Links 6/24/15

Creator Of Pink Flamingo Lawn Ornaments Passes Away At 79 Consumerist

The blind Jack Russell with his own guide dog: Pair of abandoned pets looking for a new home but they have to be adopted together because they can’t cope apart Daily Mail (LaRuse)

Suspicious DNA Tests Allegedly Prove Fried KFC Rat Was Just a Chicken Gawker. Eeew! See the original photo.

All Airlines Have the Security Hole That Grounded Polish Planes Wired (William B)

The Self-Similarity of Tech Ubiquity (David L)

Major internet providers slowing traffic speeds for thousands across US Guardian

Confirmed: Masculinity is so fragile, guys will overcompensate to avoid being ‘feminine’ Medical Daily. We need a study for this?

Can the Bacteria in Your Gut Explain Your Mood? New York Times (David L, frosty zoom). I’m leery of this theory, in that anyone who has taken a a course of antibiotics, particularly repetitively (childhood acne, ear infections, dental abscesses) will have killed off a fair bit of what is politely referred to as their intestinal flora. The more health-conscious eat yogurt, drink stuff like kombucha, or take probiotics to replenish what the drugs wiped out. That presumably means they have changed the composition of their gut bacteria. I can’t think of a single person whose mood has changed when looking at the before antibiotics v after antiboitics time frames.

Children of Smog in Delhi Real News Network

Free trade agreements ‘preferential’ and dangerous, says Productivity Commission Sydney Morning Herald (EM)

The Story In Japan Is Not That Blacks Are Excluded But That Truth Has Been Swept Under The Carpet Forbes (Bob H)

Can the U.S. and China Avoid the Enemy Trap? New Yorker

America, China, and the Productivity Paradox Stephen Roach, Project Syndicate

British Regulators Extend Clawback Rules for Bankers’ Pay New York Times

The case for capital controls in the UK? FT Alphaville

Scotland is refusing to give the Queen any more money Business Insider

Grexit?

Greek crisis: Bailout deal in doubt as Tsipras faces creditors Guardian. Live blog. Our concerns yesterday about the risk of the preliminary deal going pear shaped are looking to be well founded. It was more instinct, as opposed to a firm much news foundation, but there was so little positive messaging that it was a real tell that there was a dangerously high level of hostilities and unresolved issues for a deal that needed to be put to bed in such short order. This is even worse than I imagined. The IMF is pushing Greece to make fewer tax increases and more pension cuts. The Left Platform is on the verge of bolting, and this demand will insure it. Is the IMF is either utterly blind to domestic politics or out to make sure Tsipras and Syriza go down (as in Tsipras loses all cred by needing to rely on To Potami and New Democracy votes to get supporting legislation passed)? They also apparently don’t buy Greek numbers (not surprising given the history, courtesy IsabelPS) and think Greece needs to come up with another €700 million.

“Non-acceptance of equivalent measures never been done before. Not in Ireland or Portugal” says @atsipras. Doesn’t mean proposal rejected... @SpeigelPeter. Refers to the fact that the creditors asked for a 1% reduction in pensions, Greek proposal found a way to get same budget results with lower de facto pension cuts and tax increases. More detail from FT live blog:

Before boarding his plane to Brussels, the Greek Prime Minister said:

“The rejection of equivalent measures has never happened before. Not in Ireland, not in Portugal. Nowhere! This curious stance may conceal one of two possibilities: either they (the EU and IMF) don’t want an agreement or they are serving specific interest groups in Greece.”

Why the IMF’s so hard on Greece Politico

Knives out for Tsipras as Syriza hardliners threaten mutiny Financial Times

Giagiá and pappoús march slowly against Tsipras Financial Times

German bailout fatigue carries new risks for Merkel Reuters

Greece debt crisis: the offer from Athens in detail Guardian

Greece given 4 days to enact reforms Financial Times. “Berlin has insisted on full and immediate legislative approval of measures that may be agreed at a meeting of eurozone finance ministers on Wednesday evening.” The Greek commitment is seen as necessary to secure passage of the bailout in the Bundestag.

PM to meet Draghi, Juncker, Lagarde ahead of Eurogroup ekathimerini. Important despite anodyne title. Take note of the gaps and what Greece is expected to deliver.

Greeks Swing Between Hope and Fear as Bailout Talks Reach Decisive Phase Wall Street Journal

Eurogroup chief @J_Dijsselbloem told by leaders on Mon to get Greece settled on Weds even if takes all night, indicates senior EU official. @jameskanter

The Problem With a Small Europe Project Syndicate

Greek business community attacks new proposals Guardian

Ukraine/Russia

NATO Refocuses on the Kremlin, Its Original Foe New York Times

Syraqistan

The Saudi Cables: Revelations from Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, Lebanon, Sudan & Egypt Kevin Gosztola, Firedoglake

Alberta passes bill banning corporate and union donations Global News (Dr. Kevin)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Espionnage Élysée Wikileaks (William B)

WikiLeaks: NSA eavesdropped on the last 3 French presidents Christian Science Monitor

THIS RADIO BUG CAN STEAL LAPTOP CRYPTO KEYS, FITS INSIDE A PITA Wired (Robert M). Why I do not work in the vicinity of pitas.

Why We Encrypt Bruce Schneier. Unfortunately, pitas.

Google Accused of “Abusive” Conduct in Privacy App Case Intercept

Council of Europe Calls on U.S. to Let Snowden Have a Fair Trial Intercept

Trade Traitors

Obama poised for huge win on trade The Hill (Kevin C). Inquiring minds would like to know who promised him a payoff and how big it is.

Sessions: They Won the Vote, But Lost the ‘Trust of the American People’ Weekly Standard. Reslic: “We’ve hit a new low low in USA USA when Jeff Sessions is a voice of reason.”

Senator Cardin in the Hot Seat on Fast Track Real News

Dear Senator Feinstein (re “Fast Track”, TPP, etc.) Steve Waldman

Chinese Billionaire Clinton Fan Sees ‘Friendly’ Presidency Bloomberg (furzy mouse

As Florida Governor, Jeb Bush Provided Special Access to Lobbyists International Business Times

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Calls to Drop Confederate Emblems Spread Nationwide New York Times

Alarming Statue of a Racist and Horse Perfectly Honors The Confederacy Gawker (reslic)

Former U.S. agent to plead guilty to bitcoin theft in Silk Road probe Reuters (EM)

More Americans Are Renting, and Paying More, as Homeownership Falls New York Times

Durable Goods Orders Plunge in May, Huge Downward Revisions in April Michael Shedlock

Keynes on Paradigm Change Ed Walker, emptywheel

Class Warfare

Is There a Student Loan Debt Crisis? Adam Levitin, Credit Slips

The US needs to follow Europe’s lead and create a “grey area” class of workers Quartz. Reslic: “I’d call it Semi-Serf. In Dixie we don’t own our slaves, we rent them now….”

Bloomberg’s Baby Davos Baffler (Gabriel). Similar aim for the Milken Conference, which has never achieved anywhere near the cachet of Davos.

Antidote du jour:

daring thirsty cat links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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143 comments

    1. ChrisFromGeorgia

      Anyone else think that the reason the IMF rejected the fragile “deal” is that they are afraid it might have succeeded?

      Having an country come out of a financial crisis by taxing the wealthy, as Tsipras tried to propose, would set a bad example for the rest of EU. Can’t have any “rotten apples” spoiling the whole bunch.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Are they concerned that this particular tax-collection will be leaky as usual?

        I sense that, unfortunately, the creditors lack trust/faith the proposed tax increases will be enforced vigorously. Thus, the draconian demands of (exclusively) cuts and their immediate legislative approval.

        1. ambrit

          The quote from Tsipras in the links section says it all. I’m leaning towards the view that the ‘core’ Eurogroup has decided to engineer a situation where Syriza has to call new elections and New Democracy and To Potami form a new improved Eurofriendly government. As a sign of this, when Tsipras calls for elections, or when someone calls for a vote of no confidence in the parliament, the Eurogroup, “in the interests of stability,” suspends all actions against Greece, and slowly feeds just enough funds to the Greek banks to keep them alive, (a ‘super ELA’ account perhaps?)
          What’s important here is who will be in power in Athens this winter.

          1. IsabelPS

            When I read that quote, I could see the wry smile of Albuquerque (I don’t know Noonan well enough to imagine his reaction). Can Tsipras even imagine the haggling going on for years about “equivalent measures”?

          2. Cugel

            It seems impossible that Tsipras can force this compromise through without the government falling. If 10-30 party members vote no or abstain he would need the support of right-wing parties to push forward acceptance. That would amount to a vote of no confidence, and amid growing outrage and public despair it would be a miracle if he remained in power by the end of the year.

            The Troika and especially the Germans seem to have a policy of destroying Syriza and forcing a new Greek government whom they fondly imagine will be more accommodating into power via new elections.

            However, given the flat public rejection of continued Austerity, the only probable outcome of elections would be more chaos and a rise in the extreme left and Golden Dawn rejectionists. After all, PASOK support fell to low single digits because they tried to implement the Memorandum.

            In short, rather than provide a stable governmental majority to ram through the Memorandum, any new election will simply produce more division and anger. Greece will descend into chaos and anarchy.

            The Germans may well prefer this alternative, so they can blame the lazy Greeks for everything, but it’s going to blow up in their faces. This is especially true since “when assessing Greece’s debt sustainability, the IMF famously put in a debt-to-GDP ratio of 120 percent by 2020. It now stands at some 175 percent, with little chance of coming down to that level within the next five years — unless there is a serious debt write-down by eurozone creditors.

            There is no appetite in Europe for the necessary write-down of debt, which is going to have to happen. The debt-to-GDP ratio just keeps going up while the economy keeps going down, making any financial targets unreachable.

            Right now, the reason the negotiations have failed is that there is no consensus in the EU for how to deal with the problem and lots of attempts by people and institutions to cover their butts.

            EX: Christine Lagarde comes up for re-election to the IMF Presidency in 2016.

            IMF loans cannot in principle be restructured or undergo a “haircut,” so in case of default Lagarde will have to explain to her board why and how the money evaporated.

            The IMF involvement was controversial from the start, but Merkel insisted and over-rode all objections, especially from French President Sarkozy. Now the IMF deeply regrets ever getting involved and simply wants out.

            [For Lagarde to get re-elected] “involves both being tough on Greece — making sure Athens adheres to a credible program — and being tough on Greece’s creditors, by pointing out that they will have to consent to debt relief in future. And she has until March 2016, when the current IMF program for Greece expires, to extract the institution from the Greek mess it regrets having ever stepped into.”

            You can see at once that while everybody wants to whip the Greeks, all the Creditor institutions are deeply split on what happens next. German politicians want to avoid having to explain to their taxpayers and voters why the Greek debt is being written down, but the IMF just wants out of the mess, period.

            Lagarde has to find a way to extricate the IMF in the next 9 months or risk being fired from her job. Since the Greeks cannot pay, that means forcing the creditors to accept a “hair-cut” and getting the IMF out of the Greek financial mess.

            1. Yves Smith Post author

              I believe you are wrong on your last assumption, or perhaps the way you phrased it. So-called emerging economies have half the votes on the IMF board. Lagarde was reported to have toughened her stance after conferring with them. They think the IMF is spending too much in time and resources on Greece. 1/3 of the votes are European states. The IMF is acting as the front for the national governments, so they support her. And the US isn’t intervening; in fact, colleagues who have contacts at Treasury say that Obama was making his antipathy towards the Greek government clear long before the G-7.

              In other words, I see no evidence that Lagarde’s job is at risk. It was Dominique Strauss-Kahn that got the IMF in the Greek lending business, not Lagarde. It might be nice to want her to suffer but there’s no evidence that the board is unhappy with her.

              1. Cugel

                Well, Yves, I don’t think it helps the Greeks one bit if Lagarde is dumped by the IMF board, but this article is stating bluntly that she’s in trouble:

                “She has to soothe a restless IMF board where representatives of emerging countries resent the Fund’s involvement in the never-ending Greek crisis, for which it bent, if not broke, most of its long-standing rules of engagement.

                “That may be the reason why Lagarde is appearing to be tougher with Greece than its eurozone creditors — save possibly Germany, whose finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble remains highly skeptical of Greece’s ability to ever solve its own problems.

                “Lagarde comes up for re-election as IMF head next year. She can’t afford a split board. The European stranglehold on the IMF’s top job since its creation is being contested, and she has to show she can be tough on Europe.

                “That involves both being tough on Greece — making sure Athens adheres to a credible program — and being tough on Greece’s creditors, by pointing out that they will have to consent to debt relief in future. And she has until March 2016, when the current IMF program for Greece expires, to extract the institution from the Greek mess it regrets having ever stepped into.

                “The IMF’s role in Greece has been “one of the most credibility-sapping in its history,” noted Gabriel Sterne, a former Fund staffer who is now chief economist at Oxford Economics, in a scathing note published last year. IMF insiders and most economists tend to agree.

                “The main cardinal sin against its own rules that the IMF committed, as soon as Greece got its first bailout in 2010, was to agree to a program that didn’t and couldn’t guarantee the country’s long-term debt sustainability.

                So, according to this, she’s in trouble because Greece is heading for default, and the loan is clearly a failure. She has to be seen as “tough” on the Greeks, and at the same time, proving that she’s tough on the EU as well, because non-Europeans don’t like the IMF involvement in the Greek crisis to begin with, and are highly skeptical for obvious reasons that Greece will ever repay its debt.

                These skeptics are right that the IMF should never have gotten involved in the Greek bailout to begin with. They broke every rule they ever had to do it, and their involvement has been a catastrophic failure. If her leadership is NOT in jeopardy after all the IMF’s miscalculations that is more a case of nepotism and lack of accountability than anything.

                “The extent of the IMF’s Greek mistakes are part of the reason it felt necessary to apologize back in 2013, notably for its former light-hearted estimate of the negative consequences of fiscal austerity coupled with a credit crunch.”

                It’s true that all the EU institutions screwed up very badly, but the IMF has more money at stake, and they are not going to get it back, no matter how tightly they turn the screws on Greece.

                My point is that the Greek debt is going to have to be written down because Greece simply cannot pay and will not pay it, and that means somebody is going to lose badly. Lagarde’s job is to see that it is the European tax-payer and not the IMF. Merkels’ job is to extend and pretend indefinitely in order to avoid admitting to the German tax-payer that they got saddled with all this bad debt in order to bail out German banks.

                So, while everybody is on board for punishing the Greeks, they are going to be at each others’ throats later when it comes time to pin the inevitable losses on somebody.

                1. Yves Smith Post author

                  I read the same Politico story when it ran. You are overstating the case. Lagarde was not involved in the original decision to lend to Greece. The IMF secured a commitment from the Eurozone countries to reduce debt as part of the 2012 rescue. They did not honor their part of the deal. The IMF forecasts assumed that the promised debt reduction would occur. Now we know Greece would have been a mess regardless, since austerity does not work. But the overwhelming majority of countries today believe in this economic quackery and inflict it on their own citizens without the IMF there to help. And with the US and the EU countries behind the IMF, she has nearly half the votes there. All see needs is to keep the noise from emerging economies down. She only needs 10% or so of the remaining votes. That does not seem like a high bar to meet.

                  The IMF is a lender to bankrupt credits. The private sector versions are junkyard dogs. The IMF is usually able to hide that better behind its technocratic veneer.

                  Lagarde was very likely to not gain another term no matter how the IMF programs in Europe worked out. There was considerable unhappiness at her appointment among the developing economies, since the US and European countries have votes out of proportion to their quotas and proportion of global GDP. But it was seen as important to have a European leader when the fund had so many large programs in Europe. Once those were wound down, and the programs in Ireland, Spain, and Portugal were already completed, it would become vastly more difficult to justify not having the next IMF chief be from an emerging economy.

                  Lagarde is going to be 60 next year. She could decide that it’s becoming too politically difficult to implement the IMF’s kneecap-breaking in the current environment even if she could get the needed votes from developing countries. A woman of her age could write her private sector ticket. She’s far more likely to decide to trade out than get booted. She’s one of the best speakers I’ve ever seen. She could easily make $2 million a year just giving speeches.

                  The German government has already done an analysis. They’ve concluded the losses are manageable since the debt payments are so attenuated. The Greek were not scheduled to make payments prior to 2020, and the budgetary losses would be under 1 billion euros a year. I can’t find the link readily, but I had it in Links and my recollection is that the story was in Bloomberg. So perversely, all the extend and pretend now makes Germany less concerned about loss recognition.

                  1. Gio Bruno

                    I know this is snark but I couldn’t resist:

                    “She’s the best speaker I’ve ever seen. She could easily make $2 million a year just giving speeches.”

                    That’s Obama, too. Speaking with substance is harder than speaking as spectacle.

                    1. Yves Smith Post author

                      I don’t think Obama is a good speaker at all. Lagarde is better hands down. And she did not get where she got (foreign woman of her age as head of a major US law firm) without being a skilled bureaucratic infighter. For instance, Merkel has backed Lagarde at every turn so far.

                      I’m not saying she is virtuous or admirable. But it is a mistake not to recognize her as well suited to her current role.

                  2. IsabelPS

                    This must be the quote of the day:
                    “The IMF is a lender to bankrupt credits. The private sector versions are junkyard dogs. The IMF is usually able to hide that better behind its technocratic veneer.”

          3. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            Or Tsipros could just get the Berlusconi treatment (people may dimly recall he was the democratically-elected Prime Minister of Italy). When he started making anti-euro noises, the long knives came out, and the Goldman guy (Monti) was summarily installed. “Now is not the time for elections”, the people of Italy were told, “now is the time for actions”.

        2. Ned Ludd

          FT and WSJ posted the five-page document that “outlines the so-called prior actions the Greek government is willing to undertake, as well as the creditor’s feedback on several overhauls”.

          Under “Fiscal structural measures”, the Troika added verbiage for the Social Welfare Review to cut ½% of GDP from social welfare.

  1. Sam Kanu

    As Florida Governor, Jeb Bush Provided Special Access to Lobbyists

    Isn’t this a “dog bites man” story?

    1. Mel

      Yeah, but how about asking the important questions BEFORE the election this time? Wouldn’t THAT be novel?

      1. Sam Kanu

        What “important questions”? About lobbyists? That would be a red herring.

        The only questions that need to be asked of jeb Bush to determine his suitability for the presidency is to ask him: “Are you the son of a former president and the brother of another former president”? If the answer is yes, which it is….then in a nation of 300 million people, there is no more that you need to ask.

        Anyone who understands that and thinks that voting him in office is a good idea, will I’d have to question their competence to participate in an electoral process.

        So we dont need to even get to lobbying – Jeb Bush should not be running for presidency if this was a properly functioning democracy. I mean what the heck are we running around fighting Russia for, if we are happy to worship oligarchs at home?

  2. Disturbed Voter

    Tragedy if Greece is manhandled. The bigger issue is this means that the EU really is out to destroy democracy in favor of capitalist totalitarianism. But then us EU doubters have always suspected that. Getting out of the Euro is not enough … they need to get out of the EU and NATO.

  3. scott

    I got on the gut biome wagon a couple of years back. I even make my own fermented vegetables. I rarely have heartburn (having once been on prescription ulcer meds). My fall allergies have completely gone away (which my doctor said could only get worse), and I get hungry less often. Indigestion, allergy symptoms, and hunger can affect mood, can they not?

    1. YankeeFrank

      scott,

      do you have any good links for info on fermenting veggies or any other methods you use to protect your gut?

    2. Oliverks

      The whole idea of the brain / gut axis is pretty new, and not that well understood yet. However, there have been some remarkable lab studies on the microbiome. It has been shown to change the cognitive development of mice. The results are dramatic and very compelling from a technical point of view.

      While specific well controlled examples on mice have been shown, the examples involves a complex interplay between genetics, time of exposure, and the type of microbes in the gut. Even in humans, the discovery that ulcers are largely caused by bacteria was a shock to many in the medical community.

      BTW the leading cause of death in preemie babies are recognized as microbiome problems. Another disease called SIBO is now started to be suspected for rapid onset of dementia in old people (same problem other end of life).

      I should also caution I am not an expert in this area, but it appears to offer some very fruitful lines of inquiry.

    3. Chris B

      You are making a lot of assumptions however, if you think it is the microbime itself responsible for the changes. Since you started eating those foods you could have simply left out others that were causing issues.

      And yes, histamine is linked to some psychiatric disorders, like schizophrenia, so reducing it might affect mood.
      http://www.psychcongress.com/article/antihistamine-decreases-schizophrenia-symptoms-12516

      Histamine is an amine, and so is serotonin, dopamine, norepinepherin and epinepherine. They are all broken down by amine oxidase enzymes which depended on B vitamin cofactors (B2, B6), as well as magnesium to work. So by eating fermented foods you might be getting more of those vitamins as well.

      I want to express Yves, that even though one dose of antibiotics does not cause mood issues, it might take several doses, combined with nutritional deficiencies and gentic sensitivity to cause mood issues. Since our gut microbiome makes a large source of riboflavin I see it as one importnat factor.

      1. scott

        Correlation/causation and all that. Yes, I have virtually eliminated sugar from my diet and don’t eat more than one slice of bread a day, but these changes in diet also change the gut bacteria, since many not-so-friendly strains like high-sugar diets. The benefits of an improved diet won’t be realized unless the gut biome becomes more diverse.

      2. Glen

        IIRC sodium butyrate isba byproduct of carbohydrates metabolism in the intestine. Sodium butyrate will inhibit histone deacetylation. Which is a common mode of action for some anti epileptics ( divelprex sodium)

      3. Yves Smith Post author

        It is common for kids with bad acne to be prescribed low-doses of antibiotics for years. Similarly, if you have a dental or ear infection, it will often take more than one course of antibiotics to knock it out.

        1. Too late

          you sound more worried than skeptical
          Sure it’s early Days yet in this field but your skepticism seems a bit misplaced

    4. lord koos

      My wife and I both swear by home-made kefir, which we have been making for a few years now. We are in our early 60s and pretty much never have any type of digestive problems. It is one of the easiest and healthiest pro-biotics to make at home. Kefir contains millions more beneficial bacteria than the same amount of yogurt. You just need to get a tablespoon kefir grains (available on ebay and elsewhere) and cover them with a pint or so of organic milk (we use 2%) and let it ferment in a glass jar for 12-24 hours, the time depends on the ambient temperature. If you are lactose intolerant, kefir is great because the fermentation removes the lactose. It’s also a fantastic substitute for buttermilk in recipes. http://www.culturesforhealth.com/kefir

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Thanks. I’m going to try to find kefir grains locally and make it myself. Should be interesting.

        Can you use organic soy milk?

        1. lord koos

          You can use soy milk after it’s been started in regular milk, however eventually you need to use dairy for a time to replenish the grains. I’m somewhat lactose intolerant and I do great with real milk. Almost all soy milk is GMO, also. This is the best (and non-commercial) site for information: http://users.sa.chariot.net.au/~dna/kefirpage.html

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Thanks again.

            I am proud to say I can make organic soy milk myself from organic soy beans.

  4. Ned Ludd

    For TPA and TPP, why is no one using a traditional “talking” filibuster? Any senator can filibuster a cloture vote using Rule XIX of the Senate.

    Under Rule XIX of the Senate, senators who have been recognized to speak may do so for as long as they wish and cannot be forced to cede the floor or even interrupted without their consent, according to the Congressional Research Service.

    The Senate cannot vote to overrule Rule XIX since the Senate cannot vote at all while a senator continues to talk.

    A determined senator (or better yet, a handful of senators) can bring public attention to an issue with this type of talking filibuster.

    Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., spoke for eight hours and 37 minutes in 2010 to protest tax legislation.

    This old-fashioned style of filibuster – using Rule XIX – derails the entire Senate’s schedule, and every time a senator gets a chance to speak is another chance to use Rule XIX. This is completely different from the modern non-talking filibuster where no one talks so it can be ended at any time.

  5. Santi

    What is the NATO people (and their publicists at the NYT and other media) smoking? It takes a lot of effort to see the aggressive face of Russia. It looks like someone is taking big commissions on military expenditure in the north front…

    1. RabidGandhi

      Nothing new. The imminent threats to the US are always present and crisis worthy: Russia, Iran, Vietnam, Nicaragua, Granada…

      When I was young we were in the US Ronald Reagan declared a national emergency because Nicaraguan troops were a two days’ march away from his Texas ranch.

      The only remarkable thing is that NYT etc. publish these solemn threats and no one dies laughing. Or as the Mexican ambassador said to JFK when he called the Mexicans to join the fight against the ‘Cuban threat’: “If we publicly declare Cuba a threat then 40 million Mexicans will die laughing.”

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Here, we are in awe of our propaganda ministry.

        When they say, grow your hair long, we grow our hair long (it’s chic).

        When they say to women, no arm pit hair, women shave (except some Chinese feminists recently in the news).

        When they say, listen to the number 1 song in the nation, we duly listen and sing along (thanks to karaoke bars).

        When the say, bigger (GDP) is better, we rush to audition for the ‘growth ueber alles’ cheer squad.

        It’s easy to be scared by national emergencies.

    2. Sam Kanu

      What is the NATO people (and their publicists at the NYT and other media) smoking? It takes a lot of effort to see the aggressive face of Russia. It looks like someone is taking big commissions on military expenditure in the north front…

      I think it is lucrative for some of the media too. For example the placement of this propaganda in even Monocle magazine, which is basically one long advertisement….

  6. Jack

    Regarding masculinity, I’ve seen internet threads that pose questions to the effect of “what does it mean to be a man?”. A hundred different replies, 110 different answers. Not only is there no real consensus, most if not all of the things posted, things like “always stand up for what’s right”, strike me as not uniquely male and attributes you would laud in any adult. It seems to me that there isn’t much that is actually specific to men, and what attributes are truly masculine often pointless or even negative.

    Not to put women on a pedestal, but what would the world look like if the majority of the people running it weren’t submerged in an environment of tough-guy macho bullshit all the time?

    1. sleepy

      I think gender attributes or stereotypes mostly fall apart when you consider who has run the world–Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Margaret Thatcher, Golda Meier, George Bush, Angela Merkel, etc.

      Rather than say those people reflected any particular gender stereotypes, I would characterize them as lacking in some basic human attributes.

      1. optimader

        ding,
        the intoxicant of power and personality type of those who seek it.
        did they include women in the study? if not garbage research.

        To test the theory, researchers recruited college students from Stanford University to squeeze a handheld device with both hands. male only?

        1. James Levy

          I got around this by stressing to my kids the need to act like an adult. To me, any positive attribute of manhood is subsumed under the heading “grown up.” Any fully mature person needs to be resilient, steadfast, self-sacrificing, and courageous when it counts (all things my father was, and very often my mother, too). If my son does those things, he’ll be a man in my eyes for sure. But I’d like my daughter to have those attributes, too!

          1. optimader

            James,
            we’re all products of how we are raised. I strongly believe behavior patterns (notably dysfunctional ones in this context) are handed down generationally, and can be hard to break the chain.

            I internally chuckle when I catch myself exhibiting certain parental behavior –gender unspecific.

      2. Lexington

        Although you’re careful to cherry pick leaders of alternating genders the fact is that historically the vast majority of political leaders have been male, therefore it is not unfair to suggest men have more to answer for.

        As for the study itself, besides the fact the authors obviously had an agenda, if I’ve said it once I’ve said it a thousand times – if common sense ever makes a comeback there are going to be a lot of unemployed social scientists.

  7. Steven

    Obama isn’t motivated by money. He’s motivated by prestige. He wants full acceptance into the elite. That’s why he’s been more insistent by far on TPP than he has been on anything else since taking office and gets testy when he gets called out on it. He wants to be able to go golfing with Lloyd Blankfein, be patted on the head and told what an impressive young man he is.

    1. RabidGandhi

      And he acts on his principles. The principles that debts must be paid; that we must bend over backwards to support big business and markets; that we must protect defenceless Pharma companies from the infected masses who want their drugs; that we must support our ‘friends and allies’ [snicker]; that what’s good for [the board of] Monsanto is good for America…

    2. Sam Kanu

      Obama isn’t motivated by money. He’s motivated by prestige. He wants full acceptance into the elite. That’s why he’s been more insistent by far on TPP than he has been on anything else since taking office and gets testy when he gets called out on it. He wants to be able to go golfing with Lloyd Blankfein, be patted on the head and told what an impressive young man he is.

      I think you’ve not understood the power of greed in our nation. Politics attracts the power and money hungry. “Patting on the head” – dont mkake me laugh. The guy thinks he is smarted than everyone else – validation not meaningful to him.

      Yes he is motivated by money. No, he is not “young”- he is mid fifties by the time he is gone from office. No, he cant go back to ordinary work. Yes, he is counting on continuing the ultra-wealthy lifestye that he and his family have become accustomed to over a period of nearly a decade by the time ye leaves office.

      And not least – yes, he will spend his time greasing all skids for the people who hold the connections to the rewards and global boards he wants to get his hands on.

      Don’t be naive….

      1. scott

        Wait until the Aussies figure out that TPP means that they will pay the same as us for prescription drugs, instead of the 80% discount the scheme has negotiated. “Lost profits”, you know.

      2. optimader

        Obama isn’t motivated by money.
        Of course he (they) are. Todays behavior is tomorrows quid pro quo .

    3. different clue

      Perhaps he’s motivated by prestige AND money. I think money ( all the beautiful money) has to figure in there somewhere.

  8. Ned Ludd

    Varoufakis’ threat to break apart Syriza barely gets a mention in the Financial Times.

    Mr Varoufakis threatened this year to defect and take a group of Syriza colleagues with him after Mr Tsipras suggested — at the instigation of several senior European politicians — that he should resign.

  9. timbers

    “Major internet providers slowing traffic speeds for thousands across US Guardian”

    As “President” of our small 3 unit condo association, I have the internet modem in my unit (it’s range easily covers all three units) and pay for this one internet service used by all 3 units (reimbursed by me to me, as President of Association!).

    I frequently get questions from the other 2 condo’s about slow internet and notice myself the slow speeds. Once I called Comcast and demanded and got a days discount on the service.

    As an aside, I don’t like the forced programmed scripts the customer service agents must read. It slows the conversation down. They must read speech at the end and ask a lot of questions. I usually interrupt their opening questions by saying “Can we talk about what I want to talk about now?” and usually hang up at the end rather than listen to long goodbyes and speech recitations.

  10. Ned Ludd

    Reddit’s main news section has banned articles about TPP.

    “We don’t allow politics, TPP articles are politics. There are tons of other subs which have many TPP related articles frontpage. The concept of subreddits is to maintain these silos.”

    Reddit is an Internet experiment in controlled opposition. When corporations don’t like what users post about, admins and moderators create rules and rationale to push non-mainstream sources and troublesome topics further & further into the margins.

    1. Sam Kanu

      We don’t allow politics

      That’s pretty much the only thing you need to understand about the delusion that private commerical companies can provide anything that can properly function as a “commons” or public space in the digital medium.

      This delusion will be the end of our democracy. You cannot discuss politics, you dont have a functioning society – just a bunch of brain numbing assembly points.

  11. sleepy

    The Nathan Bedford Forrest statue outside Nashville—

    In my hometown of Memphis downtown was/is thick with monuments and parks to the Lost Cause–Confederate Park, Jefferson Davis Park, and Forrest Park where the general and native Memphian is buried under his own statue which, btw, is frequently excremet-smeared.

    Despite the fact that Memphis has been a majority black city and has had black political leadership for decades, not much was done about these parks. Some said, the city has a racist past, why sugarcoat it? Wasn’t until aroud 2013 that city government finally changed the names–only to be met with lawsuits from, who else, the sons of confederate veterans.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/29/us/memphis-drops-confederate-names-from-parks-sowing-new-battles.html?_r=0

    1. BondsOfSteel

      It’s so ugly… and surrounded by flags of the Confederacy:

      https://www.google.com/maps/@36.061463,-86.771936,3a,75y,32.14h,80.83t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sOnNFgVZk6DS5nJA7ApYjOA!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

      Considering that Nashville was one of the first southern cities to be captured by the North… and the brutal loss that the South had when they tried to take it in the battle of Nashville… the statue’s not only horrible from a artistic point of view, but ironic from an historic one too.

      1. optimader

        Understated yet elegant :oO
        yikes
        Looks like it should be a mascot on the roof of a fast food emporium

    2. fosforos

      But it is a lie to say that Kershaw “represented Martin Luther King’s assassin.” He never represented J. Edgar Hoover.

  12. Brooklin Bridge

    Elizabeth Warren does not seem to have maintained public criticism of Fast Track or the TPP (and siblings) as the treachery approaches the final vote. This is a disappointing pattern with many if not all politicians who take stances opposing the establishment (to burnish their creds?). Of course it could also be partly the MSM, but I would think we would see something on NC links or other sites on the net (apologies if I’m missing something).

    Had she maintained a hard and vociferious level of public criticism, I believe it would have made it significantly more difficult for those on the edge to sell their constituents down the river.

    Finally, if Fast Track does pass, it’s an excellent example of why Democrats are the more effective evil.

    1. RabidGandhi

      A symptom of a public with a Kardashian-shortened attention span. The Dems, as per always, got exactly what they needed: a few minutes to pretend like they have some sort of backbone that will burnish their cred with the base in November, then with that out of the way, they can get back to their real goal of polishing the knobs of their corporate patrons.

      Same thing happened with Obamacare. Dems fake support for single-payer and then implement the Romney/Heritage plan, all the while getting support from liberals who think of them as progressive champs. They can only do this because grassroots organisation is so weak in the US that it cannot keep the public’s attention for more than 1 newscycle (as measured in Kardashians).

      1. Vatch

        Thanks, Llewelyn. A substantial portion of her article is about ISDS, which NC readers already know is one of the worst aspects of these trade treaties. Some of the people who read her article will learn about ISDS for the first time. Yesterday, we saw a link to Alan Morrison’s article about ISDS, so I hope this is a trend. Spread the word about the private tribunals of ISDS as widely as possible.

  13. Steve H.

    “I can’t think of a single person whose mood has changed when looking at the before antibiotics v after antiboitics time frames.”

    Noting there is an implicit correlation between taking antibiotics and feeling like crap…

    1. fresno dan

      Can the Bacteria in Your Gut Explain Your Mood? New York Times (David L, frosty zoom). I’m leery of this theory, in that anyone who has taken a a course of antibiotics, particularly repetitively (childhood acne, ear infections, dental abscesses) will have killed off a fair bit of what is politely referred to as their intestinal flora. The more health-conscious eat yogurt, drink stuff like kombucha, or take probiotics to replenish what the drugs wiped out. That presumably means they have changed the composition of their gut bacteria. I can’t think of a single person whose mood has changed when looking at the before antibiotics v after antiboitics time frames.

      =====================================================================
      Replenishing your gut flora with yogurt is for wimps.
      That’s why we have floors, and probably why we’re genetically programmed to drop things. And not just m&m’s – peanut butter and jelly falls falls wrong side down? Eat it anyway. Same with your spaghetti and meatballs….
      Sure, the fastidious can leave their ice cream scoop on the ground when it slides out of their ice cream cone, but not me! (and of course, that’s due to the conspiracy of BIG ICE CREAM to make the scoops too big for the cones to hold securely….but I digress) – And I’m still alive, more or less….which I attribute to my diversity of little friends in my bowels….we are multitudes.

          1. ambrit

            Urggg… I hope we’re not sliding down the ‘honey bucket’ slippery slope. (Gadzooks! A new type of self licking ‘ice cream’ cone!)

          2. optimader

            Yes, a small amount of the Earths Crust –Terra Firma –on something ya yank out of the garden like a scallion… not the other definition of dirt that dogs find so culinary alluring.

            1. JEHR

              I learned about a study re the causes of polio.Apparently, people who did not disinfect or sterilize everything were less likely to contract polio. The germs are in the earth and provide immunity in small doses over time.

              See: http://tinyurl.com/pf3f6bj

      1. Chris B

        Great example of Magical Thinking.

        And totally useless.

        I will point you to only one gene and how polymorphisms in it will make people immune to norovirus.

        FUT2
        Host Genetic Resistance to Symptomatic Norovirus (GGII.4) Infections in Denmark
        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1951234/

        Whose to say you are not just genetically more resistant to bacteria?

        There is no one healthy way to live. There is only what is healthy to YOU. The secret to health is self awareness.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      I am referring to “before you needed them” and “after you were done taking them” time periods, as in excluding the time when on them.

      Some antibiotics make me feel crappy too, others not.

  14. Michael Robinson

    The bonfire of the neoliberal vanities:

    “We are open to alternative ways for designing both the VAT and the pension reforms, but these alternatives have to add up and deliver the required fiscal adjustment.”

    IMF Blog last week

    “Lagarde, who kept a low profile at Monday’s emergency summit, was said to have strong reservations about the proposed agreement on ideological terms opposed to the hard-left Tsipras government”

    The Guardian, today

    “The non-acceptance of equivalent measures has never been done before. Neither in Ireland nor in Portugal. Nowhere! This strange stance may be due to two reasons. Either they do not want an agreement or they serve specific interests in Greece,” Tsipras said, according to a government source.

    Enikos, today

    Neoliberalism cannot fail. Neoliberalism can only be failed.

  15. Vatch

    Yes, we’ve definitely gone through Alice’s looking glass when Jeff Sessions is the voice of reason. Another example of the strange similarity between the Tea Party and Occupy. Perhaps people should contact the Republicans who opposed fast track and thank them:

    Collins, Susan M. – (R – ME) (202) 224-2523
    Contact: http://www.collins.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/email

    Cruz, Ted – (R – TX) (202) 224-5922
    Contact: http://www.cruz.senate.gov/?p=email_senator

    Paul, Rand – (R – KY) (202) 224-4343
    Contact: http://www.paul.senate.gov/?p=contact

    Sessions, Jeff – (R – AL) (202) 224-4124
    Contact: http://www.sessions.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/contact-jeff

    Shelby, Richard C. – (R – AL) (202) 224-5744
    Contact: http://www.shelby.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/emailsenatorshelby

    1. James Levy

      Yes, I’ve noticed that NPR endlessly stresses the “unions” angle on TPP, but never mentions any of the Republicans who oppose it or why they oppose it. It was all about “a defeat for labor” this morning. No one wants to connect the dots between opposition to extra- or supra-national control over American laws and regulations and opposition to the TPP.

    2. frosty zoom

      heroes!

      a big thanks from fz to these fine folks because, really, most of their other policies and stuff are just window dressing but this really means something.

      not like that dude who waited till 60 to vote no. whatta jerk.

    3. Jeremy Grimm

      Letters of thanks will be drafted and mailed shortly, as will letters of damnation for the 13 and Obama. Thank you for collecting these names.

  16. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    China, US, Greece, Germany, Russia, Ukraine…avoid enemy trap.

    Nations are referred to by the feminine pronoun ‘she.’

    Beyond all-talk-no-action, real yin/feminine-spirited nations have less of this alpha male issue.

    Yin-spirited nations tend to share a lot more, and get along much better than we see in the world today.

    A she-nation nurtures with milk-like basic income and does not conjure magically powers/privileges for herself exclusively, nor make other she-nations hunt and gather for her in order to earn those powers.

  17. Nik

    Greece elected Syriza thinking they would go out and win serious concessions from the creditors. Now you’ve got a deal that doesn’t appear fundamentally different than the New Democracy government was getting, and one or the other faction on the European side pushing for more, more, more.

    With pensioners in the streets and parliament threatening revolt, what kind of government do they think would be elected if Tspiras were taken down?
    If political pressure in Greece makes austerity agreements impossible to pass, and political pressure in Europe (from Germany, the IMF, the debtor countries with right-wing governments that have stuck with their programs) makes concessions to Greece impossible, it seems that the end of this very exhausting, years-long dance is inevitably a default.

    What happens after that is anybody’s guess.

  18. George Phillies

    The solution space does not seem to be there.

    And with respect to the possibility that the IMF would try to cut Greece out of the international payments system, leading the an inability of the Greek economy to supply food or fuel for which it actually has the Euros to pay, there are several counters that are equally unpleasant, for example, widespread pressure by the Christian Orthodox around the world that the IMF Officials trying to murder the Greek People should be tried under the International Genocide Convention and hanged. I would expect no hangings, but the IMF might see the folly of this approach.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Their evil plan, actually, is to have no native Greeks to murder.

      The people of Greece will voluntarily deport themselves to other, more prosperous nations of the world.

      The irony is that our 21st century Aeneas will leave his native land, build a bigger empire and eventually return to revenge his people (modern Greeks, not ancient Trojans, this time around).

  19. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    They won the vote, but lost the trust of…

    Was that from

    1. the early 1990s
    2. around 2008
    3. 2015

    How many more times can they keep losing the trust and still win votes?

    1. Anon

      As long as people continue to have their time taxed with small distractions/things that truly don’t matter, they’ll get the vote everytime, but don’t lose hope. Every backstab makes a few people disillusioned with the whole thing and then they learn what’s truly happening. Unfortunately, in order to get enough people to change the status quo, we’re due for a few more backstabs/one grand one.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        They have too much money (probably unlimited) not to come up with more soothing siren songs.

  20. ἀποκάλυψις

    At this point the best outcome would be for the Greek government to take Bretton Woods down with it. This kind of humanitarian fiasco has had consequences in the past. Donor hijacking and looting of African states mobilized global-South civil society and killed the Structural Adjustment Programs, Policy Framework Papers and HIPC I. (Wolfensohn presided over this failure cascade, over his dead body, so you know the hue & cry was intense.) But ten years into the successor PRSP regime, the bank apparatchiki have regrouped and donors are animating zombie states again.

    The catalyst for this latest catastrophe is EU ideology. The ECHR is a bowdlerized US-compliant version of human rights with no economic or social rights, permitting extermination by austerity in peripheral states. But there are two new factors now: the AIIB as a competing, if not revolutionary, alternative; and coordinated pressure by UNCTAD and UNHRC. After WWII Bretton Woods evaded peremptory norms, but the UN member nations are applying some of them to debt.

    Sure, the odious debt resolution will be ignored within the Bretton Woods regime. But the resolution is not directed at them. This is a call for Dumbarton Oaks to horn in, and they’ve been willing and able to do so since UNCTAD XIII. The FT will never deign to notice what they view as comments from the peanut gallery, but things are different now. The last word used to be, yeah well the bank has the money. Yeah well so does the AIIB.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Huh? Bretton Woods was dead as of 1971, when Nixon went off the gold standard. And the hype regarding the AIIB is way ahead of reality. It’s a bank for infrastructure lending, a way to promote the Chinese construction industry and Chinese exports of steel. It does not have idealistic, much the less humanitarian goals. It’s to advance China as a hegemon. And even though the US has done such a lousy job in recent years that a lot of countries are looking for an alternative, China’s aggression in the South China Seas has a lot of parties in the region thinking twice. Japan basically got the go ahead to not have to adhere to their self-defense posture and get forceful with China (that was Abe’s quid pro quo for pushing for the TPP, which the powerful Japanese farmers oppose).

    2. financial matters

      Thanks, those are some very interesting links and play in well with a long term attempt to bypass the Bretton Woods IMF and World Bank to organizations more attuned to odious debt.

      From your ‘applying’ link:

      “The Greek Government has carried out stringent policies since 2010, in which public spending cuts and labour market reforms accelerated unemployment. The latest data show one out of two young adults is jobless. Moreover, 35.7 per cent of the population is at risk of poverty and social exclusion, the highest percentage in the Eurozone.

      Healthcare and education are also great concerns, with severe impact on the most vulnerable, said Mr. Bohoslavsky, spotlighting the human rights issues identified in his predecessor’s report on the subject.

      While welcoming actions made by Greece such as a debt audit commission and a law on relief for people living in extreme poverty, Mr. Bohoslavsky said these initiatives do not “go far enough,” warning that “economic and social right could be further undermined in Greece by lack of flexibility.”

      Greek Government and international lenders should consider a holistic approach to tackle economic and social rights issues, recommended the UN expert, with a priority in maximizing available resources to “bolster the real economy and close holes in the social security.””

  21. Romancing the Loan

    The Levitin piece is worth reading just for the comments, which really nail him to the wall.

  22. craazyboy

    “Can the Bacteria in Your Gut Explain Your Mood? ”

    Firstly, that would depend on if intestinal flora are capable of mind control. The we would need to know what kind of moods intestinal flora have. “Anal Expulsive” may be one?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Any tips on what to avoid in, say, China or Japan?

      Stay away from spying nori-wrapped sushi? Dumplings?

      1. craazyboy

        I’ve always been suspicious of Dim Sum, and will eat any I see in my general vicinity.

      2. lord koos

        When in China don’t point at any unusual looking caged animals near a restaurant. A guy I know married a Chinese woman. They went to rural China to meet her familiy, at a small crossroads restaurant he pointed at an odd animal in a cage and they promptly killed it, cooked it, and served it to him, no doubt some endangered species. Speaking from my own experience, I had excellent food when I was in China, except for the stir fried dog in Hunan. And I wouldn’t try cooked scorpions either. Just generally avoid the really exotic stuff (unless you’re that kind).

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          In the book, Daily Life in China, On the Eve of the Mongol Invasion, 1250-1276, author Jacques Gernet wrote of restaurants in Lin-An (now Hangzhou) that sold human flesh.

          I don’t know the accuracy of that. Just that I read it in his book.

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      Google also used a neural net to talk to a human, some very interesting dialogue:

      http://arxiv.org/pdf/1506.05869v1.pdf

      Human: what is the purpose of life ?
      Machine: to serve the greater good .
      Human: what is the purpose of living ?
      Machine: to live forever .
      Human: what is the purpose of existence ?
      Machine: to find out what happens when we get
      to the planet earth .
      Human: where are you now ?
      Machine: i ’m in the middle of nowhere .
      Human: what is the purpose of dying ?
      Machine: to have a life .
      Human: what is the purpose of being intelligent?
      Machine: to find out what it is .
      Human: what is the purpose of emotions ?
      Machine: i don ’t know .

    2. EmilianoZ

      Those Google rocket scientists have no business acumen. They should have made oil paintings out of those trippy pictures, created a fictional tortured and unfortunately deceased painter, bought a few critics to praise the art of this brilliant too soon gone genius and sold the paintings at Sotheby’s. They aint worse than what is currently sold as contemporary/postwar art.

    1. different clue

      The only way the US can do that is to abolish or withdraw from all relevant Free Trade Agreements and belligerently protectionize a semi-sealed-off US economy in which it would then pay for the US to make these investments. Does the Chinese Foreign Minister really realize what he is asking the US to do? What will he think when we reconquer our government and staff it with people who realize that belligerent protectionism is the only way to create the space for us to do the things he says he wants us to do?

      1. Sam Kanu

        The only way the US can do that is to abolish or withdraw from all relevant Free Trade Agreements and belligerently protectionize a semi-sealed-off US economy

        What are you talking about. The list is:
        -invest in infrastructure
        – increase labor force participation
        – boost domestic savings

        All of these are completely accomplishable by policy and cultural changes.

  23. docg

    “Greece given 4 days to enact reforms”

    Oh hah hah hah hah hah. (aka LOL)

    Remember that 24 hour “deadline”? Ancient history by now. The sham will drag on endlessly and forever — until one day everyone involved will get bored, they’ll give Greece the money, shrug and go home. (Saving the planet in the process by flying to fewer meetings.)

    1. Kraut

      Greece needs less deadlines and more lifelines. Some new credit lines would also be helpful. 😉

  24. tongorad

    Report Suggests 500 Additional Suicides in Ireland Under Austerity

    Another research report estimated at more than 1,000 the number of additional suicides in the UK in 2008-2010. In Spain, the economic crisis has led to an 8 percent increase in suicide rates, according to one study. In Greece, reports indicate that suicides have risen by more than 60 percent since 2007. In the United States, the number of additional suicides between 2008 and 2010 has been estimated to be 4,750.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Equally deadly, if not more so, austerity or no austerity, is the killing, over time, and much less visible, via the toxic environment around us and dangerous mutant foods we eat.

      1. tongorad

        Any evidence that so-called “mutant foods” have resulted in the deaths of thousands of people? If not, I don’t see how you can claim equivalence. And if you could, so what? It’s not a contest.
        A common derailing tactic.

  25. savedbyirony

    Since NC has been covering the Pope’s recent encyclical and the issues of overpopulation and birth control at times come up, some people here might find this essay of interest since it comes from a catholic news source and reflects probably what is not just a majority lay western catholic but global catholic view towards the use of contraception and birth control. There is the hierarchy and institutional church to contend with in Roman Catholicism and there is also the Sensus Fidelium which plays at times a major part, as can be seen for example in Ireland recently and growing more so in the bringing of Bishops to some account in their enabling and cover-ups concerning sexual abuse. http://ncronline.org/blogs/grace-margins/laudato-si-should-have-lifted-ban-contraception

  26. alex morfesis

    It won’t happen, but…

    PM Tsipras should just fold, roll his eyes, grab a blank piece
    of paper, sign his name to the bottom
    and just tell them to dictate their terms of surrender…

    Then he should walk out…and give a brief statement to the press…

    “Syriza did not create this mess in Greece. We were never in government and did not cooperate in the difficulties that exist in Greece today. We did not allow the oligarchs to live tax free. My job is to make sure that Greece can live to fight another day.

    After not being able to run my government by the wasted energies of going back and forth with the Troika, there is no question there is no interest on the opposite side of the table to allow a dignified existence in Greece. And so it must be for now. I have signed a blank sheet of paper and told the Troika to fill in the blank pages as they choose. I will not resign as it is for a Greek to keep fighting, though not to have to win every battle, but to make sure Troy eventually falls. I think considering the long history of war in Europe, an EU that is working together is
    of long term value to future generations. But today, Greece is weak and playing the part of a spoiled fat child dragging their bottom in the grocery aisles loudly will serve no further purpose.

    The hard work of the Greek people stands before us. If the loudmouths in the opposition were prepared to bring back 50 billion of the money they have hidden outside of greece to actually rebuild greece, then we might have something to fight with, but today, the reality is we came into government after the previous administrations had already squandered vast opportunities…and so now we must get to work…”

    And with that, he has his aides hand out copies of Appeal to the League of Nations from Haile Selassie in June
    of 1936, as he drops the mike and walks away…

    http://astro.temple.edu/~rimmerma/appeal_to_the_league_of_nations_.htm

    it aint gonna happen, but it would be nice to dream…

    and would sell a bunch of newspapers too…

    1. Disturbed Voter

      Brilliant post. Opah! I would have Greece get some of those missing suitcase nukes, and tell the EU … molon labe!

      1. alex morfesis

        thanks…but those suitcase things only work in the movies…

        do you have any idea how heavy refined Plutonium really is ?

        although a nice tank parade around frankfurt might not be a bad thing…germans loving it when one does things the german way…last I checked, every time someone asked germany back for money she owed, she responded with a tank parade…just to let the germans know the greeks are there to protect them from vlad “the inhaler” raz-putin…

        1. ambrit

          Sorry, but the lightest admitted American pocket nuke, the W-54 weighs 51 pounds. Many manual labour jobs declare that you must be capable of lifting and carrying 70 pounds to apply. A properly adjusted 50 pound backpack doesn’t sound out of the ordinary. American Special Forces have practiced infiltrating the old Eastbloc with backpack nukes in training exercises. The Russians have suggested that those missing pocket nukes might be in the U.S., prepositioned for the eventuality of war. The Israelis have artillery shell nukes for the 175mm and 203mm cannons. Supposedly, about one hundred for each size. Evidently, the atomic test conducted jointly by Israel and South Africa in 1979 out in a very isolated part of the South Atlantic (the Vela test,) used three firings of an atomic artillery shell.

  27. Jess

    Steve Waldman makes a fundamental error right off the bat in his letter to DiFi when he starts out, “As a constituent…”

    DIFI’s constituents are all in the .001%. Voters in CA (or anywhere) matter to her not one whit. Nice letter, though.

  28. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Durable goods orders plunge in May.

    Interesting article from Wolf Richter from that link – inflation adjusted, per capital durable goods orders at 36% lower vs. 15 years ago.

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      Careful, Beef, this is an MMT site. Anything that acknowledges the word “inflation”, in other words “unlimited” quantities of free scrip representing finite quantities of raw materials and labor is heresy.

      1. John Smith

        I suppose you’d prefer the money creation rate to be limited to the mining rate of a shiny metal – as if that would be, by some miracle, the optimum rate?

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Actually, I have learned a lot from MMT, though I am still working on differences, like who has the ownership of any new money.

  29. zapster

    In: “PM to meet Draghi, Juncker, Lagarde ahead of Eurogroup”

    “The IMF appears to want cuts to state spending on pensions and changes to VAT accounting for 1 percent of gross domestic product. It also appears to want to push the VAT on cafes and restaurants to 23 percent from the current 13 percent.”

    Do the trade deals also prevent nations from raising taxes on foreign corporations?
    So…if they jack up the VAT on all the small businesses and they go out of business wholesale, multinational chains move in? Is this the plan?

    It sure looks to me like the overall strategy is not to get the debt paid, but to destroy the small-business economy and local demand in order to open up space for more international kleptocracy and install permanent vampire squid blood funnels.

  30. Oregoncharles

    ” I can’t think of a single person whose mood has changed when looking at the before antibiotics v after antiboitics time frames. ”

    I think it applies more to those with abnormal gut biota over the long term. Several illnesses have been successfully treated with bacterial “transplants”; it does matter.

    I gather the psychological effects are more speculative.

    1. Santi

      As said in a later comment, there is co-evolution between our gut “environment” and the bioma, which means any short term disruption will revert quickly. Changes in diet mind a lot, and I can tell you that a lot of anxious people drop anxiety after 1-3 months on a dairy free, or refined carbohydrate/gluten free diet, depending of person. So much that often it is worth to try substantial diet modification for people with personality disorders.

      The key words are long term, and of course, not cheating. Which means it is not easy and you need a motivated person to do it.

  31. east

    Re: Greece.
    “Some of the tax measures included in that blueprint are, in fact, extremely counterproductive….harming anyone who contributes to the country’s real economy.
    The government’s insistence on protecting the public sector and its refusal to tackle the crucial issue that is social security reform have resulted in brutal tax rates. This may be welcomed among SYRIZA voters, but it is damaging for the economy.” (Editorial) http://www.ekathimerini.com/4dcgi/_w_articles_wsite3_1_24/06/2015_551422

    https://twitter.com/ToPotami_Intl/status/613713282290028545
    https://twitter.com/ystavrakakis/status/613719881578622976
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Bobolas

    Everyonw who said that the Troika wasn’t interested in negotiation but to overthrow Syriza… was right.

  32. optimader

    “I would like to now apologize to the victims and to the survivors,” Tsarnaev said. “I am sorry for the lives I have taken, for the suffering I have caused, and for the terrible damage I have done. I pray to Allah to bestow his mercy on those affected in the bombing and their families. I pray for your healing.”
    ~Dzhokhar Tsarnaev

    Well ok then, not such a bad kid —maybe just misunderstood.

  33. Demented Chimp

    A microbiologists view. Your gut lining changes over time and becomes very coadapted to a certain subset of flora. This is highly influenced by initial inoculation as a baby and long term diet. Antibiotics, pro-biotics, yoghurt, kabucha, infectious diseases etc only have transient effects and probably dont change the resident well adapted population much especially in older guts. Most probiotics are still snake oil. We have very little understanding of what constitutes a healthy flora, how to modify it or administer (to survive the stomach). Poo pills do work for some chronic diseases.
    As for mood i do believe there are some short term affects regards appetite and reward. You are carrying and feeding them inside you. They are releasing hormone like chemicals into your system to influence your behaviour to ensure they get what they want.

    1. mn

      What about the destruction of intestinal wall, lack of nutrients created or absorbed, c-diff colonization. Relationship of friendly bugs and health only now being taken seriously.

  34. cripes

    I suspect many “masculine” attributes tested above are subject to socially-enforced conformance via peer pressure and shaming, which are very real external coercive forces. Of course, individuals internalize social norms of maculinity, as they do racism and classism, seeking to avoid ostracism. At least women, who increasingly bear the same pressures, can sometimes escape the constant demand to be in “control” of everything, always. Never forget, winning!
    I blame stupid capitalist ethos of competition.

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