going to rais the same.

        A typical demagogic response: rich people also have pain, blah blah. The fact is that for really poor people electricity is a problem, and bread, and milk… and Spain has a strongly growing inequality that this measure is just going to worsen. It continues, and here is where it gets interesting:

        The big reform is not VAT, but the fiscal reform for the poorer ones, the dispossesed. The ones that have less, if Ciudadanos governs, are going to have a rent complement in their income tax declaration, for income below 24.000€, that will allow them to have more money available. The idea of redistributing through VAT is a mistake. The income tax is where it must be done.

        As I have learned here, and started reading neoliberal economists talking about it in Spanish soon after I read Yves entry, it is exactly the strategy of the neoliberal elites (the 1%): reducing state by reducing taxes, reducing wages while having a guarantee for serf survival with stregthtened dependence.

      3. Santi

        The hashtag of my previous comment and the campaign prompted this article from Juan Luis Sánchez (Spanish) about the process by which she got called as a candidate.

        Other article from the same media, eldiario.es, a highly successful posterchild of the new Spanish media, and both Escolar an Sánchez respected journalists: an interview with Albert Rivera (Spanish), the leader of Ciudadanos. The clue to know that he is the neoliberal fresh candidate, apart from the fact that he is supported enthusiastically by all media of the current status quo, is in the question about the VAT tax. I translate it. Do you find sustainable the proposal of your party of reducing the maximum VAT rate and raise instead the basic product’s one, covering things like bread and milk? [This proposal, BTW, goes exactly in the same direction that the troika is forcing Athens to do. They remove deflation by raising a little bit taxes on bread and milk and, in the process, the make the poor poorer and the rich richer ;)]. Rivera’s answer is:

        Electricity is also a basic product: in fact there is now a lot of people under energetic pauperty. And your children cloths, no matter if you are affluent or not, is a basic product for a lot of families. What we do here is a similar proposal to what they have done in Germany: two rates, a reduced one and a general one, smallers to reactivate the economi. We have shown, with numbers, that our proposal is going to rais the same.

        A typical campaign response: rich people also have pain, blah blah. The fact is that for really poor people utilities are a big problem, and bread, and milk… and Spain has a strongly growing inequality that this measure is just going to worsen. It continues, and here is where it gets interesting:

        The big reform is not VAT, but the fiscal reform for the poorer ones, the dispossessed. The ones that have less, if Ciudadanos governs, are going to have a rent complement in their income tax declaration, for income below 24.000€, that will allow them to have more money available. The idea of redistributing through VAT is a mistake. The income tax is where it must be done.

        As I have learned here, and coincidentally I started reading neoliberal economists talking about it in Spanish soon after I read Yves entry, it is exactly the strategy of the neoliberal elites (the 1%): reducing state by reducing taxes, reducing wages while having a guarantee for serf survival with stregthtened dependence. Ciudadanos have Luis Garicano, Univ of Chicago PhD, as counsellor for their economic program.

  17. Andrew Watts

    RE: The Kagans Ramadi Jeremiad by Walrus

    Someday, I’m going to go back to spending more time talking about the class war in the NC comments and less about war related topics. That’ll be nice.

    The Kagan piece basically amounts to finger pointing and ignores a variety of factors which led to the fall of Ramadi. There are numerous reports that an ISF commander sold the defense plan for the city to the Islamic State. Although I don’t know how accurate these reports are corruption is hardly a surprise coming from the Iraqi armed forces. It also explains the inability of the Golden Division to establish a new defensive line at the stadium and turned a withdraw into a rout. Nor can treachery be ruled out when so many of IS forces fighting in the city were local sleeper cells. This is the model plan that I expect the battle for Baghdad to be based upon. While indiscriminate attacks will be launched on Shia civilians and neighborhoods to distract from the main attack that will be launched on the Green Zone.

    What the overall battle in Anbar province has proven is that American air power is not a decisive factor. This should have been anticipated by war planners. Hezbollah has repeatedly and successfully negated Israeli air power from playing such a role. Once again we see how the Islamic State is mimicking Hezbollah in it’s organization and tactics. -AndrewW

    Yeah, that’s what he said. Hehe!

    1. frosty zoom

      you know, these isis* dudes always seem to have a victory parade. real easy to find, ¿no?

      boom! but, nope. odd, that.

      *what a silly name to frighten the peoples; isis, is of course, part of the isis/shazam power hour and she fights evil. but it sure sounds foreign. heck, even the word foreign seems foreign and thats scary. why don’t we call them “unemployed assholes who think murder is fun who are employed by the saudis and trained by americans” or UAWTMIFWAETSATBA? why honour evil with an easy name?

      1. Andrew Watts

        you know, these isis* dudes always seem to have a victory parade. real easy to find, ¿no?

        boom! but, nope. odd, that.

        If an airstrike did occur during one of the Islamic State’s urban parades there would probably be a few hundred dead civilians. This loss of life, whether they were IS supporters or not, would rightfully be blamed on the US. Damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

      2. micky9finger

        Frosty zoom:
        Your mention of jobs reminds me of my solution to all this terrorism. Give them all jobs.

        1. frosty zoom

          i’ve been saying that for years!

          let’s say 3 trillion for iraq war..

          3 trillion ÷ 36 million iraqis = $83333.33 dollaritos for every iraqi!

          sweet deal! that’s like a job plus a big screen t.v., too..

          stupid humans.

  18. Andrew Watts

    RE: Government Seeks ‘Emergency Stay’ of Decision Ordering Release of Thousands of Torture Photos

    It probably isn’t a good idea to release the photos. The Islamic State uses them for recruitment and morale purposes (ie; Charlie Hebdo) and releasing them right now isn’t the best timing. Although doesn’t that make everybody who signed off on the torture regime a traitor by providing aid and comfort to the enemy?

    After the Supreme Court ruled in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld that detainees were protected by Article III of the Geneva Conventions Senator Mitch McConnell introduced legislation (Military Commissions Act of 2006) that would allow the president to certify through executive writ that America was meeting it’s obligations under the treaty.

    “Today, the Senate sent a strong signal to the terrorists that we will continue using every element of national power to pursue our enemies and to prevent attacks on America. The Military Commissions Act of 2006 will allow the continuation of a CIA program that has been one of America’s most potent tools in fighting the War on Terror. Under this program, suspected terrorists have been detained and questioned about threats against our country. Information we have learned from the program has helped save lives at home and abroad.” -President George W Bush

    This legislation was later ruled unconstitutional in Boumediene v. Bush. After this particular SCOTUS ruling the Military Commissions Act of 2009 was introduced in Congress until President Obama brought the torture regime to an end by executive order. While the Senate Select Commiittee on Infelligence report covered the initial SCOTUS ruling (Hamdan v. Rumsfeld) which made the torture illegal it didn’t cover these events.

    Now… about the Patriot Act renewal. Does anyone want to put the country through this process again for an illegal program of marginal utility that has already been ruled as such by federal courts?

    1. Brooklin Bridge

      It probably isn’t a good idea to release the photos.

      There will always be reasons NOT to release the photos. And there will always be better reasons to release them; the best being that until you do, there will always be more and greater abuse of human rights, just as until the bankers and mortgage servicers are held accountable for their illegal actions, there will always be more (and more illegal) financial practices by banks.

      1. sam s smith

        They need to be released so that they will enter our history.

        It is very dangerous when a country(and specifically the military) believes its own propaganda.

      2. Andrew Watts

        I find it naive to believe that releasing the photos will result in prosecution or any lasting consequences. When I wrote that quoted bit I didn’t mean the release should be indefinitely delayed which I sorta made clear in the follow-up sentence.

        1. Brooklin Bridge

          My reply stands. “Delay” in these things is simply another term for permanence revealed slowly. It has already cost us enormous credibility in the mid east as well as at home

        2. Brooklin Bridge

          Also, I was expressing an opinion and not a criticism. As you point out, “… Although doesn’t that make everybody who signed off on the torture regime a traitor by providing aid and comfort to the enemy?”

          I’m not taking your reasons, and certainly not your intentions, to task, but rather saying I think that arguments for now are always (perhaps I should say almost always) more compelling than arguments for later when it comes to shining light on our own abuses.

    2. frosty zoom

      well, they already have pictures of melted children in fallujah and and and and and and and

  19. Andrew Watts

    RE: Cheney Thought al Qaeda was Bluffing

    I always wondered what caused Cheney to go to the dark side. I guess I’ll be forced to read Morell’s book now…

    *Sigh*

  20. fledermaus

    Hello mystery meat: The World Trade Organization ruled Monday that U.S. “country of origin” labels on certain cuts of red meat put Canadian and Mexican livestock at a disadvantage, rejecting a U.S. appeal after a similar WTO decision last year.

    It’s a good thing the ISDS won’t require us to change our laws because reasons.

    1. frosty zoom

      my wife’s family in méxico lost their pig farm because nafta.

      because subsidized pork brains.

      i suggest if you are going to eat cows, you should get to know her first.

    2. hunkerdown

      “Mr. President, are you a liar?”

      Would that we still had Helen Thomas to ask pointed questions of the Administration.

  21. Jagger

    —-What do insanely wealthy people buy—-

    I read it. Both the author and his topic smelled to high heaven of BS to me…..Just my intuitive response that the author can’t be trusted not to make up whatever he felt like on anything. Although what few responses I read were interesting. The values and priorities of the commenters seemed skewed. Most seem to take the author seriously. So who knows.

    1. Brooklin Bridge

      I also read it and if we are talking about the same thing, the “author” as you call him, is a commenter on AskReddit responding to a question submitted by another user, “morpheofalus”, 4 months ago; the question being: “What do insanely wealthy people buy, that ordinary people know nothing about?”

      Given this informal framework, the “author”/commenter can indeed make up anything he/she feels like and the reader must judge for him/her self based on whether or not the answer sounds reasonable.

      Do you have any specifics that support your call of BS? The commenter’s “gradations of the rich” seemed quite reasonable to me and his descriptions of each category seemed to hew to human nature. Nor did he hide that these were generalities based on personal experience (always good only so far as they go). What were the problems you felt that justify calling his opinions bull?

      1. Jagger

        ———-Nor did he hide that these were generalities based on personal experience (always good only so far as they go). What were the problems you felt that justify calling his opinions bull?——-

        That his comments were based on personal experience. So how does he know all these millionaires and billionaires from around the world? And how does he know specifically their levels of influence and purchasing habits? He claims “he attracts these type people into his life and they are amonst his closest friends”. Maybe this anonymous commenter is the world’s most interesting man or maybe he is just full of BS.

    2. Garrett Pace

      Without taking a position on whether the author knows those things firsthand, the descriptions do pass the sniff test of how we imagine wealth affecting individuals and social networks.

      Here’s an interesting article about a wealthy man’s love of ancient artifacts. Mostly ridiculous and slightly awesome.

      http://www.readperiodicals.com/201404/3264866131.html

  22. ambrit

    File under crapification…
    Anyone see CNNs’ new “improved” Terms of Service? Rolling out now, forced arbitration, and no class action suits allowed.
    Sections 10, 11 & 12 Governing law, Agreement to Arbitrate and Class Action Waiver. To help streamline the resolution of disputes, claims, and controversies under these updated Terms of Use, as set forth in more detail below, you now agree that both you and CNN, including its present and future subsidiaries, (collectively, “Turner”) will be obligated to arbitrate disputes, claims, and controversies that arise out of or relate to your use of the Sites and/or the provision of content, services, and/or technology on or through the Sites, and that any such proceedings will be conducted only on an individual basis (and not as a class action), and under New York law.

    1. Brooklin Bridge

      It’s amazing how they can get away with this sort of thing. It’s basically saying, “If you so much as look at anything we broadcast”, you thereby agree to relinquish significant legal rights.

      Why can’t we come up with a contract that says, “If you broadcast anything that reaches anybody, you relinquish all rights to the the rights you took away from them and you agree to be subject to a class action suit (even if it doesn’t fit) !!!” ???

  23. Karl

    RE The second job you didn’t know about…
    I look upon self checkout as an opportunity to artfully steal from those who destroy livelihoods and weaken our country.
    Never have met a device that can’t be jammed with a wad of chewing gum, a coffee stirrer or a paperclip. :-)

  24. hemeantwell

    I strongly recommend Ames’ article on neoconnery in Russia. Not only does he give you a nice account of how some of the worst of the US image fabricators, e.g. Dick Morris, helped to crapify Russian politics in the mid-90s and keep Yeltsin in power, he also offers a very useful sketch of how the vulture capitalists associated with the nominal whistle-blower, Pomerantsev, ransack weak, “emerging” economies. (His model recalls the “development of underdevelopment” schema of Furtado and Frank back in the 60s, and also brings to mind more recent analyses of economic stagnation in Africa, where elites laugh at the idea of productive capital formation and ferret the royalties from extraction by MNCs away in (mainly) Western banks.) And, he pulls in quotations from a pretty hilarious Russian political satire. A very good, disgusted read.

    1. Doug Terpstra

      Agreed, good read. One passage stood out in describing Pomerantsev’s description of Putin and Russian propaganda (with appropriate substitutions):

      “That [Obama’s] brand of totalitarianism represents something absolutely new, innovative and uniquely threatening — an avant-garde totalitarianism for which we in the West are nearly helpless against; a totalitarianism constructed entirely out of virtual reality, political technologies, and distorted realities, beamed through televisions and the Internet, brainwashing the [American] public and anyone else who crosses their information-beams in ways so sophisticated and disruptive, everything we hold dear is doomed to collapse before it.”  And how!

      And, in promoting regime change in Russia, there’s this clever oxymoron: “It is a struggle to establish genuine democratic capitalism and to defy postmodern dictatorship.” 

      Oh my, would this be the “genuine democratic capitalism” now strong-arming the fast-tracking of TPP, TTIP, and TISA thru Congress under the most secret and opaque regime in American history?  Pomerantsev’s Orwellian reality is turvy-topsey, downside-up, and outside-in. But then again, he is a neocon, creating the new reality that we must simply resign ourselves to study.

      Interesting background too on (the now deaf, blind, and mute) Glenn Greenwald’s patron vulture, and Taibbi’s ex, Pierre Omidyar.  Seems to confirm the saying about great fortunes and great crimes.

  25. ira

    Politico had an article up yesterday, ‘I’ve Read Obama’s Secret Trade Deal. Elizabeth Warren Is Right to Be Concerned.’

    http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/05/tpp-elizabeth-warren-labor-118068.html?ml=po

    As of a few seconds ago, there were 5175 comments, the overwhelming majority against TPP. I don’t know what the usual numbers are for a Politico piece, but it seems like a great deal to me. Perusing the comments, one can see that many of the commentators are what would commonly be described as either right wing or libertarian. In addition, there was a report from a few days ago where Boehner (or some other GOP honcho) was bemoaning the fact that big business was not lobbying as hard as organized labor, and that the messages that Congresspeople were receiving were running 25 to 1 against TPP.

    Of course in the $700 billion wall street coup d’etat bailout the numbers were 100 to 1 against, and that didn’t have any effect. But at least there seems to be a fair amount of consciousness about and opposition to TPP.

    1. Ian

      Read that article too, rather liked most of it though it was still very forgiving of the potential realities and damages of previous deals. What struck me though was his endorsement of Hillary as a reasoned and ethical position with no mention of Bernie Sanders at all.

    1. Brooklin Bridge

      Thanks for the link. It’s a fascinating article and fits surprisingly well with my own experience of different people in the software industry. Indeed, the “givers” were often (most often) the most competent of all the developers, but not always. And the arrogant sob’s did indeed occasionally but consistently, and infuriatingly, get more than their fair share of credibility often from completely empty bravado. The article gets into far more nuance than those two extremes, but the U curve in both givers and takers going to the top and bottom seems a particularly familiar pattern that nevertheless I hadn’t considered before.

    1. Brooklin Bridge

      Thanks for the link. It’s a fascinating article and fits surprisingly well with my own experience of different people in the software industry. Indeed, the “givers” were often (most often) the most competent of all the developers, but not always. And the arrogant sob’s did indeed occasionally but consistently, and infuriatingly, get more than their fair share of credibility often from completely empty bravado. The article gets into far more nuance than those two extremes, but the U curve in both givers and takers going to the top and bottom seems a particularly familiar pattern that nevertheless I hadn’t considered before.

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