Links 6/14/15

Brothers Mow Lawn To Keep Woman From Going To Jail KWTX

Pennsylvania woman turns 100, credits her long life to ‘drinking a lot of booze’  Daily Mail

Sepp Blatter is planning to UN-RESIGN after receiving support from African and Asian football federations, claim Swiss media Daily Mail

Tell President Obama: Time for Mary Jo White to go Credo (petition).

SEC seeks views on ‘shocking’ auditor relationships FT

The Latest on prison escape: No new leads in manhunt AP

Dallas police defuse additional pipe bombs after attack on HQ; suspect dead Dallas Morning News. The attack was carried out — and I’m not making this up — from a van, purchased on eBay, with the following spec: “Zombie Apocalypse Assault Vehicle and Troop Transport. This full armored zombie busting vehicle features convenient gun ports.” I’m not sure what the solution for this is, if any, but I’ll bet it ends up involving more guns. 

Woman killed by ‘celebratory’ gunfire at French wedding Telegraph. I did not know they had a Second Amendment in France.

Gun killings fell by 40 percent after Connecticut passed this law WaPo


Tsipras seeks debt relief as Greeks take offer to Brussels Reuters. Note that although “Yaroufakis proposed a debt swap involving the ESM,” this is unpalatable to the EU politically, and in any case cannot be negotiated in a few days.

Greece, creditors holding last-ditch bailout talks DPA International (German Press Agency).

Greek PM Warns of ‘Difficult Compromise’ After Default Threat Agence France Presse

Greek Premier: Elections or referendum out of the question  AP

Greek FinMin Varoufakis: “Europe Does Not Want ‘Grexit’” Greek Reporter

Greek Debt Deal; Tsipras Still Asking For What He Knows Is Impossible Forbes

Do We Need to Fear a Grexit? The legal side Lexology

The how, what, when and why of Greek capital controls Open Europe

The saga of the Greek review that never ended Ekathimerini. History of the Greek debt saga starting with Samaras but not, however, from a Syriza-friendly source.

Greece Needs Tourists to Bail It Out Now More Than Ever Bloomberg


Deepening the U.S. Military Commitment in Iraq Council of Foreign Relations. June 16: 275 “support and security”; September 2: 350 “protect facilities and personnel”; November 7: 1,500 “train, advise, and assist”; this week: 450 “train, advise, and assist.” Six more months should do it.

‘My position was: you need to have boots on the ground’ Israel Hayom. George W. Bush, in answer to “Is it possible to defeat ISIS in Syria and Iraq without boots on the ground?”

Secret CIA effort in Syria faces large funding cut WaPo

U.S. Poised to Put Heavy Weaponry in East Europe NYT. Will there be Zombie Apocalypse Assault Vehicles?

Obama Not Ruling Out U.S. Military Action In Congress The Onion


President Gets Weekend to Swing Democrats on Trade Deal (Video) Roll Call

Decline and Fall of the Davos Democrats Paul Krugman, NYT. Oddly, or not, there’s one word that doesn’t appear in Krugman’s column. It starts with “O.” There’s another missing word. It starts with “P.”

Democrats Betray Obama On Trade Deal, Guess He’s Done Being President Now Wonkette

RIP TPP? New Economic Perspectives

Labor’s Might Seen in Failure of Trade Deal as Unions Allied to Thwart It NYT. Been a long time since a headline like that. Imagine the clout one big union would have…

Will Shrimp Safety Questions Pose Jumbo Problem For Trade Deal? ABC. One more talking point…

Office of Personnel Management Hacks

The career-spanning details in the federal personnel files that were hacked WaPo. This is the first hack. The story is that the hackers were Chinese, but so far as I know, the only evidence we have for that is the assurances of Federal officials.

Newly disclosed hack got ‘crown jewels’ Politico


Sanders surprised by the large crowds at his campaign events McClatchy

Elbows flying, rhetorically, at Romney’s 2016 retreat AP

Health Care

Surprise Bills for Many Under Health Law Wall Street Journal. NC readers have known about narrow networks since 2013, so it’s good to see the Wall Street Journal catching up.

Why Are The 2016 Obamacare Rate Increases So Large? Forbes

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Louisville police defend shooting of African man USA Today. 

NYPD Cops Withheld Key Details in Eric Garner Death to Superiors Prior to Video Going Viral Photography is Not a Crime

Officer in Tamir Rice shooting: ‘He gave me no choice’ USA Today

Investigation into the Death of Tamir Rice Cuyahoga County Office of the Prosecutor

Class Warfare

How theme parks like Disney World left the middle class behind WaPo

In North Dakota’s Bakken oil boom, there will be blood Center for Investigative Reporting

Should Companies Do Most of Their Computing in the Cloud? (Part 3) Schneier on Security

Evgeny Morozov on digital addiction ExBerliner (MR). “I would guess that very soon, we’ll see a state-imposed imperative to connect.”

Losing the thread Aeon. “[T]extiles are technology, more ancient than bronze and as contemporary as nanowires.”

The tyranny of the friendless Michael O. Church (MR). Interesting article on organizational behavior.

Trapped in a Bubble Golem XIV (Steve). “Life is like a tin of sardines….”

Antidote du jour (via):


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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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. ex-PFC Chuck

    There was a scathing evisceration of the Obama administration’s Syraqistan “strategy” yesterday at Sic Semper Tyrannis by Michael Brenner. Here are the last two, summarizing paragraphs:

    “The stated motive all these years has been to destroy al-Qaeda and to prevent the emergence of hospitable hosts for similar terrorist organizations. We have failed on all counts except for chasing classic al-Qaeda from Afghanistan. Let’s consider an analogous case. China experiences a 9/11 type incident by a group of Uighurs based in Peru who have been welcomed by the Shining Path Group. Then try to imagine hundreds of thousands of PLA troops spending the next fifteen years rampaging around the Andes in hot pursuit, invading Chavez’s Venezuela, bombing groups in Bolivia and Equator and spending a couple of trillion in the process. Imagine an elite team of Chinese Dragons 6 crisscrossing Latin America cutting throats – and adopting as their signature weapon a Tang Dynasty crossbow. Imagine that in the 15th year of their campaign, the PLA launches a plan to construct a chain of lily-pad bases along the spine of the Andes from Lake Titicaca to Quito – Operation Eternal Llama – so as to ensure “full spectrum dominance” of the Alto Plano.

    “Ridiculous? Well, let’s look in the mirror. Instead, the Chinese in all likelihood would use the two trillion to continue gobbling up the mineral, agricultural and hydrocarbon resources of the continent – along with those of Africa and Central Asia as it now is doing. It would rely on police measures to deal with the Uighur terrorists.”

    1. sufferinsuccotash

      Police measures? Police measures?!
      That’s what Kerry was proposing back in ’04 and look what happened to him!

    2. craazyboy

      I think it’s time to let a bunch of rich oil sheiks figure out what to about the ME, and leave us out of it.

      Are we worried they might screw things up?

  2. NIMBY

    Democrats Obama Betrays Obama Americans On Trade Deal, Guess He’s Done Being President Now Wonkette

    Now, that’s much better.

    1. Brindle

      Kaili Joy Gray is the author of the Wonkette piece. For years she was an editor at Daily Kos. Beneath her snark she lays out the Daily Kos desired outcome:

      —“So what happens next? Probably, Obama calls up Pelosi and says, “OK, please pretty please do me this solid,” and then Democrats and Republicans get in a huddle and work out some more compromises, and Republicans agree to only cut a few hundred million dollars from Medicare, and Democrats say, “Fine, but can we also raise taxes on the rich?” and Republicans say, “Hahahahahahaha, good one!” and Democrats say, “Yeah, we know,” and then there is a slightly modified deal, and the House passes it and then the Senate passes it, and then that’s that. Secret trade deals for President Obama and whoever follows him (Hillary, it’s gonna be Hillary).”—

      1. Llewelyn Moss

        You are truly a Seer. I recall when Dems got all uppity during the ACA debate with calls for Single Payer and/or Medicare for All. After the proper amount of self righteous posturing, they assumed the position and we got the HC lobbyist written bill verbatim.

        Oh Obama will have to promise some money for state military bases and MIC corporations, but Dems will sell out as sure as the sun does rise. Makes me wonder if his announcement this week to open new bases in Iraq is preparation for the TPP handouts.

      2. Dennis S.

        There is probably a great deal of truth and don’t miss the irony in the Kaili Joy Gray quote. Not sure Daily Kos wants this outcome or not – doesn’t matter. Obama will beg, cajole, etc. I am hopeful that Pelosi won’t be budged b/c she was so pro-trade deal before that something must have really been important/threatening enough already to have changed her position. Cf. the article on her office’s treatment of callers from Credo – basically a rude and immediate send to voicemail.

        Re: Hillary being next, the self-reassurance in the wishful thinking that she will certainly be next calls out that she may not, in fact, be next. In any case, the likelihood of someone winning who is to the left of Hillary on how to work with Wall Street is not too good right now.

        1. hunkerdown

          It’s an error to treat her vote as a proxy for her preferred outcome, when she has means of satisfying both independently. More likely, given what she’s done for the bill behind the scenes (credit to Gaius Publius), she has no use for outside forces at this time to disrupt her operating. No doubt her well-educated, tuned-in creative base in the City got to hear about Pelosi’s “almost daily” whipping from the likes of HuffPo and NC (Cor blesha), and constituents and non-constituents alike started leaving unhelpful feedback. Voting against while whipping forward plays into Party ideology and offers a pre-positioned cover story. “Listen to my record, not the right-wing noise machine. Shiny! shiiiny!”

          Note that the WTO forced the US to remove the requirement of country-of-origin labeling from meat packaging, which came up for a vote concomitantly. Turnip truck’s comment yesterday about UNCTAD taking a reformist line toward ISDS clauses seems to shed light on the bizarre sense of urgency and hollow ring behind the “We Must Set the Rules Now Because Um, China” line. Perchance the Chinaman is not the issue here. Might the ulterior motive be to establish facts on the ground favoring the Permission Economy and the Eat What’s On Your Plate Or I’ll Take Off My Belt food system before 95% of the Rest of World and the UN can save the institutions of international trade from their own illegitimate excesses?

          1. different clue

            I’d be surprised if “her base” had anything to do with it. Pelosi’s base is the kind of Silicon Yuppies and Latte’ Liberals who support Obamatrade knowing exACTly what’s in it, figuring their class interests will be served.

            It was her “Impeachment is off the table.” which earned her 60% of the votes in her district going to her. Her Silicon Yuppie based knew all about “Impeachment is off the table.” and they apPROVED of it. They showed their gratitude with their votes. That’s what lives in Pelosi’s district.

          2. Dennis S.

            Thanks for the response hunkerdown. Turnip truck’s comment has a lot to unpack. Certainly, my comment did not go into why it was that Pelosi’s office treated callers the way it did. How she reluctantly voted against TAA – holding up hope that a highway deal (or some such spending project) would get the needed votes also rings hollow. Can we keep the unhelpful feedback coming for long enough to kill this thing? For, per Turnip truck’s reminder, the elite are in it for the long-run and will try this again and again. Trying not to give in to cynicism and despair and point to something positive while claiming the snark on Wonkette, if it referred to the desired outcome of a DKos editorial position, did so ironically. Of course, I could be mistaken on what Brindly thinks is “beneath the snark.”

  3. Swedish Lex

    Toxic shrimp.

    In France, all fish and seafood sold has to indicate its origin, farmed or not. We always buy fresh shrimp from the North Atlantic, which is about 50% more expensive than the farmed versions. I would never touch a farmed shrimp.

    1. ambrit

      We do something similar here in south Mississippi. A person can still go down to one of several public marinas and ports and buy shrimp directly from the boat. We do it whenever we can. However, pray to whatever gods you patronize that there isn’t a major wellhead blowout in the North Sea oil fields. We had it here five years ago, and the oil in suspension and in sediments is still noticeably affecting both the quantity and quality of wild seafood harvests. Oil is tough stuff. The dispersant sprayed on the oil slick has been linked to all sorts of bad outcomes. From the wiki on Corexit:
      During the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, an estimated 1.84 million gallons of Corexit was used in an attempt to reduce the amount of surface oil and mitigate the damage to coastal habitat. BP purchased one-third of the world’s supply of Corexit soon after the spill began.[10] Nearly half (771,000 gallons) of the dispersants were applied directly at the wellhead.[11] The primary dispersant used were Corexit 9527 and 9500, which were controversial due to toxicity.

      In 2012, a study found that Corexit made the oil up to 52 times more toxic than oil alone,[12] and that the dispersant’s emulsifying effect makes oil droplets more bio-available to plankton.[13] The Georgia Institute of Technology found that “Mixing oil with dispersant increased toxicity to ecosystems” and made the gulf oil spill worse.[14]

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        We focus only on what we can measure or see.

        You are to man-up when insulted, ridiculed, nagged, etc. An insult is not visible, unless it’s written. And damage hard to measure.

        The same paradigm leads to dispersing something 52 times more toxic to get rid of that ugly oil-slick sight.

        This should not be surprising, given what we know about men, that they are more prone to being stirred up visually. And make no mistake about it – regardless of how many anatomically women we have in positions of power, the structure itself, of the world, is still largely masculine. What we need are more men and women of yin or feminine spirit and a softening of the system/machine itself.

  4. Furzy Mouse

    Quick note on the NY manhunt…a local speaking to CNN said that the dogs lost the scent at the gas station, and that a dumpster came by the station for a pick-up shortly after the escape… thinks they might be many miles away via the dumpster…

    1. Brindle

      I guess this local/regional story as well as the other local/regional story (mentally ill man in Dallas shoots stuff and is killed} are the chosen by the MSM as what will be deemed “news” that the whole country has to have minute by minute updates.
      So typical. Condition the public with chatter n’ chaff.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Well, everybody loves a prison break! I know I do (though the implication of Furzy’s comment to me is that the escapees could well be in a landfill in New Jersey by now).

        As far the Dallas shootout, the fact that you can buy a “Zombie Apocalypse Assault Vehicle and Troop Transport” with ports for your weaponry is an amazing True Fact that says a lot about America today.

        1. Brindle

          Maybe it’s just me but a ZAAV (Zombie Apocalypse Assault Vehicle) will never replace my trusty 6000 SUX.

  5. ProNewerDeal


    read your article

    Interesting your take + citing of Profs/experts that the companies focused on long-term serving of customers are more profitable over time, than the short-term “shareholder” focused financial/casino capitlists.

    Do you know if there are some metric(s) on the public financial statements (such as the annual report) that would be an accurate approximate gauge where a company falls on the long-term/customer vs. short-term/casino spectrum?

    (Anticipatory disclaimer, such a request is for intellectual curiosity purposes only, & not for any actual personal or institutional investment/stock transaction decisions)

    PS – I’d guessimate 3M is an example of the long-term/customer company within the S&P500. IIRC some stock “analyst” criticized 3M for “spending excessively on R&D”

    1. ex-PFC Chuck

      I intended to comment on the referenced post but didn’t get to it before it had scrolled past its sell-by date. The issue of the transition from the managerial corporation to the shareholder value-focused edition is addressed in considerable detail in the book Liquidated: An Ethnography of Wall Street, by Karen Ho. The author is now a tenured professor of Anthropology at the University of Minnesota, but the book is based on her Princeton PhD thesis which in turn was based on research she did while employed on Wall Street in the mid-1990s. Here are a couple of quotes:

      “ . . James Bare [CEO of the Borg-Warner, participating at a simulated corporate takeover held at Columbia University in 1987] summarized the superseded managerial point of view: “I think you have presented an enormous dilemma for the CEO of Peachtree. . . I was trained [th]at a corporation was a guest in this society to present quality goods at a reasonable cost. We were not trained to react to the financial markets and such. We were trying to find a balance between long-term and short-term; we were trying to be sensitive to our communities because we genuinely believe that that would optimize our profits by reacting to those particular needs.’ But, he defeatedly concluded, “the fact is, we must change,’ because ‘the Street is telling us that the trader or the short-term investor prevails, and therefore it’s my duty to react to that.’” p 148-149

      “A certain model of shareholder value thus becomes apparent. Shareholder value is a mission-driven cause that overcomes the wrongful allocation of capital and embodies the sacred identity between profits and private property. Any attempt to interpret the corporation as a long-term social institution whose profits and responsibilities are allocated to multiple ‘stakeholders,’ from employees to communities, constitutes an attack on the inviolable rights of the shareholder. Shareholders are the company, and there is no space for employees to challenge downsizing or stock-price primacy because all other constituents are written out of this narrow definition of the company. This definition presupposes that an exclusive focus on the stock price for the purpose of enriching the ‘owners’ is necessarily righteous regardless of who may be adversely affected.” p 151-152

      Liquidated is very much worth the reading time.

  6. Jim Haygood

    Hillary, in this photo from her campaign kickoff yesterday, struts the muscular manliness that the American people expect, in an heroic pose:

    Her fashionable Kim Jong-Il polyester pantsuit would be suitable for launching a battleship … or welding its boiler. But its primary electric blue color likely will change to olive drab during wartime, expected to commence within the vital first hundred days of her administration.

    So many countries to regime-change, so little time. Why can’t they just learn to submit and obey?

      1. nippersdad

        You can make the dowdy shiny, but then is is still just a shiny version of dowdy. Whether made of silk or plastic, poor taste is hard to disguise. I have often seen women rock a pantsuit, Hillary’s are not one of those that rocks…at least on Hillary.

        Looks like an inability to dress for her shape is a sign of an even deeper lack of imagination on her part. I am glad, however, that someone has found a way to market drab. Let no niche market go unexploited!

        1. JTMcPhee

          Uhoh, look out for creepy mysogyny. And don’t point out that evil is not a matter of X or Y chromosomes. It’s a personal characteristic, that adheres and tends to clump.

          1. nippersdad

            It is a process issue: Mclemore properly points out that one only has a single chance to make an impression. This much is pounded into anyone who is going on a job interview, people give seminars on this shit:

            “Since the brain makes a conclusion about a person, based upon a first look, whether that impression is positive or negative, it’s done; it’s not a first impression, it’s a stamp.”

            She is also clearly equating television appearances with the dynamics of a job interview, insofar as substance comes after impressions.:

            “T.V is where charisma and attractiveness count for more than substance.”

            However, she is clearly a self hating person:

            “I, personally, think it is hard for women to have charisma where some men have it in spades. We can’t change the fact that we are women, but we can put forth our best image for the result we want.”

            Why would one want to change the fact that they are women? Why not revel in it? If one wants to make the first impression that one is a man by wearing a poorly thought out version of a man’s suit, I think THAT is seriously misogynistic. As a designer of sorts for most of my life, I find it disturbing that she cannot own her own gender and exult in it, that it makes her feel less powerful when, in fact, well done it would make her more so. Both of these women have deep psychological issues, and I refuse to own the title of misogyny when it is so much better demonstrated in their own words and actions.

  7. andyb

    Difficult to see any true Progressive voting for a war-mongering, **** **** **** for the bankster elite. Although she might get some votes from the psycho neocons.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      No sexist language, please. First, it’s wrong, exactly in the way it’s wrong to use racist words and tropes to describe Obama. Second, it’s dumb, because emphasizes the personal characteristics of candidates as opposed to their political ones. Third, NC and NC readers have better things to do than process 500+ days of potty-mouthed comments until the election. The doors to Yahoo News or 4Chan are that way. Finally, a personal note: In 2008, I watched as a significant portion of both the political class and the Democratic Party descended into a cesspit of the most vile misogyny. I won’t have that here.

      No comments required, thank you.

    2. spooz

      The best weapon the Hillary supporters have these days seems to be pointing out the horror of allowing a Republican to appoint supreme court justices, pointing out that Clinton and Obama have appointed the liberal wing of the SCOTUS and that Hillary voted against confirmation of Alito and Roberts. So its hold your nose and vote for the lesser evil again. I wish I had a better response than to encourage people to vote for Bernie in the primaries.

      1. jrs

        Really though hasn’t the Supreme Court historically being conservative for most the countries history, pretty much all of it? Don’t things like corporate personhood (very conservative in any way those liberals pushing for Hilary would care about) go back a long long way? So the court will stay or become more conservative, but isn’t that kind of what it does? While it’s not quite on the level of newsflash: water will stay wet, pope will stay Catholic …. isn’t the fact that a liberal Supreme Court seems a historical anomaly (only the Warren Court?) enough of a reason not to engage in that fantasy?

        Yes of course there’s no guarantee Hillary won’t appoint someone fairly conservative herself as she is, yes it needs Senate approval as well and who knows who will have the Senate which even when dominated by D’s is a very conservative body (and a money flooded body as well, more and more so with each election!). But I’m wondering if the fantasy of a liberal Supreme Court isn’t pure fantasy even if none of that was the case, because it’s just seldom happened. And if so don’t they throw their votes away (on Hillary) for a fantasy? Maybe in that case they need to get a better fantasy!

        1. DJG

          jrs: You point out the big problem with the conserva-Dems and their attempts to stampede everyone toward “moderates” like Hillary. The Supreme Court of the US, throughout its history, has produced one mess after another. There’s Dred Scott. There’s Plessy. There were the cases brought by Japanese-Americans in concentration camps (which those plaintiffs lost). And so forth. If you happen to be a piece of property or a corporation, you will do well with the U.S. Supreme Court. (They decided that Dred Scott was property.) Otherwise, no. And we don’t have justices willing to take risks on behalf of the populace anymore (like Douglas, Brandeis, Marshall). (Ruth Bader Ginsburg notwithstanding.)

          1. neo-realist

            There is a good possibility that any progressive judges that get nominated would be shot down by a united republican front in league with a few conservative dems. Usually a democratic president doesn’t bother nominating one because he (or she) knows that judge either won’t get confirmed given the present conservative dynamics of congress or it would be too much of a costly political battle that may imperil the ability to work with the congress to get future legislation passed.

      2. TedWa

        So you’re saying the best path to serfdom in this race to the bottom would be the slower path and to vote for Hilary. I’d say that’s no choice at all. Saying we have to vote for the lesser of 2 evils is how Obama got re-elected. The only way out is not deeper into the quagmire of a 1 party neoliberal/fascist state. The choices then are evil or Bernie. I know who I’m laying my money on. Point being, you’re not throwing away your vote if you vote for Bernie, and 2 – do we want to end up a 3rd or 4th world country slowly, like the frog getting boiled in the pot, or do we want this change as transparent and as quickly as possible so the people can recognize who’s doing the screwing? If Bernie wins, fantastic, if he loses and not to Killary, then maybe people will be moved to organize marches and protests. That just isn’t happening now because it’s happening so slowly it’ll be done and too late to ever change it by the time most people realize what happened. Obomba is transferring the judicial power of our to an international global cartel, and our national sovereignty. Do you think the SCOTUS is even going to matter if this keeps up?

        1. Oregoncharles

          The real question: what do you do if (when) Bernie doesn’t get the nomination and half-heartedly endorses Hillary – his “good friend”?

          It’s the Novbember election that counts.

          1. Yves Smith

            Despite the efforts to coronate her, a Hillary victory is far from assured. Gaius wrote recently of how frequently supposedly unbeatable early leaders fell to long-shot entrants: And the reason for thinking an outsider has a good shot is that Hillary’s negative ratings exceed her approval ratings, and her negative ratings keep rising with more exposure.

            Moreover, I believe a very large, unacknowledged risk is Hillary’s health. She collapsed and passed out in the Middle East. What actually happened (as in the usual lurid details) has been kept very much under wraps. That suggests she had a mini-stroke. And in general, she does not look well (for instance, a shot that picked up the palms of her hands showed them to be remarkably aged for a 67 year old). She may not be able to hold up to the stress of campaigning. What happens then?

            1. Oregoncharles

              Bernie is even older. I’m in between their ages, and I think it’s a very real factor – partly for the reason you just brought up.

            2. ambrit

              She might have Bill start doing campaign work for her, like an old fashioned co-dominion. I’m amazed at how well Bill handles himself, even with his age factor included in the equation. (Has Chelsea decided, like Neal Bush, that politics isn’t her ‘bag?’ She could do a lot to help Mom’s Brand.) It already looks like the Clinton Camp is flirting with an ‘arms length’ semi campaign. Even if her health does break down, it could be finessed like Franklin Roosevelt’s and her husband step in to run things for her from behind the scenes, just like Woodrow Wilson’s wife did for his second term. Then, there is always the lesson of Ronald Reagan’s Alzheimers. Evidently, he was basically incapacitated for his entire second term, and the White House ran itself. (Nancy’s astrologer had a big hand in things, just like the Emperor Julian’s.)
              Even if Hillary’s health is fragile, who cares, in a political sense, just so that the Party Aparat gains control. I will watch with keen anticipation for who is picked for Veep. That person could easily end up President. If her health really is that poor, the fight for Veep will be epic.

      3. TedWa

        Since Obama and his heirs will be transferring judicial power to an international cartel, do you really think the SCOTUS is going to matter when SCOTUS will have to check in with an international cartel to ensure the cartels rights to profits aren’t be infringed in every case? SCOTUS isn’t going to matter much in a decade the way things are going.

        1. TedWa

          I should have put “may” not matter much in a decade. I can’t tell the future, but the possibility is definitely there now with the pending passage of these abominable trade agreements.

        2. spooz

          Okay, at least that is some kind of response to SCOTUS issue.
          Personally, I quit voting for lesser of two evils after the 2008 election, where I was blindsided by the possibility of hope and change.

          It is interesting that the conservatives I know who love to blame me for getting Obama elected, since they could see he was evil from the start, now feel the same way about Republican leadership. They despise McConnell and Boehner as much as I do Obama and Hillary. They are as much against things like TPP, the eternal War on Terror and NSA overreach as I am, and if an establishment backed candidate like Jeb Bush gets the nomination, they will probably give up on the party.

          If there was ever a time for a third party that could bring the disenfranchised from both sides together to save what is left of our democracy, its now.

          1. TedWa

            The democratic party is splintering and Bernie is leading it, along with the progressives we all know and love. Warren, Grayson, Brown and some others.

            1. neo-realist

              I wish the Greens in WA state would do a little splintering of the dems and run candidates against Murray and Cantwell. I don’t expect the WA state dems to bother with such principle.

              1. TedWa

                Me too. Both are trade traitors. Cantwell got TPA out of committee and supports raiding Medicare to fund trade adjustment assistance for those she knows are going to lose jobs. Murray does too, but Cantwell is the one that got it out of committee.

              2. Oregoncharles

                The Greens are doing that in Oregon, but I can’t speak for WA. State parties are pretty independent.

                I thought you had a runoff system in WA now? That would eliminate party-based primaries, and makes it even more difficult for smaller parties to get into the main election.

  8. Ulysses

    Not sure if this has already been linked here, but this post raises some interesting questions– that, as a group, the NC commentariat is very well-qualified to discuss!

    “Without a dramatic countermeasure, the rise of automation is likely going to increase the disparity between the rich or the poor. “It’s either going to be widespread exacerbation of income inequality — starving people outside gated communities — or it’s basic income,” Hughes said”

    1. HotFlash

      “… — starving people outside gated communities — or it’s basic income,” Hughes said

      Somehow I just don’t think it will be guaranteed income. We are being culled.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        If you are not paying for it, you’re the product.

        That’s private sector for you.

        If you are not paying for government surveillance service you are currently getting, done to protect us all, that’s basic (and guaranteed protection) income.

    2. MikeNY

      Yes, at a basic level I think our elites already know that it’s dangerous to have masses of hungry, idle proles — that’s how revolutions get started! The question (I earnestly hope) is whether they will have the decency to aim a little higher than just avoiding being Russia in 1917.

      1. craazyboy

        There is the Zardoz approach. The elites live in a force field protected city. They send out a levitating Godhead packed full of guns to the outside world, and instruct roving bands of warlords to rape and kill off the breeding savages whom are overpopulating the world.

        But maybe they won’t do that.

      2. neo-realist

        I think the elites are ok with starving proles with our technologically advanced police state capability of crushing any attempt to rebel against the established order. Plus the corporate media will frame the starving prole rebels as “violent thugs”, which the non-intellectually curious, non-starving proles will eat up and support the actions of the state.

        Those elites also keep safe with building security and neighborhood block watches that report the “intruders” like Stasi accomplices.

  9. Jim Haygood

    Meanwhile, our distinguished Drone Laureate arms our eastern European satellites for the next Euro war:

    RIGA, Latvia — In a significant move to deter possible Russian aggression in Europe, the Pentagon is poised to store battle tanks, infantry fighting vehicles and other heavy weapons for as many as 5,000 American troops in several Baltic and Eastern European countries, American and allied officials say.

    The proposal, if approved, would represent the first time since the end of the Cold War that the United States has stationed heavy military equipment in the newer NATO member nations in Eastern Europe that had once been part of the Soviet sphere of influence.

    The Pentagon’s proposal still requires approval by Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter and the White House.

    What’s missing here? Oh, right — consultation with Congress. Who needs approval from the 535 dwarves in our rubber-stamp Duma for provocative military actions on foreign soil that, owing to defense cross-guarantees, could involve the US in another European war?

    We can’t afford the luxury of democracy in wartime … which is ALL THE TIME now, comrades. Support our troops on the Iraqi front!

    1. MikeNY

      Slightly OT, but I saw Leon Panetta on a PBS panel defending our ‘re-escalation’ in Iraq, using the old We have to fight them over there, so we don’t have to fight them over here line. Maybe I was asleep in 2011 – 2013 when he was Secretary of Defense, but I didn’t recall what a bonehead he is. He’s almost a caricature of a stuffed suit.

      Retired colonel Andrew Bacevich had the temerity to speak the obvious truth that our meddling in Iraq simply makes things worse. A stunned, appalled silence fell on the rest of the panel, as if Bacevich had plopped a turd on the center of the table.

      1. Llewelyn Moss

        I saw that interview too. Panetta parading the standard talking points that if we don’t kill them there, they’ll be coming here to kill you in your bed. He was pathetic — using scare tactics to justify a policy that has failed time and again for 20 years (or is it 40 years, I lose track).

        Bacevich sure had Panetta’s upper lip sweating — very Nixonesque.

      2. susan the other

        I watched that too and I thought the same of Panetta. What a Schmeagle. And Bacevich was the only patriot on the panel – and Judy Woodruff seems to have got her emotions under control lately because she treated Bacevich with due respect. The other thought that imposes its paranoia on my little brain is that we are giving the EU these tanks and other stuff to subdue their own populations. Because, if we believe the Russians, and I do, there is no way in hell Russia is going to attack anybody.

    2. tgs

      deter possible Russian aggression

      It seems obvious to me that primary purpose of these kinds of actions is to incur Russian aggression. In his remarks after the G7, Obama reiterated that Ukraine must be made whole, ie., Russia must return Crimea. If that is the official line, then the new cold war may well become hot sooner rather than later. Incredibly, those who believe that to be the best option apparently are holding the reins in DC.

      By the way, heard of Transnistria? Stephen Cohen believes it may be the next flash point requiring a Russian military response.

      Stephen Cohen: Kerry’s Negotiations With Putin Are Being Sabotaged in Washington

    3. DJG

      Yes, we are eleventh-dimensional-chess-ing our way into war. This will not end well. Harper’s Magazine just sent me the July issue yesterday. There is an article by Sarah Topol about Ukraine. Not pretty. It’s a boiling cauldron of ethnic resentments and manufactured history and opportune crises. And we are what? Putting “boots on the ground”? The stupidity is stunning.

    4. craazyboy

      Once again, I saw daytime TV by accident a the gym. This time it was the TV tuned to Fox News. I saw a clip of Commander-In-Chief McCain, with his hair seemingly on fire, desperately informing Congress, “We are losing in the Middle East!!”.

      Knowing that, how can we afford to lose Eastern Bloc geography as well????

  10. twonine

    David Malone in his “Death of Democracy” talk, gives a great explanation of how the seemingly benign language within bilateral investment treaties within trade agreements is interpreted by the corporate arbitrators. I think it starts about 15:00 but the whole thing is worth watching.

    Inspiring at 1:27:30

    1. August West

      Thanks for the link. My favorite part is at about 34:00 when he is discussing the ISDS and the few (about 20) arbitrators worldwide. He gives a quote from an arbitrator named Fernandez Ernesto. Death Of Democracy indeed. An apropos title.

      1. Brindle

        Again, thanks for link. Malone understands how language is used to hide true intention.

    2. BEast

      My favorite bit was at about 1:18, when he talks about the NHS saving every member of his family’s life, including his, and helping every one of the high officials… “And now they can’t afford it for you, and your children? I’ll be damned.”

      Not because of the words. But because of how the “I’ll be damned” didn’t sound like bluster or bravado, but like a vow.

      (I don’t think it’s unmanly in the least to get passionate about defending lives and real freedom like that. Indeed, it’s when politicians like him or Warren get upset or angry that I actually tend to believe they mean what they’re doing and give a damn. The common triumphalist tone sets off my B.S. meter.)

  11. Pancho

    I already noticed that the Greek leading conservative newspaper Kathimerini might be abandoning Nea Dimokratias line of stupid bashing the Syriza government, in order to restore their reputation of high quality journalism.

    Now the quality and impartiality of their latest chronicle piece “The saga of the Greek review that never ended” really is remarkable. The fact that ND partisans helplessly complain about this piece being too investigative or too objective is a good sign. Samaras and his duplicity won’t ever come back again. He is history, as is the Troika.

    1. susan the other

      I chose the Lexology link on the legalities of a Grexit. It made my eyes glaze over, but I think this is the crux of the whole argument between Varoufakis and Schaeuble. Varoufakis knows the EU documents for membership are about as binding as any contract without express remedies. So, since it is such a fight to the death politically, I assume that the EU has the short straw. And if Greece defaults within the EU, the EU is screwed, and if Greece is kicked out of the EU and defaults the EU is also screwed. So, from a blurb on ZH that didn’t make sense until I read this link, Schaeuble has appealed to the EC and member states to come up with the necessary legal language to amend the EMU contract so the EU is protected from a future “hostage” situation. But Greece will win this round.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      I’m glad to know the context on Kathimerini. It read well, but I don’t know the dog whistles in Greek politics, let alone what they look like when Englished.

  12. ambrit

    “I’m not sure what the solution for this [Dallas shootout] is, if any, but I’ll bet it ends up involving more guns.”
    I’ll bet it ends up involving more forced medication of the population, especially schoolchildren. With kids being put on meds for ADHD, a nebulous formulation if we ever saw one, I can easily see ‘aggressive behavior syndrome’ (ABS) {otherwise known as ‘being a kid’,} added to the list of behaviours for which medication is mandated for school attendance, which is itself mandatory just about everywhere.
    ADHD is itself a catch all way for school systems to slough off the harder responsibilities of dealing with “problem” children. Defining deviancy down comes into play, as does the possible poisoning of the population with heavy metals due to water supply problems. (One very interesting theory is that fluoridation has contributed through flourides’ tendency to react with aluminum and carry it across cell wall boundarys within the human body.) See:
    So, if we let reason be our guide, the best practice when faced with this ADHD problem is not to add chemicals to the mix, but to remove chemicals. (In a related note, has anyone noticed the steep price appreciation happening in “Organic Foods” at the supermarket? We used to take these ‘heritage’ foods for granted. Indeed, a very effective propaganda campaign was run to condition the public to consider ‘new and improved’ foodstuffs as being the ‘gold standard’ of quality.)
    There was a ‘Golden Age’ has become my motto.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It used to be that any one, even a lowly educated person, could go to a country grocery store and pick up any fruit absent mindedly, eat it without harming himself.

      Today, you need a Ph.D. in food science and that is still no guarantee you won’t poison yourself grocery shopping.

      That’s why we need more education.

      ‘Am I crazy or is the world crazy’ – I quote a poster known as Craazyworld.

      Maybe it’s all relative.

  13. Dan Lynch

    Re: the Connecticut gun law story.

    “Most states will let you buy a gun off a stranger on Craigslist.”

    False. Craigslist does not allow ads for firearms.

    Meanwhile, my armed-to-the-teeth state of Idaho has a homicide rate of 1.7 per 100,000, similar to Europe and Canada, and lower than Connecticut’s 2.4. Why doesn’t anyone do a study of why Idaho has low crime? Could it be that violent crime has more to do with cultural and economic factors? Could it be that half of violent crime is related to the black market for drugs? Could it be that we could dramatically reduce violent crime by decriminalizing drugs and reducing economic inequality? Nah, let’s just blame weapons, it’s so much easier than trying to understand the root causes of our social problems.

    1. Demeter

      Maybe it’s because Idaho isn’t afflicted with urban poverty, where over-crowding and lack of necessities clashes with lack of resources….

      1. Jim Haygood

        It don’t have gunslinger hedge funds either, whose proprietors are wont to fire automatic weapons into the air to celebrate a big day in the markets.

        Meanwhile, as of July 1, 2015, there are five constitutional carry states: Alaska, Arizona, Kansas, Vermont and Wyoming. Arkansas will join the list on August 15, 2015.

        New Hampshire state Sen. Jeb Bradley, who is pushing constitutional carry in the Granite State, contrasted his high violent crime state with Vermont.

        “Our radical and dangerous neighbor to the west – Vermont, which has allowed concealed carry without a license for 200 years without a problem – is the safest state in the nation,” he said.

      1. LifelongLib

        Here in Hawaii (at the low end of gun deaths) you need a permit to buy a gun and concealed carry is almost non-existent. It is also true that Hawaii has a low (though not the lowest) rate of violent crime overall.

    2. Gareth

      For a largely rural state, 1.7 per 100,000 is a pretty high homicide rate. Is it the fault of the white market for meth?

  14. Change Agent

    Re. Disney leaving the middle-class behind, you’d be hard-pressed to notice here in Florida where the state Democratic Party has again booked their state convention in October at the wonderful world of Disney. Room rates however are relatively cheap compared to the regular $500 plus rate, delegates will get a bargain offering of $220 per night. Probably not affordable for the local grass roots faithful or the recently laid off Disney techs who helped train their own H1B visa guest worker relacements

  15. Dan Lynch

    Re: the solution to the attack on the Dallas police station.

    Why do we need a solution to attacks on violent, corrupt oppressors? It seems like a strange thing to say ….. unless you identify with the authorities. I sure don’t.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Because I find the spectacle of Zombie Apocalypse Assault Vehicles driving routinely on our streets — and if you can order them on eBay, why wouldn’t that happen? — dystopian. Your mileage may vary, and apparently does.

        1. craazyboy

          Anti-tank missiles and land mines work too. I figure going for the soft underbelly is probably the most cost effective solution for the cash trapped Road Warrior – as many Americans are nowadays. You need to conserve your subprime loan funds. I think tossing out a grenade and letting it roll under the vehicle would work out nicely at a stoplight or while sitting in traffic jam.

    2. optimader

      Why do we need a solution to attacks on violent, corrupt oppressors?
      Because the rest of us are civilized?.. ..oh wait..

  16. Howard Beale IV

    UK under pressure to respond to latest Edward Snowden claims: The Guardian
    Sunday Times says Downing Street believes Russia and China have hacked into American whistleblower’s files, endangering US and British agents

    IIRC, When Snowden left Hong Kong he did not have the files anymore-they were in the hands of Greenwald and crew and the files were heavily encrypted.

    1. Dennis S.

      Interesting quote:

      “This is not the end of American human intelligence, but it’s a significant blow,” Brenner said.

      Should I hear in this, “We need more/better cyber intelligence and gathering capabilities. We must extend and enhance what Snowden brought to light.”?

      The U.S. collection of info on its citizens will in short order be the world’s property due to negligence. Things that should never have been collected in the first place.

  17. NIMBY

    Disney marketing is about make believe, everyone gets to believe they are part of the 0.1%, that the common man needs a master class to rule it, a master class made up of Disney’s fast track pass holders – just look at the cartoons they use to train kids to take up. I started boycotting Disney quite some time ago, the day I found out they offered fast track tickets..

    The most effective tool for destroying class unity is to convince everyone they are just one step away, one lucky ticket from the top. Hence the extreme fawning of many Americans over the European Royals, when it is clear they are a small bunch of inbreed degenerates descended only one or two generations from industrial scale mass murderers.

    1. jrs

      In the case of Disney it’s really not a case of becoming a market society. It’s mostly how Disney has been all along.

      But even things like attending a baseball game have become more and more expensive when they used to be very reasonable priced if you weren’t aiming for the best seats. To take part in corporate leisure (watching professional sports especially, big concerts etc.) it seems you have to pay large hunks of your paycheck for it.

  18. James Housel

    On the subject of gun fatalities in Connecticut. It is a fallacy to presume gun deaths are committed by criminals against strangers. First off…most gun deaths are suicides, second, of the remaining the overwhelming majority are “crimes of passion”. Somebody got mad (and drunk) and shot their wife, son, friend. That leaves a tiny number of people shooting strangers. I mean really tiny. So anything that makes it harder for “law abiding” citizens to easily access a gun will reduce the first two categories.

  19. diptherio

    First off: loved the snarky Wonkette article. We need to openly mock that which is patently absurd. That said…

    Anyone else find it at all odd that Wonkette is shilling for Amazon? I mean, I know everyone does it, but that doesn’t make it not hypocritical. I assume she’s aware of their atrocious labor practices, which have been described as worse than working in a coal mine by actual coal miners. If so, how can she (and everyone else who is similarly aware) justify encouraging her readers to buy sh*t from them? (I’m looking at you Jimmy…{waves}).

    If she’s not aware, she should be made aware. Would no one say anything if she had a big ol’ Walmart ad on her site that said “I get a cut of anything you spend here”? Well, Amazon is the Walmart of the internet….just sayin’…

  20. Nimby

    Bravo Diptherio! Well Said. Noted same, but kind of jaded by now.

    Putting this add-on to my browser opened my eyes up to how many sites I formerly thought were respectful, clean sites were data mining on behalf of Jeff Bezos for dollars. Even here on NC some odd ones pop up, I suspect here it’s the owner being abused without consent; that it’s their service provider sticking stuff on here. WordPress is the pits, and I believe WordPress is the engine behind this site.

    1. diptherio

      Glad to know I’m not the only one who is bugged by this.

      We need to learn the definition of “Solidarity,” on the left. Taking money from a labor abuser like Amazon is going to corrupt an indy news outlet’s ability to speak truth to power in exactly the same way that corporate sponsorship considerations corrupt mainstream journalism. I understand on a personal level the difficulties of making a living doing independent, grassroots journalism – of convincing enough people to pay for free content to keep the lights on – but giving up on that in favor of corporate sponsorship is not the way to go.

      It’s a widespread problem. The otherwise excellent Shelterforce on-line journal gets money from Wells Fargo(!), to name just one example of many. We can’t go on acting like these conflicts of interest don’t affect us because we are the “good guys.” Accountability and Solidarity (with exploited workers and defrauded homeowners) starts at home, and we’re never going to get any better at either of them if no one ever mentions these conflicts because they’re “uncomfortable” (and if the people receiving the critique can’t find it in themselves to address the issues honestly, rather than getting all defensive about it).

      Corporate sponsorship is filling a need on the left, but it’s a bad solution to the problem. We need, as a movement, to have an honest conversation about this and try to figure out a better way to keep valuable publications viable without them having to shill for the likes of Amazon. I, as per normal, have my own idea as to a possible solution…but first, like any addict, we have to admit that we have a problem.

      1. DJG

        Agreed. Although it is better not to portray Amazon as a business. It is a Ponzi scheme, and so far as I know, Amazon has made a profit only one year since it was started. The idea that it is the wave of the future is tenable if you believe that Enron is the wave of the future.

      2. Nimby

        Google is cutting down on what it pays for adwords, and if Amazon can’t flog more of it’s only profitable line, then that money may get tight too. The business model of dependency on one or two sources of revenue outside a legal monopoly is suicidal, but even more it makes one wonder who dares spit in the face of these two corporations.

        16 June NC Links post had a google video from Majority.FM interviewing a Pando reporter, with Amazon links below it. The interview was about how hard it was for Seymour Hersh to go after Gulf & Western, or any investigative reporter to go after modern corporations, who are a law into themselves. I don’t think they got the irony of where the interview was being hosted and who was paying for it; but panic surely would have set in if the guest had mentioned either Google or Amazon.

  21. DJG

    Virginia Postrel’s article about the history and importance of textiles as technology is a delight. I recommend it. I was reminded of a book that I read years ago called The Mummies of Urumqi, in which the author pointed out that for most of human history, almost all of human effort was devoted to agriculture and textiles. These are two areas that U.S. culture now has deliberately abandoned. Yet I’m reminded of the beauty of textiles and their economic force in places like Venice (which traded in silks), Milan (woolens and more woolens), or Lyon (an entire quarter where the silkworkers lived). Our culture grew out of textiles, and geography created certain cities that thrived on textiles. There’s an expression used to describe cloth, “hand,” and is there any difference between our human hand and the hand of cloth?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      From Wiki, Huaxia (Hua-xia; 華夏) entry:

      According to the Zuo Zhuan, xia (夏)—which has the meaning of “grand”—was used to signify the ceremonial etiquette of China, while hua (華)—as it means “illustrious”—was used in reference to the beautiful clothing that the Chinese people wore (中國有禮儀之大,故稱夏;有服章之美,謂之華

      If I recall correctly, the weaving patterns of the clothes of the Urumqi mummies are also (and probably only) found in Ireland today.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Being historically fashion conscious, China last updated their collection with the Mao suit in the 1950s.

      2. DJG

        You’re right. I forgot about that. Aren’t the mummies wearing twill cloth patterned with “tartans”? And lots of felt. I recall the author explaining the importance of felt.

      3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Forgot to explain the autonym. From wiki:

        Huaxia (Hua-hsia; 華夏) is a historical concept representing the Chinese nation and civilization. It came forth out of a self-awareness of the Han Chinese people towards their ancestral tribes, collectively known as the Huaxia.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I think the Mummies of Urumqi and the Ice Maiden north of Tianshan tell an earlier story before agriculture, when nomads roamed along a super-silk-highway, from Europe, through the Eurasian Steppe to Manchuria and Korea.

      To them, it was about textiles and fresh grass.

  22. Jackrabbit

    Greek Debt Deal: Tsipras Still Asking For What He Knows Is Impossible

    Many are probably now wondering why, after all the charges of incompetence, Tsipras is doing such a thing. Has Tsipras/Syriza gone insane?


    I think few people have made the effort to understand the Greek strategy. IMO it is a strategy that draws from principles of nonviolent resistance. So you lose (and often look foolish doing so) and lose … until you win.

    It is virtually impossible to overcome the Troika’s many advantages without:

    1) directly confronting the European elite by building solidarity with anti-neolib / anti-establishment groups across Europe, or

    2) indirectly confronting the European elite by highlighting the cost that “good Europeans” must bear in an unjust system.

    While both of these approaches entail risk, the first was probably deemed less appealing because: it’s difficult to build a coalition fast enough to make a difference in negotiations and its easy to sideline such movement via labels like ‘radical’, ‘anti-European’, ‘Communist’, etc.

    The indirect path, which I believe Syriza has chosen, means always stressing a desire to work with Europe, while resisting any half-measures that would only extend the misery and bailout farce. Right up to default (if necessary). It is a grand attempt to turn the tables so that European elite/the Troika faces political costs by being the ‘bad guy’ that forces default/GRexit.

    The indirect strategy necessarily entails what many have derided as incompetence:

    > noncooperation with forced arrangements (like the two-step process whereby Greece say how it will service the debt before debt restructuring is discussed);

    > saying one thing and doing another (rejecting default/GRexit but not producing a workable plan);

    > not preparing the people for default/GRexit (that would imply a willingness/desire for such a result and be counter to the ‘good european’ message);

    > over-optimism (Tsipras’ saying that an agreement is “close”);

    > reiterating the need for a comprehensive deal ad nauseum (despite its being a “non-starter”)

    Such a strategy THRIVES on Troika stubborness and rejection because it highlights Troika unreasonableness and heartlessness. Ejecting Yanis from Eurogroup talks; seting a 24-hour deadline; refusing to discuss debt restructuring; not respecting sovereignty or “red-lines”, etc. It is very similar to nonviolent resistance movements that force authorities to confront their own failed policies or overreact to protect them.

    1. Yves Smith

      The problem is that Greece’s behavior has been inconsistent with wanting to work with Europe, and that is why the Eurocrats are winning the PR war so easily. If this is indeed Syriza’s strategy, it’s executing it very poorly.

      Start with agreeing to the Eurogroup memo in February, portraying it as a success for Greece, then spending months refusing to comply with it (wasting time and leading to more distress in Greece as the bank run worsen and the economy decays further)?. Or how about Tsipras regularly making conciliatory statements to the media after meeting with European leaders and then reversing himself (again in the media) partially or fully when he gets home? There’s a lot more I can add to this list.

    2. Lambert Strether

      Is there any evidence anywhere that Syriza actually has adopted this strategy? Or, to put this another way, that they’ve been transparent (or honest) with the Greek voters? Given the wording — “was probably deemed,” “which I believe”, “necessarily entails”, “very similar to” — I’m guessing no.

  23. susan the other

    Thank you for the treat from Aeon by Virginia Postrel on Textiles. One of the most interesting and readable articles I’ve read in a long time. There is so much instinctive logic that goes into weaving and knitting and lace and macrame and all that stuff. But the history of textiles is the richest source. If textiles are 9000+ years old, the claim that spindles are the first wheels is believable; but I’ve read that Japanese pottery dates back 13,000 years with accuracy because they burned all the trees firing the stuff. So that might mean that a potter’s wheel is the first wheel. At any rate, this stuff on textiles is way interesting and we must all be humbled by how clever the ancients were. I’ve always been mind boggled by a weave that worked diagonally like heavy denim or gabardine, or even a houndstooth pattern. And when I knit sox, if I stop to understand the topology I screw up the sox. Oh well. Even birds can weave a nest.

  24. Jess

    Not sure, but I believe that the Zombie Apocalypse armored van in the Dallas shooting may be one built by a guy in Las Vegas who tried to sell it to the pawn shop on PAWN STARS. IIRC, Rick Harrison, who owns the shop, passed because the price was too high and he didn’t know who he might be able to sell it to. If that’s the same van, then we have the answer to Rick’s question.

    In fairness to the guy who originally built the van, lots of guys like to create or modify mechanical things, especially vehicles. Jesse James (Sandra Bullock’s philandering ex) has created a small empire by building wild modifications of existing vehicles of all types. The builder of this van probably thought that the buyer wasn’t going to do anything more sinister than drive it around town or take it to car shows to get some attention.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It would probably mean more surveillance attention to those two alarming keywords.

  25. ambrit

    One for the “Signs of the Times” Department.
    In my local paper in this mornings edition under Professional Positions:
    Must have experience in foreclosure & bankruptcy.
    FT position w/local bank offering great benefits.
    Email Resume to:
    Hattiesburg, MS

    1. ambrit

      I am amazed to see that my made up Email address was highlighted in the post! The forces of Evil are everywhere!

    2. ambrit

      I am even more amazed! When I just clicked on the made up Email address from my original post, a pop up screen asked me if I wanted to open a file from Google Chrome in that name! I have absolutely no idea what’s going on. Moderator, if you feel the need, please delete the thread. I don’t know if this is malicious or not. I am honestly afraid to open this file and urge everyone not to. Something “ain’t quite right.”

      1. Gio Bruno

        …no worry it’s not active from the NC website. (The email address is probably highlighted since it follows the standard convention for email: @ sign with a “dot” followed by 3 characters. (Four characters would be out of character:)

        1. ambrit

          Good pun, and a semantic kicker too!
          Thanks for the coding information. I do have Google Chrome on my desktop, but seldom use it.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Or the end of the beginning. That’s AEP, though. I don’t have a principled objection to Syriza having an outlet in the Western Press — quite the reverse — but there’s such a thing as getting too close to your sources. But thanks for the link.

      What I would like to see is how Greece compares to Iceland in terms of what Nathan Tankus calls [“organizational”?] “capacity” as compared to Iceland. They can pass a law. Do they have the capacity to execute?

      GLENDOWER. I can call spirits from the vasty deep.

      HOTSPUR. Why, so can I, or so can any man; But will they come when you do call for them?

      1. Oregoncharles

        Iceland has about 300,000 people. Institutionally, they had nothing much when they did that – except the Green Party in government, keeping their nose to the grindstone. The Social Dems wanted to cave.

        Unfortunately, that contribution wasn’t rewarded electorally – I’m not there, so I can’t tell you why.

        Could Syriza do it? There’s only one way to find out – and I think it’s going to happen.

        I think I played Glendower in high school – been so long I can’t be sure.

      2. Oregoncharles

        To be fair – Iceland had their own currency and (thanks to the Greens) refused to join the Euro – that would have been a nightmare.

  26. Oregoncharles

    From “The Legal Side:”
    “The points of view range from the third stage of EMU and the membership therein being irreversible in general to it being irreversible within the meaning of no unilateral withdrawal right and no right of expulsion from EMU existing (but without ruling out a consensual exit), …” (the rest is too complicated to summarize, but appears to mean that unanimous consent of the EMU is required).

    In ALL those cases, members of the Eurozone are no longer sovereign, because they have no right to withdraw. This implies that a Grexit would be an act of rebellion, subject to military response. No wonder the Greeks have been spending so much on their military.

    The next paragraph assumes that the parties would make it happen, more or less in defiance of the legalities, if they think it necessary – which is very rapidly becoming the case. But if it isn’t really legal, it throws the whole Eurozone into a quandary. Mr. Market doesn’t like uncertainty. I think they’re blowing smoke when they say there won’t be much contagion – even though it doesn’t show up much in current market activity. Among other things, that means there’s no pre-adjustment and it’ll be ahuge shock.

    And according to the Telegraph article I just posted, Syriza’s Left and some others just shot a rocket across the EU’s (and Tsipras’) bow. The end has begun.

    1. Calgacus

      Oregoncharles:In ALL those cases, members of the Eurozone are no longer sovereign, because they have no right to withdraw.
      No, they do not and cannot imply this, in part because of the implication you draw below, which is a legal impossibility. So they should be more understood as how the Euro institutions should respond to Greek actions, which as you note, the next paragraph notes may disregard EU law.

      Phoebus Athanassiou in Withdrawal and Expulsion from the EU and EMU: Some Reflections cites a 1982 paper by John A. Hill:

      “.. if a Member State were determined to withdraw, the EEC has no sanctions that can be applied to compel lawful compliance with the Treaty. Thus, from this point of view, it really is of no consequence whether a legal right of withdrawal exists.”

      This is an ECB working paper – effectively the ECB view, presumably and actually the anti-Greek, anti-Syriza, anti – “sovereignty” view. So as I have said, there is NO debate on the matters I have been bringing up. But people(s) who forget that they have iron-clad rights bought at enormous cost in blood are apt to lose them.

      This implies that a Grexit would be an act of rebellion, subject to military response.

      NO!. Bringing up military action in this context is like saying that if one party loses a civil lawsuit, that means the winning attorneys get to kill the losing party & his attorneys. The legal points I have been making are ones which every authority, every country, the EU, the Troika, Greece agrees on. They’re like saying: “Murder is against the law.” Universally agreed except for – horrifyingly – as these NC threads show, too many members of the highest authority of all, “We the People(s)”.

      Again, all agree that fundamental international law, above all the UN Charter, overrides EU law and national law. I am not so naive to think that superpowers cannot honor this more in the breach than the observance, but even they are/were careful to dress up their most disgusting crimes with nauseating hypocrisy. The EU is not the USA or the old USSR. So Probability (EU Military response) = 0, no matter what.

      Yves: Have you seen my related comments of June 9 & June 11 respectively in Greece: An Endgame Finally in Sight? & the latest Nathan Tankus post? I am not trying to harp, but am eager to see a response. I try to keep up with the pace of posts and comments, but often fail.

  27. Oregoncharles

    ” Imagine the clout one big union would have…”

    There was, for decades: the AFL-CIO. That was the period when their power declined most, in large part, I think, because of their own mistakes – as well as a concerted right-wing campaign and betrayal by the Democrats. But tying themselves like Odysseus to the DP was one of their mistakes. Obama may finally have corrected that for them.


  28. Chauncey Gardiner

    Thank you for the link today to the article by David Malone from his blog, Golem. Nice to see David Malone writing again, although I wish he had won his election as a Green. Appreciated many of his readers’ comments to that article as well.

    My own view is that those whose interests lie in defending the status quo have their fingerprints all over this bubble, from the overturning of the Glass-Steagall Act, to the seven year flood of free Fed money that has followed a similar period of nearly free money in the wake of the dotcom crash of 2000, to the lack of regulation, to failure to criminally prosecute massive frauds, price fixing and securities law violations, to the massive (and legal) corporate share buybacks mentioned in the linked article.

    Corporate share buybacks should be made illegal IMO, as should the conceptually similar debt-fueled private equity LBOs. Among other socially pathological aspects of this financial manipulation device, they are used as a tool to unlock the monetary value of a corporation that has been built up through the labor of many people over many years. The mechanism used is quite simple really: Corporate CEOs use corporate cash from loans to the corporation that are secured by the company’s assets to repurchase the company’s stock at price highs. This enables these individuals to exercise their stock options at high prices and thereby enjoy high levels of personal income, while also rewarding their cronies and their network of “institutional investors”, many of whom also sit on the companies’ boards. Meanwhile, the corporations themselves are starved of productive investment, both currently and in the future, as the companies’ cash has used for share buybacks and those buybacks have been funded with the cash from borrowing. That source of cash is then both unavailable to the corporation in the future and must also be repaid, or the corporation will subsequently be pushed into bankruptcy.

    I believe that those who have engineered the latest Ponzi have already largely extricated themselves from it and have placed much of their personal “wealth” in real estate and in “safe havens” where they have invested the proceeds in the safest debt securities their financial advisors can find, and where they perceive they are also shielded from taxes or other forms of expropriation. Those who are a little slower to act are presently in the process of extricating themselves from the Ponzi, as I feel can be seen from the range-bound “Distribution” pattern of trading in the U.S. stock markets recently.

    Too slow, though, and they will be like the “Bubble Boy” (or girl) floating blissfully inside their bubble down the Niagara River on a sunny summer day. Again, just my opinion absent further intervention and a big new infusion of Fed cash and continued ZIRP to perpetuate it.

    1. craazyboy

      Once upon a time, stock buybacks were considered a terrible thing to do with cash flow. I don’t think there was anyone that even realized you might do corporate bond sales to finance a stock buyback.

      I think it may have been Milliken that slowly got CEOs thinking “out of box” about the possibilities of creative high finance. ‘Course back then, some people thought Milliken was a criminal. But we made him a finance professor instead. Go figure.

      1. Gio Bruno

        Where is Milken a finance professor? Since he’s a convicted felon, who would take that chance?

        1. craazyboy

          It looked bad on the resume, so he created a “think tank”.

          Wiki has the press release description on what he/they do there.

          But the LA times used to run articles about how you can go to the lectures and find out Mike was really innocent, and how to do it the way Mike did it. They were being waggish, but I think accurate.

  29. Oregoncharles

    “Sanders surprised by the large crowds at his campaign events McClatchy”

    Reminds me of the Howard Dean campaign. Sanders is a lot more subversive, though.

    1. ambrit

      Is Dean completely out of national politics now? Would his endorsement be of any help to Sanders? Could he resurrect his ‘grassroots’ methodology to help Sanders run a stronger campaign? Inquiring Plebs want to know.

  30. giantsquid

    Perhaps, rather than counting on fear of Grexit, the Greek government is attempting to leverage the current geopolitical situation in Europe to gain concessions in their EZ negotiations. In particular, in order to extend sanctions against Russia the EU must vote unanimously before the end of July. In order to take this risky stance, the Greeks would have to be certain that alternative financing would be available should the strategy fail. They seem to have taken a first step in that direction by (apparently) agreeing to sign on to the Gazprom “Turkstream” natural gas pipeline. They may also be near agreement to join the BRICS New Development Bank. I have no idea what sort of financing the BRICS bank might be willing, or able, to extend to Greece, but if the Chinese are willing it might be substantial. Interestingly, one of the earliest reversals in policy the Syriza government made was allowing privatization of the Piraeus Port to go forward, with China’s shipping and ports giant China Cosco Holding Co. being the prime beneficiary.

  31. charles 2

    Thanks for linking the article from Lexology.

    For me the killer quote is this one (emphasis mine)

    “The discussion went on to explain that the legal consequences of such hypothetical EU Council Regulation providing for the redenomination of Greek debt would be very different from a unilateral exit and redenomination based on Greek domestic law only. This is because an EU Council Regulation would be EU law and would, because of its supranational character, have priority over the domestic laws of all relevant Member States of the EU. Such EU Council Regulation would be directly applicable in all relevant Member States and would directly change any instruments or contracts governed by any of the laws of the Member States (and not only contracts and instruments governed by Greek law). Accordingly, even the English law-governed debt of Greece, which is denominated in Euro, would cease to be denominated in Euro and could be repaid and serviced in the New Currency.

    English Law for financial contracts is the bedrock on which the City is built-on. If the EU Council dares to touch it, Brexit is guaranteed. This being said, EFSF and ESM bonds are issued under Luxembourg Law f I am not mistaken, so english Law debentures should not form a very big part of Greek debt.

  32. DataShade

    The actual documents on the Tamir Rice shooting have already been deleted from scribd.

  33. Anonymous II

    I am surprised the author did not mention cutthroat competition when discussing
    Why Are The 2016 Obamacare Rate Increases So Large? Carriers set out to beat the competition’s rates and set premiums too low in 2014. They are now pushing up rates to try to replenish reserves. Certainly many sick people signed up and in ’14 and even ’15 many and many health young people took the tax penalty rather than pay premiums.

    Certainly churning in memberships is also a problem. No carrier really does too well by signing up members for a month or two only to watch them leave; under the rules of the ACA, subscribers don’t have to pay for a plan they don’t use and don’t want. (‘Let’s take the tax penalty and cut our losses’) The overhead involved in sales, underwriting, and customer service (newly enrolled, disgruntled subscribers call their carrier many times in the first month) is prohibitive to making a profit. When the unhappy plan holder folds up their paperwork and moves across town to the competition in order to save a few bucks the first carrier is left with a large minus on the sales books.

    But beyond the dollars and cents lurks another 800 ton gorilla; The Marketplace. Any administrative analyst will back me up -much porcelain is broken in the crates during the first five years that a newly minted bureaucracy operates. I am told by an inside source that the marketplace is wreaking havoc by:

    Enrolling subscribers in two or more plans, sometimes months apart then taking several more months to correct the problem.

    Customer Service Reps (CSRs) at the Exchanges cannot adequately inform potential subscribers on what plans their physician is enrolled in resulting in the churning mentioned above-
    In fairness to the CSR’s they have to cover information on dozens of plans.

    CSRs at the Marketplace fail to convey the details of when potential plan changes will take place resulting in subscribers not knowing what plan they are enrolled in on a given day.
    Calls to the Marketplace are not notated so repeated calls to the marketplace results in confusion about what the subscriber was told by the previous rep.
    Marketplace IT technology does not work-plans and updates do not get sent to the carriers for many weeks sometimes months leaving subscribers without care.

    Subsidies are dropped off plans when the subscriber fails to update demographic information. Subscribers frantically call the Marketplace thinking the reapplication of the subsidy will be backdated-it never is. The Marketplace only looks forward-more consternation and anger results as hundreds of dollars gets added to the premium for one, two or three months until the update is applied.

    Subscribers often think they are being given relief to a problem only to find out they heard from the rep what they wanted to hear not the actual matters in the fact of the plan.

    Appeals by subscribers to correct the many errors are time consuming and may not result in any meaningful or substantive relief to mistakes. Errors are legion, SS #’s are assigned incorrectly to plan holders, birth-dates are wrong, names are spelled incorrectly, erroneous demographic information is submitted to the carriers by the boxcar load. Subscribers plans are termed in error when they contact the marketplace to dis-enroll a beneficiary on the plan. Add to this mix the human error factor at the carriers (who at least have their five year initiation under their belt) and the result is an unholy mess.

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