Links 6/16/15

Joint Canada-U.S. effort aims to restore bison to Great Plains CTV New

Ask Ethan #92: Is there a limit to temperature? — Starts With A Bang! Medium (furzy mouse)

Mount Everest shifted southwest due to Nepal earthquake Thailand Forum

Pope Francis Slams GMOs and Pesticides for Environmental and Social Damage Sustainable Pulse (furzy mouse)

Pope Backs Climate Change Science, Denounces World Leaders Bloomberg

Who Will Own the Robots? MIT Technology Review (David L)

New AAP Figures Show Ebook Growth Mostly Flat Digital Book World

Bilderberg 2015: where criminals mingle with ministers Guardian (Chuck L)

EU to hold migrant crisis talks BBC

Decoding the US and China Business Spectator

A Partnership with China to Avoid World War George Soros, New York Review of Books

China’s Unsettling Stock Market Boom New York Times. Editorial.

The banks and real estate: a Ponzi scheme that could ruin us? The Drum (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)


Greek crisis: Athens rejects capital controls report as Draghi calls for deal ‘very soon’ Guardian. Live blog. Scroll down to the section “Revealed: How the Greek talks went backwards yesterday”.

Greece Won’t Present New Proposal to Eurogroup to Unlock Aid Bloomberg

Prepare for Greek ‘state of emergency’, says German EU commissioner Reuters

Another grim start for peripheral eurozone debt Financial Times. Is the ECB losing control, or waiting till after the Wednesday Governing Board meeting to act?

Greek fears erode market impact of ECB stimulus Financial Times. A later story.

Europe Asks if Greece Could Default Without Exiting Euro Wall Street Journal

Greece accuses Europe of plotting regime change as creditors draw up ultimatum Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph

Eurozone officials discuss holding emergency summit on Greece

Tsipras Isn’t on the Side of Democracy Bloomberg

Defiant Tsipras accuses creditors of ‘pillaging’ Greece Financial Times. See Greece’s plan below. Un, they agreed to further pillaging in concept by accepting the primary surplus levels proposed by the creditors.

Fiscal policy in the short and medium run. Greek proposal from over the weekend. It does not address the full menu of structural reforms, such as improving tax collections and labor market “reforms”. This is strictly the proposal for how to meet the primary surplus targets, as in how to close what they call the “fiscal gaps”.


Very interesting public survey in the occupied Ukraine Vineyard of the Saker (Chuck L). “The occupied Ukraine” is heavy handed.

US to store heavy weapons in Poland BBC. Speaking of heavy….

Wanted: NGO Whistleblowers Vineyard of the Saker (Chuck L)


The Evil That Dare Not Speak Its Name: Israel’s Apartheid Truthdig (Judy B)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Breakdown in US talks on facial-recognition rules Financial Times. Important. Notice the overreach that the government and tech firms wanted.

Possible Pentagon destruction of evidence in NSA leak case probed National Security & Defense McClatchy (Chuck L)

Sex, lies and debt potentially exposed by US data hack CNBC (furzy mouse)

Trade Traitors

US looks to reassure partners after trade rebuff Financial Times. Translation: Obama is trying to recover from his loss of face.

EMERGENCY REPORT – 2nd TPP Sneak Attack Coming This Tuesday! StormCloudsGathering (furzy mouse)

Chomsky: Hillary and Obama Are ‘Opportunists’ WND (RR)

Koch Nightmares Come To Life As Bernie Sanders Announces He Has More Than 200,000 Donors Politicus

In race for U.S. presidency, Jeb Bush runs from Romney’s ghost Reuters (EM)

The voice of opposition past, Justice Kennedy may save Obamacare now Reuters (EM)

BlackRock, Obama Campaign Donors Stand To Benefit From Cuts To Military Pensions International Business Times

Why Corporations, Not Government, Are the Most Ruthless Enemies of Journalists (w/ Mark Ames) Majority Report

The Sorrow and the Pity and the Derp Talking Points Memo. Pat: “The net effect of everything that has happened has been to shift a major part of the state tax burden from upper-middle class and affluent Kansans to poor and middle class Kansans.”

A Thirsty Colorado Is Battling Over Who Owns Raindrops New York Times

When does insurance cover ride-hailed drivers’ cars? San Francisco Chronicle

AIG Bailout Trial

Court tells government it was wrong to seize AIG, but awards no money to billionaire ex-CEO Washington Post. Notice the attack on Judge Wheeler.

No Room in AIG Winner’s Circle for Fannie, Freddie Wall Street Journal

Huge, historical bond move is upon us: Technician CNBC (David L)

Oil Demand Weaker Than Many Expect OilPrice

Gap to close 175 stores, cut jobs at headquarters Reuters

Flash – Goldman Sachs plans digital lending for consumers France 24

Where They Stand on Financial Reform Americans for Financial Reform. A compilation of Congressional voting records.

Class Warfare

Millionaires control 41% of world’s wealth CNBC (furzy mouse)

Walmart’s black mark Phnom Penh Post (furzy mouse)

Antidote du jour. Gary B: “Successful heron in nearby estuary.”

Heron with Fish _061415 links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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    1. frosty zoom

      that’s a great blue heron. they have a pair of fancy rockstar feathers that run along the top of their heads. this one must have just woken up.

      if you are referring to the fish, yes, it has a great blue heron wound around its neck.

      1. CB

        Perhaps its rockstar feathers got wet and droopy on the catch. Saw one pick a rat off a pond bank, flip it around, and down the hatch. Never thought about them catching rodents, but I suppose size is the criterion.

        1. Brooklin Bridge

          We saw a Blue Heron catch a chipmunk, amble to the shore and dunk it in the water like a doughnut and then down the hatch (slowly). Incredible! The way the Heron caught the chipmunk was also amazing as we weren’t expecting it. It was like lightning; almost as fast as Obama breaking a campaign promise.

  1. abynormal

    sorry if this has been posted….GOP Leadership’s Latest Obamatrade Ploy Revealed: Small Business Tax Hike That Violates GOP’s Anti-Tax Pledge
    “It’s pretty outrageous what is called for in this bill that Congress is going to vote on Tuesday – it literally doubles and triples the taxes on small businesses,” explained Ellis.

    Ellis spent hours researching this legislation and explained to Breitbart News how it could impact small business taxes if Congress passes the TAA during its vote on Tuesday.

    “Small businesses that are already over-burdened with IRS paperwork will be penalized even further if they make a technical mistake on filing informational paperwork,” he said. “There’s a lot of dishonesty going on when the bill is described as raising the fines on tax violations. That’s dishonest because the fines aren’t for people who failed to pay their taxes, the fines are on businesses that for no fault of their own, they forget to fie a piece of paperwork telling the IRS how much someone else owes on their taxes.”

    “It’s outrageous that Republicans who complain all the time – rightfully so – about the IRS’s overreach and over burdening small business are actually increasing the incentive for the IRS to spy on people – to spy on small businesses,” he added.

    Essentially, as explained by Ellis, any time a small business paid an independent contractor or freelancer a commission or any tips, it must be reported to the IRS with a 1099 form, which a copy is also sent to the contractor or freelancer. If the small business is late in filing this form, then it is fined by the IRS. The proposal Tuesday, as it stands, would double and triple these fines

    1. craazyboy

      Holy BeJeebus! You have to file 1099s on your independent contractors! The pain, the pain. And late fines are TAXES.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        One starts out as an apprentice taxpayer, then evolves into a supreme inflation fighter*.

        And you can think of paying fines as an inflation fighting exercise.

        *While you are to fight inflation, defeating deflation is the job of your uncle. The strategy is simple and clear – you part with some of your dollars (these dollars are to be sacrificed, immolated, destroyed to please the gods) to subdue the former and your uncle gets to spend some dollars, even brand new ones, to slay the latter.

  2. NIMBY

    Have to agree with Chomsky on JFK, and that JFK started the ascendancy of neo-Liberal elitism. JFK gave fair warning though, “Profiles in Courage” is a paean to anti-democratic elitism, and the fan club just ate it up.

    1. Llewelyn Moss

      “If you take a look at the last election, November 2014, voting participation was about at the level of the early 19th century when the franchise was limited to propertied white males,” he said.
      “I presume, as the political scientists who have analyzed it have concluded, that it simply means abandonment of belief in any kind of a democratic system,” he said.

      We’re now at the point that public policy is being done in secret, classified deals that no one can see — not even the lawmakers who are voting on it. Not what the framers had in mind, I’m pretty sure.

    2. roadrider

      Chomsky is dead wrong about JFK and so are you. Chomsky has always been willfully ignorant about what really happened in the missile crisis and Kennedy’s intentions to withdraw from Vietnam which have been clearly and unambiguously documented by Dr. John Newman. Concerning the missile crisis, Chomsky’s simplistic interpretation ignores the fact that JFK was facing a possible mutiny, if not an outright coup, by his senior military advisers who were hell-bent on invading Cuba even at the risk of starting a nuclear war with the Soviet Union, which they regarded as inevitable and wanted to incite while the US had an advantage in strategic weapons. Robert Kennedy said as much to the Soviet ambassador Dobyrnin at the height of the crisis as JFK sought a direct, back channel to Khrushchev, who was also trying to fight off the hard-liners in his own country.

      As for the Diem assassination, Kennedy was sold out by his own ambassador, Henry Cabot Lodge. Lodge and the CIA worked behind the scenes to engineer the coup and prevent any attempts to derail it. Kennedy had reluctantly authorized the threat of supporting a coup by Vietnamese generals if Diem did not reign in his brother Ngo Dihn Nhu and his repression of Buddhist dissidents. This was a mistake as Lodge and the CIA exploited the opening to trap Kennedy into a course of action that he acutally wanted to prevent. They were, in part, motivated by the possibility that Diem would demand a US withdrawal (one that Kennedy was already putting in motion). At the eleventh hour Lodge deliberately delayed a message from Diem to Kennedy that signaled Diem’s willingness to give in to US demands to remove Nhu from power. This made the coup inevitable. Kennedy was shocked by the assassination and regarded it as a sign that the intelligence and military establishments were doing whatever they could to undermine him and trap him into choices he didn’t want to make as they had in the missile crisis.

      This is all documented in JFK and the Unspeakable by Jim Douglass.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Something similar in the film, ‘The Man No One Knew,’ about Colby, by his son, who was in Saigon as a kid when his father was stationed there.

      2. Nimby

        It’s been awhile since I had to replace a grossly offensive comment with a cat picture. Oh, and it was truly ad hominem, so it was a two-fer.


        Here is a cat waiting for the train in Japan. –lambert

        1. susan the other

          I dunno, nimby. I read and understood the same way roadrider did the account of JFK trying to keep us out of a greater war in southeast asia. And I still believe it for the most part. Chomsky has never given JFK much credit for defying the warmongers, altho Chomsky hates them too.

          1. Nimby

            Susan the other. Mostly I don’t give the story credit because Kennedy had a lot of revisionist in love with their version of JFK. There is a whole load of scary stuff that the Kennedy admin took and locked up in their library, no peeking. IE; Bush, or Hillary for that matter, didn’t set any precedent disappearing docs.

            What he did to Diem is a pattern. JFK not only went through with the assassination of Patrice Lumumba, a sin against humanity, but told the man to his face that he had called it off. This is a clear indication of how close he was with the corporatist Republican line.

            Further my point was and is “Profiles in Courage” is a paean to anti-democratic elitism. Rather than emphasize educating & debating the constituents, the book is all about betraying the will of the constituents. These betrayals may have been for “good” reasons, but the method is all wrong. It’s the same logic Obama used to force PPACA down our throats, it’s the same logic used to justify continued military adventurism and spending. It’s a model that lead to the corruption of the current system, where voters leave the “details” to the elite, and that’s not how real democracy works.

        2. roadrider

          Listen stupid. I don’t get paid by Amazon. I also don’t buy anything from them except the occasional gift card. I don’t have a business model – I’ve been out of work for two years.

          So, all that should take care of your baseless, childlike accusations. As for the other links you’re citing I’m assuming that they are other works on different topics by the authors I mentioned. I’m not familiar with those works but apparently neither are you since all you could do is make a snarky, sarcastic remark about them instead of criticizing their substance. Now those other books might be loads of crap – I have no idea. But that’s irrelevant. Do you also dismiss Issac Newton’s Principia because he was also into alchemy? I’m not religious at all and I might even be dismissive of the other material those authors wrote about but their credentials in the matter of JFK are beyond dispute. Dr. Newman’s biography attests to his expertise in international affairs and US intelligence operations.

          Douglass is an author who also happens to be a Catholic theologian and a proponent of non-violence who has personally engaged in civil disobedience in protests against nuclear weapons and the Vietnam War and engaged in projects to help the poor and homeless. I suggest you try to live up to some of that before you make snarky, sarcastic remarks about him. I’m not a Catholic or a theologian or even one who believes in a god but that doesn’t give me pause to ignore Douglass’ scholarship and reporting on John Kennedy.

          Look, if you have a hard on for JFK or think Chomsky is the font of all wisdom then that’s your privilege. But try citing some facts instead of your own personal bias (or Chomsky’s – which is well known). And when someone else goes through the trouble to present facts that happen to disagree with your juvenile rantings and personal bias try taking a minute to consider what’s been presented to you and see if you might have prejudged or are just plain wrong.

          Or you could just STFU. That works for me too.

        3. Yves Smith Post author

          Commentors: don’t feed the trolls. Nimby’s response was out of line. Please let the moderators deal with infractions like that.

      3. ex-PFC Chuck

        I second your nomination of Douglass’s JFK and the Unspeakable. A week to the day after the assassination I was inducted into the Army for two years, and by the time my life was my own again the Vietnam pot had come to a boil and the Warren Report was old news. For the next 40+ years, a time consumed by career and kids, I assumed that it was an honest, although inevitably incomplete, attempt to get at the truth. I hadn’t even gotten around to seeing Oliver Stone’s movie. Shortly after Unspeakable was published in 2008 I saw a favorable review of it and decided to get a copy and see what the fuss was all about now that, being semi-retired, I had more time to read. Once I got over my “Holy Shit! I had no idea!” reaction curiosity kicked in about the assassination, the reasons behind it, and most recently its effects and implications down to the present day. The last was touched on in Unspeakable and other books I read along the way, such as Mary’s Mosaic: The CIA Conspiracy to Murder John F. Kennedy, Mary Pinchot Meyer, and their Vision for World Peace, by Peter Janney. However it’s addressed more directly near the end of James DeEugenio’s 2012 book Destiny Betrayed: JFK, Cuba and the Garrison Case. As suggested in the title he selected, DeEugenio sees President Kennedy’s assassination as a fundamental turning point in American history. I think he is probably correct.
        To explain why requires some background. During World War II our parents and grandparents were presented with the image of smooth and happy cooperation between the United States and Great Britain. Below the level of Churchill and Roosevelt, however, there were fundamental strategic conflicts that had to be hashed out by the Combined Chiefs of Staff and their minions. British thinking was informed by Churchill’s expressed and intense desire not to be the PM on whose watch the sun set on the British Empire. They also could not afford the kind of carnage which had decimated their World War I generation in which, for example, over 19,000 men were killed and twice that number wounded on the opening day of the Battle of the Somme, July 1, 1916. Roosevelt, by contrast, believed that the war had pushed overt colonialism past its sell-by date. But not past the sell-by date of covert colonialism. This is the same FDR, remember, who in the late 1930s could say when queried about the most recent atrocity by the Anastasia Somoza regime in Nicaragua “He may be an SOB, but he’s our SOB.” Roosevelt and his Chiefs of Staff wanted to get the war over as soon as possible and then be ready to covertly catch the wheels as they flew off the British, French Belgian and Dutch empires.
        After the war the Establishment extended the “covert colonialism business model” it had developed in the early 20th century in Latin America, the Caribbean and the Western Pacific under the rubric of the Monroe Doctrine, and perfected it by weaponizing debt and corruption for use, where possible, in preference to sending in the Marines. The lineaments of this model were exposed as fully formed by 1970 by John Perkins in his books Confessions of an Economic Hit Man and The Secret History of the American Empire, and they were almost certainly well along in development by 1963.
        Both Douglass and DeEugenio describe a trip that Congressman Kennedy took to countries in south and east Asia in 1951 as formative of his later views regarding countries of the developing world, most of which were former colonies of western European countries. The authors focus on the influence the visit had on his assessments on the future prospects in Vietnam, and especially on the input he received from a young foreign service officer whom he’d known since college or prep school days, Edmund Gullion. These views were the basis for his decision a few weeks before his death, as documented in NSAM 263, to begin the withdrawal of all American advisers from Vietnam by the end of the year.
        As for the assassination itself, the consensus alternate narrative that seems to be emerging is that it was directed by past and/or present agents and assets of the CIA (although probably without the knowledge of Director John McCone), and included participation by elements of organized crime and by a few of the Cuban refugees including some veterans of the Bay of Pigs fiasco, and perhaps of the Department of Defense. Other government departments abetted the operation, albeit in most cases unwittingly. Finally and importantly, it had the support of key private sector elements of the Deep State, especially those involved in the mineral extraction industries. This is suggested by the gathering that took place at the Fort Worth home of oil magnate Clint Murchison on the evening of November 21, 1963, that was attended by a who’s who list of the establishment. Allegedly among the notables were Richard Nixon, George H. W. Bush, and J. Edgar Hoover as well as numerous oil and mining industry folks. Also at the coed gathering was Lyndon Johnson and his long-time mistress Madeline Brown, with whom he had a son that he provided for in his will and with whom he remained on good terms until his death. Late in the evening the senior men adjourned behind Murchison’s closed office door for a half hour or so. Shortly after they filed out Johnson took Brown aside and whispered to her that after tomorrow he’d never have to worry again about being dissed by the Kennedys.
        So, here’s an hypothesis that’s just s short step from what DeEugenio puts forward and which explains why the deep state got behind the conspiracy, or perhaps initiated it: JFK had gone beyond FDR and had concluded that not only overt colonialism was passé, but so too was the covert colonialism of the type promoted by our economic hit men, the covert colonialism that saddled developing countries with crushing debt and corrupt leaders while “modernizing” their economies and societies. If this hypothesis is anywhere near the target, America’s relations with the developing world would have played out very different than they actually have over the past half century. But it was too much for the private sector elements of the Dee[ State and their allies within government. But instead within a month of becoming president Lyndon Johnson issued NSAM 273, which voided the one issued by his predecessor. Among the consequences were a country that half a century down the road is mostly loathed by people in the developing world instead of admired as previously, and the government’s purchase of 58,000 body bags for the American men and women who subsequently died in Vietnam.

        1. roadrider

          Thanks Chuck. I’ve followed DiEugenio’s work for a few years now, both on the CTKA site and on Black Op Radio. Destiny Betrayed is a good read. I’ll try not to offend the non-adults on the site by posting an Amazon link to the book (no, I don’t get paid by them) but its a great overview of the case that takes into account the work of the AARB which was created to review government documents related to the JFK case in response to Oliver Stone’s movie.

          Just a few points on your post:

          McCone, a Kennedy appointee, was certainly kept in the dark by the older CIA hands. Dulles is suspected of still having a hand in things behind the scenes (probably working through Angleton) even after being sacked by Kennedy.

          You’re on the mark as far as the Deep State elements involving elements of industrial magnates (Henry Luce, William Pawley, the oil barons) having connections with the intelligence community. Perkins story also fits the facts here with respect to the post-Kennedy history of exploitation of third-world countries by first-world industrial interests and NGOs (World Bank, IMF) backed by covert intelligence operations. However, Madeline Brown’s story about the Murchison party has been pretty convincingly debunked by JFK researchers like Walt Brown.

          You’re also right on the mark about Kennedy’s stance against colonialism and for self-determination for emerging nations. His model for Vietnam was Laos where a settlement for a neutral, independent nation was negotiated at the 1961 Vienna summit.

          1. ex-PFC Chuck

            Agree on the roles of McCone and Dulles. As you probably know having read Destiny Betrayed, Dulles had free rein to have his assets in the press manipulate the media coverage of the Bay of Pigs fiasco because the two after-action analysis reports (one by the CIA Inspector General Lyman Kirkpatrick & staff and the other by a panel commissioned by Kennedy and chaired by Maxwell Taylor), both of which were scathing about the Agency’s planning, execution and operational security, remained classified for 30+ years.
            Regarding Madeline Brown, I haven’t seen Walt Brown’s rebuttal. But although it’s hearsay on her part, in view of the fact that Johnson provided for her and their son in his estate and that by all accounts I’ve read remained on good terms with him until his death, it doesn’t appear that her statements were driven by malice. A while back I found a link to a YouTube video of her making this assertion, however when I clicked on it the page said it could only be viewed with the rights holder’s permission. I didn’t pursue it at the time because of other commitments. I thought I bookmarked the site but now I can’t find it. This issue is also addressed by William Peppers in his book An Act of State: The Execution of Martin Luther King. Peppers was James Earl Ray’s attorney for his final appeals and after his death became the plaintiff’s attorney for the M. L. King family’s successful law suit against various governmental entities for wrongful death. Here is what he writes about the matter:

            “Madeleine told me that near the end of the party, Johnson made an appearance and the group quickly went into Murchison’s study behind closed doors. After a while, the meeting broke up, Johnson, anxious and red-faced, came up, embraced her, and with a quiet grating sound whispered a message she would never forget in her ear. ‘After tomorrow, those goddamn Kennedys will never embarrass me again – that’s no threat, that’s a promise.’ She was stunned, but the next day she realized what he meant.” P 126-127

            Elsewhere Peppers implies that this was said in a deposition that he later chose not to use in the King family law suit trial because of the distractions it would inevitably cause. If it was in fact a formal deposition, it would most likely have been given under oath.

        2. JTMcPhee

          I get to finish out my span here as a “disabled Vietnam veteran.” My best friend is an unacknowledgely also disabled Vietnam vet. He and I only met 7 or 8 years ago. We had both enlisted, back in the mid-60s, out of similar motives that had something to do with Presbyterian Boy Scout middle-of-the-nation Pledge-of-Allegiance hand-over-heart schooling, 4th of July parades and suchlike. (Please note that a move is under way to de-legitimize ‘PTSD’ as a diagnosis, and the history of how the people we “thank for their service” get treated is still pretty accessible: , and, and…)

          After we got out, we both spent a lot of years studying, trying to figure out what actually just happened to us and “our” country. Along the way, learning to our silly surprise, that evil exists, that rotten bastards do win most of the hands in the rigged game, and that nothing, absolutely NOTHING, is what we were or are told it is or what it seems to be, and that “reality” squirms and wriggles away from any attempt to get a good grip on it, especially if “money” is somehow involved, particularly BIG MONEY, and its evil twin, “power.”

          Best advice I ever came across in seeking analytical handles on “what happened” is that old bromide, “Follow the money,” and its even-evil-er step-creature advice, “Cui bono.” Though so much of the complexity and detail has been so happily obscured, “all put behind us,” safely in the memory hole. And us mopes are left with scorn from the “professional left,” that stuff we think has maybe some “historical” validity and reality to support it, and if you look at it as a kind of scientific exercise, does a good job of fitting the observable events and connections, is all just “conspiracy theory.”

          At some point we die, and it ceases to matter for us. Too bad for us that we have these silly Quixotic notions that maybe the bastards should not get away with it, get to the end of their perfect comfortable McNamara lives and say “Whoops! I guess we shouldn’t have f__ked over the world like that” and get a free pass into Heavenland… Or worse yet, smirk and sneer along, still killing people and their hopes and futures, living off someone else’s heart after evil generations of goobering up his own, guffawing at the mopes who accept his capitalist-faux-patriotic sentiments like “I had other priorities in the sixties than military service.” (on his five draft deferments, April 5, 1989)

          We and a lot of others “survived” the Vietnam experience; whether we got out alive, that is another question. One that a lot of new, improved, fresher veterans are getting to ask, of their “service” in the extended and enhanced and vastly more intrusive Imperial boot of which Maj. Gen. Smedley Butler, actual patriot and real war hero, observed is “nothing but a racket.”

          But hey, what do we know? And besides, it’s always the case that war is good business, , and that snarky addition offered by hippies in the 70s, “so invest YOUR son!”, is “no longer operative.” Yep, 58,000 body bags, more or less — for THAT period of “conflict,” lots more since then, and we don’t even count the ones we kill, of course, except to show how “See? We’re Winning!” — but I guess it was too hard to write mil specs for “soul bags,” to pack up that other part of the person in…

          1. roadrider

            +1 re: McNamara
            +1 re: Cheney (I assume he is the draft deferment guy)
            +a lot: for you and your mates who lived what most of us just talk or read about

          2. ex-PFC Chuck

            Agree to the +1 or +100 to you and your mates as roadrider said above. When I was drafted I thought I’d at least get free travel to some interesting part(s) of the world. Turned out the furthest away I got from my southern Minnesota home town was Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri, for basic training. Because I had a BA in my pocket at the time they leaned on me to sign up for OCS in return for extending for a year, but I turned them down. Best decision I ever made. In basic I was appointed platoon guide but I lost the job half way through because I caught the measles and was recycled; I spent one day too long in the infirmary. The guy who replaced me didn’t even have to be there because he’d done a Navy Kiddie Cruise. After a year in civies he decided he missed the military and signed up for the Army. Several decades later when I was in DC on business I saw his name on the Wall.
            Regarding McNamara, unlike many other people I have mixed feelings. From what I’ve read he was about the only person in a high level national security/foreign policy position who supported Kennedy on the intent of NSAM 263. Everyone else at best dragged their feet on the matter or at the other extreme actively and deviously opposed it like roadrider described regarding Henry Cabot Lodge. Yet when Johnson only a week or two into office pivoted 180 degrees, McNamara supported him as well. Apparently his modus operandi was that the president was, to channel a future unworthy holder of the office, the Decider and once the decision was made his duty was to support it to the best of his ability. Assuming we elect reasonably competent and principled people to the office, it’s not a bad thing that the people on his staff have this kind of respect for the office. That said however, once he became convinced the policy was doomed to fail which probably was no later than his review and approval of the study that became known as the Pentagon Papers (circa 1967?), I don’t see how he could not have at least quietly resigned. I can understand, if not approve of, the motivation of the guy who tried to throw him over the side of the ferry boat en route to Martha’s Vinyard.

  3. Another Gordon

    Greenwald’s takedown of the Sunday Times Stenographer story about how the Russians and Chinese had cracked the encryption of Snowden’s files draws a DCMA notice from Times lawyers.

    BTW it was obviously fake from the off. If Russian and Chinese hackers had broken the encryption would they have said so? And if the British government knew they had, would they reveal that? I don’t think so on either count.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Yes, Lambert had that in Water Cooler yesterday. Lambert actually thinks the DCMA notice was have been automatically sent out, since anyone with an operating brain cell would know a DCMA notice would be ineffective against First Look (they have their own servers, and the Times would have to hire lawyers in the US if they wanted to go anywhere, and First Look is much less expense-sensitive than the Times, plus it would generate media noise for First Look).

      1. NIMBY

        The Guardian UK, RTHK-3 Hong Kong, and a few other sites promptly ran their own challenges to the veracity of the Sunday Times story as well, and I’ve not heard about any futile DCMA threat to these sites either. The Judith Miller of this story is probably pushing for not publicizing anything, considering how successfully the story was picked up vs. the relative quiet over the rebuttals.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          The reason it may have been an auto-response was that First Look featured a screenshot of the entire page in which the article appeared. That’s the sort of thing you can imagine a spider picking up.

  4. ProNewerDeal

    On the TPP, I rarely see mentioned that the point made by economist Dr. Dean Baker in his “Conservative Nanny State” free ebook, that some of the supposed USian free-trade advocates are hypocritical super-protectionists for certain Welfare Queen industries & occupations that own, er campaign-contribute to, US Federal pols. I feel that anti-TPP advocates should consider including these points.

    If free trade was actually desired, the US insurers, public & private, could negotiate for bulk purchasing, specifically for instance getting a quote from that innovative Indian generic pharma company & forcing the existing vendors to price-match it.

    Hospitals could abuse the H-1B system to annually hire 100+ thousand immigrant physicians from English-speaking emerging nations at $40K salaries, as many US industries do for STEM professionals such as software engineers. They would concurrently would hire a propagandist/lobbyist to claim “Did you know that a proctologist has to put her hand in contact with blood & fecal matter? Not enough Americans are willing to do such a dirty job!”

    Top offshoring outsourcing hospitals that attract foreign patients, and have a track record of providing medical care equal or better than US hospitals, at 5-10X+ lower price, such as the Thai hospital Morgan Spurlock covered in this “Inside Man” show/documentary, would be experimenting with opening hospitals in large US cities.

    Many such examples exist of such Protectionist Corporate Welfare Queenery Special Privilege, that these supposed Free Trade Advocates support and never mention in their supposed “Free Trade” advocacy.

    Another point I rarely see made is that Saint Adam Smith supported BALANCED free trade, where each nation’s imports is roughly equal to exports. Not the current status quo where some nations have persistent decade+ significant trade deficits (USA) or trade surpluses (Germany, China). These persistent deficits/surpluses increase economic instability. I suppose this an example of Selectively/Inaccurately Quoting Dead Legends that seems to happen, whether it is Adam Smith, “The Founding Fathers”, or a religious legend like Jesus.

    1. jrs

      Who are we to make the point to about importing 40k doctors? Doctors? I think we’d need some proof it’s actually going to happen, I doubt it is, but it is afterall a secret agreement so you never can tell.

      Or to other people that it’s “unfair” that tech workers get replaced with H1Bs and not doctors. I mean it IS unfair. But I predict the ONLY employees who won’t see wages continue to drop are those protected by true credentials, not just degrees. Oh we don’t tell our young people this when we tell them to just get a degree: yea well we misguide them. It’s why every profession that has some influence over laws governing the profession is adding more and more requirements, time, hours, years etc. to their requirements just to practice that profession from landscape architecture to massage (no the latter isn’t that well paid, but it is paying the credentialism game). Tech workers have never paid that political game which is really more powerful than unions by far these days, in fact it’s a replacement for them (in no way preferable as unions speak for workers without such access). Still it seems not to have worked for all players, lawyers have lost ground. Perhaps you need a job with true legal requirements like this (not just degrees) that can’t be outsourced.

      1. Gio Bruno

        …as I like to tell my Doctor: there are 300,000 of you in the US, but there are only 100,000 architects; so my job must be harder to do than yours :)

  5. savedbyirony

    Regarding the Pope’s encyclical on climate change, i thought people here might find this of interest and perhaps helpful:
    I don’t know how much the idea of “prudential judgement” in a RCC context will make it into the msm as a criticism of the encyclical, but i know that it is already being used within the church and was discussed as a means of criticism at the U.S. Bishops annual conference last week.

  6. craazyboy

    “A Partnership with China to Avoid World War – George Soros”

    It might be simpler to just form an “Octogenarian Club” at an old folks home.

    Soros can work on his plan to partner with China, whether they want to or not, so we can encircle Moscow from all sides of the city.

    McCain can charge up the stairs and take command of the high ground.

    Alan Greenspan is in charge of handing out allowances.

    Pete Peterson can check everyone’s mailbox and make sure no one is getting a SS check.

    Then they can all get together in the rubber room in the evenings for a discussion of ME policy. Lots more octogenarians to bring in for that.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      We should partnership with everyone.

      Not just with those with a big GDP and can bully their neighbors.

      How about a partnership with Athens?

      Wait, it resides on the other side of the tracks? That’s beneath us.

      1. susan the other

        very good idea… but no mechanism – feature not bug. India’s exports are crashing. If we opened up our drug market to India, in spite of big Pharma jealously guarding their stolen science, we could get our own drugs very, very cheaply. But that would be free trade. So heaven forbid.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Only power relationships. High income earners partnering up with other high income earners….no open relationship like free trade.

  7. Ron

    “Pope Francis has endorsed the science behind global warming and denounced the world’s political leaders for putting national self-interest ahead of action. Now, Catholic priests are gearing up to spread the word”

    How about the Pope!

  8. Eureka Springs

    When the Pope declares birth control including vasectomies at birth to be a moral obligation for our species and the planet – get back to me.

    1. ambrit

      Being Devils’ Advocate here, but that cuts close to Heinlein’s Birth License from “Starship Troopers” to me. I’d rather have something like Frank Herberts’ story about the virus that makes all women incapable of conceiving unless they completely shield themselves from sunlight for an ovulatory cycle. That puts conception firmly in the hands of women. No unwanted pregnancies! (Not a Utopia, but a big advance over todays’ regime.)

      1. Oregoncharles

        You mean “The White Plague?” That was a nightmare, not a positive suggestion.

        Granted, something like you’re suggesting could be positive, if the countermeasure wasn’t so draconian.

      2. reslez

        > they completely shield themselves from sunlight for an ovulatory cycle. That puts conception firmly in the hands of women.

        One suspects it would also put conception firmly in the hands of those willing to imprison women in darkness for months on end. Somewhat like the sex ratio imbalance that some fantasized would lead to radical gender equality in China, but actually led to bride kidnapping and sex trafficking.

  9. diptherio

    Here’s an overview of IRL Solidarity Economy organizing going on in the SF Bay Area. A different economy is possible – there is an alternative – and this is what it might look like:

    NoBAWC and Bay Area Regional Cooperative/Solidarity Economics Organizing

    For decades the Bay Area has been an extremely active region for cooperative and solidarity organizations. In some ways, so much is happening here, with so many players today, that it is hard to keep an adequate handle on it all.

    Today’s current discussions are attempting to deal, on a higher level, with the same issues that led to the creation of NoBAWC [Network of Bay Area Worker Cooperatives] twenty-one years ago. Today NoBAWC is comprised of over 36 democratic workplaces including small and medium-sized workplaces employing from a few to over 250 workers, representing diverse industries and economic sectors, with a combined annual sales of over $80 million, and around 1,000 workers.


    In our Bay Area systemic initiative, some of the groups and organizations involved, to varying degrees, besides NoBAWC, are Project Equity, US Federation of Worker Cooperatives, Democracy at Work Institute, Sustainable Economies Law Center, East Bay Community Law Center, Richmond Worker Cooperative Revolving Loan Fund, The Artisan Hub (Richmond), Prospera, Rainbow Cooperative Grocery, Poder (SF), and the Arizmendi Association.

    The focus of our meetings has been an analysis of all the factors involved in creating a successful system: strengths and weaknesses, assets and deficiencies, what we have and what we need, supply and demand, the existing components/elements and the gaps. The goal is to create the links, connect the dots, bring people together, facilitate areas of problematic interactions, correct unproductive duplication, attune roles to the best fits, create the missing parts of the puzzles, empower all productive people in the process, and move toward implementing a cooperative/solidarity system on a truly impactive scale.

  10. ambrit

    Yet more fallout from the oil price ‘shock?’ Honda to stop making the Civic Hybrid, switch to a ‘super efficient’ internal combustion engine. Honda cites lackluster sales demand as reason for the decision.
    There being no guiding plan for environmental protection, the ‘Market’ can set future ecology affecting business decisions. It would perhaps be cynical of me to suggest another ‘M’ word to use in the place of Market.
    As long as this goes on, we’re f—-d, and not in a consenting adults way either.

    1. jrs

      The civic hybrid never was very good in terms of gas mileage etc. (not that much better than the non-hybrid) and for this you pay many thousands more. One could say they should take a page from Toyota and it’s Prius as Toyota knows how to make a good hybrid, but in fact Honda has made good hybrids in the past with even better gas mileage than the Prius, just not the civic. The hybrid civic was more like hybrid slapped on top of a civic, rather than going back to the drawing board to really design a hybrid car, it was probably always half-hearted.

      1. ambrit

        Ah ha! I didn’t know that.
        I’m wondering about fuel cells. Didn’t they have some sort of breakthrough in hydrogen production technology a few years ago?
        Also of great interest is electric direct drive four wheel propulsion. Amazing performance from some test models. Plus, get rid of the mechanical drive train.

        1. craazyboy

          Hadn’t heard of any breakthrough in hydrogen production, tho I suppose Santa Clause could crack methane on the North Pole and have solid coal as a byproduct.

          But 4 wheel direct drive electric motors would be as efficient as heck. Probably close to 90% including control electronics vs. 25-30% you get from a gas engine. But batteries(still crappy tech) limit range to maybe 100 miles or so.

  11. Andrea


    In the report below (which may have been posted before?) it is shown, for ex. that between 2008 and 2012:

    — household income overall was cut by almost 25%; salary cuts account for about half of that

    — direct taxes increased 53%, indirect 22%

    — poorest households (N.B. this is with *4* classes of income) income was cut by 86%, the richest between 17 – 20% (in between, around minus 31-51, and 25-18, in %)

    — tax burden on the poorest increased 337%, on the richest 9%

    for details see PDF 143 pp.

    My point: this is not austerity (however one might wish to describe or define), it is killing off the poor. I’m amazed there has not been more ‘social unrest’, as in massive deathly riots, beginning of civil war, blocking of transport routes, etc.

    Iirc, Samaras warned the Troika, that he would lose the elections if the ‘authorities’ (EU..) made no concessions, he could go no further, and they would be facing ‘more dire’ parties / events in the future. The response was, so be it.

    One article, FT, about events at the time:

    Aug. 2012, Bloomberg:

    Concessions are possible for Greece so long as Prime Minister Antonis Samaras shows a willingness to meet the main targets set out in his country’s bailout program, a senior lawmaker with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party said.

    Rinse and Repeat..

    1. JTMcPhee

      It all depends on the rate of temperature increase of the water in the pot in which the frog is floating…

  12. fresno dan

    A Thirsty Colorado Is Battling Over Who Owns Raindrops New York Times

    “Water allocation doesn’t satisfy most people’s norms of fairness,” said Doug Kenney, director of the Western Water Policy Program at the University of Colorado Law School. “A lot of people are clearly surprised to see that it’s a system where some people will get 100 percent of their water, and others will get zero.”
    “It’s actually stealing,” said State Senator Jerry Sonnenberg, a Republican from Sterling, a northeastern farming and ranching town on the plains, who voted against the rain barrel measure when it landed in the Agriculture, Natural Resources and Energy Committee he leads. “You might say, it’s a little bit of water, just a barrelful, how much damage could that do to someone downstream?”

    But, he continued, “If it’s just a little bit, why wouldn’t we allow everyone go to into 7-Eleven and take just one bottle of water, just a little bit?”

    That is some interesting logic, equating stealing Perrier with the keeping of raindrops that keep falling on your head. Will people realize when they have to pay for oxygen, that the system for distribution of O2 is based on secret deals, based on money, and how much money you have is based on the secret deals you’ve made?

    There is no reason for people to being growing their own vegetables – eat your government approved soylent green, respect the apportionment of water as decided by nature, and the Almighty (except for the rules, regulations, and codes by the honest, honorable representatives of the people in the Colorado legislature….)

    Are we at peak aquifer?
    Who get water? Why do they get water, and you don’t?
    I can see when the water really starts running out, something that people really need and really have an intuitive sense that markets and bribery shouldn’t be the factors that determines how water is distributed, that THAT will be the catalyst of the next great reform era in American politics…

    1. craazyboy

      Yes, rain theft. Someone needs to go after these blatant criminals we have in this country!

  13. Cugel

    Defiant Tsipras accuses creditors of ‘pillaging’ Greece Financial Times. See Greece’s plan below. Un, they agreed to further pillaging in concept by accepting the primary surplus levels proposed by the creditors.

    Yves keeps saying this and it keeps being wrong. In fact the biggest reason the EU is angry at Greek proposals isn’t the difference in numbers, but the (correct) impression that the Greek government doesn’t take these primary surplus numbers seriously, and has zero intent to actually implement them. That’s why you see the EU complain that the proposals from Greece are vague, that it’s OK for Greeks to substitute new structural reforms in place of the Pension cuts, as long as those “reforms” add up to the same budgetary surplus, but that the Greek proposals don’t do that, etc., etc. They got the increasing impression that the Greeks are not negotiating seriously.

    From the Greek perspective this is all justified because the surplus demanded is impossible to achieve, because the economy continues to contract, and because that will require primary deficits for the next few years regardless of what promises are made. So, their entire strategy is simply to get past the first crisis, then continue to negotiate. Their hope seems to have been that at some point the EU would have to “see reason” – i.e. recognize that it would be impossible to run any surplus at all and agree to give them some room to take what they believe will be the necessary steps to get the economy back on track.

    From the German and Troika perspective all this is simply double-dealing – negotiating in bad faith, because you don’t intend to carry out your agreements. Thus you see ECB President Mario Draghi saying this week that the main problem is a lack of faith on the EU side that Greece intends to live up to it’s promises.

    You can argue that the Greek negotiating posture is self-defeating or naive. But, clearly they are not committed to maintaining the .75% primary surplus for 2015 contained in their final proposal, let alone any surplus at all for 2016 – and what was in their proposal seems to have been simply a temporary starting point for future negotiations, rather than a hard and fast commitment. What you cannot criticize them for is some kind of “capitulation”. They aren’t capitulating. They are trying to string the negotiations along in order to get past the first wave of crises, then they re-negotiate based on “changed circumstances.”

    Although the Greeks would deny charges of bad faith negotiating positions, the Troika and German government has come to the realization that Greece views these negotiations from a fundamentally different perspective than they do. Greece views everything as potentially re-negotiable, depending on circumstances. The EU wants to feel that Greece will carry out its commitments, no matter what happens, simply because “they committed to do it.”

    The unequal bargaining position Greece was forced into from the start has compelled them to try and fudge things, because they couldn’t get away with just blatantly rejecting the surplus, and demanding large primary deficits and wage increases to act as a stimulus package. Only, the EU has seen through the facade of vague promises, and fuzzy targets to what they view as a fundamental lack of commitment of Greece to implement the Memorandum.

    From the perspective of REALITY, Greece cannot and should not implement the Memorandum, and the creditors shouldn’t try and force them. From the EU perspective, they are fed up and see no further point in negotiations if Greece doesn’t intend to “stand by their agreements.”

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      You are not up on the facts at all. In the latest document submitted by Greece, they not only agreed to maintaining primary surpluses. (WHICH IS AUSTERITY) they agreed to the levels the creditors propose.

      You keep sticking denying information in documents prepared by Greece, as well as statements repeatedly made by Varoufakis. The ruling coalition is lying when it is telling voters that it has not accepted austerity. It did in principle but is now objecting to the implications of what it agreed to.

      And Varoufakis is a good enough economist that you can’t pretend that he didn’t understand what he was saying when he stated that Greece would always run a primary surplus. And he reaffirmed it in writing See here:

      What are we talking about? Of an independent tax agency, of keeping forever a reasonable primary surplus, of a sensible and ambitious privatization program… of a true reform of the pension system …of liberalizations of markets for goods and services etc,

      And the government agreed to running an UNREASONABLE primary surplus, that of 3.5% of GDP staring in 2018. The dispute was over how quickly Greece would get to those numbers. The latest documents leaked showed Greece capitulated on the interim targets.

  14. Santi

    Yves, Galbraight agrees with you in that the agreement to a primary surplus of 3.5% is deeply contractionary and takes on Blanchard:

    Blanchard calls on Greece’s government to offer “truly credible measures.” Shouldn’t the IMF do likewise? To get pensions down by one percentage point of GDP, nominal economic growth of just 4% per year for two years would suffice – with no further cuts. Why not have “credible measures” to achieve that goal?

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Well, it’s all well and good for Galbraith to criticize the IMF when the Greek government agreed to the 3.5% target for 2018 and onward. That is one of the reasons I’ve been so disturbed with the Syriza posturing. It was in the 47 page proposal to the creditors that they leaked a couple of weeks ago.

      The Greek government agreed to .75% for 2015 and over the weekend, agreed to 1%.

      Varoufakis conceded early on the point that primary surpluses are a good idea. That played straight into the creditor point of view.

      This is not about “reasonableness,” this is about the bargaining strength of the two parties. If the left is ever to get anywhere, it needs to up its game considerably in power struggles like this. I hate to sound so hard on Syriza, but they are playing with the lives of their citizens, and their mistakes are creating and will create even more misery.

      1. Peter Mayers

        For the sake of those who are new to NC (like me), could you maybe be persuaded to sum up your assessment of the negotiations over this last (almost) half-year? I could doubtless piece your picture together if I sifted through all your entries over the last six months, but it would certainly be nice for me (and I suspect for many other readers) if you collected up the main points and presented them all in one place.

        For example, you’ve often referred back to a mistake that Syriza made on one or another occasion. And you’ve also referred quite often to the basic background conditions — such as the question of what could ever have been expected from the other side. I’d be grateful if you could pull all these different pieces together (or the main ones, anyway) and to present them in one place.

        One issue would be the above-mentioned background conditions. For example, what kind of behaviour could ever have been expected of the troika, and of the different elements within it? What kind of concessions could Syriza ever have reasonably imagined the troika might make? And what kind of concessions on the latter’s part would have to have been considered unlikely, or even as good as excluded from the start (given what the troika is like, how it’s constituted, who it represents, etc.).

        Same with the Syriza goverment. What could ever have reasonably expected from it? Is it possible, for example, that it could not have confronted the incompatibility of its famous two aims candidly — and gotten elected at the same time? And is it possible that it can’t openly prepare (and, indeed, never could have openly prepared) the Greek people for a possible default and/or possible exit, because of the even worse economic storm that would immediately break out if they did? Is it likewise possible that they can’t develop (and, indeed, never could have developed) the organizational capacity beforehand to cope with a possible default and/or possible Grexit, because it would be impossible to hide the fact that they were doing so — so that that economic hurricane would be called forth again?

        Yowser bowser, if those last two assumptions are correct, then it’s one tragic picture of the concretely available possibilities that I’m provisionally sketching out here! But anyway, if that’s indeed the conclusion that you’d draw, it’s your duty as a tough-minded observer (with a heart of gold) to come out and say so. Clearly, after all, you don’t tend to shrink from saying things which your fellow lefties find uncomfortable (fellow lefties with whose objectives you sympathize).

        Finally, it would be great if, having set the stage by specifying the basic constraints under which the negotiating parties have been operating, you’d then proceed to describe the mistakes which you see the Syriza government as having made during those negotiations. What were these mistakes, when were they made, and what ought to have been done instead? And also, once a given mistake had well been made, what ought to have been done from that point forward?

        Well, maybe you don’t have the time to collect up the different pieces of the puzzle and to assemble them all (or at least the main ones) in one place. But perhaps one of your colleagues does?

      2. Peter Mayers

        Of course it’s perfectly possible (especially since I’m new to this site) that you’ve already supplied the summary that I requested in my comment just above — and that I just missed it. In that case, please simply direct me to the entry in question. Thanx!

  15. Roland

    Soros, that arch-globalist, disgusts me. Now he wants to rally the Western Bloc for a larger confrontation with Russia.

    Consider this line of his:

    “[Putin] has demonstrated his preference by twice converting an assured military victory into a cease-fire that threatened to destabilize all of Ukraine.”

    Soros tries to interpret Russia’s desire for talks as some sort of dangerous aggression against the West!

    Lambert should analyse the dog-whistles Soros employs, to summon the typical US liberal or Anglo third-wayer to the banners of globalist jihad. For example, Soros rips the PNAC neocons for Iraq, even though Soros wants a Western-led coalition of the willing to confront Russia. Soros nowhere mentions the Libyan War, where his own preferred sort of multilateral, institutional, Western-led aggression also wrecked a country and led to chaos.

    Soros’ piece is a nice self-reveal of how hyper-intolerant of any other sort of power, the globalist bourgeoisie has become, just one generation after the Cold War ended.

    It’s also a nice reveal of the factional infighting among globalist bourgeois. The PNAC types want global bourgeois dominion under American chauvinist auspices. The Soros types want global bourgeois dominion with American chauvinism politely muted, out of courtesy to their fellow bourgeois, even while America remains, as Obama says, “indispensable.”

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      We are clearly not Soros fans. We’ve taken an anti-Kiev stance consistently when Soros is backing that bunch.

      The idea that the US and China are going to become great friends when the two sides are jockeying for global domination is nuts. A piece on how we can co-exist better might have been sound. I had thought this would elicit more derision from the commentariat.

  16. Skippy

    A little slice of reality wrt ideological political wankery….

    To unpack a wee bit….

    Bronwyn Bishop Called For Gillian Triggs’ Resignation On Q&A Last Night

    “In towing the unfortunate Liberal party line of “Gillian Triggs is just the worst”, Speaker of the House Bronwyn Bishop called for her resignation last night on Q&A.

    The federal government has been viciously attacking Gillian Triggs in recent weeks because she, as the Human Rights Commission President, has the pesky job of reporting on/reminding the government and the Australian public about human rights abuses. Most recently it was regarding the harmful effects of keeping children in detention centres for extended periods of time. Ms Triggs has been handling these attacks like a straight up pro, to the point where there’s now a petition to have her awarded Australian of the Year.

    So when Bronwyn Bishop started to regurgitate the tired party policy of questioning Triggs’ political neutrality, Gillian looked like she guessed what was coming.”

    “Triggs finished the whole sorry debate with a reminder that just because the government doesn’t like the truth, doesn’t make saying it a political act.

    Gillian Triggs: “Unfortunately, of course, many of our findings and recommendations are interpreted in political ways. And I’m afraid in the human rights context, it is very hard not to be perceived to be political and that’s really something we have to manage, but I can certainly assure the Australian people that the Human Rights Commission operates in a very neutral way and we operate on the basis of the rule of law, which brings us back of course to the Magna Carta.”

    DING DING DING! Triggs just won this round of Q&A. Next stop, Australian of the Year.

    The whole thing is now up on ABC, if you want to watch it – select “Asylum Seeker Rights 51:34″ on the right to watch the calmest worded showdown in Q&A history.”

    Skippy…. enjoy~

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