Links 6/3/15

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Godzilla, 61-Year-Old Monster Island Resident, Becomes Japanese Citizen Gawker (furzy mouse)

Bison tosses Australian tourist into air at Yellowstone national park Guardian (Chuck L)

Chimps have mental skills to cook: study Reuters

Fab plants are now making superfast carbon nanotube memory Computerworld (EM)

Large Hadron Collider to turn on ‘data tap’ BBC (furzy mouse)

Patients Get Extreme to Obtain Hepatitis Drug That’s 1% the Cost Outside U.S Bloomberg. EM: “Good thing ObamaCare did away this price-gouging and reimportation ban insanity, thus justifying the leading ‘A’ into the ACA. Oh, wait… ”

Nestle USA to remove artificial flavors, cut salt in some foods Reuters.; EM: ”
Another factually incorrect headline from Reuters – should read ‘…in some products’, not ‘in some foods’.”

Fifa’s Sepp Blatter ‘under investigation in US’ BBC (furzy mouse)

Five takeaways on Blatter’s resignation Politico

Blatter Resigns — What now for FIFA? SFGate (Fred A)

When Is Repaying Public Debt Not Of The Essence? IMFdirect

IMF to Rich Countries: Don’t Sweat the Debt Fiscal Times

Canada’s Forced Schooling of Aboriginal Children Was ‘Cultural Genocide,’ Report Finds New York Times

Australia to crack down on bank culture Financial Times

Australia should not follow the US into an ill-considered adventure in the South China Sea China Spectator

Bernanke blames Congress for China’s AIIB Financial Times

Europeans warm to the EU, but also to Euroskeptics Politico

North Sea Oil Weighing Down British Economy OilPrice

Former Barclays chairman: Bank ring-fence is redundant and should be scrapped Telegraph. Bank whinging.


Greek default draws closer as opposing sides swap ultimatums Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph

Greece ‘will not pay IMF on June 5 without prospect of a deal’ Reuters

Why Greece might still choose to leave the euro FT Alphaville

Greek PM Tsipras set for crunch debt talks in Brussels BBC

Juncker and Tsipras to hold 11th-hour bailout talks euobserver

Eurozone still in denial about Greece BBC

Ministry will be forced to extend tax deadline ethathimerini


Russia Weathering Oil Price Plunge Better than Expected OilPrice

‘Self-appointed advocate of new Ukraine’: Soros emails leaked by anti-Kiev hackers RT (EM)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Senate’s Troubling Move Toward Secret Law Bloomberg (Dr. Kevin)

Obama approves NSA spy reforms Financial Times

Trade Traitors

WikiLeaks – Prize for Understanding Good Government Chuck L: “A link to help fund the wikileaks reward for full TPP text.”

The Volcker Rule Doesn’t Violate NAFTA Joe Firestone, New Economic Perspectives

Campaign Money With No Fingerprints – Video New York Times (furzy mouse)

Illinoisans suffer, politicians get paid should General Assembly fail to pass balanced budget Illinois Policy (furzy mouse)

Huffington Post in Limbo at Verizon New York Times

Justices Curb Bankruptcy Filers’ Ability to Have Second Mortgages Canceled New York Times (Michael Hudson)

Caulkett: SCOTUS Hands BoA a Victory Adam Levitin, Credit Slips

We need a sexual revolution in economics Guardian (Dr. Kevin)

Silicon Valley taps into ‘private IPOs’ Financial Times. Too many bad practices, not enough time to post on all of them. Another sign of too much frothiness.

Fed Officials Should Pay the Bond Market Less Mind, Jeremy Stein Says WSJ Economics

What Is Helicopter Money, Anyway? Scott Fullwiler, New Economic Perspectives

Bernanke on monetary policy and inequality Steve Waldman. Important.

Class Warfare

Wal-Mart to raise wages for 100,000 U.S. workers in some departments Reuters. EM: “LOL, a WMT ‘department manager’ has pay starting around $10 per hour. I wonder what a ‘vice president’ makes – of course there’s probably no OT pay in such cushy white-collar positions.”

Where the Housing Crisis Continues New York Times (furzy mouse)

You’ve Been Scammed! Kept Politicians and Demobilized Americans in a System Without a Name Tom Engelhardt

Antidote du jour (Dan K):

wet tiger links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Gabriel

    Apropos Soros and Ukraine, given the guy’s talent for leveraging Soros Foundation money (nb., often for excellent purposes like INET) , does anyone know how to get at the list of donors for the New York Review of Books Foundation?
    It’s not just Soros own Die Russen kommen! (topic sentence: “Europe is facing a challenge from Russia to its very existence”) editorials in the place, but Timothy Snyder and Mrs Radoslaw Sikorski (nee Applebaum) have been beating the drum pretty thunderously there as well on the subject. The publication’s core audience has obviously no especial reason to like Moscow’s rulers, past or present, so it’s not the content but rather the frequency of these recent anti-Putin tirades that’s been noticeable, plus of course Soros appearing a fair number of times under his own byline.

      1. Gabriel

        Indeed not, but many thanks for the resource! PDF of 990s something I very often find myself wishing I had an easy access to.

        1. norm de plume

          Gabriel, off topic but apropos our recent discussion of university admin did you see the link yesterday to this paper by a pair of Dutch academics?

          It begins:

          ‘The university has been occupied – not by students demanding a say (as in the 1960s), but this time by the many-headed Wolf of management.1 The Wolf has colonised academia with a mercenary army of professional administrators, armed with spreadsheets, output indicators and audit procedures, loudly accompanied by the Efficiency and Excellence March…’

          It’s on the mark throughout and a fun read, but tends to regard administration (‘the Wolf’) as the enemy, rather than a changing cast of operatives doing the work of the real enemy behind the curtain, the inexorable forces of ‘capitalisation’ that are consuming the commons generally rather than just Unis in particular.

          1. Gabriel

            Hi Norm,
            Yes, I was actually knocked sideways enough by it to spam Yves with it, and I think she included it in the links today (yesterday),

            I agree with you that focusing on administrators is in some ways shooting the Cossacks rather than the Tsar, but the piece had some stuff I hadn’t thought of before, such as how administrators don’t like and don’t understand what academics do, so they tend to bloat the payroll with people from the horrendous disciplines they feel comfortable with, such as PR or marketing. Also, being in the belly of the beast, I was a bit shocked to see that all examples drawn from the Netherlands, but I get the impression that, if anything, European countries tend to have a convert’s zeal in implementing the disastrous policies emanating from the US. UK especially awful, I hear not only from you–with nationally mandated yearly assessments, etc.

            Someone must have made the point that academics, being unavoidably drawn from the top something-percent of whatever schools they went to, are more vulnerable that most people to being led around the nose by talk of “excellence” into competing with each other rather than close ranks again administrator types.

            BTW, two further points on that latter type:
            First, a tweet apropos the recent Chicago fracas by someone one ‏@brokenhegemony
            “University presidents: wannabe cops, day traders, and real estate agents.”

            Second, I don’t know if you ran into this back when you were, like me, a hewer of wood and drawer of water in a university, but something I’ve begun to notice recently is that the most rational bosses tend to be people who were former managers in a real business. It’s the pointless-masters-degree people (*cough* Library Science *cough*) who tend to take on board and try to implement the garbage they read in some airport stand management book.
            It reminded me of how, back when I was young and handsome and wrote about the ABM treaty for Latin Americans, the managers of the left-ish newspaper I worked for (generally former journalists) were often comically violent and abusive in a kind of cartoon way. A friend of mine who worked at the equivalent of the Wall Street Journal explained to me that that kind of behavior would never happen in his paper: “Your managers’ problem is that all they know about management comes from sale-bourgeois caricatures they picked up in lefty literature–the actual bourgeois doesn’t behave that way.”

            1. Gabriel

              [PS. Sorry I missed where you very properly indicated where link appeared on nc. Eyes jumped to the Springer link and what you wrote below.]

            2. norm de plume

              Sorry Gabriel, didn’t see Yves’ hat tip on the link – so thank you for spotting it, have sent on to a few who will appreciate it.

              That tweet is a keeper. As your anecdote illustrates, the key word is ‘wannabe’.

              The most senior admin people are now all academics, and I make two points about my experience of them. One – to a person, they were not leaders in their academic field. If they had been they would be unlikely to defect. Two, the fact that they wear the gowns gives the ‘real brahmins’ cover for their neo-liberalising, in that it’s academics who are publicly getting their hands dirty, with those doing the driving at one remove, tacitly approving free rein. It’s a wannabe paradise.

              I wrote this recently to the friend of a friend, also recently relieved of his role at another University after a soul-destroying stoush with the managerial class:

              ‘I agree that the practice of putting academics in the pole positions is wrong, but for me their ineffectiveness is a feature not a bug. In other words, money now owns and runs everything, higher ed included, and dummies (in either sense of that word) in key positions are an invaluable resource for those aiming more at control than excellence. Look at the composition of the Senates and Councils (again, not just education, Avryl’s Library too, and most public bodies now it seems) – it is bankers who are appointed (in the government and ‘independent’ slots) to these boards and they ALWAYS sit on both finanace and senior appointment committees, generally chairing them too. To me that is not an accident. They see the inexperience and/or the hubris of the professors they appoint to these roles as an opportunity, a bonus, because they are much more likely to be either nice, malleable putty in their hands, or even better, are aware of their real function and behave accordingly. And that function is to neo-liberalise the most inherently liberal, and one of the most crucial, of our society’s institutions. They already have the media, the parties, much of the bureacracy with only the judicial system still to be conquered after taming the ivory tower. The deal is – ‘here, we’re going to pay you three or four times what you could possibly earn as an also-ran academic (and let’s face it, how many really world class academics go in for management?) just so long as you remember who put you there, and why’. A few in my time went off the reservation on some issue or other, but as they are all on contracts lasting no more than a few years, each of these when the time came ‘decided not to renew’ their contracts’

              ‘the most rational bosses tend to be people who were former managers in a real business’

              As I said in our last talk, the need to show a profit, while responsible for some less than admirable behaviour, does at least impose a certain ‘what works’ mindset, which is entirely unnecessary for the essentially unaccountable administrators our higher ed institutions. The real cost of new senior admin positions and consultancy over the last decade or so in large public universities here would be horrifying, and simply could not occur in the business environment they so slavishly try to emulate.

              I find myself now applying for jobs with ‘global education providers’ – outfits licensed by governments to perform services they can no longer afford… probably because they are wasting so much dough on administrators!

              Did you end up reading any of Marina Warner’s pieces at the LRB? The wannabe mentality is palpable in her tales of encounters with admin, from a true academic’s perspective. Comments are good too:


    1. vidimi

      european “journalists” such as timothy garton ash, who recently attended a swanky 5-eyes intelligence community gathering in a mansion in the english countryside, have also been beating the war drum thunderously.

        1. craazyboy

          He was. It’s an acquired humor.

          The only notable thing is that Hilsenrath has the rep of being the reporter that gets secret phone calls from the Fed whenever the Fed wants to telegraph their intentions correctly to Wall Street. He is also known as the most credible decoder of Fed statements and [redacted] Fed minutes. This is how America knows whether to go “risk on” or “risk off” in our trades.

          Making a parody of our present economic policy seems almost like biting the hand that feeds you, but maybe Jon knows that the Fed is really not that sensitive to criticism :)

            1. craazyboy

              Good point. Come to think of it, Hilsenrath might be a robot. Not a sophisticated AI robot, but a 8 bit processor and 256k ram is probably good enough for the job.

      1. YankeeFrank

        The most out of touch part of the piece, ironically, wasn’t the exhortation for cash-strapped Americans to spend! spend! spend! It was when he suggested that we the people have been enjoying 0% interest rates for the past 6 years, as if every American citizen has an account at the Fed’s discount window. Honestly, I don’t see the intentionality to the farce as it distills into a few paragraphs the same whacked-out economic gibberish the Fed governors shovel out by the ton. Bernanke himself is on record declaring his certainty that the citizenry can borrow as much as we want with ease regardless of circumstances or ability to repay (the ability to repay, or refi, is simply assumed).

    1. frosty zoom

      A number commented on the tone of the commentary. While a small number found the tone to be clever, many found it offensive. Some said the item showed this reporter is arrogant, elitist and out of touch with the challenges faced by many Americans. That spoke to a broader mistrust that many respondents expressed toward a wide array of American institutions, including the Federal Reserve, banks, the media, corporations and the Obama Administration. Moreover many expressed a lack of conviction that the U.S. expansion would last, or that it was spreading prosperity beyond America’s elites. Others described serious continuing financial burdens related to high debts, a rising cost of living, health care costs, and a lack of wage growth.

      1. Kokuanani

        Wow, the comments are really interesting, especially the one that blames things on our “Marxist president” and “Marxist congress.” But otherwise, the sense of outrage is admirable.

        I’m wondering what sort of “follow-up” they will do, if any. Please let us know, because I read that rag only via links from NC.

    1. Screwball

      I thought it was the Onion at first. Wow is right. What a friken tool that guy is.

    2. JohnnyGL

      My reaction isn’t to get angry at them. Let’s face it, the WSJ lives in a different universe. Their readership is in a different universe, too. I think of it as mouthpieces for the 1%, speaking to the top 10%, which I think is broadly true. Journal readers are pretty well-off.

  2. mega mike

    I know the content of the Tom Engelhardt is nothing new to us but it’s hard hitting conciseness blew me away. I will forward it to my readers.

  3. diptherio

    Re: Bison tosses Aussie tourist

    Having grown up just a few miles from the Park in question, I can attest that most city people are completely stupid when it comes to wildlife. That’s a 1,000 lbs wild animal w/ pointy horns–don’t try to get close to it, jerk-off. If it ends up killing you as you try to take a close-up of it, ain’t no one (at least round these parts) gonna cry for you.

      1. Vatch

        You made me look up “tlacuache”. Apparently it’s a Mexican word for opossum. I agree; I would not want to be bitten by one of those. I could bleed to death or get rabies.

        1. Carolinian

          It’s the raccoons you want to be scared of. They can carry rabies and are quite aggressive. Possums, when trapped, are just as apt to “play possum” (do wear gloves). All campers know that raccoons are tremendous pests.

    1. Ned Ludd

      I was once walking down a rural road surrounded by forest when I was overcome by a herd of bison that was following the same road through the valley. I decided my best choice was to keep walking in the same direction, so as not to appear unpredictable, or find myself face-to-face with an animal many times my size.

      I considered climbing a tree, which were only 10 or 15 feet tall near the road. But I noticed when a bison did not feel likely walking around one of these trees, they simply walked over it.

      The hundred or so bison made a bit of a bubble around me as they passed. This was a huge relief; someone I knew was charged the day before while fishing and had to take refuge in a vehicle.

      1. diptherio

        Stumbling across Bison herds…not something that happens much any more. Where was this place…how old are you???

        Glad you made it through safely. I’ve been chased by wildlife (a sow black bear), so I know it’s not always the human’s fault…although in Jellystone, with the “tour-ons,” it usually is.

        1. ambrit

          I’ve been chased by feral pigs several times. That is one scary feeling. When I worked for a land surveyor in Southeast Louisiana, we regularly carried pistols to scare off big wildlife. (At one point in eastern St Tammany Parish, near the Honey Island Swamp, the ‘wildlife’ included moonshiners!) The most troublesome pest was venomous snakes. A Copperhead will not slither away. It will often ‘stand its’ ground’ and dare you to pass.
          I’ve read that bison would not trample people in their path, while cattle would. Any truth to this?

            1. OIFVet

              I object. By all accounts pigs, feral or domesticated, are very intelligent animals.

          1. Jagger

            I have run into a number of copperheads this year and I don’t think they are as aggressive as rattlesnakes. My experience is that a copperhead simply stops, streched out, with its head raised and flicking its tongue. It doesn’t curl up into a strike position like rattlesnakes. I suspect you could simply walk right over a copperhead and it probably wouldn’t do anything. Although I haven’t tested that theory. I usually just walk behind and around them and they do absolutely nothing. The key is to spot them and not step on them.

            Although I was told of one kid in Virginia bit by one. He was getting wood out of a woodpile which had a copperhead amonst the wood. So bit on the hand.

          2. Ned Ludd

            I’ve read that bison would not trample people in their path, while cattle would.

            I have never heard that, but I am very happy to still be here. My father grew up working on a small dairy farm, and he described the cows as friendly and smart. The cows in large feedlots may be bred differently.

        2. Ivy

          Ted Turner at one time decided to increase the America bison population on his ranches, and people got to enjoy bison burgers, among other things. Think of his effort as Private Bison, as opposed to the Public Bison on display in the Park.

        3. Ned Ludd

          Stumbling across Bison herds…not something that happens much any more. Where was this place…how old are you???

          South Dakota. From my perspective, the herd stumbled across me :-) This happened back in the days when airlines still served full meals in coach, kids slept across the back seats of cars during road trips, and you had to volunteer time at the co-op to get your discount.

    2. Carolinian

      The story is not quite dog bites man but this has happened before. Visitors also become injured or die foolishly at the Grand Canyon–one recently when he was having his picture taken.

    3. abynormal

      reminds me of that crack series Faces of Death..i only saw the first one and remember a husband/Bob wanting his picture near an adult Grizzly. wife abides by filming the Grizzly removing Bobs arm and Galloping across the knoll. wife continues filming while hysterically screaming Bobs name.

      Lambert argued the other day about voters not being stupid, but head still shaking….

    4. Garrett Pace

      Fascinating how city people expect Yellowstone to be nature’s Disneyland rather than “nasty brutish and short”.

      At Disney you go up and have your picture taken with the Chip and Dale or Donald Duck. What is a bison anyway, just another large theme park mascot?

    5. tim s

      I live near a park where alligators roam freely and the walking paths often take you as close as you want to go to any of them sunning themselves on the grass. I’ll never forget the two teenage girls who squatted down about a foot away from one 12-15ft long gator, turned their heads away from the gator and smiled back at their mother who was taking their picture. Nothing happened – but…WOW. Disneyfied dum#uks.

  4. Ned Ludd

    Ars Technica on the “USA Freedom Act”:

    • “The ‘business records’ section enabled the NSA’s bulk telephone metadata program. It grants the government powers to seize most any record, even banking and phone records… Under the new legislation, however, the bulk phone metadata stays with the telecoms and is removed from the hands of the NSA. It can still be accessed with the FISA Court’s blessing…”

    • “Spies may tap a terror suspect’s communications without getting a renewed FISA Court warrant, even as a suspect jumps from one device to the next.”

    • “The third spy tool renewed is called ‘lone wolf’ in spy jargon. It allows for roving wiretaps. However, the target of wiretaps does not have to be linked to a foreign power or terrorism.”

    1. Jim Haygood

      From the NYT’s article:

      ‘The fight for the changes was led largely by Democrats and a new generation of Republicans in the House and the Senate who were elected a decade after the terrorist attacks. Even as threats have multiplied since then …’

      The Operation Mockingbird edit is bolded. Remember the bombing of 23 Wall Street in 1920? Or the bombing of the mathematics dept. at U of Wisconsin in 1970? Violent groups have been blowing sh*t up since time immemorial. That doesn’t mean ‘threats are escalating,’ other than the ones our three-letter agencies created themselves.

      Speaking of the FISA court, that’s the one which has rubber-stamped all but a handful of surveillance warrants, including prima facie illegal ones.

      Here’s a simple litmus test: if telcos are now going to store all the bulk metadata, won’t the NSA’s giant data warehouse in Bluffdale, Utah be cancelled?

      Of course it won’t. Audio recordings and email texts need a lot more storage than metadata. From the National Stasi Agency’s p.o.v., they’ve simply outsourced a subset of data which originates with the telcos anyway. Public announcements may claim otherwise. But with no effective Congressional oversight, one can accurately assume wholesale lawbreaking will continue.

      1. Synoia

        “Remember the bombing of 23 Wall Street in 1920?”

        No. Nor do many others under 100.

      2. Carolinian

        Right up your alley.

        Not just browsers

        This past February the Supreme Court somewhat narrowed the scope of Sarbanes-Oxley in the case of Yates v. United States. The feds had charged a commercial fishing captain under the same record-destruction law for throwing a batch of undersized fish overboard after a federal agent had instructed him not to. The Court ruled that applying Sarbanes-Oxley to the dumping of fish was too far afield from the law’s original corporate-crime purpose.

      3. Andrew Watts

        “Speaking of the FISA court, that’s the one which has rubber-stamped all but a handful of surveillance warrants, including prima facie illegal ones.”

        Not entirely true. The FISC significantly rolled back an NSA cell phone program according to one of the declassified rulings I read. Most of the details were redacted out but it’s a safe bet this is one of the expansions of power that McConnell was hoping to restore and include in the Patriot Act extension. Considering he failed miserably in this endeavor I can honestly say the Freedom Act while not being a win was definitely a points on the board outcome.

  5. Stephen Liss

    I’m not looking forward to a chimp-cooked meal until they first learn to put on hair nets and wash their hands. Tell me about their cooking skills later.

    1. Ivy

      Chimp cooking induces multitasking: You could eat your dinner and groom it at the same time.

  6. Gabriel

    Re the chimp story, possible career-making project for ambitious young mainstream economist: “Inter-State Is Over: The Case for Inter-Species Free Trade” .

    Just imagine the Ricardian gains if all those cooking jobs (“since 2008, the food preparation sector has seen one fastest-growing in the country, yet worker productivity remains low relative to software engineers”) could be given to chimps, while the humans go off to get STEM degrees!
    Ken Rogoff can write an an additional Project Syndicate piece on his theme of Free Trade and Hypocrisy on how, while we’ve been myopically and rather selfishly wailing about low wages in Bangladesh or China, we’ve callously ignored how the median chimp lives on less than 0.005 cents a day, and how, if the powerful service-sector unions and populist politicians didn’t impose arbitrary regulations regarding non-human employment in our nation’s kitchens, trade could “lift millions of chimps out of poverty.”
    Then team up with Steve Pinker and give a TED talk on how, if the concept of human rights cannot meaningfully be restricted to humans, then neither can that of human capital, therefore restraints to trade based on species-membership are as illogical as those founded on nationality.
    By then the book will probably already be a hit, with enough popular traction for some Krugman or Delong to chime in with a clever, chin-scratching blog post about how, before technological unemployment started to affect humans, it affected horses, who saw their livelihoods disappear as railroads and automobiles became increasingly prevalent (“What Mr Ed Can Tell Us About the Rise of the Robots”). Would we really see the resulting gross inequality between the median nose-bag and the average pay of workers at automotive plants as a reason sufficient to restrict humanity to the use of non-equine transport?

    And so on. . .

  7. tgs

    Blatter’s Resignation

    I have no doubt at all that FIFA under Blatter was thoroughly corrupt. But having said that, there is more to this aggressive action than just a desire to ‘clean up the game’. After all in a 2014 self study the EU reported on itself that corruption was costing 120 billion euros annually to give just one example. No one here has to be reminded about the libor manipulation, drug money laundering and so forth. The point is what the motive behind this suddenly energetic interest in stamping out corruption? From where I sit and unless I learn differently these things come to mind:

    Russia is given the 2018 wc. The west (and some western countries bid and lost) didn’t like that one bit especially now given the situation in Ukraine. Russia hosted the olympics well despite the efforts of the western media and politicians. ‘The West’ does not want that to happen again. Russia must be isolated at any cost. Fifa was relatively independent of American and ‘western’ control. Intolerable! Hence, we need to get a Ban Ki Moon or Yukiya Amano in place so as to prevent any future mistakes. It looks like a Jordanian prince is waiting in the wings to fulfill that role.

    When American politicians, like John McCain, and America’s stooges, like Poroshenko, start weighing in on international football, there is definitely something up.

      1. Stephen Liss

        Awarding the Nobel peace prize to President Poroshenko makes about as much sense as awarding it to President Obama.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Comrades, the war situation on the eastern front has developed not necessarily to our advantage:

      Offensive by pro-Russian insurgents near Donetsk-region town of Maryinka involves up to 1,000 troops, more than 10 tanks and howitzers, General Staff of Ukraine’s armed forces says in statement on Facebook.

      Couldn’t verify the Facebook post. But Russia’s MICEX stock index has tumbled today, as has the ruble.

      Have you bought Ukrainian Liberty Bonds today?

      1. Yonatan

        The Ukrainians had been shelling Donetsk hospital from there. At least 90 casualties were taken to the hospital and subsequent shelling left it without power. The causualties included ordinary people who had lost hand and legs as a result of the shelling.

        In a meeting a few days ago regarding the process of implementing the political aspects of the Minsk protocol, including autonomy for Donbass, Ukraine stated there would be no dialog with the Novorossians and all but stated that hostilities would resume.

        Interestingly, the Ukrainian Interior Minister referred to the Ukrainian government as ‘the Junta’ so there it is, from the horse’s mouth.

    2. JohnnyGL

      I still see it as “regime change” in soccer. US/EU are mad because they’re blatantly not in charge. FIFA has this horrid voting mechanism (1 country, 1 vote) where Africa has the same weight as Europe!!! The horror!!!

      Much like the “blame Saddam, blame Putin” and other incidents of focusing too much on 1 individual, the rest-of-the-world-against-Europe coalition is still intact and waiting to be taken up by another candidate who will inevitably emerge.

    3. Yonatan

      Richard Silverstein has a detailed article about the significance of the possible removal of Israel from FIFA. It clearly shows that Israel regarded it as an existential threat and suggested FIFA would be destroyed if it went ahead.

      “To understand how important this vote was for Israel, you must understand the importance of the sport in the nations of the world outside the U.S. Then you must understand that Israel’s government sees the handwriting on the wall. It knows what happened to South Africa. The victories by opponents of apartheid began small. Then turned into a trickle. And before the Afrikaaner government knew what was happening, the floodgates were open and apartheid was unsustainable. Israel sees and fears this above all. This is why it pulled out all the stops for a victory.”

      The western MSM has mentioned several banks that were involved in the alleged bribery. Silverstein gives details of another that definitely won’t be listed in any MSM report.

      “Note as well that Israel’s largest financial institution, Bank HaPoalim’s Swiss branch is accused in the U.S. indictment of funneling nearly $15-million (roughly 10% of all the bribery money involved in the entire FIFA corruption scandal) to those FIFA officials on the take.”

      The Russia aspect of the FIFA incident serves as a useful shield over Israel’s concerns and a desireable target in its own right for the anti-Russia groups.

    4. KFritz

      There is undoubtedly a strong element of “We didn’t get what we wanted” in the corruption investigation of the US government. And resentment toward ‘our’ attitude of entitlement, and even more so England’s, may have played a role in the re-election of Blatter. But, the real reason most of the delegates voted for Blatter has to do with power and money. The high ranking soccer officials of these nations have the best job, the most power, and the most money that they could imagine. Blatter, and his predecessor Joao Havelange, have cooked up an awesome patronage system. By letting these men pay themselves exorbitant salary and skim what they liked (usually within reason) off the top of the FIFA largesse, they created a legion of loyal minions. It would be economic suicide, and a possible setup for criminal action from their respective governments, were they to vote against Blatter.

      In spite of what you read in Andrew Jennings Telegraph Article (posted in the June 1 Links), the real spark that ignited the current imbrogio was Jack Warner and Mohammed bin Hammam’s ham handed May 2011 attempt to bribe the entire Caribbean Football Union, one at a time in one place. The Bahamian association gave a detailed to description of the bribery to Chuck “Mr Ten Percent” Blazer, who had no choice but to open a real investigation, which was headed by John P. Collins, a one time federal prosecutor and then member of the FIFA Legal Committee–which put the Feds on Blazer’s tail and which began the unwinding of a skein of corruption. This doesn’t imply that the US doesn’t have political and pride-based reasons for the depth of the probe, but the tail has been wagging the dog to some degree.

      Blazer wore and carried a wire during th 2012 Olympics in London, evidently gathering a trove of damaging information. He kept his “Travels with Chuck Blazer” vanity website updated until early 2014, but failed to include any record of his trip to the London Olympics.

  8. TedWa

    Re: Patients Get Extreme to Obtain Hepatitis Drug That’s 1% the Cost Outside U.S

    Apparently the Pharma Co’s value foreigners lives more than Americans. How patriotic

  9. Garrett Pace

    “Canada’s forced schooling of aboriginal children was cultural genocide”

    The same thing was done in the United States.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Are Native American nations still sovereigns, jus curious?

        Can they get seats on the UN? Print their own currencies?

        1. alex morfesis

          technically yes…the US constitution specifically names them as such (section 8) and despite the genocidal response to the Native nations siding with the british in the war of 1812, the constitution itself has never been altered to reflect the reality of what has occured to the native nations…they could technically pay the 10% excise tax to the Treasury under the National Bank Act of 1865, but it would be much more cost effective for them to just start credit unions. Native Nations issuing currency would be better handled by creating internal time dollar mechanisms as there would be as much external interest in making a market in native currencies as there is with mugabe running his country (not trying to suggest the native nations could not get there, but just “issuing a currency” does not a market make). They would probably be able to argue a religious exemption for any reporting needs, and technically, native nations are not supposed to pay taxes, so the IRS would not really be able to confuse the taxation issue that can come into play with barter or time dollar issuance.

          as to the United Nations…it would be hard for there to be any opposition by the US…but other nations would object as it would open up the door for all the other few thousand native nations still out there on the planet that post colonial puppet muppets “running” those countries would not want to shake loose.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef


            I wonder why we haven’t heard any stories about applying for UN memberships or the Cherokee dollar.

    1. hunkerdown

      Cultural genocide is the keystone of bourgeois liberal society, though, isn’t it? Can a melting pot (or, less generously, a manufactured ethos) provide a decent, non-surprising society where commonly beneficial outcomes can be achieved without a highly-stationed “scold class” of tongue-clucking irritants and taskmasters? Unlike those fine, upstanding obstacles, the rest of us are held accountable for something more like production than fantasizing and therefore neither need nor want their enforced social complexity taxing our time and patience.

      American Exceptionalism = genocide. As one of the target races/cultures (aspie) there’s something that rings true about that.

  10. Jim Haygood

    Ten-year Treasury yields have blasted upward to the highest level of 2015. Chart:

    What’s it mean? Maybe J-Yel’s hiking the Fed funds rate two weeks from now. Or the Greek crisis is about to end, so the panic bid in bunds and Treasuries has been withdrawn.

    So far, stocks don’t care. Which ought to give pause to the Fed’s Bubblemeisters: what if they tap the brakes, and nothing happens?

    1. MLS

      Jim –

      The spike in yields could mean the opposite of what you first suggest: that the Fed will not raise rates in June and perhaps not at all in 2015. Other asset classes seem to confirm this – stocks have been better lately (and are up today) and the dollar has back off it’s recent highs, particularly against Euro. Such market activity would be pricing in no Fed action, i.e., ZIRP continues longer than expected. Lower rates means the economy is less likely to tip into recession, meaning there’s less incentive to own long bonds. You’ve also got the added element of US Treasuries anchoring to EZ bonds (Bunds in particular) which have ratcheted higher as well.

  11. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Bernanke blames Congress for China’s AIIB.

    Not sure it makes any difference to Nature who is doing it.

    For some human watchers of hegemons, it begs the question: are imperial infrastructure projects stimulating and non-imperial infrastructure projects something to be blamed?

    1. craazyboy

      It places awfully far down on my list of things to worry about. The World Bank and the IMF lost it’s monopoly on helping the world? sheesh. Who cares.

  12. djrichard


    When Is Repaying Public Debt Not Of The Essence? IMFdirect

    IMF to Rich Countries: Don’t Sweat the Debt Fiscal Times

    The WSJ article merely refers to the report, but somebody at Forbes is embracing the report: You’re Wrong If You Want To Reduce The National Debt

    The IMF report should be thought of as a public rebuke of those who continually say the federal government must do what families do by balancing their budgets.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Maybe it would be a good thing if the federal government prioritized like a family and spent less on drones.

      More Libyan advendtures or Social Security?

      Let’s take from the former and use it on the latter.

      1. frosty zoom

        but, but, that would mean cancelling this year’s trip to ukraine!

        what?!? no, F-35s either?

        this family sucks!

  13. Carolinian

    American aristocracy–baked in from day one.

    This is not a new argument but the author gives a good summary of how the Founding Fathers were trying to suppress popular sovereignty by the unpropertied, not encourage it. However he also says that they believed in the social contract and would have been horrified by the current elites. Now even the social contract is out the window.

    1. frosty zoom

      you need to get out the lemon juice and read the invisible ink fine print at the bottom.

  14. Chauncey Gardiner

    Thank you for the link to Steve Waldman’s post on Ben Bernanke’s monetary policy choices, counter-factuals that have been ignored, the former Fed chair’s statements to engineer the passage of TARP, and the effects of these policies on society and wealth distribution. Brilliant piece IMO, although I would suggest inclusion of the Obama administration along with congress for fiscal policy fails.

    I particularly appreciated Mr. Waldman’s concluding sentence, which dripped with irony. Special.

  15. Andrew Watts

    RE: Senate’s Troubling Move Toward Secret Law

    “When power is robbed of the shining armor of political, moral and philosophical theories, by which it defends itself, it will fight on without armor; but it will be more vulnerable, and the strength of its enemies is increased.” -Reinhold Niebuhr, Moral Man and Immoral Society

    Secrecy is the primary means which the US intelligence community uses to avoid any scrutiny or accountability for it’s actions. The people who thought that Snowden’s actions won them a victory all by itself were being hopelessly idealistic. By doing what he did Snowden was able to pierce the armor that the NSA had previously used to shroud their illegal actions.

    The public advocate on the FISC combined with the increased transparency, whether this is voluntary or not, will leave them as vulnerable as Niebuhr thought. Which is why the hardliners are fighting these measures, in particular the inclusion of the advocate, since the Warren Commission era.

    The fact remains that the Freedom Act was always going to be a compromise bill. As far as compromises go it wasn’t a bad one for all parties concerned. In any case it’s not the end.

    It’s merely the beginning.

  16. fresno dan

    Bernanke on monetary policy and inequality Steve Waldman. Important.

    Despite all my reading of finance, what I would really like to know is this:
    Who gets to borrow money from the Federal Reserve at the very lowest rate??? And how are such entities chosen? And what is the rationale for choosing them???

    Now, those seems rather simple and straightforward questions. Now maybe its just me (maybe fresnodan is in the Google database of people who ask pesky and obnoxious questions, so we’re not really going to answer him….), but I don’t get an answer to those questions. I get all sorts of things about how interest rates are set, for the FOMC, but who actually gets what interest rate seems….unknowable. Why is that?

    So I find this:
    Which states:
    “Strong, well-capitalized banks borrow under the primary credit program; other banks use the secondary credit program and pay a higher rate.”

    Now, as I understand it, the big banks in the US in 2008 were all essentially insolvent. So it kind of goes without saying that such banks were NOT “well-capitalized”

    Now, the question I have is: if credit is so important, and interest rates are so important, and lower interest rates equivocally help the economy, why couldn’t the FED have made the primary credit rate (i.e., lowest) available to all banks and saving&loans?

    It seems to go without saying that the FED itself didn’t give much credence to “well-capitalized” – indeed, it seems perverse to back up institutions that if not in fact DIRECTLY responsible for the financial melt down, at least were not very smart about lending or investing.
    So in this era of computers and the internet, it can’t be that tough to be able to send bits and bytes signifying money to every bank in the US. So why can’t that happen?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      How about this?

      Create a People’s Credit Union by an act of Congress.

      Every person owns a share in it. No more. No less.

      Let the said credit union borrow from the Fed at the best available rate (based on its AAA + creditworthiness). That money is divided equally and lent, at zero interest, equally, to its members. The Fed can either buy those loans or used them to secure lending to said credit union.

      No one pays off these loans individually. The people, collectively, can be taxed to pay off these loans, if necessary – here, a progressive taxation can mean those in need do not have to pay the loans back at all.

      The entire credit union can be run from a laptop, or even a Smart Watch.

    2. craazyboy

      You’re mixing up two things w/regard to Fed rates. The Fed still fancies itself as the “lender of last resort” and isn’t supposed to be the main source for bank funds. So what the Fed really is trying to do with traditional FOMC operations is set a “floor” for short term interest rates. Then they want banks to do “repo” between themselves to smooth out “excess liquidity”. This rate tends to track the Fed rate. Then of course some of us still have money in the bank, so banks pay us the Fed rate, if we are are lucky. Otherwise less.

      Then banks just securitize everything they can and collect up front fees. You don’t need much money for that.

  17. mundanomaniac

    off topic – there was no point to hook into – but anyway “not all principles of perceptible things are perceptible…” (Simplikos)
    so the weekly works of the archetypes in us are too easy overlooked
    while the external material contradictions use to occupy our perception.
    This is the counterweight, the passage of the symbols … inviting our consciousness.

    This week:

  18. Sanctuary

    Regarding the HIlsencrap letter, he wasn’t joking. Look at the tone of the letter. It’s totally in that cheap used car salesman/real estate agent style of “you better spend quickly ’cause this deal is going to end soon!” I see it as a net positive indication in that what it shows is growing desperation of moneyed interests. Remember they operate under the “Greater Fool” theory. They NEED us to be the greater fools in order to collect their ill gotten gains before the system collapses. That it isn’t happening is starting to worry them greatly. They smell a crash just around the corner and cannot stand the thought that they just might be left holding the bag this time. To take it this far by writing such passive-aggressive tripe…I smell blood in the water. Something is close to failing.

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