2:00PM Water Cooler 6/29/15

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Sorry for the 2:02PM post: The router hiccuped as I pressed Submit.


Australia: “[A] parliamentary committee has slammed the deal-making process saying it lacks adequate ‘oversight and scrutiny'” [CNET].

Australia: “There seems to be the beginnings of a rear-guard uprising against the Trans-Pacific Partnership” [Macrobusiness]. “The TPP is an unmitigated dud, strengthening patent and copyright protections at the expense of Australian consumers/taxpayers, introducing risky investor-state dispute settlement provisions that could permit foreign firms to sue Australian taxpayers if/when the Government legislates in the national interest, all the while doing little to free-up agricultural protections for Australian farmers.”

Australia: “Few Australians would see America’s healthcare system as one we’d choose to emulate. But obligations we acquire via the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement could drive us inexorably towards the US model” [Canberra Times]. “Under proposed Investor State Dispute Settlement provisions litigious US corporations could sue over for example, policies designed to promote affordable access to healthcare or protect public health.”

Malaysia: “However, we may have serious problems in ‘adequately addressing’ our special concerns at home. These are related to our state enterprises (government-linked companies or GLC’s), Bumiputera interests, government tenders and contracts and other protected individuals, interests and procedures” [Free Malaysia Today, “Let’s fast track and join the TPP too”].

Canada: “Speaking to CTV’s Question Period, Fast refused to confirm reports that the deal, touted as one of the largest in history, could be wrapped as early as August” [CTV].

United States, U.S. Business & Industry Council: “Most significantly, the TPP does not address a massive cost to U.S. goods and services that has a chokehold on our export levels: foreign Value-Added Tax (VAT) schemes. The United States is one of only a handful of nations worldwide that does not charge a VAT on incoming manufactures and services.  But 10 of the 11 TPP member states do, which means that, even with tariff-free access, high barriers remain [The Hill, “Whoops! We forgot to include the VAT in the TPP”]. “Every time a trade agreement reduced tariffs it was undercut by our trading partners’ raising their VATs to compensate for tariff cuts.” The closer you look, the less “trade deals” look like they’re about trade.

Bold-faced names: Democrat trade traitors. Readers, more like this, please (contact form below). List of traitors; is one of them “your” “representative”?


Republican Establishment

The Bush Dynasty [Nomi Prins].

“Jeb Bush dogged by decades of questions about business deals” [WaPo].

Republican Clown Car

Christie lies. Film at 11 [Star-Ledger].

Republican establishment “scoffs” at Trump surge [The Hill].

Poking the Republican Pyramid [New York Times].

“Increasingly the urban-rural divide looks less like a political split and more like socio-economic and cultural chasm that looks very difficult to bridge” (charts) [NBC].

The Hill

” Marriage Ruling Spurs Calls for Protection for Religious Dissenters” [Bloomberg].

Stats Watch

IMF paper: “The Federal Reserve should wait until the middle of 2016 to start raising short-term interest rates from near zero to ensure the economy is on a firmer footing and inflation is returning to the central bank’s 2% target after undershooting it for more than three years” [Wall Street Journal, “Fed Should Keep Rates at Zero Until Mid-2016 to Avoid ‘Dark Corners,’ IMF Paper Says”]. “Dark corners”? What “dark corners”? This is the greatest recovery ever. How could there be dark corners? Here’s the paper. From the abstract:

[This paper] emphasizes the importance of avoiding “dark corners”, outcomes that could potentially lead to very unfortunate movements in inflation and/or output. In particular, it addresses ways of avoiding deflationary spirals and very weak economies in circumstances in which the central bank is limited in the use of its traditional  policy tool, the policy interest rate, because of the zero lower bound.

The paper also has suggestions for “improvements to the Federal Reserve’s communications strategy.” Hmm.

Pending Home Sales Index, May 2015: 0.9 percent, beating expectations [Bloomberg]. “Solid momentum is building inside the housing market based on the ongoing run of very strong data.” Case-Shiller tomorrow. “Keeping things real – home sales volumes are only 2/3rds of previous levels” [Econintersect]. 

Dallas Fed Manufacturing Survey, June 2015: “The Texas manufacturing sector is still falling but not falling as fast as prior months. The general activity index improved but to a still very weak minus 7.0” [Bloomberg]. “This is the last of the regional manufacturing surveys from the Fed and the bulk, with the exception of the Philly Fed, pointing to another month of weakness.” “Of the five Federal Reserve districts which have released their June manufacturing surveys – two forecast weak growth and three are in contraction” [Econintersect].

“[T]he government [of Puerto Rico] has suddenly switched its approach to its problems from what many critics said was an ‘extend and pretend’ approach to a decision announced over the weekend to simply ‘extend.’ It is declaring the island cannot repay its $72 billion in debts [Market News]. “Puerto Rico is the US version of Greece. Our own Suicide King” [Confounded Interest]. That parallel may be too easy. Readers?


Live blog [Telegraph];  live blog [Guardian]. Common theme as of this writing: Euro vs. Drachma. Guardian crawler: “Governments of France, Germany and Italy all warn that Greeks are voting on their eurozone membership on Sunday, as banks remain shut.”

“̌Athens confirmed it wouldn’t be able to make a loan repayment to the International Monetary Fund due on Tuesday” [Wall Street Journal, “Greece to Default on $1.73 Billion IMF Payment”]

“Panic Sets in Among Hardy Hedge Fund Investors Remaining in Greece” [DealB%k, New York Times]. “Hardy” is indeed just what they would have had to be. “[L]uminaries like David Einhorn and John Paulson…have collectively poured more than 10 billion euros, or $11 billion, into Greek government bonds, bank stocks and a slew of other investments.”

“Hedge funds are notorious for herd mentality. If Einhorn and Paulson are on the wrong side of Greek trades, you can bet others are as well” [Wall Street on Parade].

” The deteriorating situation in Greece… could [lead to “social unrest”] if voters there refuse to accept creditor-imposed reforms in a referendum this coming Sunday, said billionaire Wilbur Ross, who has a large interest in the country” [CNBC].

“Investors Across the Globe Run for Safety as Greek Negotiations Take a Turn for the Worst” [Bloomberg].

Then again: “Where is the Greek contagion?” (video) [Financial Times]. “Despite the tragedy unfolding in Athens, investors have piled in to buy the dip. James Mackintosh examines the evidence of contagion from Greece and why there is so little of it.”

“Obama and Hollande (!) to Join Forces for Greek Crisis” [Greek Reporter].

Dijsselbloem: “I continue to say that, for us, the door is still open, although in the meantime the possibilities and time are very limited,’ the head of the group of eurozone finance ministers told journalists in The Hague” [RTE News].

“Greek Referendum Ballot Revealed” (image) [Greek Reporter].


“In California and much of the West, most rights to surface water are based on when flows were first diverted and used, a priority system known as “first in time, first in right.” The most senior rights predate 1914, when the state started to issue diversion permits. In times of drought, those with junior rights are cut off first to leave water for more senior diverters” [Los Angeles Times].

“Who has what rights to extract and use how much water from which California rivers and aquifers is an almost impenetrable thicket of state laws, regulatory decisions, judicial actions and, in some cases, royal decrees dating back to the pre-statehood era of Spanish and Mexican rule” [Sacramento Bee].

“You’ll hear a version of that from just about everyone who works on water issues in California, that there’s a sort of inertia tied to the hope that a wet winter is just an El Niño away. Instead of solving the problem—by funding a staff or overhauling the archaic water rights system—we just have to wait for the inevitable return of the rain” [Take Part].

“The sinking [from groundwater drilling] is starting to destroy bridges, crack irrigation canals and twist highways across the state, according to the U.S. Geological Survey [Reveal]. “No agency is tracking the sinking statewide, little public money has been put toward studying it and California allows agriculture businesses to keep crucial parts of their operations secret.”

“PreliminaryAnalysis: 2015 Drought Economic Impact Study” [UC Davis] (PDF). “The 2015 drought is not as severe as initially anticipated, but worse than 2014 in terms of reduced water availability and economic impact to agriculture. Groundwater substitution, water market transfers and grower use of limited water for the most profitable crops are key factors buffering the economic and employment effects of drought.”

“Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi sued the Obama administration Monday to stop a new regulation asserting federal authority over minor waterways like streams and wetlands” [The Hill]. “While about 3 percent more area is now covered by the Clean Water Act than before, the protections are still smaller than they were during President Bill Clinton’s administration.”

Blacks and Hispanics drink more bottled water. Study: “The preferences of these minority groups are not driven by concerns about convenience, but rather perceptions about water quality” [Quartz]. Next: Bottled air!

“ICYMI: E.Coli Concerns Prompt Bottled Water Recall; Company Defends Product” [Reston Patch].

Yemen: “While the war is going on, the water level in the aquifer is going down, so the [water] problem may end up being bigger than the war.” [Gulf News].

Black Injustice Tipping Point

NASCAR to take down Confederate battle flag [HuffPo].

Leap Second

“Clocks to read 11:59:60 as time lords add leap second” [Telegraph]. Tomorrow, June 30.

“With 61 Seconds in a Minute, Markets Brace for Trouble” [Bloomberg].

“What Should You Do With Your Extra Second?” [BuzzFeed].

“Leap second boffins prepare to fiddle with the FABRIC of TIME” [Register].

“Leap Seconds: Keeping our clocks in time with the sun” [UK Public Dialogue]. Signs of the times: the National Measurement Office outsourced the “public dialogue”: “This website is a UK Public Dialogue, being conducted by OPM Group on behalf of the NMO.”

Class Warfare

News of the Wired

“Rosetta Sees Signs of Water Ice on Comet Surface (Photos)” [Space]. That’s woo-ter ice.

Early Modern Print: Text Mining Early Printed English [Early Print].

The Story Of Nancy Drew, Once Far More Ballsy Than The Girl Sleuth You Know [HuffPo].

Hagoromo chalk: Why the demise of a Japanese company is a blow to mathematics [Independent].

“Protest is Broken” [Micah White]. 

* * *

Readers, feel free to contact me with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, and (c) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi are deemed to be honorary plants! See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. And here’s today’s plant (John P):


The pollinator photo to end all pollinator photos, isn’t it? Much better than my carpenter bee! Taken by John’s wife on their deck.

If you enjoy Water Cooler, please consider tipping and click the hat. I need to keep my server up! And pay the plumber….


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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. Anon

    Found this today while browsing through Truthdig:

    The Lonely American, written by Chris Hedges. It talks about declining participation in a number of activities, but instead of me rambling on, here’s a quote:

    But it is not just sporting events. Public lectures, church services, labor unions, Veterans of Foreign Wars halls, Masonic halls, Rotary clubs, the Knights of Columbus, the Lions Club, Grange Hall meetings, the League of Women Voters, Daughters of the American Revolution, local historical societies, town halls, bowling leagues, bridge clubs, movie theater attendance (at a 20-year low), advocacy groups such as the NAACP and professional and amateur theatrical and musical performances cater to a dwindling and graying population. No one is coming through the door to take the place of the old members. A generation has fallen down the rabbit hole of electronic hallucinations—with images often dominated by violence and pornography. They have become, in the words of the philosopher Hannah Arendt, “atomized,” sucked alone into systems of information and entertainment that cater to America’s prurient fascination with the tawdry, the cruel and the deadening cult of the self.

    If I had to, I guess I’d file this under Imperial Collapse Watch. “When there is no vision…”

    1. Garrett Pace

      Imagine Galena, or Modesto, or Virginia City of 150 years ago. If they wanted singing, wit, discussion, pathos or most any other thing that enriched life and strengthened bonds, they had to generate it themselves. These were important bonds for a local community.

      Today it’s a little different. It will take me less than a minute to start listening to the best performance of Beethoven’s Sixth that was ever recorded.

      Connectivity is intimidating. It makes our efforts seem paltry, and provides us myriad phony relationships with people we’ll never meet who, in some cases, don’t even exist. We consume content passively, and communications that are not monetizable are more or less forbidden.

      1. Anon

        Perhaps there’s a happy medium somewhere – short of manually disconnecting from the TV/phone/tablet/computer, I can’t think of what it would be.

      2. sleepy

        It was less than a hundred years ago that many families had a piano and some member who could play it. If you wanted to hear music, that was pretty much it.

          1. sgt_doom

            But that’s been the crux of the influence peddlers, to destroy any and all sense of community, right?

            If there still existed any real sense of community, plenty of banksters would be in jail, the CIA, DIA and FBI would have been shut down after 9/11 and purged of all their people (about five or so exceptions at the FBI, but most of them are no longer with the Bureau) — any American who has actually read the after-action congressional reports on the CIA and FBI would most definitely agree with me — what, there are Americans who still have yet to read them???

            Recommended Reading:

            The Influence Machine by Alyssa Katz

            The New Prophets of Capital, by Nicole Aschoff

            Why We Can’t Afford the Rich, by R. Andrew Sayer

            Open Secret, by Erin Arvedlund

    2. wbgonne

      The destruction of collective action by the citizenry is no accident, IMO. It is part of the larger effort to atomize people, the most obvious thrust being the attacks on government and labor unions. The corollary is the monumental growth of collective action by the neoliberals, which we see playing out in Greece, America and everywhere else. The plutocrats know how essential and powerful collective action is, especially in this increasingly crowded and depleted world. That’s why the plutocrats don’t want the people organized. Countless individual, digital circuses to distract. Circuses, but no bread. And the people, hopped up on digital dopamine, won’t even notice the lack of bread until they’re starving, at which time they will likely blame and attack other victms like themselves.

      1. Oldeguy

        Nope, no accident. For two classics explaining how we became isolated, fearful, weak and powerless as opposed to united, confident, strong and powerful try:
        Whats The Matter With Kansas ? by Thomas Frank http://www.amazon.com/Whats-Matter-Kansas-Conservatives-America/dp/080507774X/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1435606880&sr=1-3&keywords=thomas+frank&pebp=1435606894982&perid=1DZD8V60N3MR2MB4A80Z

        Bowling Alone by Robert Putnam
        The Rule Of The Few Over The Many seldom occurs by accident and is never maintained thus.

        1. wbgonne

          It is indeed ironic that technology provides an illusion of connectivity while making people ever more isolated and lonely. It need not be that way, of course. Technology is merely a tool that is being terribly misused. (Present company excepted, naturally).

          Please let me know when the app for collective action arrives.

          1. jrs

            I’ve often thought there should be a website or whatever that lists nearby protests etc.. Of course anyone making such is going to get their name on a 3 letter watchlist (far more than we already are I mean. Maybe only a darknet would work).

            If using technology to socialize it should be the means to real in person meetings. Sometimes the participation online is more for intellectual clarification/information/stimulation/friction, sometimes socializing (probably what Yves complains about when it’s becoming pure peanut gallery).

            1. wbgonne

              If using technology to socialize it should be the means to real in person meetings

              Amen. Unfortunately, technology has become a substitute for personal interaction, rather than an adjunct to it.

              1. Lambert Strether

                That suggests that the lowest bandwidth, ideally text only, would be best. Videos and images provide the illusion or presence.

                1. wbgonne

                  I would say that’s generally true. Aside from certain narrow circumstances (where videoconferencing is logistically necessary, for example), the TV-ication of the internet is just enabling a 24/7 personalized television experience that is addictive and unhealthy.

    3. jrs

      Some of those organizations (not so much the unions maybe, but the volunteer organizations) were probably maintained heavily by (middle/working class as the poor have always worked) women when two people weren’t working to support a family.

    4. jrs

      As for pure paid entertainment activities it is also the case that they have simply become unaffordable. attending sports – increasingly unaffordable (they made a very deliberate decision to cater to the rich), movies – if not quite to the unaffordable point increasingly expensive, plays and musicals – often expensive.

    5. Eureka Springs

      , church services, Veterans of Foreign Wars halls, Masonic halls, Rotary clubs, the Knights of Columbus, the Lions Club, Grange Hall meetings, the League of Women Voters, Daughters of the American Revolution, local historical societies, town halls, bowling leagues.

      As someone who will hit the big 50 this year I can say long before I imagined an internet, PC, or cell phone I soundly rejected the notion as an adult I would participate in any sort of the activities/groups mentioned (I edited out a few I would consider). I mean, seriously? Some things need to collapse.

      1. RUKIdding

        Sacramento CA is in the midst of Agricultural land but suffering from severe drought. Sacramento is also a big “Farm to Fork” town, with a lot of the restaurants encouraging the purchase of local foods for home and restaurant use. Not a bad thing – saving on transportation costs/carbon footprints, fresh foods, etc. Some of the groups affiliated with these movements, fwiw, have joined the local granges in an effort to collaborate on local issues associated with food production.

        Sometimes what goes around comes around…

        I am not a member of, but participate with, the League of Women Voters. They are another admirable group, who do productive, educational programs aimed at educating citizens about politics and the electoral process, among other things. They tend to be “non-sectarian” and strive for objectivity. It was a huge mistake – but one carefully manipulated – for the League of Women Voters to be removed from moderating the US Pres Debates. Those debates have seriously deteriorated since then. There was a reason why the League was removed: because they were effective, objective and ran the debates in true debate format.

        I have no issues with bowling leagues, either. It’s a decent, usually reasonably cheap social activity.

      2. Lambert Strether

        The Grange has quite a history. Are you really sure you want to cross that one off?

    6. Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

      I don’t think it’s as bad as Hedges is making out. Or maybe Portland Oregon is a hell of a lot more civically engaged than Galena Illinois (General Grant is rolling in his grave). That is to say, I am aware I may be in a bubble. I’ve been to Ohio and people seem content to watch TeeVee all day.

        1. Ulysses

          This “silo” syndrome is indeed a key problem. Even in small, “engaged” towns, activists don’t find it easy to coordinate with others who share many of their interests. Single-payer advocates aren’t involved with fair-housing, environmentalists aren’t talking with #Black Lives Matter people, etc.

          We need to create more common spaces and events, for people to get to know about, and hopefully support, each other’s struggles!!

          1. sgt_doom

            But there’s been the national program to remove the public commons, be it the privatization of everything, the preemptive arrests of activists and community organizers under the Bush/Obama Administration, etc., etc.

            The landowners have spoken!

            Only response was what Muenter did in the Senate on July 2, 1915 (but for different reasons today) and the McNamera brothers did to the LA Times and what occurred to the Morgan building in NYC, etc.

        1. curlydan

          “Follow the money” are the truest words in American politics. It explains sooo much. I didn’t realize until last week that Deep Throat sadly did not say this. We are indebted (?!?) to William Goldman, the screenwriter of “All the President’s Men,” who paraphrases a longer expression from the book.


        2. Vatch

          Gosh, Tony Scalia was so upset by some of last week’s rulings, could it be that his colleagues felt compassion and decided to throw him a bone? A new definition of Compassionate Conservatism: protect Tony from a meltdown!

          1. wbgonne

            Scalia is a genuine conservative ideologue (with a quirky literalist streak). Unfortunately for him, the SCOTUS consensus is neoliberal not conservative. Which means Scalia will lose at least some of the culture war decisions. But when there is real money at stake, Scalia will be in the majority, and the Court will hold for corporate interests.

        3. jrs

          How does the Supreme court collect on the money? I mean we all know that Presidents get their speaking fees when they leave, and that there are revolving doors where congress people and so on get prominent positions in corporate America, and that elected offices all get their campaign donations when they run for reelection etc. and there are probably other mechanisms (insider trading etc.). But the Supreme Court? I don’t ask the question in a spirit of naivete or out of love of the current Supremes, but “show me the corruption”. Prove there is a money trail.

          If not we’re going to have to come up with some other explanation like socializing exclusively with the ruling class and thus identifying with it’s interests etc.

          An Ivy League study of Supreme Court decisions and ruling class interests would be interesting. But there’s still no smoking gun.

          1. wbgonne

            I am not suggesting the Supreme Court justices are being bribed. Bribes aren’t necessary. Because SCOTUS appointments are for life, the Supreme Court is generally a lagging indicator of the political zeitgeist. Right now, we are at the zenith of neoliberalism, and the basic tenets of that philosophy — beginning with elevating property to the dominant position in the hierarchy of fundamental rights — are so entrenched in elite law schools and the culture that surrounds them that this is like fish in water. These people are neoliberal ideologues who believe that supporting the corporatists is both righteous and good law.

          2. sgt_doom

            I mean we all know that Presidents get their speaking fees when they leave…

            It’s so sad to see how Americans still remain clueless to this very day!!!!!!!!!!

            Please, go back and research the amount of money each president raises for their presidential libraries, then go forward one year or so when they’ve left the White House, then compare their net worth and the library figures!

            Geez, Louise, it should be sooooo obvious by now!

            Plus, Bill Clinton has been a lobbyist for various so-called free trade agreements, so it was sadly hilarious to see the moronic crowds in Wisconsin, several years back, cheering him when he arrived to speak about Gov. Walker’s attack on collective bargaining, something Clinton promised to reinstall in Arkansas during his gubernatorial campaign, and of course, reneged upon when governor.

            Now as ex-prez, he continues to help offshore jobs!

            (ABA was pressuring SCOTUS to go affirmative on marriage equality, etc.)

        4. sgt_doom

          Thank you — the majority cities around America are financially strapped [read Erin Arvedlund’s book on LIBOR rate riggings, Open Secret and those interest rate swaps, etc.] and any revenues, from marriage licenses, legal agreements, etc. are most wanted.

          The political theater about the ACA, crafted to primarily benefit the insurance companies and pharmaceuticals (owned by the banksters) is a sideshow, etc.

      1. Rex

        Yes, nasty stuff. Gets in groundwater, too. Then there is the big one, CO2, heating up the planet. In my state, also known as the methane plume you can see from space (NASA), the biggest utility is trying to force 25 more years of coal fired powerplant down the public’s throat forcing rate payers to lock in a dark coal future. In the sunniest state in the Union, no less!

        1. sgt_doom

          Gets in groundwater, too.

          And the why of that is important to know: since it is combustible, it is transported in open train cars, and millions of gallons of water is routinely used to wet it down for and during transport — and that water is thusly contaminated with coal/coal dust and returns to the groundwater and aquifers, etc.

      1. wbgonne

        Not only does he not care, I find it inconceivable that Obama did not understand the risk that SCOTUS might strike this down. These regulations were years in the making and Obama is a neoliberal ideologue who had Cass Sunstein and OMB doing cost-effectiveness analyses on nearly every extant regulation in the CFR. To think they didn’t realize CAA regulations REQUIRED such analysis is farfetched.

  2. curlydan

    “Sorry for the 2:02PM post: The router hiccuped as I pressed Submit.”

    I was sitting there…at the water cooler…with no one to talk to. Really awkward!! Luckily, I’ve re-composed myself. Thanks

  3. wbgonne

    Re: Puerto Rico default. Perhaps some people are beginning to realize that neoliberal “bailouts” simply set up a treadmill that runs forever at an accelerating rate.

      1. juliania

        I’m sure you meant to say “The consequence of a bailout is austerity.” Of course it all depends on your point of view.

      2. wbgonne

        Not really. With the “bailouts” comes austerity. That’s the trap. That’s the Shock Doctrine. The PR Governor has specifically said that he tried austerity as demanded by the creditors but it failed and inflicted unnecessary pain on PR citizens.

  4. armchair

    It sounds like there are too many layers of laws for California to untangle water rights. California can’t even track the infrastructure damage that is happening. What could save them? I know . . . Big Data!!! Big Data will be able to gather and process all of this information and give us sensational answers. I plan to have a link within the hour to Big Data’s Big Solution.

    1. ron

      No, recently the water board said there were no senior water rights for surface water and surface water can be defined as ground water if they want to get really technical which they will sooner or later if the drought continues.

  5. nowhere

    Filed under “Water”:

    Lessons of the Arkansas

    “Each city and its small hinterland is a vertically integrated unit for producing beef, and corn is the cheapest means to fatten cattle before they are sent to the slaughterhouse. Consequently, many plains farmers now grow corn instead of dryland crops like wheat. But corn is water hungry and must have twenty inches of rainfall a year to survive and at least forty to thrive. Only one of the corn-growing counties along the upper Arkansas receives twenty inches of rain a year, and some places are so dry that they are, both technically and in outward appearance, deserts. Although corn is manifestly unsuited to the climate, it is grown in enormous volumes, and irrigation is what allows this to continue.”

    The article, also, discusses the draining of the aquifers and the mess that are water rights throughout the West.

    1. frosty zoom

      wow, where i live the corn should grow to be 17 metres tall this year ’cause it hasn’t stopped raining since the 3rd week of may.

  6. Oregoncharles

    The antidote: a zebra swallowtail. We see them every summer, even way out in the woods. The larvae feed on carrot-family plants.

    And then there’s: “Democrat trade traitors. Readers, more like this, please (contact form below). List of traitors; is one of them “your” “representative”?”

    Yes, Ron Wyden and 3 out of four Dem “Representatives.” But i’ve already explained what I plan to do about it.

    1. juliania

      Yellow tiger swallowtail, this one. Caterpillar’s munching on my bronze fennel as I type.

  7. Oregoncharles

    “IMF paper: “The Federal Reserve” –
    The IMF is blowing the whistle on the Fed? Is that actually possible?

    1. Mark P.

      Austan frickin’ frackin’ Goolsbee.

      I interviewed Goolsbee for a couple of hours for a puff-piece I had to write for a magazine in late August 2008 just before the GFC hit fully in early October — I flew to Chicago, bought pizza lunch, went to Obama campaign headquarters, and like that. I remember Goolsbee as a nice guy as these clowns go, but not the brightest.

      A few specific memories:

      [1] Over lunch, he talked with supreme confidence about how he’d sell his home in Hyde Park, in Chicago, and buy one in DC as soon as the then-visible “hiccup in RE values” passed in a couple of months. When I repeatedly suggested ‘suppose it’s more than a passing hiccup,’ he was genuinely perplexed at the idea. A couple of years later that Hyde Park house was still on sale and then he was back home from DC because Summers got sick of his ass siding w. Paul Volcker.

      [2] In trying to get something about energy policy, amid discussion I remember I had to tell him that during the 1973 oil embargo that U.S. GDP dropped 3 percent. This was something people in his line of work and with his levels of aspiration should know, I’d thought.

      [3] I actually wondered whether Goolsbee was funning me and seeing what he could get into print at several points. For this puff piece I was supposed to present him as this 21st century futurist-style economist. So I needed to get a Big Idea-type soundbite out of him about technology if I could. Best I could get was “In the future people will be able to file their tax returns with the IRS over the Internet.”

      I kept a straight face and didn’t say, “There’s this thing called Turbo Tax. You might have heard of it.”

      But give Goolsbee credit for being relatively on the side of the angels, and supporting the Volcker rule against the likes of Summers and Geithner.

    2. sgt_doom

      No sane American today should give a rat’s ass what Goolsbee or any other neocon/neolib varmint thinks!

  8. Oregoncharles

    Micah White:

    His comments as quoted strike me as sensible, even self-evident. I particularly like his endorsement of political participation, since that’s what I do.

    I know that little town on the Oregon coast; friends of ours live near him and have talked with him. The trouble is, his personal situation (and yes, this is all 2nd hand, so discount as you see fit) is pretty questionable. Our friends were unimpressed, to say the least. I suggest looking him up before taking him too seriously.

    Which might be to say, he’s really just another pundit.

    1. hunkerdown

      Isn’t it interesting that protest movements “need to” start living the neoliberal values of hamster-wheel innovation, salesmanship, and optimism?

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Yeah, I put that one up there because I was really interested what people would think of it. My knee started jerking right away, but that’s not always a good sign….

        Any signs of really corrupt language?

        1. hunkerdown

          I’ll grant that his purpose here was more likely to go meta about protest by a level or two. I get the overall impression from the interview that we should fight spectacle with spectacle, which is sensible. But it appears to me the content of “social change” is broken right now, whereas he seems rather content-agnostic about it as if one size fit all.

          Not that he wouldn’t when in town speaking at an ad agency. Jetting around launching corporate communications agencies is a bit unseemly, in itself. (Maybe locals would know more about about Sra. Augusto, but an English Google Translation of GUME’s website does not suggest any particular orientation toward social purpose.)

          The future of activism is leaving pols alone? Based on the head-fakes on unpopular Congressional acts lately, he may have some point there.

          Not protesting the authorized thugs of the system? One of the biggest components of the fear complex he claims inhibits movements?

          The almost complete lack of counsel to disobedience or non-cooperation with the adversary of any particular sort, with the strange exception of unorganized, unaffiliated violence? A problematic prescription, in light of the FBI’s declared intent to concentrate on lone wolf unauthorized thugs.

          The power of protest seems to me to be in what’s not being done: orderly, contented service to authority with no expectations in return. Even Saturdays in the town square pointedly display that some people are not huddled in their homes mending status tack.

    1. jrs

      Didn’t know TAA had passed, what was the rollcall on the TAA traitors in the House? With Medicare cuts I suppose? Maybe we really do need more “keep the government’s hands off my Medicare” protestors. Clearly the left is unable to mount an effective opposition to keep hands off Medicare, the Tea Party could hardly do worse.

  9. MikeNY

    The Wall Street junkies are already calling on the Fed to “hold off” and prepare to “flood the markets” with liquidity on the Greece sitch, cuz you can never have too much, you know. Nice to see the IMF supplying clean needles.

  10. MikeNY

    Has Paulson made a good call since shorting the housing market? I don’t think so. I think Einhorn may have a better record, but wasn’t he way wrong on Green Mountain?. Greece could cause him to flip his wig.


  11. steelhead23

    From your stats section. This U.S. citizen’s response to those erudite IMF analysts – “Nuts!” (quoting Gen. McAuliffe). Aren’t you the same bright boyz that warned of destructive inflation if the U.S. Government spent its way out of recession. Why, yes you are. Kindly, go away.

  12. Oregoncharles


    The author is Greek, living in Britain.

    Key line: ” I have had numerous messages in the last few days from pro-European friends here in Britain, telling me that the way the institutions have treated Greece, have convinced them to cross over to the “out” camp for the forthcoming UK referendum on European membership. ”

    Repercussions. Breaking the EU itself, which looks increasingly possible, would be an extraordinary tragedy – but this article says it’s broken.

    1. NOTaREALmerican

      Re: would be an extraordinary tragedy…

      I wonder what would happen if the US lost its “Union”? The downside would be no ObamaCare, but up-side would be no troops in the sandbox either.

      Tough choices…

  13. Weirhaus

    From the Dept. of ‘Yes, But How Do You Really Feel?’ (lifted from The Guardian’s fantastic live feed):

    If you thought Syriza knew how to turn a tough phrase then listen to this. The anti-capitalist bloc, Antarsya, has in the last few minutes declared that the EU president and German chancellor has declared “a war of fear” on Greece.

    Helena Smith reports.
    The far-left Antarsya movement- ever growing in popularity and ever present in workers’ associations and trade unions – has just issued a blistering attack against the “black forces of capital” accusing Europe’s leaders of trying not only to influence Sunday’s vote but entrap Greeks in “a war of fear.”

    “From Juncker, Merkel and Hollande to Samaras’ New Democracy, Pasok and Potami , they are erecting a nightmarish web over the people of Greece,” the party railed in a statement released after midnight.

    “A web of war and insecurity with the aim of blackmailing an entire people into submission so that they can defame it … and loot what has remained of the crumbs with which it has been forced to live in recent years.

    So that they can snatch the last piece of bread from the table of the unemployed and pensioners, to steal what has remained unsold from state assets, to destroy every last worker’s right and to eradicate what he has gained with sacrifice and struggle.”

  14. Andrew Watts

    RE: TPP

    If the purpose of TPP is to isolate China economically it’s already failing. Australia just signed a free-trade agreement with China. The American dominated TPP can easily be outflanked by similar bilateral agreements. (“Sun Tzu was Chinese after all.“)

    I’ve heard of other agreements being negotiated by China and the ASEAN countries but have no clue about the official status of them. The furor in Congress over TAA and fast track has caused a delay in the upcoming round of negotiations which buys China more time to sabotage American scheming.

    Of course, I don’t buy that the sole purpose of TPP is trade or economic competition. Why else would it be necessary to classify the agreement as a national security secret? The Pivot to Asia means more money for the Navy and Air Force branch of the war profiteering machine.

    1. frosty zoom

      you know, they keep telling me this teepeepee is so great because we need to integrate our economy with those of the rising asia.

      so why isn’t china a tpper? they never mention that.

      something’s very fishy in the malasian stirfry.

      1. different clue

        Because for now they are pretending that this is to “counter” a Chinese strategic “threat”. If they get their TPP, they will integrate China into it when “the time is right”.

    2. Sam Kanu

      If the purpose of TPP is to isolate China economically

      Honestly its worse than you said. This argumentation is so laughable that it confirms that the Obama Administration and all the TPP backers in both parties are completely bought and sold by big business and dont care about the electorate they are sworn to serve.

      The TPP will in fact gut average incomes and the mechanism local democracy in every nation that agrees to it, putting them only CLOSER to living the life of a chinese today.

      Isolation? No – more like our leaders are embracing the Chinese way!

  15. different clue

    We’ll probably be talking enough about western water law in the years to come that we might get tired of typing and/or saying ” first in time, first in right” over and over. Perhaps we could give it an acronym . . .
    FITFIR? And after everyone says/hears fitfir enough times they will know what it means?

    Or maybe just type/say “western waterlaw”?

  16. abynormal

    9:32EDT Greece defaults on IMF payment despite last-minute overtures to creditors

    Before the payment deadline, Varoufakis indicated on a call with European counterparts that Athens might scrap the upcoming referendum if a deal was reached, according to euro zone sources.

    But the latest Greek proposals came too late to prevent Greece’s existing aid package – with locked-up funds it needs to pay wages, salaries and debt – from expiring at midnight.

    Now, Greece will lose access to a 1.8 billion euro loan tranche and 10.9 billion euros for recapitalizing banks.

    At length the mighty one of Greece
    Began to assent the liberty of man.”

  17. abynormal

    is this an advertisement? i was reading bloomberg…
    First Look: U.S. Dollar Substitute to Go Public on Oct 20th?
    And on Oct 20th of this year, the IMF is expected to announce a reserve currency alternative to the U.S. dollar, which will send hundreds of billions of dollars moving around the world, literally overnight.
    According to currency expert, Dr. Steve Sjuggerud:

    “I’ve been active in the markets for over two decades now… but I’ve never seen anything that could move so much money, so quickly. Hundreds of billions of dollars could change hands in a single day after this announcement is made.”

    “The announcement will start a domino effect, that will basically determine who in America gets rich in the years to come… and who struggles.”

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