Links 5/26/15

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Remember This on Memorial Day: They Didn’t Fall, They Were Pushed Ray McGovern, Firedoglake (furzy mouse)

Good Wine Tastes More Like Koala Urine Than You’d Think io9 (Jeff W)

Written Communication May Be 40,000 Years Old New Hisorian

When John Nash met Adam Curtis Mark Ames

Suicide By Pesticide Chris Martenson (RR)

Brazil economy contracting sharply Financial Times

The property boom is on borrowed time Business Spectator. Re Australia.

Chinese navy to focus on ‘open seas’ BBC

China rebukes US for stoking sea tensions Financial Times

Horrors unearthed at 28 sites used by human traffickers Star Online

What does Duda’s win mean for Poland, Europe and the UK? Open Europe

Polish Voters Elect Eurosceptic President; Disenchantment with Brussels Spreads Michael Shedlock

Mexico cab drivers snarl traffic in anti-Uber demo Agence France-Presse

The ‘Ins’ and ‘Outs’ of Britain’s referendum Politico. More interesting than the anodyne headline would lead you to believe.

Podemos and the other anti-austerity forces in Spain will push plutocrats towards their limited options failed evolution

Five policies that Manuela Carmena wants in place in her first 100 days El Pais (Santiago)

Colau’s plan for Barcelona: new utility firm taxes and an end to official cars El Pais (Santiago)

Why economists are questioning the UK’s growth numbers Telegraph


Austerity Is the Only Deal-Breaker Yanis Varoufakis, Project Syndicate. The problem is that the negotiation are about austerity (as in reforms that implement austerity like pension cuts). While Varoufakis has been and remains correct in his economic analysis, it became evident in February that the creditors would not budge from their orthodox, as in failed views, and that was at least in part driven by Germany not wanting to give up its contradictory goals (running large trade surpluses within the Eurozone while being unwilling to finance its trade partners).

Time running out for Greece, warns European rescue fund chief Telegraph

With Money Drying Up, Greece Is All but Bankrupt New York Times. Varoufakis said Greece was bankrupt months ago but then the Eurocrats said he could not say that in public.

Euro hit by fears Greece will miss IMF repayment – live updates Guardian. Um, the Euro dropping is good for the European economy…

Scrip tease: Greece could alleviate its shortage of cash by issuing IOUs, but only for a time Economist. From last month, and we linked to it then, but still germane.

Greek Band-Aids: Less Effective, Rising Cost Mohamed El-Erian Bloomberg




It’s Time to Bring Imperialism Back to the Middle East Foreign Policy

Israel Seeks Surge in US Security Support Defense News

Assad Has Lost Over Fifty Percent of Syria to ISIS Real News Network

Exposing Jeb Bush’s Promotion of Walmart Family’s Monster Private Schools Initiative Alternet

Pensions and Politics Fuel Crisis in Illinois New York Times

Houston, Texas, Submerged by Unprecedented Flooding; Eight States At Risk NBC

Cleveland Reaches Settlement With Justice Department Over Police Conduct New York Times

The Big Meh Paul Krugman

The tricky path of cutting its balance sheet Financial Times

Bond Traders Uncover Secret to Rates That Fed Just Doesn’t Get Bloomberg (Scott)

Fed’s Fischer Sees Short-Term Rate at 3.25%-4% in Three to Four Years WSJ Economics

Investors are playing a ‘greater fool’ game George Magnus, Financial Times

Class Warfare

Labor’s Enemies Wear Black Robes, Not White Hoods Counterpunch

Free-market dogma has jacked up our electricity bills David Cay Johnston, Aljazeera

Viewpoint: Why do people waste so much time at the office? BBC (Vlad)

Antidote du jour:

amur leopard links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Ned Ludd

    It is almost impossible to re-nationalize major companies or industries once they have been privatized. The U.S. government and the “markets” find all sorts of ways to destabilize and destroy countries that dare to take anything away from private corporations.

    Consequently, Syriza’s “plans to resume privatisations in defiance of Syriza’s campaign pledge” is a fundamental betrayal of the Greek populace. Once privatized, there is no going back for a small country tied to the E.U.

    1. jim

      Syriza was a con game from day one. They repeatedly lied to the Greek people in their campaign and sold them out in short order when they came into power.

    1. Llewelyn Moss

      Obomba continues to conduct his War Of Choice with no Authorization For War (AUMF) from congress. And that’s just they way the cowards in congress prefer it. They don’t want to be held accountable for the insanity.

      1. Jim Haygood

        Hey, there’s an old AUMF from 2002 that Obomba says authorizes everything from bombing ISIS to subsidizing cell phones. It’s good to be emperor.

        KongressKlowns have about as much actual authority as does the student council in a high school. They remind me of a young classmate who put up posters taking credit for the ‘free water’ from the water fountains. No, it wasn’t Bill Clinton.

        1. Llewelyn Moss

          I propose setting up a Fund the Wars online donation site — to replace the looting of the taxpayers to fund wars. Then we’ll see exactly how many wars have support of the commoners. Hint: Support for wars will be 0%. Yeah I’m psychic. ;-)

          WRT KongressKlowns, I believe a Courtesy Flush is in order.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I believe taxation does not fund wars.

            And grown adults (looing at you, Kongresspersons) are responsible for their own actions. Besides, they don’t often run on War or Peace platform. (Who could have known?)

            We taxpayers can sleep at night.

            EOS (End Of Sarcasm)

            1. Llewelyn Moss

              Don’t you dare EOS on me!

              Nothing is over! Nothing! You just don’t turn it off! It wasn’t my war! You asked me, I didn’t ask you! And I did what I had to do to win! But somebody wouldn’t let us win!

          2. Jim Haygood

            ‘specially if ex-Senator Larry “Wide Stance” Craig is in the stall next to you, tapping his right foot.

            Sgt. Karsnia asked: “Did you do anything with your feet?” and Craig replied: “Positioned them, I don’t know. I don’t know at the time. I’m a fairly wide guy.”


            1. Llewelyn Moss

              Haha. Good ole “Wide Stance” Larry. Rumor has it he could keep impeccable time with that tapping foot and was a virtuoso on the skin flute. :-)

    2. JTMcPhee

      Interesting, two thoughts: yakspace is larded with tough-guy, war- wimp, chicken- hawk comments about how all along, panty- waist, non-“Victory!-centric” Rules of Engagement have robbed “us” of deserved Wins iin all those Wog- infested places. Positing a real definition of Victory!, and the unfounded assumption that there’s doctrine, strategy, tactics and “ground truths,” along with appropriate weapons and logistics and Troop Will and Skill, that if only They were all turned loose to ” do what’s necessary to win,” all would be well with the world.

      And, our vaunted generals worried about protecting civilians? What are the time-space coordinates of that pleasant universe, please? Fallujah, Kandahar,, Dresden, Tokyo, a huge set of other examples of what if ” we” weren’t Bigger would be “atrocities” and war crimes, and one has to love the comforting insistence that ” opening a nuclear can of whup- ass, and the Atomic Age” on Hiroshima and Nagasaki “won” the Just War for “us.”

      “Oh, but look at KOBANI!”

      Screw “us…”

      1. sufferin'succotash

        Re the Kaplan piece in FP: “Western imperialism in the Middle East a dismal flop? Try more imperialism!”
        As nonsensical as it is, Kaplan does provide a foretaste of what would probably be a Jeb Bush foreign policy.

        1. hunkerdown

          Do go on flattering yourself as if Hillary isn’t bloody well salivating for the same thing.

    3. frosty zoom

      perhaps this will “clarify” a little:

      from 2012:



    4. susan the other

      As Pepe Escobar says, we are the Empire of Chaos and we do it to create opportunity for crony capitalism. There are probably a million reasons we “went in” to Iraq and Afghanistan. Control oil; control the Caspian; control China encroaching on “our” interests; confront Russia; aid the Saudis; rescue Israel; secure a natural gas industry for Israel; stimulate our dying MIC industries; create a smokescreen for austerity looting; save our banks from the realities of capitalism and free trade; forestall free trade; trash environmental laws; impose virtual martial law; take over eastern Europe and use it to keep our corporations alive; maybe horn in on the opium trade; or the ancient artifacts trade; steal all the gold we can from the southern mountains of Afghanistan; ultimately impose right wing dictatorships we can work with; etc.

  2. abynormal

    keeping up with the x’s…
    1 dose of FENTANYL = as many as 100 doses of Morphine
    Fentanyl is supposed to be used as a prescription to treat the most severe pain. It’s usually legally dispensed out of pharmacies as a patch or a lollipop or made by illicit labs. Dealers or users then mix it with heroin to increase the high, sometimes with deadly results. There are those who use fentanyl by itself, sometimes by chewing patches. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, even small amounts can be lethal. Blood tests of people who died from fentanyl overdoses have shown as little as three nanograms per milliliter in their blood.

    Heroin bought in the U.S. usually comes from Mexico, according to Sperry and law enforcement officers. Atlanta police say they’re seeing fentanyl from China and possibly Canada. The DEA says Mexican authorities closed labs there — the agency says illegal fentanyl from Mexican labs contributed to approximately 1,000 overdose deaths in six states between 2005 and 2007 — and that chemicals used to make fentanyl have come from China, Mexico, Germany, and Japan.

    A relatively new law called the 9-1-1 Medical Amnesty Law, or Good Samaritan Law, allows callers or victims to avoid prosecution for small amounts of drugs if they are seeking help with an overdose. Families and friends who’ve lost loved ones to overdoses advocated for the bill, which sped through the state Legislature in about 10 weeks in early 2014. A total of 22 states plus Washington, D.C., have similar medical amnesty laws, according to the nonpartisan National Conference of State Legislatures.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        We’re being pushed towards Do-It-Yourself in more and more areas.

        Eventually, I can imagine DIY-economic stimulating and DIY fiat-money creation.

        Maybe even DIY surveillance.

        “You save more money by reporting yourself. Efficiency. Efficiency ueber-alles.”

        1. hunkerdown

          The oligarchs’ market is yet pushing us away from DIY in other ways, by making chemical, hydraulic and electronic components harder to access by individuals. It’s an interesting tension, that.

          1. OIFVet

            I think that the move toward DIY concerns mostly services, like grocery bagging and checkout. Which, in an economy where most of the job growth has been in crappy service jobs, is rather indicative of the predatory mindset of our elites.

        2. JTMcPhee

          There’s already the sound of snuffling around the edges of the very Progressive idea of voluntary killing yourself, being sold as “assisted suicide” and “right to die.” The latter is particularly poignant when juxtaposed against a similar grammatical formulation, “right to work.”

          Pot is increasingly legal because Big Bucks are in “de-illegalization,” and for an outdated opportunity statement, . And a whole lot of all those F-heads in DC who sport lapel pin flags and support all the other predations on us ineffectual but productive ordinary mopes are, mirabile dictu, happy potheads, hoping to reduce further the tiny fear they have of being caught inhaling, possessing or selling, by some over-zealous, heavily-armed, unwilling-to-see-reason enforcement gorilla.

          Same with gay marriage — it’s like the “Chained CPI,” a substitution behavior like cat food for tuna fish, take this little “victory for Freedom’n’Liberty ™” in lieu of security, stability, national health care, participation at the Big Table — and besides, all those gay blades hidden behind Flag and Bible on the Right side of the spectrum (WHY do they get to be called “right,” while others get the “left,” as in maladroit and sinister, designation) from J.E Hoover and Roy Cohn to more recent closet-hiders are also happy to have their preferences and predilections “dis-illegalized” and stripped of social-conservative opprobrium (hey, they’re “on the Right,” now, right?) and the little fears of enforcement of residual “laws” like sodomy prohibitions and stuff… Not that people like fire’n’brimstone, Prosperity-preaching, hair-dressed TV Megachurch Preachers need to worry about such trivialities. It’s like Swine Flu, hypocrisy is… sometimes inapparent, always there, waiting to break out…

          Thanks for the link the other day on “lagom,” maybe there’s some answers there. Lagom of this…

  3. Ben Johannson

    Re: Written communication. Article understated the implications of written communication being 40,000 years old. This would overturn neatly everything we have assumed about the development of civilization. Maybe the greatest anthropological discovery of the last hundred years.

    1. ambrit

      Since most scientists now accept 200,000 years BCE as the probable date of emergence of ‘modern’ Homo sapiens sapiens, the idea that almost 200,000 years went by with no language skills improvement is dubious, to say the least. Viewing the history of that 200,000 years, with the near extinction of Homo sap after the Toba super volcano eruption at 74,000 years BCE, plus the ice ages advances and retreats, with attendant sea level rises and drops, which are now generally agreed to have occurred very quickly, the development of sophisticated language skills, and then the loss of the same is a reasonable conjecture.
      See, punctuated equilibrium:
      See, Toba catastrophe theory:
      Now we need to do some serious excavations on those reported culture sites underwater on the continental shelves.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Neanderthals died out around 40,000 years ago.

        Was written communication the weapon of mass destruction then?

        1. ambrit

          The evidence suggests that Neanderthals had high level cultural skills. They buried their dead, left grave goods, aligned some graves along cardinal points, even left flowers with the dead at burial. This presupposes verbal communication skills at the least. Until their assimilation into the Homo sap population, they carried on alongside the early ‘modern’ humans in some sort of equality. It would not surprise me in the least to see some carvings and drawings from that epoch re-identified as Neanderthal work. They had physically larger brains than Homo sap.. The internal wiring is another matter.
          Who really knows why Neanderthals disappeared as a distinct sub species of Homo.
          More interestingly, who will replace us? Greg Bear does a good job of imagining how this might come about in his book, “Darwin’s Radio.”

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            My dream version of the next species:

            Smaller brain.

            Bigger heart.

            Short hands (less likely to grab things)

            Bigger ears (for listening)

            Smaller mouth – self-evident.

            Shorter and lighter (weight, not skin color) – more mileage.

            Less hairy – to cope with that global warming thing.

          2. susan the other

            I’ve wondered that too. And thought maybe it was our chauvinism that prevented us from attributing more sophistication to Neanderthals. The same way we condescend to “dumb” animals. It has been proven that they could have had spoken language; that their larynx was suitable for making certain distinct sounds. And as you say, they were survivors. They left what is assumed to be calendar markings on wood. So why not. Where art (cave paintings), signs (handprints and counting) first unleashed our imaginations is where our rich and crazy language began. It could have been anywhere. How did the first lucky caveman, who accidentally smelted a gob of copper explain it?

      2. myshkin

        Re: written language pushed back from 3500 to 40,000 BCE . The development of human language, differentiated from animal communication and then also the likely later development of written symbols out of the older verbal ones makes for fascinating speculation.

        Chomsky thinks human verbal language happened around 60,000 years ago and was a sudden development in terms of species history, others in the field believe it to be older and to have occurred in a more gradual manner, starting perhaps 150,000 years BCE.

        Since humans presumably engaged in an early stage of communication as it is known other animals employ, locating the point at which complex human language emerges is difficult. Whether the verbal jump from animal to human communication was spurred by the near extinction 75,000 years ago, a kind of punk eck genesis, makes interesting speculation as does whether the push back on written is also related.

    2. Garrett Pace

      My bs alarm is going off. These symbols are showing up over a wide area and cover a time period of 30,000 years. The idea that there could be any sort of continuity of meaning for this or that symbol over such a distance and such a span is fanciful.

      We know these cave drawings meant something to the people who did them. And I’m sure they used symbols to communicate, like arrows to point. That these drawings aren’t entirely random shouldn’t be such a surprise, however we want to dignify it with academic terminology.

      On my shelf is a Hopi bowl, created in the traditional fashion. I asked its creator about the symbols she draws on bowls. Some of them she explained to me, others she said she has no idea – she saw them on pottery shards she discovered wandering the mesa tops, and reproduced them faithfully. Written communication? “Yes, but”

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Just read the article.

        Thirty repeatedly used symbols are mentioned. What do they look like? I don’t see any shown.

        As for fixed rules about their use, I see at least one fixed rule. Fixed rule #1: You use a symbol to make a mark. That is, you make a marking to create a symbol.

        How many rules do you need to qualify as a modern language? It’s not mentioned in the article. What makes something a modern language? Something arbitrary?

          1. frosty zoom

            huh! my son was lying before he could even speak. (not that he’s especially dishonest)

        1. ron

          our early forefathers had just a much intelligence as we do today what they lacked was a technology base which developed slowly over time.
          Several years ago while on a back country hike in the 4 corners area I noticed a small rock that caught my eye since it looked like it had been fire hardened on one side. When I got back to my campsite and looked closely it was a rock that had been shaped for skinning animals by a left handed individual. It was highly engineered with specific locations for holding it properly and protecting key fingers from bone’s during cutting. It doesn’t take long in looking at cave paintings to realize how evolved and intelligent these people were but we don’t give them enough credit due to there lack of hard technology development and cultural dependence on verbal story telling. It is our intelligence construct around technology and progress that keeps us from appreciating early human life intelligence along with some very smug I am smarter then you kind of thinking.

          1. frosty zoom

            ya know, i think that the “extra dna” stuff they say is extra stuff is actually memories encoded in quartenary numbers.

            so maybe we are smarter. live and learn and such.

          1. Garrett Pace

            Oh wow. I thought all the sites were in Western Europe, but they are spread from Canada to Australia and everywhere in between.

            Ancients drawing fishes or animals in sorta kinda similar ways might be indicative, of something, but it also might be because lots of fishes all over the world sorta kinda look the same. If there’s a written language on display it’s not showing in their findings. As usual, what the headline giveth the content taketh away.

            Thanks for posting that.

      2. Vatch

        I agree that the article is overly speculative. The symbols could be considered precursors of modern emoticons; meaningful, yes, but not a written language.

        1. susan the other

          They say prairie dogs can say “Here comes that man in the yellow shirt.” I wonder how long they have been so articulate. If they can say it, why can’t they write it? Well, no opposable thumb; besides chemical trails are easier. Maybe we invented written language when we lost our sense of smell. Ha. That’s rotten, don’t eat it.

          1. frosty zoom

            are you saying skywriting is really chemtrails?

            i know monkeys that can say, “here’s comes the man in the yellow hat”.

            “In the immortal words of Jean Paul Sartre, ‘Au revoir, gopher'”

            maybe they don’t write it down because they remember it better.

          2. Mel

            But if they wrote it, it would keep on saying “Here comes that man in the yellow shirt.” long after that man was gone. This knack of written language to escape from the context and head off on its own is what’s behind Calvino’s “There is no language without deceit.” (Invisible Cities), I think.

          3. ambrit

            I dunno. In looking for a reference to the relative difficulties between learning to speak versus learning to read and write, I stumbled across this article about the relationship between written language skills and spoken language skills. Embedded in it is an observation that ideographic or pictographic systems are completely different from alphabetic orthographies.
            So, the ‘language’ the authors of the linked post posit is quite different from written language as we know it in the west.
            It’s a bit long, but worth a read.

            1. susan the other

              that was interesting ambrit. the metalinguistics of phonology. I know i’ve always “sounded out” new words. They say the reason the Phoenicians were so successful is because they invented a phonetic alphabet – ours. The Rosetta Stone of the ancients. So this article seems to tell us why phonetics is so successful. And it also points to the importance of short term memory when you are learning new stuff. Holding something in your brain long enough to analyze it. And how important sound is. Just yesterday on NPR there was a segment on how people don’t really connect with what they type on their keyboards versus what they write on paper – because the act of hand writing is important to introspection. So another twist.

  4. JM Hatch

    “Assad Has Lost Over Fifty Percent of Syria to ISIS”

    Video link down due to errors, perhaps one error is calling the Kurds, Al Nusra and other forces part of ISIS.

    1. ambrit

      Yes, funny that. No one seems to be bloviating about the Kurdistan issue.
      If Israel thought that Hezbollah was a tough bunch to deal with, just wait until they cross swords with ISIS.

      1. frosty zoom

        uh, then why are they giving them medical treatment?

        A report submitted to the United Nations Security Council by UN observers in the Golan Heights over the past 18 months shows that Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) have been in regular contact with Syrian rebels, including Islamic State (ISIS) militants.
        Citing the UN report, Haaretz noted that there have been several instances detailed in the report that shows close ties between Syrian armed rebels and Israeli army.
        According to the UN report, a person wounded on 15 September “was taken by armed members of the opposition across the ceasefire line, where he was transferred to a civilian ambulance escorted by an IDF vehicle.”
        Moreover, from 9-19 November, the “UNDOF observed at least 10 wounded persons being transferred by armed members of the opposition from the Bravo side across the ceasefire line to IDF.”


        1. sleepy

          I wonder if that Haaretz article hasn’t been “cleansed”.

          Your quotation’s 1st paragraph ends with “Syrian rebels, including Islamic State (ISIS) militants.”

          The Haaretz article itself though omits the “including Islamic State (ISIS) militants” and ends after the words, “Syrian rebels.”

          1. frosty zoom

            Here’s the smell of the blood still: all the
            perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little
            hand. Oh, oh, oh!

        2. ambrit

          I think even the IDF makes a distinction between ISIS and the so called ‘moderate’ Syrian Rebels.

  5. Jim Haygood

    WSJ headline today: ‘Congressional Inaction Threatens NSA Spy Program.’

    Probably in 1955 the WSJ headlined, ‘Salk’s Vaccine Threatens Polio.’

    And in the 19th century, ‘Expanded Sanitary Sewers Threaten Cholera.’

    Off with their horned heads …

  6. JCC

    Bayer is one of the big producers and sellers of neonicotinoids. They recently popped up a poster on their PR site that states that Bee Colonies are ‘stable or increasing”.

    Here is a direct link to the poster

    Ain’t Corporate Propaganda wonderful?

  7. Ron

    Houston is a good place to avoid during heavy rains! Visited several times for business of the years and when it rained the intersections became flooded and roadways were difficult to travel.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Sounds like every smart Houstonian should have a spare gondola in his/her place.

      1. JTMcPhee

        I think down there it’s john boats, pirogues, kayaks, canoes and things with 3 or more large outboards hanging on the transom.

        1. Brooklin Bridge

          With all the executions in Texas, probably a lot of narrow pine boxes floating around.

  8. fresno dan

    Good Wine Tastes More Like Koala Urine Than You’d Think io9 (Jeff W)

    they say that as if it were a bad thing…

    1. Doug Terpstra

      That’s probably a claim by a sour-grapes wine snob who’s never actually smelled the amusing bouquet or tasted a proper appellation and vintage of koala urine, with its delightful hints of eucalyptus and its playfully fruity finish.

    2. Jeff W

      So that means that a good Riesling is not “the unkoala,” uh, drink…? [leans back and laughs] (with apologies to Geoffrey Holder)

  9. Garrett Pace

    “Why do people waste so much time at the office?”

    A lot of office jobs are essentially non-productive so the time was pre-wasted. You can’t maximize the productivity of unproductive tasks, even if it *seems* like people are doing things. It’s like turning off a kid’s video game before he can save his progress.

    A lot of people use internet goofing as a coping tool. When I knuckled down and stopped opening my web browser at all at work, I had an immediate and powerful realization: “wow, this job can be very dull and unfulfilling.” I hadn’t noticed when my head wasn’t in it!

  10. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Horror sites.

    Human trafficking.

    Tragedy at the Supply End.

    Tragedy at the Demand End.

    Tragedy along the way.

    It’s like the global ocean conveyor belt – if one part fails, the whole mechanism stops.

    1. diptherio

      More on human trafficking, from Indian Country Today

      In a report on the prostitution and trafficking of Native women in Minnesota, Native women share their experiences to illustrate how ethnicity is directly connected to why they became prostitutes and how they were treated by clients. One woman said “I’m put down anyway, so why not prostitution? I’m called a ‘squaw’, so why not?” Another, discussing a client said “[h]e likes my hair down and sometimes he calls me Pocahontas. He likes to role play like that. He wants me to call him John.”
      data and research from related studies suggest that human trafficking may likely not only affect Native women and girls, but also disproportionately impact them. This article will explore child protection implications of trafficking through the review of
two bodies of research that may provide useful information on trafficking of Native women and girls 1) the research on the existence of predictive risk factors within the community and 2) the data on the impact of the commercial sex trade.

  11. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Mexico, Uber, taxi cabs.

    “…Uber is exempt from certain taxes…”

    A young corporation always needs a little nurturing (from the government w.r.t. taxes).

    It used to be happy days for cash-poor consumers online, but now, it’s hard to avoid sales tax at grown-up Amazon.

  12. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Madrid, Spain:

    1. Use all municipal means and resources to stop evictions from primary residences and guarantee alternative accommodation for the evicted.

    2. Stop the privatization of public services, the outsourcing of municipal services to large companies and the sale of public heritage sites.

    3. Guarantee basic utilities (electricity and water) to all households that cannot afford them.

    4. Guarantee access to municipal healthcare services and promote healthy policies for all citizens, regardless of their situation.

    5. Develop an urgent plan to get young people and the long-term unemployed into work.

    Three times they guarantee on some sort of means-tested basic income (in the forms of shelter, free – those who cannot afford – utilities, – regardless of situation – health care) guarantee.

    But not quite work guarantee…only to develop an urgent plan.

    1. Santi

      The three guarantees can be given, for instance (using your numbering):
      1. The City has some housing that they rent, and there is a process of negotiation with banks for them to avoid eviction on houses that will remain empty…
      Re: 2 Stop is as strong a word as Guarantee.
      3. In Barcelona the City is planning creating a public utility operator (this can be done relatively easily under current laws) that will distribute and sell (maybe produce too, investing in solar in the big stock of public buildings) and this operator will subsidize people under risk of exclusion. In Madrid I guess there are similar plans.
      4. Again Town Halls used to have some health care facilities. They are typically currently engaged with the Global Health Care System. I guess they want to give access to those to people who are excluded from the (used to be) universal system. This includes long term unemployed and illegal inmigrants.
      Re: 5. It clearly is impossible for a Bankrupt City (Madrid debt is very high, thanks to PP majors, more than 36B€ (or 3800€ per capita) when young unemployment exceeds 50%

  13. Oregoncharles

    “Podemos and the other anti-austerity forces in Spain will push plutocrats towards their limited options failed evolution ”
    Spain and Poland, too. Thanks for confirming my casual comment that unrest was increasing in the EU.

    Now if we can just see something like this in the US….

  14. Oregoncharles

    “While Varoufakis has been and remains correct in his economic analysis, it became evident in February that the creditors would not budge from their orthodox, as in failed views, and that was at least in part driven by Germany not wanting to give up its contradictory goals (running large trade surpluses within the Eurozone while being unwilling to finance its trade partners).”

    And yet you wonder why I think an eventual Grexit is inevitable? Unsustainable situations eventually end – usually not in a good way.

    Does anyone see any good outcome as at all likely? The only option might be that the Greeks stall long enough for a series of elections to cut the legs out from under the Troika. That’s a long time, and not at all sure.

  15. salvo

    wow that’s what a ‘radical left’ looks like nowadays: painting a human face on neoliberalism, it seems

    “Consider what that means: an independent tax agency; reasonable primary fiscal surpluses forever; a sensible and ambitious privatization program, combined with a development agency that harnesses public assets to create investment flows; genuine pension reform that ensures the social-security system’s long-term sustainability; liberalization of markets for goods and services, etc.

    I just don’t want to start thinking about what that ‘etc’ means

    Varoufakis quoted from the above link

    1. Santi

      Both Varoufakis and Podemos people, have stated repeatedly that their program is less “leftist” or radical than Swedish or German social-democrats in the 80s.

      The Overton’s Window was very successfully moved towards socio-liberalism since Thatcher and Reagan, with neo-liberalism. To the extent that what looked normal in the seventies is quite different that what looks normal now. No wonder that Podemos makes a strong point that we need to think that alternatives are possible, vs the neoliberal TINA.

      Podemos and SYRIZA could be characterized as Radical Populist Social-Democratic parties. In both of them there is people to the left “classic” social-democracy, but I don’t think they are in charge. Just reading the Modest Proposal by Varoufakis makes very clear he is “classic” social-democratic (save capitalism from itself). You can see an analysis (in English) of Podemos economic proposals and check how leftist they look. They could have been signed by Olof Palme, or even early after Godesberg German SPD leaders. Clearly the Roosevelt’s New Deal was leftier than what they propose.

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