Links 6/11/15

Experts Say Best Option Now Is Keeping Nation As Comfortable As Possible Till End The Onion (Lambert)

This consulting firm hires powerful government workers and sells their secret knowledge back to Wall Street Business Insider (Deontos). BI is a little late to this party. We’ve been writing about Promontory, including in-depth original reporting on the fiasco of their work for Bank of America an PNC in the Independent Foreclosure Review.

Move over hipsters, here comes the “yuccie” Yahoo (furzy mouse)

Republican budget would prohibit FCC from enforcing net neutrality rules ars technica (Chuck L)

American Express pays no tax on multibillion-dollar Australian operation for seven years Sydney Morning Herald (EM)

Why is the US upping the ante in the South China Sea? China Spectator

Masked ‘superhero’ in muscle top foils knife point mugging of City worker London Evening Standard (Chuck L)

World Bank sees slower global growth, urges Fed to wait on rates Reuters (furzy mouse)

Spain’s “beautiful deleveraging” shows euro area’s limitations FTAlphaville (Scott)

Carney seeks tougher sentences for ‘irresponsible’ traders BBC

George Osborne talks tough on debt – so why not on the banks? Guardian

Three charts that show Iceland’s economy recovered after it imprisoned bankers and let banks go bust – instead of bailing them out Independent


Greek debt talks ‘must intensify’ BBC

German central bank chief says time running out for Greece Financial Times. New story as of this AM. The quote from Juncker is brutal. Whoever leaked that clearly wanted to fan fires in Greece (not that it was smart of Juncker to have said it in the first place).

Leaders fail to reach deal on Greek aid Financial Times. We indicated that even though the IMF is a senior lender, an IMF default is in some ways more grey than a default against a private creditor (Lagarde does not have to report the default to the IMF board for a month, which could enable the officialdom to defer some of the consequences). Varoufakis seemed to think Greece had more leverage over payments coming due to the ECB, but in some other respects, the ECB payments coming due in June may be a brighter line:

Officials are hoping to reach an agreement by next week’s meeting of eurozone finance ministers to ensure the €7.2bn tranche can be disbursed before a €3.5bn Greek government bond comes due on July 20.

Eurozone officials believe it will take a month for Greece to legislate and implement the reform programme, and a default on the July 20 bond, held by the European Central Bank, could spark financial chaos in the country, officials believe.

Europe to Greece: Get real Politco. A key thread in this article, which is something we’ve discussed in comments: I’ve surmised the creditors expect/require Greece to present its proposal in more detail than they have and keep what amounts to a current master document. The creditor team expresses considerable frustration on these issues, basically as if they can’t complete their work without it (they can’t rely on verbal presentations as accurate and binding) and they separately think this is reasonable. One assumes the other countries that have gone through IMF programs (including predecessor Greek governments) have been able to do this. One has to wonder where Lazard is in this picture. They were hired early one by Greece but don’t seem to be playing an active role now (as in Lazard would inform them of what as needed and could chip in). Of course, the not delivering what McKinsey called “completed staff work” may be a stalling tactic, but the creditor technical teams seem to think not.

Greek Pension Mess Shows There’s No Easy Way Out of Impasse Bloomberg.

Eurogroup head says deal with Greece still possible by June 18 Reuters. Remember, the drop dead date for agreeing a pact really really really does seem to be the 18th, given the need for parliamentary approvals. And even that requires that the Bundestag hold an emergency session.

Anxious Greeks pull money from banks amid fears of capital controls Financial Times

Court orders Greece to reverse 2012 pension cuts Reuters. Ooh, this is going to pour gas on the hardliners’ fire. Would have been a lot better for the Greek negotiations if the court could have held off on ruling till after June 30. And note that under EU treaties, EU-level courts are supposed to be the final arbiters, so if this were the US, where litigation is one of our favorite types of contact sports, the next step would be for the EU and IMF to appeal and demand a stay. Would the ruling coalition respect a stay if this were to go another round in the courts?

Greek Labour Minister: Minimum Wage Level To Be Restored By July Next Year – ERT TV Interview @LiveSquawk

@J_Dijsselbloem from the #Eurogroup and @Luis_De_Guindos from Spain to visit Finland. @alexstubb #economy #Greece@VMuutiset (Lambert). Aiee, we speculated that the ultras, as in the “more hardline than Germany” hardliners might be able to exert influence out of proportion to their numbers due to having a clear plan in a chaotic situation. Are they already starting to plot?

Video: Athens breaks with austerity as public TV reopens France24


Increasingly Frequent Call on Baltic Sea: ‘The Russian Navy Is Back’ New York Times

Ukraine warns of debt moratorium Financial Times


Isis’s dirty bomb: Jihadists have seized ‘enough radioactive material to build their first WMD’ Independent. *Sigh*. This is pure and simple “scare the public” reporting. A dirty bomb hurts and kills no more people than a big conventional bomb, like a truck bomb. The “terror” aspect is that the blast site is contaminated and requires special clean up. If it’s done in a prominent place (politically important, a transit hub), the cordoning of the site and protracted remediation serves as a much longer lasting reminder of the devastation than in a conventional attack.

US to ‘Take Time’ to Assess Islamic State Expansion in Afghanistan Sputnik International (Chuck L)

Why We Shouldn’t Look the Other Way on Bush’s Iraq War Crimes Truthout

Trade Traitors. The latest Wikikeaks as well as the collapse of support for the TTIP in the European Parliament are great new grist for calls to your Representative. Make it short but do call today!

U.S. Shifts Stance on Drug Pricing in Pacific Trade Pact Talks, Document Reveals New York Times

WikiLeaks Releases Section of Secret Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement That Would Affect Health Care Kevin Gosztola, Firedoglake

TTIP vote postponed as European Parliament descends into panic over trade deal Independent (Chuck L).

This Small Town Shows Why The Trans-Pacific Partnership Could Be A Disaster For American Workers Working In These Times (furzy mouse)

How Elizabeth Warren would make debt-free college a reality MarketWatch (furzy mouse)

Revealed: The Secret Immigration Chapter in Obama’s Trade Agreement Breitbart

How Bernie Sanders Can Kill the Trans-Pacific Partnership Truthout (furzy mouse)

U.S. EPA moves toward regulating aircraft emissions Reuters. EM: “‘But the requirement is expected to apply only to new aircraft designs certified from 2020, leaving most of the world’s existing fleets unaffected for years to come.’ By then carriers who want to use old-fashioned gas guzzlers will like be able to sue any country which attempts to require otherwise. And this line was not clarified in the piece, but strikes me as a biggie: ‘Aviation accounted for … nearly 30 percent of global aircraft emissions in 2010’. Are we to infer that the remaining 70% is military, which will no doubt be exempt from any such standards?”

California is sinking, and it’s getting worse Reveal (Andrew S)

Number of People Killed by Police This Year Reaches 500 Guardian (Cujo359)

Texas policeman resigns after video shows him toppling teen Reuters (EM)

Treasury liquidity raises trading concerns Financial Times

Disappearing Bakken oil discount adds to output slowdown signs Reuters (EM)

Fed risks inflating next housing bubble Financial Times

Trapped in a Bubble Golem XIV (humkerdown). He’s just discovered trading sardines.

Class Warfare

Richard Branson launches great paid leave policy for .2 per cent of Virgin workers Sydney Morning Herald

Luxury goods face a global reckoning Financial Times

News Flash: Washington Post Caters to the Powerful Intercept

Inequality, the Financial Crisis and Stagnation: Competing Stories and Why They Matter Thomas Palley

Antidote du jour:

EntropicPuppies links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Synoia

    There are 10 puppies in the top picture, and nine in the bottom.

    Can we now play “Guess where’s the puppy?”

    1. John Merryman

      I suspect it is in the picture, but since it is the lightest colored one, only its butt is visible on the other side of the far cream colored one.

    2. Gio Bruno

      There are ten puppies in the bottom photo. Look at the second group from the top. A light haired pup is faintly apparent at the 11 o’clock position.

    1. Vatch

      Has the TTIP text been released, or were they going to vote on a secret document? My understanding is that the TTIP negotiations are less advanced than the TPP negotiations, so how could a vote be imminent? Was this to be a procedural vote, such as the U.S. votes on Trade Promotion Authority (fast track)?

        1. lord koos

          It’s exactly the strategy of the regressive forces in congress in the USA. If it doesn’t pass, give it a new name and try it again. Repeat and rinse…

      1. EmilianoZ

        It was not the real thing. It was more like a symbolic gesture to give some non-binding guidance to the European Commission that is conducting the negotiations:

        Depuis des mois, il [the European Parlament] prépare donc une résolution, un texte censé synthétiser l’opinion majoritaire des députés européens et fixer des « lignes rouges » à la Commission européenne (qui négocie l’accord), bien qu’il n’ait aucune valeur contraignante.

        1. Fíréan

          ” So what happened in Strasbourg?

          The European Parliament was due to vote on a report from the Trade Committee. This tedious-sounding procedure had generated nearly 900 amendments in committee stage, with over 100 due to be voted on by the whole parliament yesterday.

          Although the resolution was non-binding, this was the most significant parliamentary vote on TTIP to date. Given that the parliament will ultimately have to ratify the deal, this was the chance for representatives to lay out their red lines: ‘If this stays in, we vote down the whole deal.’ ”
          quoted from –

          For the Greens take on the matter of the vote postponement :

          “Accusations fly as EPP & S&D exchange fire over TTIP-vote postponement, but both are to blame.”

          and the prelude

          Throughout Europe there are many organisations covering TIPP, with websites full of information ( and has been for some time).
          If You are a Twitter user

        2. Chris in Paris

          That quote pretty much sums up the power of the EU Parliament over its less democratic co-institutions.

  2. Bill Smith

    “Why is the US upping the ante in the South China Sea?”

    Not a very good article as it claims Vietnam and the Philippines are also building islands. But the links the article provides to support that claim don’t show that. The Vietnam article shows nothing of the kind and the Philippines article says the Philippine Navy has an old ship they ran around on a shoal that they have people on.

    Is anyone else actually building islands?

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Only if those islands are for sale to billionaires.

        ‘You have a beautiful island in the Pacific? Thanks to progress*, I can build an even prettier one next to yours. Who is bragging now?’

        *Again, peace dividend from military spending.

  3. diptherio

    Was going to save this for Watercooler, but alas, I have to apply pigment to a habitation this afternoon [sigh]….Anyway, this seemed like the kind of thing that might get some interest from this group, seeing as how alt. healthcare seems to be one of our side-interests:

    A Commons Cure for Emotional Distress: Icarus Project and Sage Community Health Collective explore new methods of emotional health care:

    Perhaps where Sage really differs from other clinics is in its culture. “Healing is not linear. We do our best to normalize experiences of the mind and body. It comes down to giving people agency to trust and own what’s happening in their own bodies. I believe in radical consent, and that means eliminating all the subtle forms of coercion that happen in clinics, from follow-up treatment to booking appointments.” [emphasis added]

    1. Rhondda

      Thank you for that link. I am very interested in the ideas presented and really liked the graphic, which I have saved to remind me to revisit these ideas and this site. But I must say I have a bad reaction to the ‘super-PC master’s-in-conflict-resolution’ language. It makes my b-sht meter go bing bing bing.

  4. Jim Haygood

    A former French PM (it’s always former office holders who can speak plainly, as in Eisenhower’s warning about the military-industrial complex on his way out the door) paints the broader backdrop of TTIP:

    The US is drawing European states into a “crusade” against Russia, which goes against Europe’s interests, former French Prime Minister Francois Fillon has said. Speaking to French media, he stressed that Europe now is dependent on Washington.

    “Today, Europe is not independent … The US is drawing us [the EU] into a crusade against Russia, which contradicts the interests of Europe,” Fillon told the BFMTV channel.

    The ex-French prime minister, who served in Nicolas Sarkozy’s government from 2007 till 2012, noted that the “American justice system” often interferes with the work of “European justice systems.”

    “I am definitely against signing this agreement [TTIP] in the form in which it is now,” he added.

    Militarily occupied by the US for seventy years, Europe has only the illusion of sovereignty conferred by appointing a euro-puppet (currently Jens Stoltenberg of Norway) as Secretary General of NATO.

    Meanwhile, the US taunts Russia, meddles in Ukraine, and feels free to kidnap European sport officials in order to process them through our 98% efficient conviction machine into our vast Gulag, the world’s largest.

    Rejecting TPP isn’t enough. Expelling the yankee troops who ‘forgot to demobilize’ for seventy years is only way Europe will reclaim its sovereignty and avoid being muscled into a 21st century European war.

    1. Ulysses

      Great comment, JH!

      On this side of the Atlantic, the Breitbart post linked above provides an easy talking point for those attempting to convince their Tea Party Rep.s to defy GOP leadership and vote against fast-track:

      “I think this whole thing makes it very clear that this administration is negotiating immigration – intends to make immigration changes if they can get away with it, and I think it’s that much more critical that Congress ensure that the administration does not have the authority to negotiate immigration,” Jenks said.

      Pleas to protect workers and the environment won’t resonate nearly as strongly with Tea Party Republicans as demands to prevent Barack Hussein Obama from flooding the country with people that they will never accept as “real” ‘Muricans!!

  5. hemeantwell

    Re the NYTimes article on the Russian navy, there’s a serious conflation of strategic frames. On the one hand, it does sound as though the Russians may be pissed off over Lithuania gaining independence from Russian energy sources. But all they are effectively conveying is pique. The larger point of the piece, at the end of the article, expresses a broader geostrategic point that is just a bit one-sided:

    “Russia’s ultimate goal is to destroy the European Union and NATO, but this is very hard to achieve,” Mr. Laurinavicius said. “Its interim goal is simply to show that Russia is a major power that has to be taken into account.”

    The Times regularly salts its pages with reports of weaponry sightings from countries bordering Russia. “The bear is back,” etc. But if there is one thing events since the early 90s show, it’s that a relentlessly expansive NATO wants to destroy Russia or, rather, to render it economically assimilable to the neoliberal Borg. (Side benefit: arms sales!) It is utterly essential to maintain a historical perspective of at least that range, but the Times obliterates it. The Times urges a view of international relations akin to the view of interpersonal relations screamed for by the older brother who, after slapping the younger, complains that he’s starting a fight.

    1. Carolinian

      They have an agenda and when it comes to certain subjects lack all credibility. That doesn’t mean there aren’t still plenty of great articles in the NYT, but on certain topics they have to be selectively read. Pravda or Izvestia?….one of them at least.

      1. Rhondda

        When I canceled my subscription the customer service guy asked me Why. I said Because of the completely over-the-top anti-Russian pro-Ukraine lies and propaganda. I’ve just finally had enough.

        The cust svc guy said Yep. Been hearing a lot of that lately.

      2. LifelongLib

        Noam Chomsky says he reads the New York Times to find out what’s happening, and often quotes its articles in his lectures. He just ignores its analysis of WHY things are happening…

    2. EmilianoZ

      The Russians should start building artificial islands in the Baltic next to the cables, Chinese style.

  6. Santi

    And note that under EU treaties, EU-level courts are supposed to be the final arbiters, so if this were the US, where litigation is one of our favorite types of contact sports, the next step would be for the EU and IMF to appeal and demand a stay. Would the ruling coalition respect a stay if this were to go another round in the courts?

    The article says “country’s top administrative court“, so I guess any appeal would have to go to a European court. There are two: the European Court of Justice would only accept a question from the tribunal that judged the matter (from wikipedia “It is not possible to appeal the decisions of national courts to the ECJ, but rather national courts refer questions of EU law to the ECJ”) and if it was based on a breach of EU Treaties or norms. On the other hand, the European Court of Human Rights only accepts appeals based on the violation of Human Rights, which is precisely the reason given to upturn the measure, and only by natural persons, so any appeal would have to be done by an affected pensioner, also unlikely to go far…

  7. Clive

    Re “Experts Say Best Option Now Is Keeping Nation As Comfortable As Possible…” this had me reliving the trauma that was helping my mother-in-law with the Final Journey (to the vet) with her 18 year old cat (which I’ll make light of here but never want to have to go through again !) but anyway, it had me wondering because my mother-in-law knew “it was time” when the aforementioned cat didn’t look up from the cat bed thing (not having one myself I’m not sure what the official name is for a cardboard box with blankets in it is) at her when she went down to the kitchen in the morning (cats in my mother-in-law’s house sleep on top of the stove… do tell me if I’m providing too much superfluous information here).

    Anyhow, what would be the equivalent sign that “it was time” to take the U.S. to the vee-ee-tee ? If it couldn’t be bothered to upload all our internet traffic for “meta analysis” that day ? If the USAF decided that it really didn’t want to fill in all that paperwork for the new drones order ? If the management of WalMart circulated a PowerPoint internally that concluded that it had run out of ways to exploit both its customers and its workforce ? Definintely today’s question de jour.

  8. Justin

    Re: the Yuccie article; As a 30-year-old, I don’t think I have read an article about my generation that has rung truer than this one.

    1. nippersdad

      They didn’t read to me as being much different than the eighties yuppie set. Certainly more computer savvy, but then personal computing was in its’ infancy then. Just goes to show that the times may change but human nature never does.

    2. LifelongLib

      Growing up in the 70s, I knew a few kids who wanted to get rich, but most just wanted to make a decent living doing something they liked. Of course at that time middle class life still looked attainable. I wonder if today’s desire to get rich is fueled by the realization that we’re changing into a society where you’re either wealthy or impoverished, with little in between.

      1. lord koos

        I think you’ve hit the nail on the head. In today’s America, you’re either quite successful, or your screwed — the middle ground is eroding rapidly.

        1. ambrit

          Actually, the case can be made that the former “economic” Middle Class is morphing into a “servant of the State” Middle Class. A professional Military Caste is already taking shape in America. With the ongoing militarization of the domestic police forces, and the fetishization of all sorts of “first responders” a resurrection of the pre French Revolution “Estates” system is distinctly possible.

  9. Vatch

    “How Bernie Sanders Can Kill the Trans-Pacific Partnership Truthout (furzy mouse)”.

    The article says that he could publish the text of the TPP. How’s he going to do that? Sure, he might have access to some fragments of the document that he could publish (similar to what Darrell Issa did with one chapter of the TPP). But he’s not allowed to bring any electronic equipment into the reading room, and if he takes notes, he has to leave the notes behind. So how’s he going to publish the whole thing? Perhaps 73 year old Senator Sanders will overpower the guard(s), grab the entire document, and run out the door to his waiting getaway car. Yeah, that’s what he should do.

    1. nippersdad

      I think that they are referencing the chapters that have already been leaked. As he hasn’t done so already it is doubtful that he would now at the eleventh hour. Worth a try, though. It would be an actual deed that he could point to on the campaign trail as he is asking for a political revolution from everyone else.

        1. nippersdad

          It would make the MSM. Reading something into the record on C-Span would be something that the news services could not ignore. I think polling was something like 65% of the population still doesn’t know what these deals are about; this would change that. If it isn’t on the nightly news, for most people, it doesn’t exist.

          Difficult to ignore a Senator reading out chapters of a trade deal on the floor.

          1. Vatch

            Okay, I’m convinced. Sen. Warren or Sanders should read what’s been leaked, because the publicity will be useful. Thanks.

            1. nippersdad

              What I would LOVE to see would be for Sanders and all of the other no’s in the Senate get up off their asses and filibuster for the forseeable future. It is not going to happen, but it would be wild to see how badly they could show up Republican leadership for stacking the docket at the last minute. It would also completely blow their schedule out of the water and, thereby, give a LOT of publicity to the issue.

              Pity we don’t have any actual leaders amongst our leadership.

              1. Vatch

                Unfortunately, the Senate already had their vote on TPA, and cloture was invoked, by 62 Senators, I believe. If TPA passes the House, then the Senators will have their opportunity to filibuster the TPP, and eventually, the TTIP and TiSA.

                1. JTMcPhee

                  Under the TPA “fast track” idiocy, there can be no filibustering of the “agreements.”

                2. nippersdad

                  The House has changed the Fast Track Bill in such a way that it is prolly going to have to go to conference, the alterations to the Medicare funding of TAA have gotten pretty complex, or so I read this morning. I am in hopes that there will be another vote in the Senate.

    2. Carolinian

      Good point. He may need one of those little spy cameras like in old Bond movies.

      What is needed is a leaker like Ellsberg.

    3. Brindle

      A TPP related observation—I don’t go to HuffPo very often, but decided to check out their politics page for the latest on TPP—there was nothing at all—zilch, zero nada mentions of TPP. It’s a good guess Ariana is for the deal so maybe the disappearing TPP is not surprising.

      1. nippersdad

        They have actually been pretty good about getting stuff both on their front and political pages; there are several stories on there right now, including the op-ed done by Nader. I seem to recall that they also have a page specifically devoted to TPP related news.

        I have been pretty surprised about that, myself, but then they always have Robert Reich et al writing about it, so I guess they couldn’t avoid covering it more explicitly.

    4. Oregoncharles

      What are they going to do – throw the old man to the floor if he defies them? They’re IN THE CAPITOL, so subject to Congress. And the Constitution says members of Congress can’t be arrested while it’s in session.

      The whole secrecy thing is bulls..t, which congress is colluding with – INCLUDING Bernie. Any one of them can release it; if a dozen go in that room, what’s the guard going to do? It’s their territory, they’re in charge.

      ANY threat or attempt to penalize ANY member of Congress is a constitutiona crisis, which is long overdue. Unfortunately, I think I do understand why they’re letting Obama bully them; it’s scary as Hell.

  10. D. Galanis

    Re Greek pensions mess – With the help of my mother’s pension I have to partially support the families of both my brother and my sister. Lately I don’t even get payed. So mom’s pension is the lender of last resort

  11. JTMcPhee

    “Keeping the nation comfortable…” This little Bloomberg article on the geniuses at the IMF conference popped up this AM: “Finance Stumps World’s Best Minds,”

    Since Finance acts something like a malignant metastatic cancer and something like a tapeworm and a leech and a vampire squid, maybe the wrong Experts are being consulted. I would suggest an oncological surgeon, an infectious disease specialist, a wormicologist, and maybe an exorcist or three. Cut it out, blast it out, pray it out, just get effing rid of the whole deadly dysphoric infestation of monetizoprivatizationalism… But then the Kochs and Dimons and Timmies and Schaubles OWN us, already, don’t they? And at least in NCspace there’s pretty good agreement that “economists” are the last people one would want to consult about how to “fix” what they broke. Gotta love Obama, and his tribe, bringing in Geithner and Emanuel and those folks to plot the fiscal course for the Great Nation…

    “Experts,” all right, but not healers or understanders or even shade-tree mechanics…

    1. craazyboy

      The core problem is first they bought into the concept that the “financial system” is living, breathing organisms cavorting around in whatever ecosystem they make for themselves. So really, economists and financial people are in the role of zoologists – which is a science, so that’s ok – except they are at a disadvantage because the animals don’t like being watched and the zoo is outside the fence surrounding these animals.

      They could simplify all this with a manageable set of manmade rules, but I don’t know how long we will have to wait until they try doing that.

  12. vidimi

    the golem article on financial bubbles was a good read. the main question i ask myself now is when the current bubble bursts, as it must, and precipitates phase 2 of the GFC, how will they redistribute wealth upwards this time? thanks to gov policy, the richest own an even greater share of total wealth then they did before phase 1 of the crisis, so how are we proles going to make them whole, and better, this time? you can’t squeeze blood from a stone.

    even if they privatise everything and with all the glorious rent possibilities within the tpp/ttip, what will there be left to redistribute the next time, if not this? what is the end game? surely, when there is nothing left to steal war must break?

    we can’t be more than a few years away from a major conflict.

    1. hunkerdown

      They know financial economy wealth is imaginary, and are siphoning off money to purchase wealth in the real economy. “when the ash settles you will still own stuff.” Groaf is just the means to the end of rearranging society so they are *permanently* at the top. They, unlike the cattle they propagandize, know that no law of gods or nature requires them to play a losing game.

      1. vidimi

        sure, i get that, but that doesn’t really answer my question. after they steal all the best land and resources, what then? what will they steal when they’ve stolen everything of value? the ashes you describe will come from our burnt livelihoods, but we can still forge pitchforks.

  13. vidimi

    on for-profit education, i came across this article earlier and it stunned me with how obliviously and casually the author admits to corruption, racism, discrimination against the poor….

    The most heart-wrenching conversations I had were with students who hit all the listed benchmarks and didn’t get in. I would tell them about the overall competitiveness of the applicant pool and the record low admit rate we had. But after I hung up the phone, I knew I wasn’t being transparent.

    There was always a reason. Once in a while, it was something concrete, like the student got a low grade in an academic course even though his or her overall GPA remained high. Often, it had to do with the fact that the application had no “tag.”

    A tag is the proverbial golden ticket for a student applying to an elite institution. A tag identifies a student as a high priority for the institution. Typically students with tags are recruited athletes, children of alumni, children of donors or potential donors, or students who are connected to the well connected. The lack of a tag can hinder an otherwise strong, high-achieving student. Asian American students typically don’t have these tags.

    Asian Americans are rarely children of alumni at the Ivies, for example. There aren’t as many recruited athletes coming from the Asian American applicant pool. Nor are they typically earmarked as “actual” or “potential” donors. They simply don’t have long-standing connections to these institutions.

    And the fact is that Asian Americans often don’t use the “connections” they do have. In all my years in college admissions, I never received a phone call or a visit from a well-connected politician, chief executive or other leader to advocate for an Asian American student.


    For example, there’s an expectation that Asian Americans will be the highest test scorers and at the top of their class; anything less can become an easy reason for a denial.

    1. James Levy

      Yikes, that’s not embarrassing, it’s incriminating. And don’t you just love this meritocracy we’re told over and over again we live in! No classes here, comrades, only entrepreneurs in an entrepreneurial state! This is the one thing that drives me away from ever watching that Oliver fellow: his endless ragging on the class system in Britain while utterly ignoring the one we have here. I’ve lived in Britain and the titled are not nearly as deferred to there as the wealthy are here.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Again, colleges should try taking in the slowest students before admitting the smart ones.

      Turning the former into competent graduates is the only true indicator of the prowess of an elite college.

      Furthermore, that’s the only one way I can think of to reduce ‘intelligence inequality.’

      Under the current system, the smart ones in the 12th grade turn into even smarter graduate students. There is no way for the less precocious to catch up. And this leads to aspirant parents overloading their pre-school children.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        ‘One false move at the age of five, I was forever condemned to mediocrity for the rest of my lamentable life.’

      2. ambrit

        The parents didn’t learn to think for themselves as children. So, they now condemn their children to lifetimes of bondage. The epicycles of Life.

    3. Jess

      I guess that depends on the definition of “elite” institution. I’ve seen rankings that place UC Berkeley, UCLA, and UC San Diego in the top 25 of colleges. UCSD is roughly half Asian; at Berkeley the figure is 42.3%. And UCLA is said to stand for “University of California Lots of Asians”.

      BTW, because the out-of-state tuition is $22K higher than in-state, many of these Asians are from other states and even foreign countries. My niece’s first roomie was from mainland China, tuition paid by the Chi-commie gov’t. Lots of resentment here in CA over this policy, which amounts to discrimination against the very CA students the university system was constructed to serve.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Two thousand years of Confucian/Imperial Examination legacy, only to be repudiated by the revolutionaries in 1911 and abolished then.

        Only it mutated and survived in the form of national college entrance examination.

        One can not help but get an enormous boost with that cultural heritage that permeates the whole societies in the Confucian Sphere.

        Still, one should not forget those 1911 revolutionaries and their verdict – the atrophied Middle Kingdom under that system. Only now it is being replicated here and elsewhere in the world.

        “Study hard, my son. Don’t challenge the existing status quo too much. Remember your ancestors’ example of memorizing the Six Canons of Confucius. Theirs was not to questions those six books. So, make sure you score high in the SAT.”

    4. lord koos

      I wouldn’t assume that Asian kids don’t use whatever connections they have… I don’t know about other cultures, but certianly the Chinese are all about using connections and relationships to get ahead.

  14. James Dodd

    Here is a distressing bit of news from CNBC:

    Many Obamacare customers could be looking at surprisingly large price increases next year—if insurers get their wishes.

    Health insurance premiums for individual plans in major U.S. cities would rise by an average of 12 percent in 2016 if the newly proposed prices are approved, a new analysis finds.

    And prices would increase even more—14 percent on average—for people enrolled in the most popular type of Obamacare plans, known as “silver” plans, the HealthPocket study reveals.

    Customers insured in health maintenance organization (HMO) and exclusive provider organization (EPO) plans—which as a rule don’t cover treatment from providers outside of their networks—would be facing average increases that are higher still—20 percent for HMO plans and 18 percent for EPO plans.

    1. nippersdad

      So much for bending the cost curve, but then lowering costs were never really the issue otherwise they would have pushed single payer. Looks like the system is still set to implode, but O’care gave insurance companies a few more years to cash out.

      Seem to be a lot of holding actions going on.

    2. Rhondda

      Well, I guess I’ll be paying the penalty. It’s worthless anyway. To get the per-month anywhere near affordable (although not sustainable) I had to have a 12k deductible.

    3. curlydan

      I’ve been at the same company on the same health plan since 2007, so I have a handy spreadsheet of yearly increases in health care premiums. At this point, a 14% increase in premiums would almost be welcome. My premium increase CAGR from 2007 to 2015 is 17%.

      Year, My YOY Premium Increase
      2008 0%
      2009 20%
      2010 20%
      2011 7%
      2012 12%
      2013 35%
      2014 26%
      2015 16%

      “Been down so godd@mn long, that it looks like up to me” — The Doors

      1. craazyboy

        So when do we officially change the name of Affordable Health Care to Obama Care?

        …he asks from a Red State in danger of “winning” the R’s Supreme Court battle to do away with Obama Care in some states because this Red State was too cheap to develop our own software “exchange” and opted to use the half trillion dollar one ready paid for by the Nanny State?

        P.S. Is there any doubt this country is run by a bunch of absolutely homicidal maniacs and lunatics?

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Correction – It should be ‘Obama Cares.’

          Where is the GrammarGestapo?

          He does, you know.

          1. JTMcPhee

            …about as much as Bill “I feel your pain (and your boobs and your lips)” Clinton…

  15. sd

    Iceland: sheep have started dieing from an unknown cause that experts think may be connected to the recent eruption at Bardabunga. It may be the volcanic activity caused toxic fluoride levels in the hay that the sheep eat.

    The bigger question: will this spread to other parts of Europe too?

    1. Clive

      Unlikely. Fluoride is exceptionally — off the scale — reactive and will form compounds with pretty much anything and everything. Many of these compounds are toxic (which would explain the sheep’s predicament if they are eating contaminated food sources). But it’s almost impossible for the fluoride to travel very far before it finds something to react with.

      At last, this week’s “the one of very few things we don’t need to worry about”. I thought I’d never find it.

  16. Larry Headlund

    Re:U.S. EPA moves toward regulating aircraft emissions

    And this line was not clarified in the piece, but strikes me as a biggie: ‘Aviation accounted for … nearly 30 percent of global aircraft emissions in 2010′. Are we to infer that the remaining 70% is military, which will no doubt be exempt from any such standards?”

    If you look at the EPA source document:

    The U.S. transportation sector is a significant contributor to total U.S. and global anthropogen­ic GHG emissions. Aircraft remain the single largest GHG-emitting transportation source not yet subject to GHG standards in the U.S. U.S. aircraft emit:
    •11 percent of GHG emissions from the transportation sector in the U.S.
    • 3 percent of total U.S. GHG emissions.
    • 29 percent of GHG emissions from all aircraft globally.
    • 0.5 percent of total global GHG emissions

    It seems that is 30% is the US share of transport aircraft versus the rest of the world’s transport aircraft. This share is roughly equal to the US portion of commercial aircraft maintenance, repair and operations.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Thanks to technology in teleconference, global leaders can actually work out most of the problems of the world, even from their bedrooms, reducing all those unnecessary plane trips, and perhaps putting all those luxury hotels and brioche/caviar caterers out of business.

  17. Yonatan

    “Isis’s dirty bomb: Jihadists have seized ‘enough radioactive material to build their first WMD’”

    By an amazing coincidence, Ha’aretz reported on Israel tests of cleaning up after a dirty bomb just three days ago. That’s what you call being prepared.

    In order to test this, presumably Israel had to create some dirty material. I wonder what happened to it after the cleanup.

    1. The Infamous Oregon Lawhobbit

      “Isis’s dirty bomb: Jihadists have seized ‘enough radioactive material to build their first WMD’ Independent. *Sigh*. This is pure and simple “scare the public” reporting.”

      You can’t keep the War On (Some) Terror going if you don’t keep the sheeples riled up and fearful now and again.

      @Yonatan – either boxed it up for next time, or just used simulated radioactive material.

    2. hunkerdown

      We’ve only got 17 days left until NATO’s next false flag, as announced by their agent al-Baghdadi.

    3. Benedict@Large

      Where exactly did Isis get the material for a dirty bomb? This material isn’t exactly a shelf item in the region, and if we were aware that there was some around, wouldn’t we have picked it up long before Isis came onto the scene? This claim defies rational thinking. Which of course is the hallmark of claims that emanate from the neocons.

      1. James Levy

        Amen. You can bet that between the government in Damascus and the spooks and spec op forces of Israel and the US anything nasty the ISIS forces could get their hands on would have been whisked away days before they could get to it. Hell, that’s what those guys are supposedly for! And the men who run ISIS are careful in their provocations–they never go so far that the Israelis and the Americans have to actually intervene with “boots on the ground” which would make their lives difficult. So “dirty bomb” talk is either a scare tactic or the prelude to a false flag operation (although I can’t see what the end result of such an operation could be–the US military is overextended, understrength, and its morale is not exactly exuberant).

        1. ambrit

          This kind of false flag incident would be for domestic American consumption. If I were a cynic, I’d say it’s past time to double down on the Patriot Act.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      We will never accept having to take out Yuan-denominated loans from AIIB or a re-organized IMF/World Bank under new management.

      We are proud to have the global reserve currency.

  18. Chris in Paris

    Wrt “Spain’s ‘beautiful deleveraging'” I just got back from a seminar in Barcelona where a contract manager was telling me that due to the crisis he could now hire qualified attorneys with 7-10 years PQE for 30kE/year and that some of the candidates were so experienced it literally broke his heart to call them to interview for such basic work.

    I hope those workers in the Germans’ auto factories have unions.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      No nation is so exceptional as to be immune from Spain’s experience

      The attorneys probably thinking: What good was affordable college education?

      1. Chris in Paris

        I tell my young relatives that if they feel they’ve learned all they need to know, they should start working now but that a real college experience in the humanities can maybe still help find meaning in life, through knowledge. So sad that I have to say the first part.

        1. cwaltz

          I’ve told my young uns’ that learning is not confined to a classroom. If you really want to learn something then you don’t need to learn it in the classroom. College is for credentialing the learning process.

  19. Oregoncharles


    (Yes, I know, cracked record, but I’m starting to see references to this reality, so I’m making headway. This is what I posted at the Firedoglake article.)

    “Senator Barbara Boxer was confronted by a guard who told her she could not “take notes” on the trade agreement. The guard insisted the notes would be kept in a file, which made Boxer even more outraged.”

    Sigh. Does Sen. Boxer actually not know what her prerogatives and powers are? Under Article I, Sect. 6, Paragraph 1 of the constitution (the “speech and debate” clause), she can’t be prosecuted or penalized for anything said in congress (or placed in the Congressional Record), NOR arrested while Congress is in session. In other words, this entire drama with the “security guard” and the super-secret text is Kabuki, a charade, and congress – all of them, Boxer, Warren, Sanders, Grayson – are colluding in it.

    Obama’s restrictions on Congress’s access to those documents is completely unConstitutional. They need to blow him off, tell the “guard” to bite the big one or spend time in the congressional jail cell (yes, there is one!), and just release the documents – or they’re just as guilty as he is. And the constitution really is “just a g-d piece of paper,” which is the way Obama is treating it. And us.

  20. optimader

    Why We Shouldn’t Look the Other Way on Bush’s Iraq War Crimes

    A rehashing of the obvious, but that’s ok I guess,

    What I do like is the ambiguity of the title relative to singular or plural Bush.

    My recollection of McNamara was that of a naïve wonk that did a whole lotta damage. He had the capacity for reflection and reevaluated that he did great harm.

    . Von Rumsfeld in my lay opinion is a plain old certified Psychopath that believes his own press releases.. I don’t envision him ever offering the sad and frank admission McNamara did.

  21. participant-observer-observed

    Taipei Times June 12th report

    FSC to ease investment rules for banks
    TECH HOLDINGS:The changes will allow financial institutions to own up to 100% of an information-technology company. Current rules limit the shareholding to 5 percent
    By Amy Su / Staff reporter

    AT-M Ad

    The Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) is planning to ease regulations to allow local financial institutions to invest up to 100 percent in information-technology companies, FSC Chairman William Tseng (曾銘宗) said yesterday.

    Current regulations allow financial institutions — including banks, insurers and brokerage houses — to invest only up to 5 percent in a non-financial company, in line with the principle of separation of banking and commerce.

    However, to keep pace with changes in global market trends, the commission plans to revise the regulations by the end of this year to allow financial institutions to invest more in the IT industry to maintain the financial industry’s competitiveness, Tseng said.

    Developments in networking, mobile communication, social media, big data and the Internet of Things (IoT) have changed the financial industry, with IT playing a more vital role in financial institutions, he said.

    “We cannot let information technology hold back the development of the financial industry, which could hurt the financial sector’s competitiveness,” Tseng told a media briefing.

    Banking Bureau Director-General Austin Chan (詹庭禎) said the commission would pick industries that are closely related to the financial sector’s development and list them as potential targets for higher investment shareholdings of more than 5 percent up to 100 percent.

    However, the commission will review each investment application on a case-by-case basis, with the targets for investment required to derive 60 percent of their profits from financial services, Chan said.

    Tseng said the commission is also considering a suggestion by financial institutions to allow banks to operate cafes or other retail businesses in their branch offices.

    “With online banking services becoming more mature, we hope banks can make better use of their physical bank branches to add value,” Tseng said.

    In related news, the commission is scheduled to allow local banks’ offshore banking unit to set up branches in airport or port terminals in the second half of the year, allowing foreigners to open an account right after their arrival in Taiwan.

    Chan said various private banks have expressed an interest in the new business, but they still need to secure a booth in the terminal before they can set up a branch.

    The FSC is also scheduled to relax the margin loan position limit on June 29, allowing brokerages to control and manage margin loan position limits on an individual basis.

    This story has been viewed 435 times.

  22. Ray Phenicie

    World Bank sees slower global growth, urges Fed to wait on rates
    I find examples of false economics troubling.
    Randy Wray has a lot to say on the ineffectiveness of Fed rates; that is they don’t do much to stimulate growth. The perceived effectiveness is largely psychological and symbolic. There is a problem with having the rates so low; we should not be in this territory. Low bond interest rates really only benefit wheelers and dealers.
    The article goes on further with its analysis based on a school of false economics:

    In its twice-yearly Global Economic Prospects report, the global development lender predicted the world economy would expand 2.8 percent this year, below its 3 percent prediction in January.

    It said low commodity prices, especially the roughly 40 percent drop in oil prices since last year, had hurt commodity exporters more than anticipated. The World Bank also warned countries to prepare for higher U.S. interest rates, which would raise borrowing costs for developing economies.

    Commodity prices are artificially set not in relation to bond interest rates as such but because of the willingness of speculators to take excess funds (more likely created by the psychological aspects of things like QE) and spend them on commodities. When financiers sitting inside managed money firms look at their extra dollars they feel a certain sense of euphoria knowing that one drugged out market after another lays before them waiting to be ravished. The philosophy is that the cop on the beat (the FTC) is looking the other way anyway so cook up another crazy scheme to make a quick buck no matter if it messes with the logic of supply and demand. Bond rates have nothing to do with any of this except the message that says-“ok, for now you guys will have to go through a tough minute but get over it; you’ll figure something out to get what you want.”
    Here’s Wray’s take on the duplicity of the money managers who twist the commodities market.

    1. Ray Phenicie

      I hope that those who rely on analysis of the recent storms in the US economy based on ‘petro dollars’ or ‘peak oil’ will read Professor Wray’s account of the commodities market.

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