Links 6/22/15

I need a break from Greece. It is eating up my ability to write on other topics, since I have to read widely to find the signal in the noise. I hope to get to some not-time-sensitive posts I’ve been sitting on if Greece dies down (as in if a deal manages to get patched up early this week, given that it appears that media reports suggest that Greece has relented on one of its red lines, pension “reform”. But even so, any deal is likely to be short term, which means will be back to more (likely still ill tempered) negotiating and brinksmanship all too soon.

God Admits He Too Close To Creation To Judge Whether It Any Good Or Not Onion (David L)

Few Echo Pope’s Environment Plea in Sunday Sermons New York Times (reslic)

Yes, androids do dream of electric sheep Guardian (furzy mouse)

Samsung makes big trucks transparent in the name of road safety The Verge

Software Is Vulnerable Because of You MIT Technology Review

Amazon’s New Plan to Pay Authors Every Time Someone Turns a Page Atlantic. Having killed midlist books and hence their authors, I doubt that any author payment plan proposed by Amazon is good for anyone other than Amazon

Pope Francis’ Call to Action Goes Beyond the Environment New York Time

Austere brand of Islam on rise in Europe, stirring concerns Associated Press (furzy mouse)

Strauss-Kahn Shifts Focus From Sex Trial to Hedge-Fund Probe Bloomberg


As of when I turned in (5:30 AM EDT), there were numerous news reports from independent sources, that suggest that Greece has capitulated on pension “reform,” specifically cutting pensions to take effect in 2016. The VAT increases proposed also have ANEL up in arms. I have not seen anything inconsistent with reports the day prior that Greece was working to deliver cuts and revenue increases that would meet the onerous primary surplus target of 1% for this year (recall that the Greek government had agreed to that the weekend prior but then admitted that its reforms would not achieve the “agreed” levels).

Creditor sources say the Greek proposal is the first “serious” one they’ve seen. I have yet to see any report either way as to whether Greece also crossed its other red line, labor market “reform”. I have seen nothing to suggest that the creditors are giving debt relief; that was to come in the “third bailout” which were envisaged as negotiations that would start immediately after the “second bailout” was concluded. If a deal comes together, the leaks so far suggest it will be short-term, six months only, which would be very disadvantageous for Greece (as in it does not escape the threat of Grexit, and it means the creditors will be in a position to hold its feet to the fire on its structural reform commitment). Obviously, since negotiations are on, so the terms are still in very much in flux. I’ve read far more than what I provided below as links.

Creditors offer Greece six-month bailout reprieve as Tsipras weighs response Guardian. Fog of reporting, but if accurate, this looks like the creditors making “an offer you can’t refuse” as in worse than a previous creditor offer, as we anticipated. Only six month bailout (v. till March 2016 for earlier one), Syriza must meet 15 primary surplus target (and show some math that looks plausible, not just handwave) and must make pension “reforms” as in cuts. Older creditor proposal (or at least trial balloon) also included having Greece squeeze workers, um, implement labor market “reforms”. Note per out post yesterday that Greek official regarded a short bailout as a bad scenario, since it does not resolve uncertainty or put aside Grexit fears. And the six months is presumably meant to keep Greece on a short leash, with the “third bailout” that is expected to include debt relief implicitly dependent on Greece performing against the agreed upon “reforms”

Darum ging es offenbar beim Krisen-Telefonat Handelsblatt. If I interpret the Google Translate correctly, Greece has offered to cut pensions and the creditors are willing to shield the small ones.

Juncker received #Greece proposals also sent to Lagarde, Draghi. Tomorrow 11.00: Juncker meets Tsipras, Draghi, Lagarde, Dijsselbloem ~spox Yannis Koutsomitis. Also this: #Greece pension system madness: – public sector employees 580,000 – public sector pensioners 484,000

Greek crisis: Markets surge on hopes of last-minute deal – live updates Guardian. News junkies go here.

Greece – five pictures of a troubled country Paul Mason. Important. And remember Mason has been very hard on the creditors and hopeful re Syriza.

The People Will Not Be Blackmailed’: Thousands March in Athens Against Austerity Common Dreams. If I read ekathimerini correctly (see also the Paul Mason post above) we now have dueling protests, with pro Eurozoen and anti austerity types set to take to the streets on alternating days.

A Reckoning for Greek Brinkmanship Wall Street Journal

Greece urged to reach deal before summit with bailout monitors Financial Times. This will be a day old as of Links launch time, but there’s a key point stressed: a deal has to be agreed with the bailout monitors. It will not be negotiated at the summit.

Could the European Union end up going the way of Arab unity? Independent, Chuck L: “Is it just me? Or would a piece with this headline on a major European MSM site have been unthinkable five years ago?”

Greece will hurt Europe no matter what Stratfor. Note Stratfor is best regarded an an indicator of elite conventional wisdom.

Tsipras Said to Risk Miscalculating Merkel on Greek Aid Bloomberg. Important.

My big fat Greek divorce Economist

Greek crisis Eurozone Summit Storify (Yannis Koutsomitis) More snippets.

As Deadline Looms, European Central Bank Plays Key Role in Greek Crisis New York Times. The Grey Lady wakes up to this issue.

Among Protests, Alexis Tsipras Deals Another Hand to EU Leaders Before Summit on Greece Real News Network. From a very Syriza sympathetic interviewee. Not quite right on QE (in the US, the Fed bought only Treasuries and high quality bonds, not bad debt; in the Eurozone, the ECB is buying almost exclusively sovereign debt, although some countries are pretty dodgy). Key issue is the source says that the Tsipras-Putin meeting was not significant.

Down but not yet out Economist. A discussion of Grexit.

Eurozone doomed whether Greece leaves or stays, study shows Telegraph. Important.


How Will Russia Respond To Asset Seizure Over Yukos Settlement? OilPrice

EU Extends Economic Sanctions on Russia Until End of January Wall Street Journal

The Fantasy Mr. Putin Is Selling -New York Times. Reslic: “…is not as bad as the NYTimes, the official propaganda mouthpiece of the DOD.DOState, CIA, Nuland/Kagan LLC.”


Explosion shatters windows of sitting Afghan parliament, gunfire heard Reuters

WaPo Propagandizes For Israeli Takeover Of More Syrian Land Moon of Alabama

Israeli minister’s wife apologises over ‘racist’ Obama tweet Financial Times

Maher Tells Bernie Sanders: Your Campaign Must Be Working ‘You’ve Got Hillary Talking Like Elizabeth Warren’ Raw Story

Hillary Clinton’s Hamptons Quandary New York Times. Li: “Unintentionally hilarious. You’d think she would have hit up the same people for money already while delaying announcement.”

States Take Few Steps to Fill Gap if Supreme Court Blocks Health Subsidies New York Times

11 people shot in Detroit on Saturday, 1 fatally Detroit Free Press (furzy mouse)

Newark adds ShotSpotter gunfire detection system to high school campus ContraCostaTimes (furzy mouse)

Pope Francis says those in weapons industry can’t call themselves Christian Guardian

Skepticism on Dylann Roof’s “manifesto” and website Lambert. Followed not much later by: How I Screwed With The Biggest News Outlet in The World Next Generation

“The Appropriation of Cultures” by Percival Everett Graywolf Press (Lambert). A must read.

House Aims to Prevent SEC from Requiring Corporate Political Disclosures Again Wall Street Journa (Adrien)

Class Warfare

New Report: The Impact of Airbnb on Middle Class Income Stagnation AirBnB. DC insider: “Obama official Gene Sperling proposes AirBNB as a solution to the stagnating middle class income problem he helped cause.”

The Most Common Job in 29 States to Nearly Vanish in 10 Years; Know What That Job Is? Michael Shedlock

Antidote du jour (Godfree):

ox links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. William C

    Buiter has an interesting piece in the FT on Greece. At first glance his suggestions look quite interesting (hat-tip: it was Buiter’s recommendation which first brought me to NC years ago)

  2. Bunk McNulty

    Re: Samsung “safety” trucks. Gee, you could turn your trucks into rolling animated billboards! Safety first!

  3. Bill Smith

    “WaPo Propagandizes For Israeli Takeover Of More Syrian Land” by Moon of Alabama

    Moon of Alabama: Always amusing reading. Occasionally correct. Not too likely this time.

    1. sleepy

      Why not?

      Israel’s history of territorial theft as a byproduct of war would seem to indicate that the theory is certainly plausible.

    2. Armchair Revolutionary

      While Moon of Alabama is often guilty of hyperbole, this one looks accurate to me. Do you have any specifics which are not accurate?

      1. Bill Smith

        Moon of Alabama is in the same peer group as Zero Hedge.

        The last time the Israelis seized territory in a war would be 1967 when they got the Sinai, the West Bank and the Golan? They have fought a lot of wars since then. 1973, 1982, 2000, 2006 2008 2012, 2014 – I am sure I missed one or two… Don’t think they have added any territory since1967.

        Plus the nature of a ‘buffer zone’ has changed quite a bit as rockets seem to fly over them quite easily as Hezbollah well knows.

        But time will tell if this pans out as claimed.

        1. James Levy

          Israel has been seizing land from Palestinian individuals and communities for decades for settlements, roads, and military outposts, or don’t they count?

          1. Bill Smith

            My point is that the West Bank was seized in 1967. Or is your point that it wasn’t and that they are now in the process of seizing it?

            1. James Levy

              They are in the process of making it impossible to return it to its owners under the 1948 Mandate, which is the only legal framework we have for who owns what over there. I’d call that seizure.

        2. Carolinian

          Since Israel is a state that refuses to define its own borders it’s a little hard to know what they’ve “seized” and what they haven’t. But yes there are settlements all over the West Bank. Perhaps you consider the occupied territories themselves to be territory that Israel “added” in 1967 and therefore part of Israel. If so it might be time for them say so and drop the sham peace process–proudly embrace the apartheid label.

  4. Ned Ludd

    Greek Bailout Proposal Makes Potentially Big Concession on Pensions, Officials Say

    The proposals, formally submitted to creditors Monday morning, foresee new pension savings and revenues worth 0.4% of gross domestic product for this year and 1% starting next year, the officials said. That would bring the left-wing government in Athens close to the target demanded by its creditors. […]

    Greek officials said that much of the pension target would be achieved by increasing contributions from employers. On top of that, an extra payment to the poorest pensioners, known as EKAS, would be phased out between 2018 and 2020, the officials said.

    – WSJ, updated at 7:19 a.m. ET

  5. JTMcPhee

    So, have the trade traitors won? Do we ordinary people now work on perfecting the genuflect and obsequious bow and tug at the forelock? Because it will all be ” legal”, the arrogant looting and stuff? Funny how the “story” has sort of disappeared, even in Progressiveland… Maybe those who say that rapacious oligarchy over a base of slaves is the true human condition…

  6. Marcus Webster

    I’m still trying to process that AirBnB article. Satire or just corporate tone-deafness? All of the sharing economy to me brings back threads of the last Depression: hitchhiking, train-hopping, “rooms to rent, 50 cents” of my parents’ youth…we still struggle to get by even in this most prosperous of times.

  7. Carolinian

    Re Roof manifesto–LA Times has a fairly extensive story on this including

    Richard Cohen, president of the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups, said Saturday that much of the language in the manifesto was material lifted from the CCC, which he called a “modern reincarnation” of the old White Citizens’ Councils that in the 1950s and ’60s resisted school desegregation in the South…..

    He identified the CCC’s webmaster as white nationalist Kyle Rogers, who lives in Summerville, a Charleston suburb. According to a report on the website, the Internet-savvy Rogers trained as a computer engineer and moved to South Carolina in 2004…..

    Rogers also manages a flag store, which sells the flag of the government of Rhodesia, Cohen said. Attempts to reach Rogers for comment were unsuccessful.

    So, to sum up, Roof has black friends but turns racist after a woman he liked dates a black man (as told to Intercept), spends time on the internet including it seems this site run out of a guy’s house in Summerville, buys a Glock pistol for at least $500 even though according to Pat Lang he shouldn’t have been allowed to do so since he was under a felony indictment. Many questions to be answered but perhaps not by Rogers who, if he knows what’s good for him, has gone into deep hiding or perhaps back where he came from (“moved to South Carolina in 2004”).

    As for lack of misspellings, there is spell check in our computer age.

    1. Lambert Strether

      I knew somebody would bring up spellcheck. Of course, computers check typing, not spelling. I also saw none of the typical stupid substitutions that computers make when they guess the right word wrongly.

      Incidentally, the point of the post has little to do with Roof, but rather with the extreme credulity exhibited by the World’s Greatest Newspaper regarding digital evidence. So I don’t know why you need to recapitulate the rest of it.

      1. Carolinian

        I wasn’t dissing your Corrente post….just trying to help with the detective work. LA Times seems to be onto something with their article (this was picked up by my local newspaper). Needless to say many of us around here are very much wanting to know why this terrible thing happened–hence the summing up.

        1. optimader

          Needless to say many of us around here are very much wanting to know why this terrible thing happened–hence the summing up.

          Poorly mentored, intellectually blighted kid, maybe with undiagnosed or at least ignored learning disabilities (9th grade dropout) who glommed onto a toxic thought process in the absence of more constructive alternative uses of his time
          Tragic events don’t always have complicated explanations.

          1. vidimi

            tragic events require complicated explanations when the perpetrator is white and economically well off. when a minority does it, blame the culture.

      2. optimader

        The World’s Great’s Newspaper was the perhaps overstated branding coined by Robert (Col.) McCormick for the Chicago Tribune. Is it also a branding attribution made by the LA Times?

        BTW, the acronym WGN was the call sign assigned to the Chicago Trib’s radio, then later, television station. WGN=World’s Greatest Newspaper.

        As far as the LA Times article, why the heck cant they get a most basic fact right?
        One of the photos shows a seated Roof, wearing camouflage pants and holding an automatic pistol.
        No, he isn’t holding an Automatic pistol, why not just correctly identify what he is holding for what it is?

        1. hunkerdown

          The only thing great that ever appeared on WGN was Max Headroom getting spanked with a fly-swatter.

          Tumblr supplies the pictures, Yahoo News supplies the war.

            1. optimader

              Max was way ahead of the times, but indeed,
              The Garfield Goose Show.. old school
              Journey To The Beginning Of Time

              Clutch Cargo

              ..and Ray Rayner
              serving as the navigator of a B-17 during World War II, when he was shot down over France April 3, 1943.[2] During 2 1⁄2 years as a POW in Stalag Luft III, he helped prepare the escape depicted in the film The Great Escape—though he was transferred to another camp before the escape took place. It was during his time as a POW that he would discover his talent for entertaining, namely through his fellow prisoners and his German captors

              I think something snapped in him when he was a POW..

              1. prostratedragon

                Wow, did not know that about Ray Rayner.

                Though I must say, looking back it is now clear that WWII left a huge mark both on many people I knew (father was one of that era’s hurt locker boys) and on many social trends, even entertainment.

              2. ambrit

                Spike Milligan is also considered one of the people who ‘snapped’ or morphed because of the war. He wasn’t captured, but something happened to him in the field.. Everyone who knew him mentioned it.

          1. Optimader

            Clearly the Chicago Cubs are not the Worlds Greatest Baseball team, so apparently the brand is not scalable

  8. Steve H.

    The Percival Everett piece is beautiful in so many ways. “Old times there are not forgotten.”

        1. abynormal

          exactly why i didnt post her version first
          decades later, performing the song w/the indigo girls, she still dont get it
          (a friend caught the show in atlanta and left the building to puff on something)

    1. susan the other

      I loved it too. The idea of appropriating culture. In this case appropriating nostalgia. This should go down in the mind control lexicon. Not to carry the idea too far, but really, why not use this head-on tactic to confront other terrorists?

  9. Larry

    Re: AirBnB – While AirBnB can help some people afford otherwise unaffordable rents (NYC and San Francisco) a question is what percentage of those rentals violated lease agreements? What percentage violated hotel laws? And finally, while people get some cash in our crapified economy, this strikes me as another tax on ones time. You must prepare your place for visitors to remain with a nice valuation, likely must interact with visitors to maintain a good rating, and must deal with the aftermath of less than ideal visitors. I think of the time I spend preparing my home for guests as opposed to daily living and think what a tax on time this must be.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Maybe I didn’t get the right memo, but it seems to read, your income is not going up, so you better go into gambling, sorry, the stock market, and we have to continue to prop up housing, so to justify current, lofty valuations, we have squeeze more money out of it, i.e impart more economic value to your home – it’s like, instead of one family working, earning and paying mortgage, you have 3 families (used to be grandparents, parents and you, but now, with this new economy, you have strangers, via airbnb, instead – and who knows, maybe they are easier to get along with, considering how some families fight) to support the same mortgage payment.

      How can a bank, in this case, turn down your house/condo purchase loan application despite your shrinking pay?

  10. MikeNY

    I’m skeptical about the Mish piece on truck drivers. I think the whole “driverless” car and truck thing is way overblown. There are too many decisions involving the use to reason and judgment involved in driving: recognizing obstacles and objects, awareness of surroundings, awareness of road conditions, traffic signals and cops, etc. What does a robot do when it comes to a four-way stop when other vehicles are present? How does it manage a heavy merge on an interstate? I think we’d have to rebuild our entire road infrastructure just for robots to make this work. Prohibitively expensive, and frankly, idiotic.

    1. rusti

      I think the situations you cite are actually relatively trivial and largely understood compared to the corner cases of say, construction sites with non-trivial geometries. Cases that are relatively simple for a human driver but incredibly difficult to apply algorithmic logic to are going to take much longer than people bullish on the technology think. Current implementations rely extremely heavily on having very granular and up-to-date map data.

        1. rusti

          Not sure if you’re joking or not, but I guess it depends on the quality of the sensing technology. You can do some pretty sophisticated things (like recognizing cyclist hand signals) and a high powered processor will perform much better than a human because reaction times are orders of magnitude faster.

          But big problems pop up when you can’t chop inputs up into machine language and operate as sense -> judge -> take action -> repeat at high frequency. There’s a lot of academic work on this front for reading and interpreting human behaviors, but the huge number of corner cases (especially in varied weather conditions) make full automation (what SAE calls Level 5 automation) extremely difficult and I suspect we won’t see it any time soon.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Can you tell the robot to go over the speed limit?

            “We have to rush to the hospital now.” Does it work only if your screaming is sincere and loud, to indicate it’s an emergency?

          2. frosty zoom

            not joking at all. although i’ve hit a few poor souls (creatures, csis, creatures) with my auto, i do pride myself on avoiding the sundry critters exceedingly well.

            even fishflies.

            what about a squirrel, two cats and a five year old at the same time?

            i can see even more squishing going on till this technology is “perfected”.

            why are we in such a hurry?

            1. JTMcPhee

              Why such a hurry?

              I dunno — maybe there’s a profit to be had in there somewhere?

              Sexy and cool to be an early adopter, and even better to be the first to deploy — but before there was MS-DOS and Blue-Screen-Of-Death Windows, there was Q-DOS and CP/M…

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                Early adopter advantage.

                That is a very distinct feature of a Ponzi scheme.

                One has to get in early.

                Coincidence? I dunno.

              2. frosty zoom

                a profit for whom? and how many “whoms”?

                sorry for not being clear: i mean “why are we in such a hurry to do almost everything?”

                not just self-driving cars, but everything.

                has no one ever read the lorax?

    2. lolcar

      From what I’ve read, autonomous vehicles handle the difficult human decisions just by being ridiculously cautious. i.e. confronted with a human being standing close to the curb who could be about to step out into traffic without looking or alternatively merely waiting for a taxi, the driverless car slows down or stops just in case. I don’t see how that approach is practical with a semi-trailer barreling down the highway at 80 miles per hour. And I don’t see how anything less than a genuine artificial intelligence can do what a human does – judge by body language.

      1. ambrit

        The solution is quite simple; make the human legally guilty in all cases of human versus machine accidents. The legislature can, with a straight face, mind you, claim that machine systems, being purely logic based, are incapable of making ‘wrong’ decisions. Humans, well, nasty unpredictable and squishy says it all.

        1. abynromal

          make the human legally guilty in all cases of human versus machine accidents

          …works for the RR barons (the tracks are never at fault)

    3. fresno dan

      I agree.
      One thing that annoys me to no end with my Garmin (software) is that it defaults always to using the freeway, and the thing you have to do to change the settings so that it will let you use a non freeway route makes you tear your hair out. So on vacation in LA Garmin software is telling me to get onto a LA freeway to go 6 blocks at 5 PM….when the street grid would be much, much better.

      1. MikeNY

        I had the same experience when visiting LA! The friggin GPS thingy kept telling me to get on a freeway that was a parking lot. I just started ignoring it.

    4. Chris B

      Driverless vehicles are like book smart people, they talk smart but they are really stupid. Since these driverless vehicles depend so much on logic and seeing street signs, their laibilities lay in logic and street signs.

      Lets say some kids tear down a stop sign, or even more innocently, a car crashes into one and knocks it down. While most humans who drive the same road day after day will notice when a stop sign is suddenly missing, I wonder if these robots would. Oh the chaos that could be cuased by painting some extra lines on the road…

      What most programmers and technoligists do not tell you is that for their systems to work they need to exist in a perfectly engineered world. Since that world has never existed we all end up being slaves to the technology in order for it to work.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        If the experience is anything like Benedict@Large below is going through, it’s a dismal future to look forward to.

        1. Chris B

          Future? :)

          The thing that always stikes me about technology is the inconsitancy of buttons and how this is so much more true with internet technologies. When you push a button we are expected a result. This is tied to our understanding of nature and inherent understanding of the law of thermodynamics. But technology is a layer between nature and our expectations. The results of pushing a button on a webpage requires an immense amount of intermidiaries, from internet providers to web page coders.

          When you push a rock it moves, when you click on a link on NC, we have to hope that they have the correct link syntax. :)

        2. EmilianoZ

          Yep, and imagine if they’re running on some version of Windows and freeze in the middle of the freeway at 80 mph.

      2. cnchal

        . . While most humans who drive the same road day after day will notice when a stop sign is suddenly missing, I wonder if these robots would. . .

        The robot would stop, if the sign was missing. Someone that wasn’t local wouldn’t stop, and someone local might stop, if the sign was missing.

        In the near future, the wealthy will be able to hop in their “track” car and blast around a road course without touching the steering wheel or gas or brakes pedals, scaring the crap out of themselves, and not even coming close to the robot’s lap time by driving themselves.

    5. reslez

      Driverless cars in ten years? Keep dreaming. Bare minimum they’d need their own lanes. The sensors can’t handle rain, snow, or darkness. The software can’t handle anything but bone dry roads. The safety issues alone… I know these companies play loose with the law, but we’re talking about people’s lives. These are not problems we’re 10 years away from solving. Moore’s law is dead. I continue to believe “driverless” will actually mean “some TCN sitting in a warehouse operating the vehicle remotely”.

      Mish has it in for labor. Stories about vanishing middle class jobs are like delicious pie for him, he can’t get enough.

        1. EmilianoZ

          Yep, AI becoming too useful is the last thing I worry about. The Pepco automated payment system by phone cannot even understand “yes”. I’ve just been ask to repeat 3 times. I just hang up.

          1. EmilianoZ

            And this is just a binary problem. How hard can it be to distinguish “yes” from “no”?

      1. sam s smith

        Technology is speeding up.

        The only thing holding back implementation today is the $100k cost for the equipment.

    6. dk

      I agree that Mish is over-thinking it , but he’s just going by Morgan Stanley’s projections (the other estimates are more conservative and realistic… I thought the “utopian society” note in the adoption timeline chart was cute). MS saying it doesn’t make it fact, or more feasible, just another scenario where the investment hype machine is ready to sell froth as well as beer. The projections may be wildly optimistic, but there is already real money behind the product, which means the envelopes will be pushed. And by envelopes, I mean regulation and legislation, infrastructure spending, etc.

      I was pondering how to hack/sabotage this kind of transportation. If I were to drive a car straight at one of these trucks head-on, what would it do? Naturally one would use an RC vehicle, unless one is suicidal. The truck might just stop, or try to turn aside (neither of those is as easy as it sounds for a 40-ton,70-foot vehicle travelling at speeds well over 50 mph), or it might just keep going … But in general, sabotaging a lifeless vehicle (in an isolated scenario) might be more palatable (to whoever might be motivated to do this) than putting a driver’s life at risk. Disrupting driver-less cargo vehicle transportation might be an interesting tactic, even between competing providers. That could eventually lead to weaponized vehicles (in that “utopian society”).

      Just thinking out loud; if you don’t know how something breaks, you don’t really know how it works.

  11. Mike

    Thanks for the description of Stratfor. I have been struggling for some time to figure out how to describe them.

    Interesting stuff from them, though. They write like they actually know of what they speak.

    1. willf

      They write like they actually know of what they speak.

      They ought to, they’re highly paid propagandists.

  12. tgs

    Re: Russian Asset Seizure

    Another piece like the BBC link yesterday that leaves out a good deal. OilPrice writes:

    Khodorkovsky argues that the case against him and Yukos was merely revenge for his political opposition to Putin. The court in The Hague agreed, saying the case against both Khodorkovsky and Yukos was politically motivated.

    Right, but fails to note that the European court of Human Rights found prior (2011) to the Hague that it was not politically motivated. From the Guardian

    The European court of human rights has rejected a claim by imprisoned Russian oil magnate Mikhail Khodorkovsky that his arrest and trial were politically motivated. The court, however, ruled that Khodorkovsky’s rights were violated during his arrest in 2003 and detention and awarded him damages.

    The European court’s rejection of that contention appears to be a significant setback to efforts by Khodorkovsky’s supporters to portray him as a prisoner of conscience.

    The ECHR awarded Yukos shareholders 1.8 billion because of alledged irregularities in the court procedure. However, they did not rule that the Russian courts finding Khodorkovsky guilty was unjustified.

    The Hague decided to hear his case anyway and retried the entire case, basically saying that their brand of justice overrules that the Russian courts. Their decision was in July 2014. Gee, what had happened in the interim?

  13. Kokuanani

    Yves, I hope you’re good at taking naps. The thought of you going to bed @ 5:30 am, without some make-up nap time, worries me.

    Please take care.

    1. Vatch

      Yes, I recall seeing an article in the NC links a while back about the importance of sleep for flushing toxins out of the brain. These are probably different articles, but they make the same point:

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I agree.

        People are not getting enough sleep in general. And they are making high school kids go to school too early.

  14. rusti

    I found this article about Homeland Security staging a raid and seizing counterfeit NHL gear comical. The nitwit spokesperson even provided a good quote about how they’re protecting those poor, helpless billionaire sports teams owners from the evil men who would do them wrong:

    He added that “intellectual property theft is a very real crime with very real victims.”

    1. PhilK

      In a WaPo op-ed from Sunday, December 5, 1999, Elaine Bernard wrote:

      [T]he WTO says its purview does not include social issues — only trade. So it claims to be powerless to do anything about a repressive regime selling the products of sweatshops that use child labor. Yet let this regime use the same children in sweatshops to produce “pirated” CDs or fake designer T-shirts, and the WTO can spring into action with a series of powerful levers to protect corporate “intellectual property rights.” So, it’s really not a question of free trade versus protectionism, but of who and what is free, and who and what is protected.

  15. vidimi

    thanks for your coverage of greece but do take a break. i’ve resigned myself to che sarà sarà

    i don’t want to blame or give credit to anyone for something they haven’t done yet and the wind changes direction far too often to be too sure of anything, so i’ll wait to see how this plays out.

    1. susan the other

      I liked the Telegraph talking about how the EU is not working because it is becoming more economically divergent and one interest rate no longer fits all. I think it is cooperation that is diverging in these hard times and the EU doesn’t have a clue about democratic solutions. Just money. Interest is a blunt instrument anyway and almost an oxymoron in a world that creates money. There is definitely a north-south demarcation line in Europe.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        It’s similar here in the American Union, divergence and interest rate diversity.

        Right now, Texas and North Dakota are like Greece economically.

    2. Chauncey Gardiner

      Yes, thank you for your coverage and insightful analysis of Greece’s difficulties with the Troika et al over these many months. And thank you for today’s link to the Real News Network interview of Leo Panitch.

      Panitch — like your source mentioned in the text following the link — said the Tsipras-Putin meeting was not significant. However, others have a somewhat different take that appears to be largely based on noises from Russia’s Gazprom regarding extension of their Turkish gas pipeline onward through Greece, and Tsipras’ public statements about a need for Greece to look east as well as to Europe.

      I agree with the Panitch that one of the Troika’s objectives, and those behind them, appears to be to cause Tsipras, Varoufakis and Syriza to lose popular support and be replaced, although by what and whom is yet unclear. It is noteworthy that the opening image of the RNN video clip shows two young Greeks holding a banner that says “Austerity Breeds Fascism”.

  16. Kokuanani

    Astounding that Airbnb can say this without irony or regret:

    For countless middle class families, Airbnb is an economic lifeline, making it possible to pay the bills and make ends meet.

    And the laudatory phrases heaped upon Gene Sperling are sickening.

    1. vidimi

      depressing, isn’t it? precarious is the new middle class. i shudder to think what the lower classes must look like

      1. ambrit

        Don’t worry about what the new serf classes look like, worry about what they are saying to each other.

  17. vidimi

    Pope Francis’ Call to Action Goes Beyond the Environment


    Pope Francis says those in weapons industry can’t call themselves Christian

    holy crap, folks, francis may be the first christian pope in centuries

    1. micky9finger

      To paraphrase Raul Castro: I’ m thinking of going to church and I’m not even Catholic.

      1. susan the other

        I know. I like Francis so much I said jokingly I’m thinkin of becoming a Catholic. I just won’t tell ’em I’m an atheist.

        1. savedbyirony

          I’m catholic and there is much i admire about Francis so far and this encyclical is one of those points of admiration, along with how well the USCCB and Vatican attacks against the American religious sisters and LCWR seem to have been resolved for now, but still Francis is very misogynistic in his institutional and personal views towards women. So long as he and the RCC are pushing a God and an antiquated “Natural Law” theory which teaches about the sexes and human sexuality as they do now, probably better to be an atheist (especially if you’re female).

  18. diptherio

    The five pictures article is great. I love that it ends on a piece of dry humor:

    Yes a lot of people are sick of the Greek crisis. But they are also fascinated by it, because what’s playing out on this landscape of burnt-umber, urban decay, torrid nightlife, graffiti and Mediterranean passion [is] the basic dilemma of 21st century capitalism: shall it be for the rich or for everybody?

    He’s joking right? Because obviously capitalism has never been “for everybody.” Just ask the Native Americans, or the African slaves who built the wealth of the US and Europe…or the slaves who are currently building the wealth of Malaysia.

    No, he’s got to be joking. Everybody knows that the point of capitalism is to empower the rich (i.e. capitalists), the only question anybody is asking is how much they’ll screw over the rest of us before they decide they’ve taken enough. Some people think they’ll stop before they’ve caused outright revolt against their rule–that they’ll come to some sort of Rooseveltian compromise that will leave the rich in place while taking enough care of the rest to maintain social stability and cohesion–while others (like myself) are pretty sure they’re going to continue to loot and pillage until enough people are faced with a starve-or-revolt situation that they finally get overthrown. But no one is sitting on the edge of their seats wondering whether 21st century capitalism might do a 180 and start benefiting everybody…are they?

    1. ambrit

      You are right to refer to Franklin Roosevelt. He saved Capitalism from itself for fifty years or more, but the base urges of humanity, as evidenced through capitalism, are back in charge, and are H— bent on self destruction. As for “taken enough,” oh boy! I’ve seen the apex predators of our economic system compared to toddlers. We all know how much self restraint a small child has. Instead of your “starve-or-revolt” situation, I’ll suggest a ‘starve-and-revolt’ system. Besides, I don’t see any New Franklin Roosevelt around, do you? At this point, I’d settle for a New Teddy Roosevelt!
      BTW, how are your Nepali friends doing? All safe I hope.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Had he not saved capitalism back then, would we, the world, be under a better or worse alternative today?

      2. diptherio

        Safe as you can be when you’re spending nights in make shift shelters constructed of blankets and tarps…it could be worse, (all my friends survived), but pretty much everyone is homeless to one extent or another.

        Trying to organize a trip for Sept…making connections with people providing aide now. Hopefully will be able to make us of my co-op connections here to maybe set up some kind of export biz over there. I’ve got friends who are already doing that in a capitalist manner, so I think I might be well situated to help people do it in a more cooperative way.

    2. Oregoncharles

      Just because they’re rich doesn’t mean they’re smart – or more precisely, perceptive. And they’re very isolated, so they may have little idea what dragons’ teeth they’re sowing.

      OTOH: some of them get it, witness the growth of the security state and the assault on civil liberties – the very essence of democracy. In short, they’re getting ready for insurrection, whether or not we are.

  19. fresno dan

    Skepticism on Dylann Roof’s “manifesto” and website Lambert. Followed not much later by: How I Screwed With The Biggest News Outlet in The World Next Generation

    Bizarre and disturbing to consider who is trying and for what ends to manipulate the public.
    I agree that terms like “superficial awareness,” “elementary thoughts,” and “truly awakened” seem beyond the ken of this individual described as borderline mentally impaired.

  20. Brian

    The quote; “Not quite right on QE (in the US, the Fed bought only Treasuries and high quality bonds, not bad debt;”
    Who believes this statement that is also adult and demonstrates reason? It was all bad debt. Calling it something else isn’t realistic.

  21. Tom

    Hi Yves
    I feel with you regarding Greece. Just want to tell you, you did and do a stellar job. If you want to improve things you first need to get a grip on where things really stand. Your job in doing this has been superb. Thanks for that.

    1. susan the other

      Yes I think so too. From early on NC analyzed the EU-Greece situation as an immovable object because Greece was talking democratic politics and the EU-IMF-ECB was only talking money. Which is exactly where it stands today. And it has made me think how hopeless the TPP Investor/State Tribunals are going to turn out to be because the State will talk democratic sovereignty and the Investor will talk lost returns. Wasn’t there an old song, “The River of No Return”? Or was that a movie?

      1. abynormal

        exactly where it stands today…can you believe we’ve come soooo far

        “You rest now [Yves]. Rest for longer than you are used to resting. Make a stillness around you, a field of peace. Your best work, the best time of your life will grow out of this peace.”
        Peter Heller, The Painter (with Love & Care,aby)

    2. dk

      Agreed. And the information and detail gained has raised the level of insight and discourse here. Stellar is the word. Yves; thank you.

  22. rjs

    this isnt really important, but it’s wrong…Mish cites an NPR map that shows that truck driving is the most common employment in 29 states…i’ve seen the same cited elsewhere..about 1% of us are employed as truck drivers; there are twice as many grocery store clerks, 6 times as many work in food service…i’d be surprised if truck drivers outnumbered them in even one state..

    here’s the data:

  23. spooz

    Bernie was inspiring on Maher. He had the audience cheering and chanting “Ber-nie, Ber-nie”. Maher told the panel that Bernie’s interview would be a tough act to follow. It was also inspiring to see the overflow crowds Bernie drew at the Denver rally. I am working on convincing my Green party relatives who live there to switch their registration to Democrat, since Colorado has closed primaries.

    I doubt that I will be able to convince my Republican spouse to choose a Democratic ballot to vote for Bernie in the open primary in my state, but it would not be too much of a stretch to find that one Tea Party sympathiser could be convinced to vote for Bernie in the presidential election, if he manages to defeat Hillary and one of the establishment Republicans gets the nomination.

  24. Brindle

    re: Hillary Clinton’s Hamptons…

    These people make me want to to puke.
    A new low bar for “catastrophic”:

    —“Some of us will go into catastrophic withdrawal if we’re not tapped to raise money for one of the Clintons,” said Ken Sunshine, a veteran Democratic activist and public relations executive with a home in Remsenburg.—

    —“It’s a time for people to show their allegiance and show off their houses at the same time,” Ms. Brod added.—

  25. Kas Thomas

    The point of the six-month term on any Greek deal is to push the next crisis off until after the Spanish elections. Creditors do not want Greece to emerge from the sweatbox before December, as it might embolden leftist and/or euroskeptic elements in Spain.

    The creditors’ Plan B has always been regime change in Greece. However, their main concern is to get past Spanish elections with Greece still in the sweatbox. They (the creditors) will do everything they can, including accepting a less-than-perfect “deal” with Greece, to make sure this happens. The creditors can accept a less-than-perfect deal now and come off looking generous/kind-hearted (even though it just means more interest payments from Greece to IMF/ECB).

    Greece cannot benefit since federal spending is 60% of GDP. Any cuts in spending will show up as immediate deterioration of GDP.

  26. Benedict@Large

    After about 9 crashes, this page finally came up. I’m pretty sure that the header ad and top right ad changed (it’s now iShare), and that’s why the page didn’t crash this last time. I’ve had this problem elsewhere at other times, and it’s always seemed to hover around crapified flash ads. It doesn’t take much to bill yourself off as a programmer these days.

    (Again, I’m strictly vanilla Microsoft, and the problem seemed to have started yesterday, and on various (but not all) of your pages. If you reply to this, there’s probably a good chance I can’t get back to the page to read it.)

  27. IsabelPS

    Is there any way I can send your way a fantastic cartoon by Kroll on this GR saga? It might cheer you up…

  28. diptherio

    Here’s one for the Black Injustice Tipping Point:

    Grassroots Visionaries and Revolutionaries: Solidarity Economy Organizing in the Ferguson Uprising ~Julia Ho

    In the West Side neighborhood of St. Louis, Tosha Baker removes the bars from the windows of an old storefront space on the corner of Martin Luther King Dr. and Arlington Ave. As she looks around the empty room, she sees a new beginning for her and her community. For the past 56 years, this neighborhood has been home to Tosha’s family. By the end of the summer, she will finally realize her lifelong dream of opening up “The People’s Store,” which will serve as a space for community members to purchase affordable second-hand clothing and sell home-made goods on consignment such as African hair care products, tailored jeans, and hand-knitted scarves.

    About eight miles north of Tosha’s store in the small North County municipality of Dellwood, David Royal opens up his community center—aptly named the Center of Hope and Peace (COHAP)—for the day. Over the past month alone, COHAP has been a hub for canvassing around Ferguson City Council elections, a space for dozens of action planning meetings, a site for classes on topics such as African history, drumline and step team practice, job searching, and community Copwatching, and a consistent place for people to gather and socialize.

    David is a resident of the Canfield Green Apartments, also known as “Ground Zero” because it is the site where Mike Brown lay in the street for four and a half hours after being publicly executed by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson. To the handful of residents and community members who mourned Mike Brown, known affectionately in the neighborhood as “Mike Mike,” on the night of August 9th, it will always be remembered as the place where a peaceful candlelight vigil was viciously met with excessive police, tear gas, dogs, and rubber bullets.

    Ever since then, residents like David Royal have been vigilantly defending and organizing their community by watching over Mike Brown’s memorial site and hosting Know Your Rights and Copwatch trainings. After hosting a first round of trainings in late September, residents were each given body cameras and a network of “Canfield Watchmen” was created to videotape police anytime that they entered the apartment complex. Now, nearly a year later, the Watchmen are equipping people in the greater St. Louis area to document police violence in a way that can prevent future police killings and empower residents to patrol their own communities.

    Tosha and David are just two of the countless people whose lives have been shaped forever by the Ferguson uprising. We have been out in the streets of Ferguson daily fighting for Justice for Mike Brown and justice in our own communities. Our power and strength comes from the fact that we refuse to remain silent, and that we are dedicated to changing a system which devalues Black people by not only killing them in the street, but also incarcerating them at unprecedented levels and denying them access to decent jobs with living wages, resourced schools in their communities, affordable and accessible housing, and quality healthcare. We know that the whole damn system is guilty as hell, but we also know that there are real alternatives for us to create the city that we want to live in.

  29. willf

    Maher Tells Bernie Sanders: Your Campaign has Hillary Clinton Talking Like Liz Warren.

    Maher can say it, but its not true. Clinton hasn’t made one tiny progressive noise since she started officially campaigning. Waffling on the tough issues is not the same as “talking like Liz Warren”.

  30. Merf56

    Re the Mish Shedlock piece about self driving trucks replacing truck drivers….
    We already have self driving trucks. They are called freight trains and we need to increase them a hundred fold. Along with passenger trains. Let’s turn our trails back to rails…

  31. rich

    why can’t we all just collect a fee like gene gene the sellout machine?

    lets stroll down memory shame lane….

    Clinton’s PEU Staff Pushed Dropping Glass Steagall

    Three close advisors to President Bill Clinton pushed repeal of Glass Steagall in the 1990’s. They are:

    Bo Cutter
    Gene Sperling
    John Podesta

    This trio is in addition to Larry Summers and Robert Rubin. Former Co-Chairman of Goldman Sachs Robert Rubin went on to work for CitiGroup before joining PEU Centerview Partners as Counselor.

    Bo Cutter left the Clinton team to work for PEU Warburg Pincus from 1996 to 2009. Gene Sperling made good money working for the PEU boys in 2008:

    Goldman Sachs paid Sperling $887,727 for his advice in 2008, according to Bloomberg News’ analysis of financial disclosure forms.

    It was a lucrative year for Sperling. During that time he also earned $250,000 for giving briefings to two hedge funds, Brevan Howard Asset Management and Sterling Stamos Capital Management. He also earned $480,051 as director of the Philadelphia Stock Exchange. During October 2007, he was paid to speak at an event sponsored by Citigroup.

    John Podesta founded the Center for American Progress. His lobbying brother Tony and sister in law Heather made out like bandits from the Podesta insider connections. Tony’s firm earned $27.2 million in lobbying fees in 2013, while Heather grossed $7.6 million.

  32. vidimi

    regardless of whether or not it’s an accurate portrayal of what’s going on with greece, this made me chuckle

  33. ewmayer

    Re. ‘the most common job to vanish’ — I only rarely read Mish anymore, since a large fraction of his posts this year can be condensed to “Mish fellates the high priests of the ‘disruptive robot revolution’, again.”.

    Reminds me of his Bitcoin mania a couple years back. He does often make good points, but the persistent rabid techno-optimism is too much — I get more that enough of that already, living in Silicon Valley.

  34. Howard Beale IV

    True, but horribly sexist: Ralph Nader accuses Hillary of ‘overcompensating’ for her gender: She never saw a war she didn’t like: Raw Story

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