Links 5/6/15

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Occupy Summer School #OWS Mathbabe. Sounds fun if your kid is in the NYC area.

New apps threaten TV networks’ golden egg: Live sports WaPo

Government Says Company Part-Owned by Feinstein’s Husband Abuses Post Office Contract Some moron named Dave Dayen in The Intercept

The Immigrant Baby Born on the High Seas The Daily Beast

McConnell Will Move Iran Bill Forward Without Controversial Amendments From Senate Hawks Huffington Post

US approves Cuba-Florida ferry BBC

Higher Ed Lobby Quietly Joins For-Profit Schools to Roll Back Tighter Rules Pro Publica

Hillary Clinton Goes Big on Immigration Huffington Post. She even criticized the detention bed mandate, which I wrote about here a couple weeks ago.


Police at Station with #FreddieGray’s Limp Body: “We gave him a run for his money” Daily Kos

“It’s pure authoritarianism”: Glenn Greenwald exposes the link between Baltimore’s uprising and the NSA Salon

Baltimore‘s mortgage crisis withered dreams deferred–until they exploded Quartz

Donovan, Staten Island Prosecutor, Wins Congressional Seat Grimm Held NYTimes. The guy who investigated the Eric Garner case. Black lives matter.

‘The Game Done Changed’: Reconsidering ‘The Wire’ Amidst the Baltimore Uprising Dave Zirin, The Nation

Yellen Meetings With Financial Firm Come Under Scrutiny WSJ. This is about that data leak.

L.A. sues Wells Fargo, alleging ‘unlawful and fraudulent conduct’ LA Times

Bernie Sanders To Introduce Bill To Break Up The Big Banks HuffPo. This looks like a terrible bill, unless Sanders happens to be President. The mechanism is that the Financial Stability Oversight Council determines who is Too Big to Fail, and then gives those firms a year to downsize. FSOC’s chair is the head of Treasury, and members are the other regulatory agencies. You could easily see them deciding that, in fact, nobody is Too Big to Fail (after all, that’s Treasury’s stated position). What’s wrong with a size cap as a percentage of GDP?

It’s becoming increasingly hard to get a loan in the Deep South WaPo

Activists Target Hedge Fund Managers Cashing In On Predatory Drug Pricing Schemes from Gilead Sciences Vocal NY

Nationstar’s surprise 1Q loss pulls down nonbank servicers Housing Wire

The Debate Over the TPP Grasping Reality With Both Hands. DeLong wrestles with himself.

Big Brother is Watching You Watch:

Germany, Too, Is Accused of Spying on Friends NY Times

How the NSA Converts Spoken Words Into Searchable Text The Intercept

Proposed cuts for Alabama courts ‘crazy, devastating’

Bloomberg: on Bobby Jindal’s watch, Louisiana’s tattered finances the consequence of two key factors The Advocate — Baton Rouge, Louisiana. They’re still paying Duck Dynasty $300,000 in subsidies per episode. Why, because they might move?

43rd Assembly District (NY) results Diana Richardson became the first Working Families Party member to be elected to the New York state legislature solely on the WFP ballot line.

NDP wins stunning majority in Alberta election, Jim Prentice resigns The Toronto Star. I’m told this is akin to Bernie Sanders winning the Governor’s race in Texas.

Here’s an Antidote du jour fresh from Alberta:


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About David Dayen

David is a contributing writer to He has been writing about politics since 2004. He spent three years writing for the FireDogLake News Desk; he’s also written for The New Republic, The American Prospect, The Guardian (UK), The Huffington Post, The Washington Monthly, Alternet, Democracy Journal and Pacific Standard, as well as multiple well-trafficked progressive blogs and websites. His has been a guest on MSNBC, CNN, Aljazeera, Russia Today, NPR, Pacifica Radio and Air America Radio. He has contributed to two anthology books, one about the Wisconsin labor uprising and another on the fight against the Stop Online Piracy Act in Congress. Prior to writing about politics he worked for two decades as a television producer and editor. You can follow him on Twitter at @ddayen.


  1. rjs

    my post at Kos Monday:
    an oil glut without drilling rigs; production, inventories and the fracklog…
    [incomplete wells] represent daily production of about 332,000 barrels of crude being left in the ground, effectively stored in the shale, such that if they were all fracked in short order, it would be like adding another Libya to the global oversupply…alternatively, we could just about shut down all the rigs in the country and still see oil and gas production rise for another half year

  2. Andre

    My brother, who lives in New Brunswick, and holds dual citizenship for forty years, and also suffers from “Harper Derangement Syndrome” was telling me about this a few days back. Everybody up there is astounded, and especially so when you take into account that Alberta is where Tar Sands is domiciled. This is going to be fun to watch. Pop corn for everyone!

    1. Eclair

      Canadian Ian Welsh comments on the NDP win in Alberta, as he lists their key campaign promises.

      1. Kurt Sperry

        Link for Ian Welsh on the Alberta election-

        Parenthetically, Justin Trudeau looks like a frostback Obama analog, photogenically slinging hope unicorns while setting up to do the neoliberal business via a Lib/Con duopoly dressed up with separate entrances based on overblown contentless identity distinctions, but leading to the same corporate, bipartisan hellspace–absolutely worthy of best American practice.

        1. Paper Mac

          As I chuckled at your description I was reminded of the Arab proverb “the worst of things make people laugh”.

          1. hunkerdown

            Touché. I was reminded of that old Canadian hard-rock song that went, “Hard to laugh ’cause you know that she’s been lyin’ / But you’ve got to laugh to prevent yourself from cryin'”

    2. Kurt Sperry

      The NDP rout in Alberta (Texas North) and the precipitous collapse of the provincial Conservative Party is a real political black swan. The polarity of The Force is wobbling in the Canadian prairies, it could be a one off or it could presage bigger shifts to come. The Bernie/Texas analogy isn’t really all that far off base.

      1. frosty zoom

        well, alberta is famous for dinosaurs.

        nonetheless, i remain quite sceptical. i imagine that we’ll have neoliberal corporate glunk covered with health care sauce.

        1. hunkerdown

          Calgary, analogous to Austin (Texas), or Iowa City (Iowa). Well, Iowa City isn’t Iowa, as Iowa Citians say.

          1. Robert Dudek

            But Calgary is a much higher percentage of the population of Alberta than Austin is of Texas. And Calgary was once considered more conservative than Edmonton. It is far closer to being the Dallas North than Austin North.

  3. frosty zoom

    i bet it’s a maalox morning for viceroy harper. although the conservatives won his (federal) riding, it is now surrounded by commies.

    i imagine that junior trudeau and the liberals are pretty nervous, too.

    i wonder if the koch brothers will stand for this. ¿anyone else wanna bet that wmds will soon be found in the dumpster of an edmonton timmy’s*?

    *tim hortons for the gringos

    1. diptherio

      Well, I have heard from a reputable Canadian ex-pat that Timmy’s has been selling Yellow Cake…and it’s delicious!

        1. JTMcPhee

          I recall Timmy is now a subject in that other Kingdom, the Burger one. I also recall that the Angst Machine had a brief moment of concern, ¿eh?, about “corporate inversions…” Looking forward, I am. to a steady increase in Benign Senescent Forgetfulness, to put flowers back in the mental garden…

          Headquarter Shift to Canada to Benefit Burger King

          The merger is being looked upon as a tax inversion strategy by Burger King, as the parent company’s headquarters are relocated to Ontario, Canada. This so-called inversion will allow Burger King to access offshore profits that that were formerly subject to US Federal taxation upon repatriation, even though they had already been taxed in the jurisdiction (i.e., country) where they were generated. Few countries besides the US impose this double taxation on offshore profits. In addition to this benefit, a Burger King domiciled in Canada will enjoy its lower rates of corporate taxation. Canada’s federal tax rate of 15%, combined with Ontario’s corporate taxes of 11.5%, results in a combined tax rate of 26.5%. Its US operations will still be subject to US taxation for the profits it generates in the country. It will benefit the American company in tax savings, as it can use the saved money to reinvest in the businesses or to fund the dividends and share buybacks.”

          Yah, that’s what they’re gonna do, eh?, re-invest in the businesses?

          1. hunkerdown

            Veblen drew a distinction between “business” and “industry”. When capitalist tools talk business, it is always at the expense of industry.

    2. diptherio

      Also: Progressive Conservatives??? Pretty blatant with the Newspeak up there, aren’t ya? Glad to seem ’em gone, that’s for sure. They sound like a bunch of hosers….

      1. Kurt Sperry

        It should be noted that the Progressive Conservative Party died in the early nineties and was officially buried some ten years later. So no, today’s Canadian Tories are not ProCons.

        1. JEHR

          Re: NDP win in Alberta
          In the past, there didn’t seem to be much of a direct connection between the provincial parties and the federal ones, but because Alberta is Harper’s stamping ground, this election becomes very important. Harper got rid of the “Progressive” moniker and rightfully so as his government is neoliberalism on steroids. So much new legislation has been bundled into “omnibus” bills which have passed often without any amendments that it is difficult to recognize Canada as it used to be.

          Harper has changed (for the worse), our environmental laws, water pollution laws, the rights of scientists to speak, the surveillance laws, criminal laws (making them more stringent and mean), and he has clashed with First Nations People, called environmentalists “extremists,” spent hugely on defense without proper oversight of purchases (F35s), and sent Canadian soldiers into foreign countries to train (e.g., Ukrainians). He has bribed selected groups of the electorate with money and credits so that he will be re-elected; some of these changes are not necessarily for the public good and, for good measure, he changed the Electoral rules to benefit Conservatives.

          When Notley was giving her winner’s speech to her fellow NDPers, she mentioned that she was looking forward to working with Harper, whereupon she was met with many boos and other noises of disaffection. However, she will most certainly be working with him because of the tar sands and she has her work cut out for her! Because of the animosity between Harper and Mulcair (the Federal NDP leader), Mulcair kept his distance from Notley. It remains to be seen what policies Notley will enact and what pressures she will come under for building pipelines.

          Six of her campaign promises include:

          -Review of oil royalties to companies;
          -Boosting corporate tax rate to 12%
          -Increase minimum wage to $15;
          -Higher tax rates for high earners;
          -Ban on corporate and union donations to political parties;
          -Creation of long term care spaces.
          (See: )
          (See also: )

      2. hunkerdown

        Do be kind. There are only so many stately nonsense words one can clap together in a party name before getting to “The Rent Is Too Damn High”. Not that the name ever reflects the content anyway. Imagine a far-left party in the US under that banner. It would make both granfalloons explode!

    3. alex morfesis

      or did the Kochs HELP NDP win…
      lets you and him fight…

      remember…first mover position is to ignore the rules and then if someone might catch up with you, then make sure there are rules in place…for anyone who might follow and try to do what they just did…
      in NYC there are many skyscrapers that were built BEFORE the regulations were changed to what they are today…and then, once the concept was proven, and there was easier funding available…well, then we have to make sure we have no competition by putting in rules that… know…you can’t make us tear down the buildings now that they are up….broo-hahahahaha…

      and the farma companies do it all the time…oh wait…did someone say our medication could be dangerous…hmmm…oh…goodness…soon our control will expire with our patent…hmmm…would it not just be wonderful to have the FDA and some lawyers say our concoction is not fit for human consumption…how jolly that would be since that would prevent the little generic manufacturers from letting the little people people get some affordable medication…but, there is that new and improved version that we just patented that would not sell so well if our old and proven pills were just allowed to go generic…

      how thoughtful of those lawyers to file a lawsuit…

      and our old VP who is now at the FDA was so kind to send us a letter telling us that we wont be able to get to the end of our patent protections since our old pill has gloriously been named a danger to society…

      more bonus money for the c suite…

      hoo rah…

      1. JEHR

        The Kochs have been having a running battle with Canadian journalists who have been trying to inform Canadians about how these multi-billionaires got rich off Canadian oil. Well, they got some p*ssed with them and fought back.
        I am pleased to see that the editors have been supporting the investigative reporters on the Koch issue. We still have some very good media reporting here.

        Then there is this video of Harper being interviewed at the Council on Foreign Relations by Robert Rubin! Holy Moly! Rubin is forever bringing his putrid ideas wherever he be! Twins, they are.


  4. rich

    PPACA Shafts Seniors, but Helps Corporations

    Employers have significantly cut many of the benefits they offer to workers over the past five years. “The two biggest areas where cuts have come have been in health care and retirement because that’s where costs have increased the most.”

    The time frame covered is 2006 to 2015. Over this decade private equity underwriters became as common as cockroaches. President Obama’s health reformer, PEU Nancy-Ann DeParle, designed a program that shifts the burden for health insurance from employers to individuals and a tapped out Uncle Sam.

    Not only do seniors and retirees face a greater financial burden, they enter an insurance and health care delivery system with overwhelming complexity. Obama deforms health care with profiteering and distorting bribes/punishments. The underlying goals and methods of PPACA are no different than Wall Street’s incentive compensation which resulted in widespread criminal behavior.

    While seniors and retirees are set adrift in a sea of mind boggling complexity, the investor class makes big bets on healthcare. They’ll happily pick seniors’ pockets for their 30% annual returns.

    A big round of applause for Obama’s vulture investor class and PPACA’s absurd architects. The system is fulfilling its design. Seniors are to suffer or die for their country’s financial sector.

    Profit optimization is the primary goal. Everything else is secondary, including retirees and the elderly.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Only if the rest of us can use your logic to address your rhetorical question…

        Oh, I get it — you were being IRONIC!

        1. JerseyJeffersonian

          Actually, irony, although implicit in their adulation of The One, is not an intelligible category for Obots. Thus, we must posit instead sarcasm as the intent of this poster. Lamentable that one should remain impervious to the copious evidence and feel it necessary to further augment investment in irretrievable sunk costs in the Neoliberal Trojan Horse, but egos must be defended, no?

  5. Frances

    Diane Feinstein’s husband, Richard Blum, and the post offices:
    Glad that David Dayan is following up on this story that began in 2006. Do read the TruthOut account of how Congress made sure that the Post Office would fail. It’s only shocking that this tale gets attention in cities where historic and beloved post office buildings have been sold (Berkeley, etc.).

    1. sd

      Mr. Blum’s antics have been well-documented. No one blinked an eye over his no-bid contracts in Iraq. Nobody really seems to care that our politicians are about as corrupt as they come – looking at you Ms. Feinstein.

  6. afisher

    NDP win in Alberta Canada is HUGE! Best news of the day for those who are against XL pipeline. And for the cherry on top, in Anchorage AK – a Koch funded candidate loses mayoral election.

    As HuffPo highlighted the Canadian win: PIGS FLY as this was the end of a 44 yr old hold on power by the PC (like GOP) and Harper government. As some are attempting to play down this election – no one is happy with Harper and his new NSA like laws.

    1. Mark Alexander

      Being an ignorant USA-an, I’m having trouble understanding why Canadians keep electing Harper if nobody likes him.

      1. JEHR

        We don’t keep electing him. He had a minority government at first and then he got 39% of the popular vote but still achieved a majority because of our “first past the post” was of selecting MPs. That needs to be changed but I don’t know a party who wins the old way that will be happy to make new rules that allow better results for the other guy.

        1. frosty zoom

          well, there’s only enough to go around. you’ve got 40% of the people who think the terrorists are coming to raise taxes versus 60% of sane people split amongst 19 parties.

          by defoul, harper wins and you lose.

          1. different clue

            What if the 19 parties and their memberships and voterships were all to decide that the leaders of the 19 parties could draw straws or something and the final winner would represent the Unified UnHarper Coalition Party or something?

      2. frosty zoom








        freedumb is rampant!
        *betcha want him back, ¿no?

        1. Mark Alexander

          I think you misunderstand my position. Harper looks pretty terrible from here. So I was genuinely puzzled by his apparent popularity, and the previous replies helped reduce my ignorance on this matter.

          1. frosty zoom

            i pulled out those names because it seems nobody ever likes these guys yet they have apparent popularity.

            i know a few who think he’s great, but they tend to be people who are afraid.

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          The way it was done before, hundreds of years ago, was that they would all marry other each, in order to work out their differences.

    2. cnchal

      . . . no one is happy with Harper and his new NSA like laws.

      No one that thinks, is happy. Most Canadians couldn’t give a fart that Harper has put in place a tyranny. They think it’s directed at Muslims. What are all those new prisons for, when the crime rate is decreasing?

      Harper has installed a virtual zipper on all of the “Conservative” party member’s mouths, and they can only speak when allowed by Herr Harper, and only say what he tells them to.

      Congratulations to the NDP. I don’t think it will be any improvement, but it was a treat to see those fatuous Alberta Tories get an electoral beating.

      For the federal election coming up, job 1 for Canadians is to prevent another Conservative majority.

      1. Ian

        As a Canadian. My most realistic, ideal would be a Harper minority. This would force the Liberals to band with the NDP to remove Harper from office, which would give the NDP much more sway in policy. A Liberal win either as a minority or a majority would be the same dynamic as the GOP and Dem corporatist wings have. If the NDP can keep 2nd party status or even pull a minority, that would be awesome. In my very pleasant dreams an NDP majority would be best.

  7. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Converting spoken words into searchable text.

    And some bad people might still be able to evade our public security workers by speaking in Martian, particular the more obscure dialects of that language.

    “I love Martian food, but I am afraid I don’t speak much Martian. Still, I consider myself a lover of all cultures.”

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Another evasive option is to master Greenspan-speak.

      All his congressional testimonial texts from the 90’s are still being deciphered.

      Good luck cracking that enigma.

  8. Jose Garcia

    That’s great! Another Marxist in my town, New York. Watch her district go further down the sewer pipe, as she goes to the fountain of corruption, Albany, and gets sucked in, as they dangle all that free money before her eyes, as she stands there, eyes bulging and salivating at the mouth. Working Families Party! HA! Looks like they’re working more for themselves.

      1. hunkerdown

        TroII’s got a point though. If a faith-based political economy were going to deliver a state filled with administrators that work exclusively in our interests, shouldn’t it have done so after so many centuries? The pure-hearted leader is a peasant phantasy serving only to rationalize their emotional investment in the system that abuses them.

    1. financial matters

      Yes. Her requests look very reasonable.

      “”Those two things she wants from the banks: “No. 1, I don’t think they ought to be able to cheat people,” Warren says. “Second thing, I don’t think they ought to be able to risk destroying this economy. Too big to fail has got to end.”””

      “”The Warren version is worth examining. It gives, in plain language, her view of American capitalism: “You built a factory out there? Good for you. But I want to be clear: You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for; you hired workers the rest of us paid to educate; you were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn’t have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory, and hire someone to protect against this, because of the work the rest of us did.”””

      “”In April, she lobbed a new attack at the White House over its refusal to provide details on negotiations over the Trans-Pacific Partnership. “The government doesn’t want you to read this massive new trade agreement. It’s top-secret,” she wrote on her website. “We’ve all seen the tricks and traps that corporations hide in the fine print of contracts. We’ve all seen the provisions they slip into legislation to rig the game in their favor. Now just imagine what they have done working behind closed doors with TPP. We can’t keep the American people in the dark.”””

  9. Benedict@Large

    Next thing you know, Diana Richardson will be insisting on something like a 40-hour work week and a ban on child labor, and then the whole damned system will fall apart.

  10. Jackrabbit

    Making sense of Greece

    I’ve been thinking a lot about Syriza’s negotiating strategy. On its face, it seems like Syriza has been so bad in negotiating that it is easy to suspect foul play (because Obama). This is especially so given that a more populist/socialist (confrontational) approach seems like it may have been more effective. But there may be a method to Syriza’s “madness”.

    Syriza promised to remain in the EZ AND to relax austerity. At first blush these two goals seem contradictory. And the result of negotiations have only worsened Greece’s financial condition. This has led to charges of incompetence and even suspicions about where Greek leader’s loyalty lies. However, while Syriza’s has ruled out leaving the Euro (voluntarily), they may be pursing a strategy that dares ‘the Institutions’ to force them out. This strategy necessarily takes Greece to the point of default.

    The Catch-22. Syriza agreed to all provisions of the last bailout and the repayment schedule. To get relaxation of austerity, it is up to Syriza to show that they have a workable plan. But having a workable plan makes restructuring the debt unnecessary (or argues for only marginal changes)!

    Thus Syriza can not / will not have a workable plan. In fact, they may never have intended to! But that means that they keep paying until they can’t make a payment (and as long as they are paying they are weakening the country). Greece thereby forces “the Institutions” to ultimately decide on whether to restructure or cause Greece to default. Withholding the 7.2 billion euro bailout money only hastens this decision. (Could it be that Syriza offered to have the Troika hold back the bailout funds?)

    This puts Greece in a position whereby there will be a default unless there is a restructuring (Greece might say that “the Institutions” are only raising increasing the costs that they will ultimately bear). On its face, this is irresponsible public policy and maybe that is why Greek leaders haven’t really explained their strategy(?) But this forces “the Institutions” to deal with Greece insolvency rather than continue the farce. And if Greece defaults, ‘the Institutions’ must decide if they will support (or allow ECB to support) the Greek banking system (thereby allowing Greece to remain in the EuroZone).

    Does this strategy makes sense?

    – if forced out of the EZ, Greece is weaker than if it had ‘called time’ earlier.
    [ Aside: I have previously argued that they shouldn’t have allowed themselves to be: a) drawn into the farce, b) weakened by withholding of bailout funds while making payments. These show incompetence and possibly collusion – unless Syriza never actually intended to provide a plan that would satisfy ‘the Institutions’. ]

    – Syriza might say that negotiating in good faith means not preparing for Grexit. That seems true but also naive and potentially dangerous.

    – How does antagonizing Germany with WWII reparations help/hurt with this strategy (can make arguments either way)
    [ Aside: I have previously view the WWII reparations issue as demagoguery because it can’t be concluded in the time to help Greece before a possible default) ].

    – since this puts the decision up to “the Institutions” what is their likely reaction? what motivates the likely outcome?

    1) A compromise is reached (Debt restructuring=end of austerity) before default?
    This is Greece’s preferred solution and the most rational if the parties can manage to talk it through. Its the least painful all around. But, from the perspective of “the Institutions” it may be too easy on Greece and they might think that it encourages others to challenge them.

    2) Default, No forced exit
    This imposes a price on Greece while not unduly burdening the population. ‘The Institutions’ could hold a forced Grexit over Greece’s head during debt negotiations. This “phase” might last several months and German WWII reparations might be also be discussed.

    3) Default, Grexit
    This makes an example of Greece but could be seen as unnecessarily harsh and “anti-European”. This would be making an example of Greece. It seems most likely to occur if negotiations at #2 fail.


    The above is the most logical explanation I can think of for how negotiations have progressed and some strange statements by Yanis (about no need for bailout money). The alternative is incompetence or worse.
    Although it weakens Greece – and thereby appears to give the Institutions the upper hand – this approach (if I am correct) forces ‘the Institutions’ to deal with the farce of the bailouts sooner rather than later. That would be a good thing(tm).

    The sticking point is the Catch-22. By dragging their feet on reforms Syriza risks being seen as negotiating in bad faith. And that could lead to a Grexident if “the Institutions” feel that they are being toyed with and must save face – an outcome that is the worst for everyone. This sensitivity is another reason to keep the negotiating strategy secret.

    I would hasten to add that this approach (if I have indeed surmised the strategy) is applicable only to countries that have reached the ‘end of the line’ – utter desperate and debt peonage. It offers few lessons for anti-austerity activists other than: 1) local oligarchs and politicians are as much, if not more, the enemy as foreign creditors (they led Greece to disaster and ruin); 2) neoliberals will press their advantage to the very end.

    Apologies for the long comment.
    H O P

    1. Oakchair

      I don’t buy it. If Syriza was going for a default they would of already done it. There is zero reason to raid local governments and other institutions money to pay for debt you are planning on defaulting on.
      Syriza should of just passed a anti-austerity bill that allocated all the primary surplus to stimuls spending then when it was time to pay interest on debt said “we don’t have any money sorry, maybe if Germany released the bailout funds we could pay”

      1. hunkerdown

        Zero reason? If you can’t write “should have” correctly, why should we take seriously anything that follows it?

        There is a word for those who believe their betters are not lying sacks of parrot droppings and/or are capable of anything else: capitalist tool.

        1. Oakchair

          Are you trying to convince yourself or everyone else that you’re not crying from your side lacking a logical argument or a basis in reality?

          1. hunkerdown

            One-move games where the good guy vanquishes the bad guy have a basis in reality? Oh please do go on about Exceptionalist game theory.

            I’m not here to sell anything, other than that kicking up is a far healthier way to run a society than kicking down. When I see the sort of thinking that comes from desperation, misplaced bravado, or Exceptionalism, I do my civic duty by pointing it out.

            Anyway, you are welcome to go right on believing that you have anything to offer to the political class to make anyone but yourself worth their while. But I don’t think it’s right to proselytize such nonsense to those who don’t (and if they did they would already know full well).

            1. Oakchair

              Is economics a game to you because you’re clueless on the topic? Given that your math skills consider passing a stimulus bill and then months later defaulting ad one action I doubt you’ve had time moving on to more advanced mathematics given your trouble with counting.
              I apologize that you feel upset because people like you lack knowledge on the subject but maybe get pissed less at people who aren’t ignorant on the topic. I apologize that I was punching down at you by stating basic facts that you can’t grasp but get over your sense of inadequacy.

      2. Jackrabbit

        Yeah. There are more straightforward ways to proceed. I have been skeptical also.

        What I wrote is an attempt to try to piece together what Syriza’s strategy might be.

        1. Jackrabbit

          I’ve seen speculation about a Greek default but I haven’t seen anyone discuss the “Catch-22” (for lack of a better word): agreement and non-cooperation at the same time.

          1. Calgacus

            Yeah, your view is basically consistent with Greece’s duty to negotiate with Berlin: Part B of an interview – still the best source I’ve seen to make sense out of Syriza’s strategy. Which I endorse, if they really act according to this strategy – and the time of decision is near. The problem is that their beliefs about the negative consequences of Grexit are grossly exaggerated, not coming from careful reasoning or historical comparisons. Grexident, Grexit whatever is not by a long shot the worst foreseeable outcome for all. The status quo is. So I have more trust in their ability to successfully execute separation from the Eurozone and in the quite likely prospect of a robust recovery thereafter than their sticking to their guns.

            1. Jackrabbit

              Thank you for that. It does support what I wrote. Highlights (emphasis is mine):


              Syriza’s leaders have, over the last year or two, come to the conclusion, and I think correctly, that it will be a disaster to get Greece out of the Eurozone. At the same time, it would be a disaster to try and implement the current loan agreement, bailout deal with the Troika – the reason being that it simply cannot be implemented. It’s not a question of willpower. This is an agreement that is utterly irrational and which is self-defeating.

              So the only thing that they can do given that within Greece there are no degrees of freedom, as I said, is to renegotiate the agreement. But the only way of renegotiating the agreement is if they are willing to adopt a tough bargaining stance. To go to the next European Union Council, once elected, and set out what the broad guidelines for a new agreement must be, adding that unless these broad guidelines are put on the table and discussed sensibly the Syriza government is not going to make any repayments to the European Central Bank in the context of bonds that the ECB owns and are maturing, and that none of the steps and measures agreed to by previous governments will be implemented. For instance, there won’t be any fresh public sector firings. Then, be prepared for two to three tense months before a proper bargaining process commences…

              But I think that Merkel and Schäuble know deep in their bones that the current strategy cannot continue. And it cannot continue because it’s self-defeating. It’s not that the SPD or the current Greek government or the Spanish government or President Hollande or anyone else is going to force Mrs. Merkel to change course. Reality is going to change her mind, I hope….

              What we should do is veto the present policies. And bring things to a head. If I were the Greek prime minister I would declare that I would never going to get out of the Eurozone. “If you want to throw me out, go ahead and do it. Do your worst. Switch off ELA support to the banks and let everything go to hell. But I’m not getting out of the Eurozone. I’m also not going to fire 4,000 public sector workers in December. I’m not going to redeem the ECB for the bonds that it’s holding. And I’m not going to be talking to the Troika until and unless we have a European Union and Council in which we sit down and discuss reasonably and rationally what needs to be done. Now if you want to dismantle the Eurozone in the process by unilaterally discontinuing ELA support to my banks go ahead. If you want to get out of the euro yourselves, be my guest.”

              Q: What do you think is keeping that from happening? The leaders in the peripheral countries have been extremely timid.

              Well, the fact is that the Periphery is ruled by clones of Mr. Quisling. The whole point of the political stance of the Periphery’s leaders is to demonstrate that they remain on a side with the powers that be.

              I don’t really care who does it in Europe, whether it’s a Greek politician, an Irish politician, or a Portuguese politician. Somebody has to start the ball rolling. One government has to say no. And I believe that “no” by one government will be like the little chip on the dam that causes a small leak that will then bring the whole dam down.

    2. Yves Smith

      No, you’ve got the sequencing wrong.

      The February memo (the “bailout”) reaffirmed the existing structural reforms. Syriza is supposed to come up with detailed implementation plans (nomenclature is different but that is sorta what it amounts to). They are allowed to swap some existing reforms for ones they prefer IF they can convince the Troika and Eurogroup that there will be no negative fiscal impact.

      Everyone has made clear that the new government has to get through the bailout negotiations before they’ll talk about debt restructuring.

      The IMF bringing up debt restructuring at this late hour, totally out of synch with what the ECB and Eurogroup want throws a spanner in the negotiations. It makes it even harder to get to a deal. It is hard to surmise what this is about. My best guess (and I can come up with other scenarios) is that the IMF is sure there will be no deal by May 11 (as in no downside to messing up already messed up negotiations) and they want to shift blame for a default to the EU member states.

      1. Jacckrabbit

        I am proposing that Syriza is being deliberately non-cooperative. There is no sequencing in that strategy. There is only a (hoped for) realization by Troika/Institutions that it is in there interest to restructure. That can happen before or after a default.

      2. Jackrabbit

        The sequencing that you refer to is what the Troika/Institutions have imposed/demanded. It is what has setup the “Catch-22”: tell us how you will pay the debt and then we can talk about restructuring it. But if Greece presents a workable plan to pay the debt, then no restructuring is necessary, is it?

        If Syriza is not cooperating then sequencing is moot.

        1. JTMcPhee

          Catch-22 is a marvelously deep hole. From its most poignant enunciator (can’t say ‘elucidator,’ because the Catch is intentionally opaque), Joseph Heller, in the book:

          In a final episode, Catch-22 is described to Yossarian by an old woman recounting an act of violence by soldiers [kicking the whores out of a particularly warm and inviting brothel, “because markets,” or something]:
          “Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can’t stop them from doing.”
          “What the hell are you talking about?” Yossarian shouted at her in bewildered, furious protest. “How did you know it was Catch-22? Who the hell told you it was Catch-22?”
          “The soldiers with the hard white hats and clubs. The girls were crying. ‘Did we do anything wrong?’ they said. The men said no and pushed them away out the door with the ends of their clubs. ‘Then why are you chasing us out?’ the girls said. ‘Catch 22,’ the men said. All they kept saying was ‘Catch-22, Catch-22. What does it mean, Catch 22? What is Catch-22?”
          “Didn’t they show it to you?” Yossarian demanded, stamping about in anger and distress. “Didn’t you even make them read it?”
          “They don’t have to show us Catch-22,” the old woman answered. “The law says they don’t have to.”
          “What law says they don’t have to?”

          Also known as “The PATRIOT Act,” and “Fast Track,” and “TPP-TTIP-TISA-ETC.” Get it? Got it? Good.

  11. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Sanders’ proposed bill:

    The mechanism is that the Financial Stability Oversight Council determines who is Too Big to Fail, and then gives those firms a year to downsize

    Let’s see… China is never a currency manipulator (neither are we – we just print as much as we want for the whole conquered world…sorry, for the whole free world.).

    And it will be also determined that banks are never too big…much less failing (have faith, dear readers – EOS).

    It’s rocket science that average Joe can’t fathom.

    So, we need more education…so one day, people will be smart enough to see the great decisions made.

    1. Emma

      You know, it’s not rocket science MyLessThanPrimeBeef. We simply need to broaden access to decent education for all Americans.
      The last OECD report showed that the US ranks 16th out of 23 countries in literacy proficiency, 21st in numeracy proficiency, and 15th in problem solving in technology-rich environments. The current generation in the US is also less well educated than the previous one among 20 OECD free-market countries. Funding for both Adult education and English Language instruction has also declined by c.20% percent from 2002 to today when adjusted for inflation. The US is rapidly becoming a nation of Facebook postings and 140- character Tweets.
      It’s as if those who direct/govern policy in the US (over the last couple of decades….) are simply too intent on burning all they can get out of the ground, because they’re unwilling to properly invest from the ground up.
      It’s ‘American interests’ before actual Americans (the people, or 99%-ers). The big question is whether the US can allow the American economy to continue to roll this way……

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Here, we are talking about a really broad kind of education.

        We are talking about life long learning, through the main stream media, via the internet, TV, movies, magazines, newspapers, etc. with their experts and pundits to impress all of us.

        When we are educated enough, we will see why no one, not China, not us, is a currency manipulator.

        1. jrs

          We’re mostly talking about awareness raising groups, where we introduce people to radical thought, and try to dispel their political illusions. Oh wait you mean we weren’t? It’s not 1969?

          But wouldn’t it be interesting if that was ever considered in the broad education thinking?

          If the current generation is less educated than the previous, which I have little problem believing whatever standard of education is used (test of various knowledge bases?), it’s not because they aren’t going to more and more years of school because they are (although since it’s a comparative stat, I can’t even tell if it’s just because the other OECD countries have become more educated.).

      2. hunkerdown

        The last thing we need is to indoctrinate more people into a parasitic bourgeois society that has banned adulthood in favor of not allowing people to grow up until the age of 65. Where do you think most of the chickens on the roost came from?

      3. hunkerdown

        What good will more liberalism do in society, other than elevate market ideology, the culture of ambition, and elitism in general yet further over organic social relations?

        1. JTFaraday

          “organic social relations.”

          I’m drawing a blank… what is that, exactly?

          In fact, it seems to me that modern political theorists had lots of ideas about what society either naturally was (like Hobbes) or naturally was supposed to be prior to its ruination by artificial social relations (like Paine), and those convictions probably have an awful lot to do with your own complaint about elites on one hand and liberals and markets on the other.

          The other day someone offered up “Chimpanzee Politics: Power and Sex among Apes.” Maybe that’s the way to go.

          1. hunkerdown

            “If you don’t like someone, get away from them” vs. “If you don’t like someone, have a contest”? Doesn’t even seem like a contest, heh.

            I doubt that I’ll live to see the former world within a time frame that Planck’s Law might reasonably yield one — Russia notwithstanding. But I can say the chimps are the last vertebrates we should be taking notes from on social harmony — the bonobos have it so much better.

  12. L Wheatley-Irving

    O/T for today’s links, but I just started wondering last night: if TPP is passed in the US, does that mean that foreign countries will be able to set up medical clinics and sell cheaper prescription drugs and health insurance in the USA? How could they be prevented from doing so, under TPP rules? I realize that this is a hypothetical question, since none of us know what is in the TPP document, but I can’t help but wonder…

    1. hunkerdown

      That’s a really good question — what of Kirtsaeng v. Wiley and the grey market, post-TPP? I’m going to guess wildly that the bill here tightens up the grey market considerably, as the goal of liberalization is not merely to make society subordinate to market principles, but to make society subordinate to a single market.

  13. Marko

    ” Grasping Reality With Both Hands. DeLong wrestles with himself. ”

    Warning : DO NOT attempt to visualize this.

    Very disturbing….

  14. JTFaraday

    re: “The Game Done Changed’: Reconsidering ‘The Wire’ Amidst the Baltimore Uprising,” Dave Zirin, The Nation

    New, more complex TV show?

  15. bob

    “New apps threaten TV networks’ golden egg: Live sports WaPo”

    Who keeps running the PR for meercat and periscope? They’re earning their money. Putting an upstart “broadcast service”, not an app*, on the same footing as national broadcasters who spent decades building out their networks. How long did it take netflix to roll out? and then to keep up with demand? On a “network” that already exists – the internet.

    “all you need is an app! you’re a TV station now!”

    * the app doesn’t broadcast. The app streams the video to the backed broadcasting service. There is no way a single “smartphone” could make hundreds, or even thousands of connections that would be required to classify anything as a “broadcast”. The magic is in the servers, not the app. It’s also not that hard to stop this sort of single point of failure network. Take the phone out, take the phones’ internet connection out, or take the servers out. If it does become the problem that the story proposes it already is, they will either A) team up with the sports people B) get sued into oblivion or the more likely C) agree to “censor”, in real time the content, as youtube does now.

    But, for now, all we get is the new paradigm killer app, that could change the world and get everyone laid!

  16. Jack

    That article on The Wire is ultimately too harsh. As the comments on the article are quick to point out, the show was anything but ‘copaganda’. They were frequently shown in an unfavorable light, though in view of recent events and revelations, clearly anything in The Wire was merely the tip of the iceberg (for what it’s worth, the show mostly focused on detectives rather than rank-and-file). The lack of collective action in the series is a very good critique however, though I think the consistent portrayal of individual action as doomed implicitly directs towards joining together in struggle. But yes, the show would have been well served by actually explicitly endorsing collecting action. That would have been a much better central plot for the final season to revolve around than the tonally out of place and petty ‘lone bad journalist’ focus it actually had. That was Simons airing personal professional grievances at the expense of the institutional critique that the other four seasons concentrated on.

    Yes, The Wire is perhaps too cynical in its conclusions (time will tell if things can really change, I suppose), but his other major work, Treme, was too optimistic. Simons became infatuated with the cultural fertility of New Orleans and presented a hopeful vision of its survival prospects. Sorry, but I think New Orleans is doomed. It was already dysfunctional and limping along before the storm. Afterwards…and I know “New Orleans without poor people isn’t New Orleans!”, but I found myself asking that if the same conditions that make the city such a powerhouse of music and art are also the same conditions that lead to rampant so much rape and murdered schoolchildren, is it really worth the cost of preserving that poverty? And I don’t mean sweeping the poor aside through gentrification, I mean genuinely improving conditions and opportunities. If you could fix New Orleans but at the cost of much of what makes the city unique, would it be worth it? I say most definitely yes, no amount of music or street parades are worth even a single persons life. But Treme never even really addresses that issue at all, much less arrives at a conclusion.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      I agree — the article on the Wire was too harsh. “The Wire” was a television show — one of the best ever made — but a television show. It was also a human drama, which binds it to the actions of individual characters. While I might find interest in a documentary about the organizations and groups working to improve the situation in Baltimore I cannot imagine how such material could be fashioned into a television drama. I also cannot imagine how anything less than a drama of individuals could portray the human tragedy that makes “real” just what the organizations and groups are working to repair. The individual stories in David Zirin’s link at the bottom of the article tell more of the story, further fleshing out a part of the injustices that lie beneath the events in Baltimore.

      “Why were those fighting for a better Baltimore invisible to David Simon?” They don’t belong to the drama he was portraying. And to answer the slanted critique of “the Wire” contained in the observation of “… the (often white) teachers, the social workers, and the good-natured cops who are at the heart of The Wire …” — isn’t one of the frequent criticisms of teachers, social workers, and good-natured and not so good-natured cops is that they are white serving a largely black neighborhoods? David Simon is a white guy, and so am I, and I guess I would wonder what’s going on if the preponderance of his characters, his teachers, social workers and good-natured and not so good-natured cops were black — even though that didn’t correspond to the demographics of teachers, social workers and cops whatever those demographics really are. Jamilah Lemieux’s “Ebony” critique of “the Wire” as “a show steeped in the voyeurism of ‘Black pain and death’ for a liberal white audience” is not only unjustified but incendiary in a way most unhelpful to getting justice for Freddie Gray. Carry your wounded and your dead, but if you insist on their sole ownership don’t look to me to join your cause.

      One critique of David Simon I do accept — his experience of Baltimore no more qualifies him to express public opinion as he did “With the fires in Baltimore just hours old …” than it qualifies any other of those who might make such expression. His experience of Baltimore and writing the Wire gave him access to broadly express his public opinion — whether right or wrong. The statement ” … always cringe-worthy when a wealthy middle-aged white guy lectures young black people …” leaves me wondering just who does David Zirin think could “lecture” [a loaded word] young black people without a “cringe-worthy” result? Furthermore, what exactly does Zirin find “cringe-worthy” and why? Ad hominem is cheap critique and unworthy. I too found David Simon’s comment as quoted unfitting. “If you can’t seek redress and demand reform without a brick in your hand …” tells the greater truth. There is no moral lesson in his [Freddie Gray’s] death and there is no “moment for all of us in Baltimore.” [No I’m not in Baltimore.] What’s going on that lead people to pick up a brick is just plain wrong. I don’t believe people pick up bricks out of selfishness or to demand reform. I believe they do it out of anger and despair — but then I’m just a not so wealthy middle-aged white guy starting to share in the anger and despair.

      I strongly agree with David Zirin assertion the Wire is “greatest cop show ever.” I don’t believe David Simon is the most insightful social critic ever.

        1. Jeremy Grimm

          This post quotes David Simon: “But now—in this moment—the anger and the selfishness and the brutality of those claiming the right to violence in Freddie Gray’s name needs to cease … This, now, in the streets, is an affront to that man’s memory and a diminution of the absolute moral lesson that underlies his unnecessary death. If you can’t seek redress and demand reform without a brick in your hand, you risk losing this moment for all of us in Baltimore. Turn around. Go home. Please.”

          I believe Simon’s comment as quoted sounds condescending even a little nonsensical. What “absolute moral lesson” could there be in a death while in police custody? How does a “brick in the hand” relate to “redress and reform.” People pick up bricks because “redress and reform” — change within the system — has failed. Hot blooded anger and frustration, not reason, puts bricks into people’s hands. A thrown brick claims no “right to violence.” It is violence.

          Neither David Simon nor Buck Showalter, the Orioles Manager, is “qualified” to make commentary on, act as a spokesman for or against the unrest in Baltimore. Neither man is qualified to “lecture” to the unrest in Baltimore. And they are not unqualified. It’s not a job and there are no qualifications. No background is needed. They are heard because of their positions and/or accomplishments. I agree with David Zirin who wrote the post, that of the two, Buck Showalter’s statements seemed more fitting to events. I expected a more perceptive and feeling statement from David Simon given his background as a long time reporter for the Baltimore Sun and given what I recall of his statements in the commentaries provided with the DVDs of the “Wire” TV series.

          I believe David Simon’s statement was motivated by a desire to minimize the injury done to persons and property in Baltimore, a city he clearly loves. Even so, the statement was very disappointing coming from the creator of the “Wire.” Beyond that, I have no sympathy for David Zirin’s reassessment of the “Wire.” The critiques of the Wire that he cites grotesquely twist the show’s content and message.

  17. Lexington

    RE: NDP wins stunning majority in Alberta election, Jim Prentice resigns

    While I’m as thrilled as anyone by the NDP win in Alberta, which is undeniably historic, I think there’s a real danger of expectations outrunning reality. Part of the reason the NDP triumphed was because the Conservatives and Wildrose split the right wing vote (Wildrose is a recently created Conservative clone that aims to exploit the fact it doesn’t have the baggage that comes with being in power for over 40 years). In many rural ridings the two parties combined outpolled the NDP by something like 2:1 (the Liberals and Greens did take a few votes from the NDP, but in most cases far too few to matter). Back in the 1950s and 1960s it used to be said that Social Credit (whose dynasty lasted from 1935-1971) were the party of rural Alberta and the Conservatives were the party of urban areas. Now the Conservatives / Wildrose are the party of the hinterland while the New Democrats are the party of the cities.

    The NDP is also taking power at a challenging time when the depressed price of oil is threatening to tip Alberta’s feast or famine economy into recession. It only held 4 seats in the previous legislature so it lacks a deep bench on which to draw to form a government. And it is inheriting a civil service that has never known a political master of any stripe other than Conservative. If I was the NDP I’d be concerned that among the senior ranks especially the concept of “non partisanship” is something they might have heard of before but certainly have never been called on to practice. Maybe airing episodes of Yes, Minister during caucus meetings would be a useful precaution. Also corporate Alberta (meaning mainly the energy sector), which is accustomed to running the province through its Conservative party front organization, would like nothing better than see the NDP fall flat on its face (“see, socialism just doesn’t work people!”) and will no doubt deploy its very considerable resources and influence to achieve this end. That the NDP could prevail in Canada’s most Americanized province against right wing parties floating on an ocean of corporate donations and backed to the hilt by the (increasingly irrelevant) corporate mainsteam media speaks to how much the political sands in the province are shifting but we’re a long way from being out of the woods yet.

  18. night-Train

    Homicide: Life on the Streets was also a good show. Especially the first couple of seasons with Ned Beatty. The Wire was very good. I liked Treme until they killed Steve Earle, then I lost interest. New Orleans isn’t viable geologically. Socially? That’s another story.

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