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Links 6/29/15

Oslo creates world’s first ‘highway’ to protect endangered bees AFP

Solar Impulse plane departs Japan, headed for Hawaii AP

Fed’s Dudley: September rate rise ‘very much in play’ amid stronger data FT

The world is defenceless against the next financial crisis, warns BIS Telegraph

NY bank watchdog sinks teeth into Isdafix rigging FT. Gosh, this just keeps happening, doesn’t it?

Report: Millions of dollars in fraud, waste found in charter school sector WaPo. Story a bit old, and sank without a trace. Odd, that.

China’s $8 Trillion Penny Stock: The Market of Boom-Bust-Repeat Bloomberg

Consul Energy’s PEU Moves: Screwing Retirees Private Equity Report

New report estimates enough natural gas is leaking to negate climate benefits Guardian

What’s Really Warming the World? Climate deniers blame natural factors; NASA data proves otherwise Bloomberg. Handy charts.

Grexit?

28 June 2015 – ELA to Greek banks maintained at its current level European Central Bank (press release).

Greece Orders Banks Closed, Imposes Capital Controls to Stem Deposit Flight WSJ

Greece: bank analysts and eurowatchers on what to expect on Monday (UPDATED) FT Alphaville

Euro, stocks slide on looming Greece default Reuters. Asia opening.

Stock Traders Face Sucker Punch After Week of Greek Optimism Bloomberg (!).

Greece crisis: Bank Under the Bed becomes last hope for many as ATMs run dry Telegraph

A Wary Athens Awaits the Referendum on Austerity NYT. Anecdotes. I’d like to know what’s happening in the villages and on the islands.

In Greece, It’s Not Over Even When an Old Lady Faints at the ATM Bloomberg. More anecdotes

Treasury’s Lew Urges Officials To Keep Seeking Greece Deal WSJ

In Two Polls a plurality of Greeks say they would vote to accept the Troika Proposal Robert’s Stochastic thoughts. Which is no longer on the table.

Referendum and democracy: putting the demos on stage Open Democracy

Path to Grexit tragedy paved by political incompetence The Conversation

Greece’s European Identity Is at Stake WSJ

The road to Grexit and beyond Wolfgang Münchau, FT

Opinion: Here’s why any Greek debt deal will amount to nothing Market Watch

The Greek Tragedy: Curtain Closes On Most Absurd Act Moon of Alabama

Former Finance Minister of Cyprus on the Greek crisis Global Inequality

The law of Grexit: What does EU law say about leaving economic and monetary union? EU Law Analysis

Electoral Euroscepticism, Turnout and the Economic Crisis: Evidence from a 108-Elections Panel Study Across Europe. SSRN

Armenia police order protesters to disperse AP

Iran nuclear talks likely to miss Tuesday deadline Guardian

All sides showing ‘political will’ for Iran deal: EU France24

Black Injustice Tipping Point

String of Nighttime Fires Hit Predominately Black Churches in Four Southern States Medium

Remembering President Wilson’s Purge of Black Federal Workers TPM. All of a piece with the Palmer Raids.

The Economics of the New Jim Crow Inequality.org

How PTSD Became a Problem Far Beyond the Battlefield Vanity Fair

Millions flood New York City and San Francisco streets to celebrate gay pride WaPo

CNN thinks comedy dildo flag at London Gay Pride is “ISIS FLAG” Boing Boing

Evan Wolfson, architect of the gay marriage equality movement FT

No Child Left Un-Mined? Student Privacy at Risk in the Age of Big Data The Intercept

Class Warfare

Could this be YOU? Everyday Americans, including trained professionals and bosses, reveal how easily they fell into masses of debt – and have been left with no escape Daily Mail

Precarity in Paradise: the Barcelona model ROAR

Beauty leaves the Brazilian game as glitter gives way to grit Guardian

Who Will Own the Robots? Technology Review

Some Folks: What did the first bot say to the second bot? n + 1

The secret lives of phone sex workers Guardian (resilc).

A brief history of American gun nuts Mark Ames, Pando

The Magical Content Tree Club Orlov (MR).

Tell It About Your Mother New York Times (furzy mouse). Freudianism and neuroscience.

Antidote du jour (via):

links lemurs

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.

56 comments

  1. Ned Ludd

    The Greeks for whom all the talk means nothing – because they have nothing

    The couple have no money – a friendly town hall official paid their latest €18 water bill out of his own pocket – and no hope of any until Georgios qualifies for his pension at 67. “I’d hoped it might be 65, in four years’ time, but they’ve just recently decided to raise the age limit,” he said.

    He is not sure how much he will get even then. Pensions have been a major stumbling block in Greece’s aid-for-reforms talks with its creditors, who want further savings from a system whose benefits have already been cut by 45%, leaving nearly half of Greece’s pensioners below the monthly poverty threshold of €665.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It’s like that over here in our country – some retired at 50 and some have to work till almost, but not quite, 70.

      We need one single plan.

      And people out of work should be assisted with unemployment benefits, not from their parents or grandparents. That’s something Europeans need to fix – similar to bank deposit insurance, which, I believe will become effective in 2016.

  2. Swedish Lex

    Concerning “the Law of Grexit”.

    Clearly, by pulling the trigger on Greece, the legal problems of the Troika are only beginning. A default by Greece would not be the end, only the end of the beginning. Not excluded that the EU States would have to consider amending the Treaties which obviously are totally insufficient to deal with this situation.

    Treaty changes would require unanimity.

    Greece is a member of the EU.

    Greece could take the EU hostage.

    Which is why we have heard Greek leaders saying, over the past days, that “we have our veto”.

    The Troika will soon regret it refused to write down Greek debt while there was time.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      This is where America comes in and urges everyone to compromise a bit in amending the treaties.

      No one can refuse that.

      1. Swedish Lex

        Not even that would work.
        Treaty changes require that 1) all governments sign and 2) all countries later ratify. Ratification in France (and other countries) would be through referendum. Which the French leaders would do anything to avoid having to organise (since the respond most probably would be a clear “non”).
        The Brits would only agree to Treaty changes which would allow them to kinda withdraw from the EU, at least a bit. Which is tabu to other states.
        Dead end for the creditors.

        The creditors have painted themselves into a corner. Their tactic – bullying über alles – worked until the “crazy” Greek Government came along which understood that the other Member States actually had a problem that was as big as the Greece’s own problems.

        1. Michael

          All this is true, but they could just fast-track it. Perhaps Dominique Strauss-Kahn and Sepp Blatter can be roused with smelling salts to put together a package.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            They can design a torture chamber within the EU for those they want to expel, but are not able to at the moment, doing all sorts of nasty things to them in that dungeon.

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                That’s why they should get out, instead of putting up obstacles in order to prevent the EU from removing their membership.

    2. Oregoncharles

      Impasse and paralysis? H.S.

      Granted the Eurothugs deserve it, I don’t think the people do.

      And again: no wonder Greece has been spending too much on the military.

    1. Oregoncharles

      Yes, thank you. Very useful.

      And doesn’t give much hope for a stable Europe, does it?

  3. Jill

    Gun Nuts: This article argues that gun nuts are right wing reactionaries who are a bizarre part of American society. This is completely incorrect. Gun nuts run the show.

    A large portion of the known USGinc. budget (and amazing amounts of money in the “black budget”) go into the design and purchase as well as the distribution of weapons. Mercenary firms ring the capital. Weapon shows of the hawking deadly products for the latest govt. purchase are highly popular and very well attended by the political class and their overseers in private industry. This govt. has weapons in the ocean, in the sky, in space. Additionally it arms every side of every conflict around the globe. Yet interestingly, we are not taught that this kind of gun nutting is abnormal or dangerous.

    No, the dangerous gun nuts are private owners backed by wealthy Republicans. Again we see a weird dynamic at work. If you are a private owner who shoots up children you are a bad person. If you are a Democratic president presiding over and ordering the killing of children you are to be loved and obeyed, for to disobey you is treason (at least according to OccupyDemocrats). The same behavior is repulsive if committed by a group you don’t like while it is applauded if committed by someone one reveres. This is a mindset which needs to end immediately.

    The truth is that extreme violence against the helpless and innocent starts at the top. No one loves guns and other weapons more than the people who run this society. No one likes torture more, no one likes to starve people more than they do. No one is more racist than these people. The values at the top of the food chain are aped by many of the rest of the society.

    The whole picture involves seeing the extraordinary violence of the elites. Their values become distributed throughout the society. Until this connection is understood the left wing will be unable to offer an viable alternative to this violent, war culture. They will be the pharisees beating their chest against the other, never bothering to look at what they support. We need to be a wholly different people and that includes liberals who don’t care to see how deeply they participate in the culture of war.

    1. jrs

      Well the U.S. government being massively over-armed actually gives it real power in the world (whether this power could be undercut by solely economic means maybe but maybe not, and regardless at present and for a long time it has been real power). The individual “gun nuts”, hmm maybe they have a tiny bit of power because one does know they are armed, but really not much, it’s not their will that rules the world.

      1. JTMcPhee

        …of course, given how many wars the Empire has “won,” against wogs with small arms and that 4th-Generation-Warfare Frustratingly Asymmetric Flexible and Far More Adaptable “order of battle” that our Brontosaurian Klutz of a Global Interoperable Network-Centric Battlespace Big-and-Bigger Thing, one might question the assertion that “the US government has real power.” “It” has got a lot of guns, with ever more potentially suicidal-for-the-species weapons on the way due to the seduction of the whole “weaponizing, DARPA, Progress, Money” mentality. But “power?” Who’s the legitimate “ruler” of Syria, still? And our Great War Leaders are so busy with lining their own pockets and nests that they can’t come up with a Grand Strategy to destroy ISIS.

        One has to wonder just what are the goals, parameters and metrics of the Great Game as regards the US Imperial exercise of PNACpower over the whole planet… The DoD dictionary does not even define “victory,” or “success” — or even “war,” except as part of some Mil-babble referent to what usually is part of the stream of procurement and logistics and has not a damn thing to do with what Sun Tzu and Clausewitz might have thought of as “war…”

        Random selection from the DoD Dictionary, of which the maintenance, all by itself, has become a billion-dollar activity):

        defense critical infrastructure — Department of Defense and non-Department of Defense networked assets and facilities essential to project, support, and sustain military forces and operations worldwide. Also called DCI. (JP 3-27)

        defense human intelligence executor — The senior Department of Defense intelligence official as designated by the head of each of the Department of Defense components who are authorized to conduct human intelligence and related intelligence activities. Also called DHE. (JP 2-01.2)

        defense industrial base — The Department of Defense, government, and private sector worldwide industrial complex with capabilities to perform research and development, design, produce, and maintain military weapon systems, subsystems, components, or parts to meet military requirements. Also called DIB. (JP 3-27)

        Defense Information Systems Network — Integrated network, centrally managed and configured to provide long-haul information transfer services for all Department of Defense activities. It is an information transfer utility designed to provide dedicated point-to-point, switched voice and data, imagery, and video teleconferencing services. Also called DISN. (JP 6-0)

        defense message system — Consists of all hardware, software, procedures, standards, facilities, and personnel used to exchange messages electronically. ….

        defense sexual assault incident database — A Department of Defense database that captures and serves as the reporting source for all sexual assault data collected by the Services. Also called DSAID. (JP 1-0)

        defense support of civil authorities — Support provided by US Federal military forces, Department of Defense civilians, Department of Defense contract personnel, Department of Defense component assets, and National Guard forces (when the Secretary of Defense, in coordination with the governors of the affected states, elects and requests to use those forces in Title 32, United States Code, status) in response to requests for assistance from civil authorities for domestic emergencies, law enforcement support, and other domestic activities, or from qualifying entities for special events. Also called DSCA. Also known as civil support. (DODD 3025.18)

        There’s a lot of hints about the real nature of the “thing” we mopes are paying for with our wealth right now, and being saddles with the promise, the “obligation,” that in the future we will generate more REAL wealth to pay off the debts that are being generated to build the sh_t that a perusal of the DoD Dictionary and the global “private sector worldwide industrial complex” trade press lets us see are being “fielded” to “protect us” from “enemies,” apparently including “us” ourselves, see that “defense support of civilian authorities” language, via off-the-shelf contingency plans like “Garden Plot / CONPLAN 2502 (Civil Disturbance Operations),” http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/ops/garden_plot.htm

        And what is money, again? And exactly who, within the US Government, puts all that money, a quarter of our “real GDP,” in play, and exercises “global power” to start and not-win wars and other stuff, and for what reasons, again?

        1. Oregoncharles

          There’s an alarming amount of evidence that our warlords CREATED ISIS. Not only is its existence and behavior bizarrely convenient for them, but it began under their direct control – in an Iraq prison during the US occupation.

          Neither of which is proof, of course, but certainly grounds for suspicion.

          1. Jill

            Oregoncharles,

            We are also in process of making an alliance with al qaeda to fight ISIS. I would think that would trigger arrest and prosecution of the govt. and private contractors under the Patriot Act. But the funny thing is we created al qaeda as well!

      2. Jill

        jrs,

        Gaining power by being massively overarmed is not a moral good. That is what I’m talking about when I say it is important to be ethically consistent. If a behavior such as killing children is wrong, then it remains wrong whether one person gets power in the personal life by doing it or a whole nation gets power by doing it. Some actions are simply wrong. We are used to a horrendous amount of torture and murder when committed at the national level– so much so that it apparently seems normal and completely justifiable when committed on a mass scale. I think it is well past time to reconsider this way of thinking and acting in the world.

    2. tongorad

      “Gun Nuts: This article argues that gun nuts are right wing reactionaries who are a bizarre part of American society. This is completely incorrect. No, the dangerous gun nuts are private owners backed by wealthy Republicans. “

      Except that’s not at all what the article argues. I think you are in agreement with Ames’ fundamental premise:

      The key to understanding why gun-nut politics thrives is that it’s a natural fit with a much more serious and powerful agenda — big business and the wealthiest upper crust.

      1. Jill

        tongorad,

        I read this as well but the writer does two things with it: 1. he only mentions Republican backers such as the Koch brothers and two he really doesn’t mention how absolutely deadly the govt. itself is.

        No one can doubt the evil that the Koch brothers support but that is exactly my point. They aren’t the lone ranger in all this, nor are Republicans. I thought the author was more honest than many, but he still didn’t seem willing to come to terms with the complete pervasiveness of the killing ideology in the ruling elite. He still attributes the will to kill to right wing reactionaries which he thinks of as Republicans. Republicans are only a subset of this mindset. This fact is something the author will not confront head on. It needs to be confronted, directly, honestly and with no excuses.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Is that true that the US is still paying relatives of Civil War veterans?

      Some debt (of gratitude) can never be repaid, but you still continue to…you have to.

  4. Vatch

    Here’s an interesting article by Alan Thornett, a British socialist, which criticizes the socialist left for failing to adequately face the biodiversity and overpopulation crises. Needless to say, similar, and probably more intense, criticism can be directed towards the right wing, but that’s not the topic of this article. I’m not sure I agree with everything in his article, but much of what he says makes very good sense.

    The biodiversity crisis and the environmentalist left

    http://www.internationalviewpoint.org/spip.php?article4028

    Despite such apparent agreement on the apocalyptic nature of the biodiversity crisis, however, this is not reflected in the writings of many (even most) Marxists and socialist environmentalists on the subject, and where it is the full logic and implications of it are rarely drawn out.

    Marxists and socialists (including those who rejected Stalinism) did not have a good 20th century as far as the environment is concerned. The early contributions of Marx and Engels (and indeed William Morris) were eventually lost after the soviet environmentalists were wiped out in the Stalinisation process. For over 40 years, from the late 1920s until the early1970s when Marxists in a number of countries began again to address the subject again, there was virtually nothing being written on the ecological situation as a whole let alone on biodiversity.

    For me the idea that rising population today has no impact on the ecology of the planet makes no sense. Whilst the ecological crisis cannot be reduced to the rising human population – absolutely not – it is, however, one of the major factors involved, particularly in terms of biodiversity.

    The left cannot afford to continue with a huge blind spot in its analysis of the ecological crisis. As I argued at the beginning of this presentation biodiversity is the most valuable, but least appreciated, resource the planet has. The biodiversity crisis is the most fundamental and destructive aspect of the ecological crisis as a whole. We have to have to place the defense of it at the heart of our analysis and the solutions we propose.

    The left needs to have a long hard look at where it stands on some of these issues—the biodiversity crisis, the issue of rising population (whist rejecting all forms of coercive population control), the roll industrialisation (rather than simply capitalism), and the relationship between human beings and nature.

    1. Oregoncharles

      This is the reason there’s a Green Party.

      Socialism is fundamentally just as anti-environmental as Capitalism. It’s built into Marx’s theory. Eastern Europe was an environmental disaster.

  5. tongorad

    An important bit from Ames’ article about gun nuts:

    But it’s this expectation of “normal” that’s Problem Number One, showing that even after all these years and failures, neither Obama nor any other advocates for guns restrictions grasp what they’re really dealing with. The faulty assumption here is that “normal” is some kind of asset in a political fight like the one over guns. Another way of looking at the “normal” argument is to say, “The guy whining about wanting ‘normal’ in a political fight clearly doesn’t want it as badly as the other side, who’s willing to risk it all.”

  6. fresno dan

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christopher_Dorner_shootings_and_manhunt

    I was talking to a friend about the outrageous Dorner case, and I have tried and tried to find out what the “punishment” was for the police officers who violated LA police procedures for shooting unarmed innocent people who actually are a different race and sex than the perpetrator.

    Undoubtedly, this is how things work in the vaunted US legal system…delay, delay, delay, delay…….delay, forget.

    Does anyone happen to know how one can look up LA police disciplinary actions, or is that top secret information?

    1. Oregoncharles

      I’m guessing that it’s secret, both from self-protection and because of their union contract.

      Sadly, police are the one occupation that should NOT have unions.

  7. NotSoSure

    The Euro has recovered all its losses. I think we may actually get a relief rally today.

    Come on Portugal, Spain and Italy.

  8. docg

    re: What’s Really Warming the World?

    What’s being presented as a long-term warming trend is misleading. If you study the graph carefully you’ll see that there was in fact no such long-term trend. Most of the warming took place during a 20 year period, from 1979-1998. Prior to that period there was a 40 year cooling trend, from 1940-1979. After that, from 1998 to present, there has been no significant upward trend at all. And while there was a significant warming trend from 1910-1940, CO2 emissions were negligible then, compared to what they’ve been over the last 50 years or so.

    So what we are really talking about is a short term period of 20 years or so during which it was possible to spot a correlation between temperature rise and CO2 increase. Since there was no such correlation prior to or after that 20 year period, it’s very difficult to see CO2 as a cause of “global warming.”

    “We are left, then, with the question . . . what would be “a reasonable alternative” to AGW? . . . is there some other, simple, straightforward explanation that could account for the extreme rise in temperature during the last years of the 20th century? I must admit: I have no idea. . .

    What I can say with some confidence is that temperature increases of this sort are certainly not without precedent.”

    from
    “The Unsettled Science of Climate Change: A Primer for Critical Thinkers”

    1. Vatch

      The period from 1940 to 1979 looks pretty even to me — neither a rising nor a falling trend. But if we start at 1929 or 1933, it looks like there is a small warming trend for the period. During your 1940 to 1979 period, the lows closely resemble the highs from the period 1880 to 1939, which implies warming. And from 1980 to the present, the lows are either about the same as the highs from 1940 to 1979, or in some cases, the lows are higher than the previous highs. Again, warming is implied.

      1. docg

        Vatch, judging from your response to my comment, you have the makings of a true scientist. Thank you. As for the rest, I must remind them that “doubt” is what scientists do. It’s a problem only for true believers.

    2. binky J. Bear

      Ultimately the lies you have chosen to believe will have to be marked to market. What will your rationalizations, obfuscations and bargaining be worth at that time?

      A greater concern for those that live in this world now is accounting for the fact that science is conservative and often dithers about the conclusions drawn from data until the wolf is at the door. Hansen warned us decades ago and we have ridden through several economic cycles since, burning carbon into our atmosphere with carefree élan as CO2 levels have gone to dinosaur time levels. I’m sure the political conservatives will welcome our new dinosaur overlords should they arise.

      The 1998 cherry picking is stale, btw. Mo data, mo problems. Maybe tell us how a world of drought in our most productive agricultural lands will be character building, or mass deaths due to long periods of record heat as India and Pakistan have seen will make them better people.

      1. JTMcPhee

        docg is quite the sower of doubt, one of the subtle forms of “persuasion” that those who favor the current regime are so good at — taking advantage of the decency and willingness to listen and weigh and be persuaded by argument, however dishonest…

        1. wbgonne

          I realize I am preaching to the choir when I say this but I will anyway. Only fools argue with fools. I don’t waste time with global warming deniers, anymore that I would with flat-earthers. One’s time is limited and shouldn’t be wasted arguing with people living in bad faith.

      2. docg

        There have been far worse droughts, and heat waves, in the past. And there will certainly be more in the future. There has been no significant increase in hurricanes or tornadoes for years.

        Attributing every unusual or extreme event to CO2 is not science. Hansen has cried “wolf” one too many times.

    3. craazyman

      It’s the fires in hell being enlarged to receive a corrupt and Godless generation of financial parasites. The heat rises up through the surface of the earth and warms the air. Science wouldn’t believe this, but science doesn’t have a moral compass to map the acts of man or a thermometer that measures the heat in hell. if it did, there’d be no doubt at all. I”m astonished this isn’t obvious to any individual capable of refined perception. It must be, by definition. The only conclusion I can come to is they let themselves get confused by the spectacle of science and lose touch with the emanations from deep reality (no pun intended).

    4. different clue

      If there was no warming trend from 1998 till today, why have glaciers, ice-fields, ice-cap edges, Arctic Ocean sea ice been melting and shrinking from 1998 till today? Doesn’t it take heat to melt ice? And if there is steady heat input needed to melt all that ice ( and begin thawing permafrost in various places too), doesn’t that mean the warming has been ongoing? Whether heat is spent raising the atmosphere temperature or is spent melting ice and thawing permafrost, heat is still being spent.

  9. mycroft

    A couple of weeks ago there was a comment on NC that the Greeks deserved their fate because they had plenty of time to pass and enforce laws where everyone had to pay their fair share. This ignores the difficulty of dealing with systemic corruption in society.

    Is the Greek situation worse than that of Italy where the government refuses to seriously deal with the power of organized crime?

    Is it worse than the U.S. where government regulatory agencies looked the other way while all of the institutions on Wall Street collaborated in creating trillions of dollars of fraudulent debt instruments? And when those fraudulent debt instruments produced a financial crisis that came to a head in September 2008, the the U.S. government bailed out the criminal organizations on Wall Street and handed the bill to the public.

    Why are all of the Central Banks of the world treating the financial crisis as a liquidity problem rather than what it is, a solvency problem? To me the answer is obvious: the banks have more political power than the governments. What would it take to drive the money changers from the temple?

    As long as the electoral system is privately financed, politics is always going to be theatre that justifies theft.

    1. Jess

      “As long as the electoral system is privately financed, politics is always going to be theatre that justifies theft.”

      Great line. Mind if I borrow it?

  10. Adriatic

    The only difference is that In countries like Greece and Italy corruption is the sport of the masses, while in the Financestan it is the sport of the very few. Take your pick.

  11. Oregoncharles

    Thanks for posting “Referendum and democracy: putting the demos on stage”. Inspiring, and a signpost to our best hope. Note the title just above that one: “Can Europe make it?” Europe will, of course; it won’t sink into the sea Atlantis-style. Will “Europe” make it? I rather doubt it – in fact, I hope not. Destroying the Euro would be the first, biggest step in reversing the neo-liberal tide.

    Opinion here on NC has been very hard on Syriza. I think there’s a good case that they haven’t done their job very well – hardly surprising for a bunch of neophytes, as I noted before. They stepped into a nightmare. If they started out with a lot of wishful thinking, perhaps that was necessary to even try.

    However, I think overall they’ve done what they were supposed to do. They attempted to carry out their mandate, which was to lift the austerity while keeping Greece in the Euro. Turns out that wasn’t really possible, as was predicted at the time, but it WAS what the Greek people wanted. And it might have happened if the Euro leadership had had less of a death wish.

    I’ve thought all along that their best option was to negotiate the best deal they could, then put it to a vote. How do you know you have the best deal? You don’t really, but the article makes the case that that’s what the Euro leaders told them they had – so they called a vote. Yes, it would have been better to do that before the deadline ran out; but the deadline is essentially political – if the Eurogroup wants to keep Greece in, they’ll find a way. If they can’t, their single currency is doomed, as several recent articles have pointed out.

    This way, they’re very thoroughly indicted for their anti-democratic attitude. I hope the rest of Europe is taking notes; we can be sure that the people of Spain, Italy, and even France are. Very interesting, that the anti-Euro position is left-wing in some countries, right-wing in others. But under either label, it’s gaining fast, and a disaster in Greece, beyond the slow-motion one they already have, can only make it grow.

    Push has come to shove; this is when the secret agendas come out of the woodwork.

  12. JTMcPhee

    Yah, corruption is just a feature of the Outer Lower Southern Places. Right? Like the rectitudinous Germany, http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/germany-too-lax-on-fighting-political-corruption-says-watchdog-a-869763.html, and France, all fière and hautaine, http://fistfulofeuros.net/afoe/corruption-in-france/ , and the UK, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2358665/UK-corruption-getting-worse-poll-finds-20-Britons-admit-bribing-public-service-officials.html… Indeed, kind of everywhere, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-26014387, there are so many more desperate exposes of “corruption” all neatly lined up and available to those of us who want to flagellate ourselves by doing net searches for them, and I’ll stop the flood of links with “just the EU,” since the disease is bleeding us ordinary people out all across the whole planet. Oh heck, one more little link for us snooty USans to remind ourselves of the pervasive perversions of the REAL political economy, as contrasted with our Jingoist idealizations: http://www.amazon.com/Corruption-America-Benjamin-Franklins-Citizens/dp/0674050401?tag=duckduckgo-ffsb-20

    “There’s something wrong with practically everything, and it’s not going to get any better.” Because individual motivations and “interests” are what they are, and it’s not possible to develop a feedback structure that limits the excesses and asymptotes, and there’s no way to develop and maintain an organizing principle, and the mechanisms that might impel observing that principle, that trends toward the survival of the species or any significant decent subgroup thereof.

  13. Peter Pan

    Stock Traders Face Sucker Punch After Week of Greek Optimism

    I wish to thank Greece and the Troika for creating a mess. Today was the first day I felt comfortable to engage a trade this year since the end of January. Trade exit is end of day July 2 (Thursday).

    I love the smell of panic on Monday morning.

  14. KFritz

    Re: Jogo Bonito

    The apex of Brazilian soccer history occurred 45 years ago, the third World cup victory of the Pele/Garrincha era (without the alcohol soaked Garrincha in 1970). Since then Brazil has placed in the top four six times out of eleven, winning two. In the same timespan, Italy and Argentina have won two cups, and Germany has won three. The most important trend in soccer since 1970 is the rapid-fire passing game codified by the Dutch in the 1970’s as “Total Football,” and brought to Spain and Barcelona in 1991 by Johann Cruyff. Since ’91, the “one touch” game has done nothing but gain momentum as the dominant style.

    Any reasonably objective watcher of the 2014 Cup could see that the Brazilian ball skills were no better than the other top teams, and weaker than some. Whatever the Brazilians intrinsic troubles are, they’re still skillful players, but the rest of the world has long since caught up to them, and in a few cases surpassed them. If the mystique is gone, it’s a reflection of cold, hard reality.

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