2:00PM Water Cooler 7/13/15

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


List of traitors in House and Senate, with phone numbers. Hat tip, reader Vatch. Be sure to visit them when they return to the district. If a traitor is mentioned in Water Cooler, their name is in bold. (A reader helpfully sent me an updated version with phone numbers which I will install shortly!)

“[T]he most hideous aspect of the three trade agreements currently under negotiation is precisely that they describe a world devoid of any other political actors; it’s just companies out there” [Guardian].

“There are certainly arguments that, in their efforts to promote free international trade in services, the governments working on this treaty haven’t gotten the balance between economic efficiency and national autonomy exactly right” [Cato]. And that’s how far Cato will go.

“The Obama administration is caught in a trap as it tries to bring home a trade deal with its Pacific Rim partners. Some of the chief beneficiaries may be big drug companies like Novartis AG, Roche Holding AG, and Pfizer Inc. while the losers could be consumers in both the U.S. and the region” [Bloomberg]. “Trap”? What trap?

“[TPP’s e-commerce] free flow of information rules are designed to subvert data localization laws…. On the one hand, these can prevent countries from distorting Internet traffic flows and imposing unnecessary costs on platform operators—so they do have the potential to protect free expression and access to information on the Internet. On the other hand, these same rules could be used to undermine consumer protections for personal data. For example, these kinds of provisions could be used to unravel national efforts to pass legal requirements around how companies handle citizens’ sensitive medical data [EFF]. Roundup of tech issues for all the so-called trade deals; worth a read.

On country-of-origin labeling, still punching out there in the heartland [Missourian].

[Obama claims so-called “trade deals”] would not undermine democracy, national sovereignty or laws and regulations. He was and is wrong. This May we lost a legal trade challenge by partners Mexico and Canada, under existing trade deals, with the same dispute mechanism TPA agrees to in new deals, claiming our 1946 law, Country of Origin Labeling (COOL), gave “unfair” advantage to American meats producers via labeling. Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) tribunals, under World Trade Organization, in NAFTA and CAFTA, agreed country of origin labeling impacted Mexico and Canada’s meat industry profits negatively, thus supporting facts that U.S. labeled meat was successful for U.S. meat producers’ economic markets.

I suppose when all meat is equally rotten world-wide, then indeed COOL would no longer give an unfair advantage. The future lies ahead! (I buy from a local farm. It says right there on the label. And you know what? The meat doesn’t rot in my bachelor fridge if I don’t cook it instantly, unlike supermarket meat. I realize not all are privileged as I am.)

On recent events in Greece, speculating very freely: I think one thing NC readers across the board would agree on is that the Greek programme amounts to a significant loss of national sovereignty, as do the so-called “trade deals,” which are not about trade. It looks to me — tinfoil hat time, here — like important factions in the global elite have invested in projects designed to destroy national sovereignty and the nation-state as part of their political portfolios — especially those post- and transnational elites with boltholes in London, Manhattan, Singapore (or Montana); elites who regard nation states as flags of convenience. Greece would then be not an outlier but a model, in the same way that Katrina and Detroit are models. “Never let a crisis go to waste.”


Readers, I’m light on 2016 today. However, I’m breaking out the magic markers for Hillary’s speech on the economy, tonight.

Letterman comes out of retirement to deliver top ten list on Donald Trump [Entertainment Weekly]. Spoller: “No. 9: During sex Donald Trump calls out his own name.”

Welcome to the Bush/Clinton speakers’ bureau [Bloomberg].

Stats Watch

“[S]ince 2000, consumption has not grown at a smooth pace; it has seen steep ups and downs…. [E]conomic policy needs to rely on economic models which depart from more fundamental [less over-simplified –lambert]determinants of consumer behavior. Pinning those down is still a major challenge for economic research” [Cleveland Fed]. The article has a very interesting set of charts comparing the recessions and booms since the 90s.

No acceleration in loans; auto loans actually down [Mosler Economics].

“Blackstone Selling 1,300 Atlanta Houses in Strategy Shift ” [Bloomberg]. Landlordin’ is hard. Too much work for private equity.

The Hill

Dems warm to GOP tax plan [The Hill]. Hold on to your wallets.

Health Care

Bringing single payer to DC [Medium]. Sounds like a good plan.


In conversation, I’ve heard what the EU is doing to Syriza and Greece compared to strangling a puppy. However, the new plan makes it look like the EU, after strangling the puppy, has decided to keep it on life support for purposes of vivisection. By quack doctors.

Greek banks remain shut [Agence France Presse].

“European equities jumped almost 2 percent while Wall Street gained about 1 percent after euro zone leaders made Greece surrender much of its sovereignty to outside supervision in return for agreeing to talks on an 86-billion-euro bailout” [Reuters]. So there you have it. Loss of sovereignty is good for Mr. Market.

“Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem was re-elected on Monday as president of the Eurogroup of euro zone finance ministers, EU officials said in a statement” [Reuters]. Well done, that man.

“Jack Lew, the US Treasury secretary, said there remains ‘substantial work’ to be done by Greece and its eurozone creditors” [FT, “US: ‘substantial work’ left after Greek deal”] “‘These pledges will require difficult steps by all of the parties and substantial work remains to be done,’ [Lew] said” [The Hill]. “The United States will remain engaged with all parties in this important period.” tl;dr: Lew high-fives Merkel.

“[T]he brief growth that Greece had posted in a couple of quarters last year seems to be a greater function of prices falling faster than output rather than true greenshoots. This all suggests that Greece’s economy is in even worse shape than it may appear” [Across the Curve].

“Amid what appeared to be open conflict between France and Germany over demands that could have pushed Greece out of the euro for five years or more, Hollande succeeded in getting the ‘temporary Grexit’ option off the table and convincing Berlin and its hard-line allies that a deal was in everyone’s interest” [Market News]. ” “The fist-fight around Greece revealed the existence of two Europes, each with its own completely different logic,” the French daily Le Figaro said Monday. “One is German, accounting-based and intransigent. The other is French, political and accommodating.” Le Figaro is, AFAIK, on the right.

Varoufakis gives an exit interview [ABC Australia]. All the feels, all about the feels:

‘I jumped more than I was pushed,’ said Mr Varoufakis, describing his resignation in the immediate aftermath of the ‘no’ vote in the July 6 referendum on bailout terms similar to those accepted on Monday.

‘I entered the prime minister’s office elated. I was travelling on a beautiful cloud pushed by beautiful winds of the public’s enthusiasm for the victory of Greek democracy in the referendum. The moment I entered the prime ministerial office, I sensed immediately a certain sense of resignation—a negatively charged atmosphere. I was confronted with an air of defeat, which was completely at odds with what was happening outside.

‘At that point I had to put it to the prime minister: “If you want to use the buzz of democracy outside the gates of this building, you can count on me. But if on the other hand you feel like you cannot manage this majestic ‘no’ to an irrational proposition from our European partners, I am going to simply steal into the night.”’

I really don’t know what adjective to apply, here. “Frivolous”?


“The charter movement turns 25 next year, but whether it’s fulfilling the mission early advocates had envisioned is far from clear.” With a big push from Clinton I under the “reinventing government” banner [The Atlantic].

“But while publicly funded school [Eagle Arts Academy, one of Palm Beach County’s largest charter schools] ran up hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt and struggled to put in place its arts-infused curriculum, a Palm Beach Post investigation has found that it served a very different purpose: filling the bank accounts of its founder’s private businesses” [Palm Beach Post]. Wait, charters corrupt?

Black Injustice Tipping Point

List of women who have accused Bill Cosby of rape [Business Insider].

Wretched Excess Watch

“Realtors spent $5,000 on a private chef to convince Minecraft’s billionaire creator to buy this $70 million mansion” [Business Insider].

“After about an hour and a half of protesting [a Cuomo $5,000-a-plate fundraiser[ in front of [squillionaire hedgie] Daniel Loeb’s house, the [Hedge Clippers] group marched down to the beach for a few photo ops with Mr. Loeb’s oceanfront house as a backdrop [East Hampton Star]. How much you wanna bet Loeb tries to privatize the beach?

“A set of 24-Carat gold vacuum cleaners are being advertised for £800,000 each and are described as ‘ideal for red carpets, yacht decks and stretch-limousines'” [Daily Mail]. Well, I prefer to have my servants clean the carpets with their tongues, but to each their own, I suppose.

Class Warfare

“The most distressed cities are in blue states. The most unequal are in red states” [WaPo].

“Loan Originations and Defaults in the Mortgage Crisis: The Role of the Middle Class” [NEBR].

News of the Wired

“17 interview questions that are designed to trick you” [Business Insider]. How to game HR!

Combatting book theft in the middle ages [Medieval Books].

“My DIY Formaldehyde test kit” [Public Lab]. A very interesting platform for projects.

“A short nap could reduce impulsive behavior and improve the ability to withstand frustration, a small study suggests” [New York Times]. Cats know this, which is why they run the world.

“Fixing flaws in science must be professionalised. By me in the Journal of Clinical Epidemiology” [Bad Science].

Larry Summers is not only a horrible human being and a lousy investor, he’s an idiot [WaPo].

[T]here are economic laws like there are physical laws, and as with physical laws, economic laws do not yield to political will.

I prefer a viewpoint closer to that expressed by Shevek the temporal scientist in The Dispossessed to the sloppy yet and tendentious metaphor deployed by Summers:

The politics of reality,” Shevek repeated. He looked at Oiie and said, “That is a curious phrase for a physicist to use.”

“Not at all. The politician and the physicist both deal with things as they are, with real forces, the basic laws of the world.”

“You put your petty miserable ‘laws’ to protect wealth, your ‘forces’ of guns and bombs, in the same sentence with the law of entropy and the force of gravity? I had thought better of your mind, Demaere!”

A mistake one doesn’t make with Summers, of course. Shorter Larry: TINA.

* * *

Readers, feel free to contact me with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, and (c) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi are deemed to be honorary plants! See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. And here’s today’s plant (Jeff):


That garden looks like a good place for sitting, in the cool of the evening.

NOTE: Please free to test the donation dropdown, where the amount you select should finally appear on the PayPal form. Thanks to kind reader DK, who fixed my code. (And if you have problems, please let me know using the contact link, so as not to clutter the thread.)

If you enjoy Water Cooler, please consider tipping and click the hat. I need to keep my server up! And pay the plumber….


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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.


  1. Anon

    Re: Medium Article

    I’ll be keeping an eye on this, but from what I read, she gave a pretty good list as to what would need to be done, although it might be better to fight the rent battle first…

  2. HoarseWhisperer

    I am going to simply steal into the night.”’

    . . .
    . . . and get myself a latte.

    1. Anonymous

      We NC readers know that Varoufakis was naive about what was needed to go up against Merkel. Granted.

      Still, I thought the exit interview was revealing in letting us know what drove that naivete — a sentimental nostalgia for what the European project could have been, and for the values of past statesmen who drove that project before the neoliberals took over. Hard to believe that it took the level of abuse dished out by Merkel at the recent summit to finally convince Varoufakis that Grexit is necessary. But there it is.

      Maybe it’s time to break out the last speeches of Kerensky — or Dollfuss — for historical perspective.

    2. Cugel

      Re: Varoufakis’ interview and Yves’ comment about bringing a latte to a gun fight. Here’s really all you need to know about the contradictions facing Syriza in attempting to negotiate:

      A bad agreement is still better than leaving the euro,” said Giorgios Kommata, a 53-year-old doctor. His daughter Chrysa, 24, a student home for the summer, fears she might not be able to find a job in Greece for a decade. “We wouldn’t have been prepared for the impact of leaving the euro, but I’m not satisfied with what is going on,” she said. “Both ways are hard. I want to come back to Greece, but with the situation I don’t think it will be possible before my forties.”

      Here’s someone whose business has failed, and whose daughter will live in exile for the next 16 years, and he still doesn’t want to leave the euro! That’s the biggest reason why Syriza failed. They didn’t plan for Grexit because the Greek people would prefer to suffer Austerity rather than defy the creditors. They couldn’t get political support for doing it. And the referendum didn’t promise defiance, it promised better negotiations!

      Varoufakis just dismisses Grexit outright in his interview:

      HL: So why hang around until the summer? [the Billion Euro question, no? Why did it take you 6 months to figure out the creditors weren’t going to negotiate? Why not prepare for Grexit in February?]

      YV: Well one doesn’t have an alternative. Our government was elected with a mandate to negotiate. So our first mandate was to create the space and time to have a negotiation and reach another agreement. That was our mandate – our mandate was to negotiate, it was not to come to blows with our creditors. …”

      They didn’t feel they had a mandate to defy the creditors, so they didn’t. They’ve been pilloried for failing to build a consensus for Grexit among the people. But, that statement from the 24 year old student tells me that the Greeks understand things at least as well as the readers of this blog.

      They KNOW that continued austerity is horrible, but Grexit would be worse and they choose Austerity.

  3. Garrett Pace

    Recommended answers to tricky interview questions.

    Lame – a handful of pretend-a-strength-is-a-weakness answers. Is that all it takes to get hired?

    Can you give us a reason someone may not like working with you?

    ‘Generally I’ve been fortunate to have great relationships at all my jobs. The only times I have been disliked — and it was temporary — was when I needed to challenge my staff to perform better.” Sometimes I feel we must make unpopular decisions that are for the larger good of the company…

    If a candidate gave the answers that article was suggesting, I would discount them as a fairly sloppy sociopath. I hire only humans, and not the tightly controlled, low affect, buzzword spouting automatons that keep showing up to interviews.

    1. Garrett Pace

      And good heavens this question:

      How did you make time for this interview? Where does your boss think you are right now?

      I assume the unemployment rate has to be over a certain threshold for recruiters to get away with using it. I would tell them I am not accountable to my manager for how I spend my free time, and then I’d turn the tables: “If I take this job will I need to explain any time I am not working?”

      But then people tend to interview with more confidence when they already have a job…

      Question I ask applicants:

      What’s a book you read recently that you really liked?

      Why it’s tricky: I’M ASKING YOU TO BE A HUMAN AND SAY SOMETHING, ANYTHING, THAT YOU REALLY LIKE. People get so caught up in playing eleventh dimensional chess that they don’t even recognize the question for what it is. If you say “I read a great book on database design/management/blah blah blah book I think you’ll approve of” you are out for being a lying brownnose, UNLESS you are positively poetic in how you describe the amazing experience of reading that database book. That’s harder to fake.

      Of course some people say they don’t like reading so I guess it’s still a trap question. It’s hard to be a good, up-to-date learner without reading things.

      1. jrs

        I’m at this interview the same way everyone else that has a job makes time to interview. If you want to hire the unemployed instead, god bless you!

        The book you read recently that you really liked could be a landmine, what if, oh like many people on this website I suspect, the book is politics or economics or sociology. You know not to go there. Do not go there. Of course if you read all self-help or erotica or something, you don’t go there either. You try to remember the last mainstream fiction book you read ….

        1. Garrett Pace

          The book doesn’t matter. I don’t care if it’s a book I like, just to hear a person describe something thoughtfully.

          And it doesn’t have to be the most recent book, just A book that’s fresh enough to talk about.

          1. vidimi

            what if the trap is reversed, and the candidate replies with the bible/quran and sues you for discrimination if s/he doesn’t get the job?

      2. roadrider

        Question I ask applicants:

        What’s a book you read recently that you really liked?

        This question is as bad as any in the article. What business is it of yours what people read unless its directly related to the job? You’re invading their privacy the same way the NSA is by snooping on their web surfing.

        The answer you pooh-pooh about the technical book is answer most people should give – something directly related to the job, You’re hiring them for their work not their personal interests which may not coincide with yours and perhaps set up a subjective, non-work related reason to reject their application.

        1. Garrett Pace

          Uh huh. I have already stated that I don’t care what book it is – the books I like the most nobody else reads anyway. The people I hire are human beings and not interchangeable parts. That question is an attempt to get that across.

          More expansively, interviewing is like dating – there’s usually penalties for being too honest about one’s self. Any question that penalizes honest answers – where the liars make a better impression 100% of the time – should never be asked.

          1. roadrider

            I have already stated that I don’t care what book it is – the books I like the most nobody else reads anyway..

            That’s irrelevant. We have only your word for that but you can’t really provide any assurance how you would react if someone mentioned a book that presents a topic or point of view that you object to.

            The people I hire are human beings and not interchangeable parts. That question is an attempt to get that across

            Thanks for clearing that up. I though perhaps they were deer, elk, tuna or mosquitoes.
            Of course they’re human beings – this is a totally meaningless and irrelevant statement that provides no justification whatsoever for asking job applicants what they read.

            More expansively, interviewing is like dating

            And that’s the problem with your question – this is a job application not Match.com. You hire people for their job skills not because of their personal interests not related to the job.

            Any question that penalizes honest answers – where the liars make a better impression 100% of the time – should never be asked.

            And how could you possibly detect a lie about what books your applicants have read unless you have read the same book and interrogate them about it?

            Your question should never be asked and if any interviewer dared asked me such a question I would have no difficulty telling them that its none of their business and then leaving immediately.

            1. Garrett Pace

              I’ll think about what you are saying. No one yet has refused to answer the question, or seemed indignant, though candidates are usually primed to not muss feathers in an interview setting.

              I don’t think I can remember the answers anyone’s ever given, even people I’ve hired, though I do remember the passion with which people described things they were interested in.

              I like your energy, but I think you will get your points across more effectively if you are less intemperate.

              Have a nice day.

        2. hunkerdown

          What is a jawb, anyway? That depends on whether you believe the proper norm for collective production is personal or impersonal, whether people should be holistic or compartmentalized in their interactions, whether people should be instruments of others or peers in a common. If people don’t like that I’m reading Debt: The First 5000 Years they clearly want incurious bro tools, not thinking, evolving persons.

          1. Tertium Squid

            I think the problem lies with interviewers as gatekeepers to social and economic stature in our increasingly stratified society. There’s a power differential that people are very aware of, and candidates feel more like serfs begging for a place in the king’s kitchen than seeking the company of equals. Yay global disemployment :/

      3. optimader

        Question I ask applicants:
        What’s a book you read recently that you really liked?

        Book of the Dead, it what inspires me to work with people that ask questions like this. And my favorite color is gray…. if black was a color, that would be my favorite

        So, when do I start?

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      I was laid off so I guess I don’t need to worry about answering job interview questions — but some of the fifteen questions and others have shown up as questions in the web-based application programs. While I can only agree with your assessment of the questions and for sake of getting along, I’ll agree that asking about a book I read recently is a much better question — I also tend to agree with the author of this link. I suspect answering the 15 questions in the skillful manner suggested would greatly increase my chances for employment — assuming I were ever to receive an interview. [I have a few issues — I’m over sixty, and specialized, not by choice I must add, in an area of knowledge now residing at other places, most of them places I have no desire to move to … were I to receive an offer.]

      I started to become deeply troubled reading the 15 questions when I came to the question: “What are you most proud of in your career?” and that feeling of discomfort only grew as I continued with further questions. After almost forty years working I cannot think of a single thing I accomplished to be particularly proud or ashamed of. I could not identify a success of any kind regardless of my boss and coworkers. Have I ever been asked to compromise my integrity? — depending on what is meant by that question — virtually every day I showed up for work — like the waiter in “Being and Nothingness.” What difficult situation did I turn around? Every day was a difficult situation I got through somehow. But I could not turn anything around, difficult or otherwise, without some greater degree of autonomy than I enjoyed.

      The biggest clinker for me was the question about winning the $5 million. Are there really corporate jobs so satisfying that anyone would willingly work at them without the economic compulsions of our free country?

      But in retrospect I believe my job was far better than most and I enjoyed more freedom and autonomy in my work than most other people in the workforce — which is not to say I was free from weekly schedules, forced deadlines, unreasonable constraints, hindrances and abuse, or technical difficulties. Making a profit was the goal at my workplace. What we accomplished for our clients was of lesser importance and what our clients sought to accomplish was usually just as well left undone.

      I’ve been cheated in my job if other people could truthfully answer these 15 questions with pride and confidence. land-mines or not. And then I saw the word “truthfully” as the answer to my consternation and dilemma.

      Lies are the way to success finding a better job than a current job. The trick is learning what can and cannot be confirmed — for example lying about salary or degrees is easy to catch. But well designed lies about success, accomplishment, and personal traits are more difficult to check. They could be backed by a set of carefully prepared answers backed by chosen co-workers trained to corroborate those answers. With properly applied grease, even a boss might help to back up a good story, especially if that boss were happy to see you gone. Questions intended to catch you off your guard will only work as well as your lack of practice allows. Practice, practice and practice your part — and make sure your co-conspirators are well practiced. Learn to read the interviewer to tell how to lie most convincingly — so as to appear “human” in the desired form.

      … And how can we wonder why so many sociopaths and psychopaths seem to reside in so many positions in our rank moldering Corporatocracy?

      1. jrs

        “The biggest clinker for me was the question about winning the $5 million. Are there really corporate jobs so satisfying that anyone would willingly work at them without the economic compulsions of our free country?”

        No, no, and heck no. Now I believe there are certain truly professional careers (and yes they all require advanced degrees) or forms of self-employment that people might work even if they were rich. But corporate employment, no, no, and heck no.

        “Your response to this question tells the employer about your motivation and work ethic.”

        Noone with boatloads of money has that much of a work ethic. Work ethic is just BS they feed the rubes.

        Maybe the rational answer would be: “do you know what the odds of winning millions in the lottery are? Yea so I don’t think we need to worry about that now, do we?” Or maybe they would settle for: “I don’t play the lottery, it’s a stupidity tax and/or I don’t believe in gambling”.

  4. DJG

    The article about medieval chained books with curses written on them (at least, I think that a well-wrought curse can deter theft), I was reminded of Greenblatt’s wonderful book The Swerve, in which he talks about how a semi-pro Italian cleric and book-finder wanders Germany after hearing rumors that a complete version of Lucretius’s poem still exists in a pile in some abbey:


    The results are momentous. The search for books, copying of books, pilfering of books are fascinating. [Currently, I’m also beginning to think that the book is due for a new surge–the “save a tree” meme has turned out to be crap.]

    1. Garrett Pace

      I’ve seen modern “curses” inside the front covers from libraries a century or so ago:

      “This book was stolen from the library of John Thatguy, of Andover, Mass”

      I love that some guy went through and wrote that inside the cover of all his books. Of course, the fact that the book was no longer in his possession and instead sitting in a used bookstore just shows what kind of criminals used book sellers are! :)

  5. dcblogger

    “List of women who have accused Bill Cosby of rape ” I think that should be classified under War on Women.

    1. ambrit

      Cosby should feel lucky he didn’t meet up with someone like the women in my little sisters crew in High School. They once figured out that one of the ‘jocks’ was dosing his dates with Rufinol. As my sister put it, “We caught up with him one Friday night on South Beach. He missed some of the season because of his injuries.”

        1. ambrit

          I believe I understand your objection.
          What we are considering before us is a situation where the “rules” are so finely tweaked in favour of the perpetrator as to make a mockery of the very concept of the “Rule of Law.” In the case of my little sister and her ‘crew’ in High School; they were faced with a mini culture that tacitly approved of the raping of teenage girls. Being teenage girls themselves, they had objections to this policy. (The idiot who said, “When being raped, lie back and endure.” has obviously never been intimately violated.)
          In general, this is a subset of the culture of Paternalism. “We know what is best for you. We will tell you what indignities you will suffer. We will enforce your accedence to your humiliation.” This mindset is common, [see Greece, Euroization of.] As has been evident in the comments sections of NC’s Greece Tragedy posts, the admittance of this power imbalance, much less acceptance of it, is very difficult, nearly impossible, for many to achieve. Once the power dynamics are viewed clearly, the question becomes; what to do about them?
          My little sisters ‘crew’ took what they saw as the only effective response to a problem that was not ‘officially’ resolvable. We here in the West often call it “The Code of the West.” Ethically right or wrong, it is a viable recourse.
          That’s all for now.

  6. timbers

    Will be interesting and depressing to see what happens in a few months when Greece violates the latest “bailout.” If it does take longer than several months no worries, any downturn greater than the current permanent downturn will sink any ability to pay. If they can’t pay back debt now who thinks they can pay back greater debt?

    If anyone is sane in Greece they will begin preparing for EU exit so they’re in better shape to do so when they fail to pay their 3rd bailout debt and Germany cracks the wipe again.

  7. grayslady

    One of the most interesting battles of public schools v. charter schools is occurring right in my general geographic area: Woodland Elementary District 50 v. Prairie Crossing Charter School (both in northern Illinois). Illinois’ law allowing charters has a couple of interesting protections: 1. Charter schools may not be privately owned; and 2. While charter schools are supposed to expand learning opportunities for all students, they are specifically supposed to focus on at-risk students (Section 27A-2 of the Illinois Charter Schools Law).

    Woodland has won the first legal battle against allowing Prairie Crossing to remain open, because, after a warning five years ago, Prairie Crossing still has only .5% at-risk students enrolled, while Woodland has over 30% at-risk students, and all the state funding is being bled off to Prairie Crossing.

    All of us in the area know that Prairie Crossing is loaded with privileged white and Asian kids. Since Prairie Crossing’s “unique educational approach” is to emphasize environmental issues, this is hardly a school likely to improve reading and writing abilities of at-risk students. A quote from the linked article describing Prairie Crossing: “Open since 1999, Prairie Crossing Charter School has had an environmentally focused curriculum that includes outdoor teaching and trash-free lunches.”

    Meanwhile, Woodland recently announced a school breakfast program (in addition to school lunches), because so many of the students were showing up for class hungry. The battle for strong public schools continues, even in supposedly middle-class communities.

  8. frosty zoom

    lambert, you’ve just outed your meat supplier to be in violation of the SHAFTA ISDS.

    it’s ironic: my wife’s family’s pig farm in méxico was put out of business in the 90s by SHAFTA.

    is this capitalism’s final countdown, a state where all businesses have put all other businesses out of business?

    entropy will be pleased.

  9. ex-PFC Chuck


    It looks to me — tinfoil hat time, here — like important factions in the global elite have invested in projects designed to destroy national sovereignty and the nation-state as part of their political portfolios It looks to me — tinfoil hat time, here — like important factions in the global elite have invested in projects designed to destroy national sovereignty and the nation-state as part of their political portfolios . . .

    Perhaps Philip Bobbitt foresaw this thirteen years ago when, in his book The Shield of Achilles: War, Peace, and the Course of History, he suggested that the final for of the state, which had evolved through half a dozen stages since the 15th century, is The Corporate State which was ushered in by the World War of the 20th century (1914-1991). After all, he isn’t very well connected; he is only Lyndon Johnson’s nephew.

  10. Jim

    Reuters reported today that “One of the preconditons imposed on Greece for a deal is that it signs into law European rules that would put euro zone authorities at the ECB and in Brussels, rather than in Athens in charge of identifying and closing or breaking up sick banks.”

    Modern banking is often thought of as a partnership between a particular government and a group of bankers. Usually this partnership is shaped by the institutions that govern the distribution of power in the political system.

    It looks like the ECB will now also be deciding on the rules for entry and exit from and into Greek banking!–as well as being a primary determinant of the more general distribution of power within Greece.

    1. Benedict@Large

      So Greece has surrendered its sovereignty, and become a colony of the European Union, now the foreign policy arm of the Fifth Reich. Of course, this is being covered over by saying Greece has “surrendered MUCH OF its sovereignty”, but that’s really bullshit, because the only sovereignty the Greek government has left is the ability to name fire houses and libraries, at least the ones of those that are left.

  11. sufferinsuccotash

    [T]here are economic laws like there are physical laws, and as with physical laws, economic laws do not yield to political will.
    Anyone who thinks like this shouldn’t even be allowed into a polling place, much less inside the Beltway.

    1. optimader

      economic laws

      Those two words can questionably comingle in the same paragraph but never next to each other. Yes, LS is an idiot, but we’ve known that for some time.

      LS is case study for yet another bureaucrat who got away with speaking over other people authoritatively without being subject to adequate scrutiny.

    2. vidimi

      to be fair, priests of most religions speak in similar terms so i don’t see why you single out neoliberal economics.

  12. David

    Country of Origin Labeling (COOL)

    Once again, an Op-Ed misses the subtlety of the arguments. From the WTO summary

    The Appellate Body concluded that the least costly way of complying with the COOL measure was to rely exclusively on domestic livestock, creating an incentive for US producers to use exclusively domestic livestock and thus causing a detrimental impact on the competitive opportunities of imported livestock. The Appellate Body found further that the record keeping and verification requirements imposed a disproportionate burden on upstream producers and processors compared to origin information conveyed to consumers.

    From the Canadians,

    In the context of the integrated North American beef and pork supply chains, U.S. COOL has resulted in additional and unnecessary costs being imposed on Canadian cattle and hog exports. U.S. processors, for instance, have to segregate Canadian animals and the meat from these animals at their facilities, which generates additional costs. Because of these additional costs, some processors no longer buy Canadian animals, buy them only on certain days, or buy them at a discounted price.

    The summary also states that, while COOL is a “legitimate objective”, it “needs to be assessed against any reasonably available less trade-restrictive alternative measures”. In response, Congress decided to repeal to labeling requirement.

  13. mike

    I went in and read the full article that you give your predictably snarky reaction to Yanis’. I had continued to come here for your afternoon links despite Smith’s despicable bias and selectivity in her commentary about Greece. Turns out you’re just as selective and silly in what you quote from an article that shows him to be far from frivolous and far your and her superior. I don’t care if this doesn’t make it out of moderation. You both should be ashamed of yourselves for your “coverage” and support of what’s happened there. Clearly neither of you have the capacity for that, but you should. No, I won’t be back, and no, I won’t let the door slam on me as I leave.

    1. Lambert Strether

      “[S]upport of what’s happened there.”… I certainly hope you find the happiness you seek elsewhere. A quick warning, though: Don’t try Ian Welsh’s place:

      To be crude, Tsipras and his party have been: stupid through all this, not understanding what they were up against; cowards, in not standing up, and; fools, in not making any contingency plans.

      So I don’t think you’ll be happy there. Good luck!

    2. Yves Smith

      You must also believe that oncologists “support” cancer when they tell a patient he has two month to live, as if this site or the doctor can influence events that are beyond their control.

      And you seem to labor under the delusion that we have bosses.

    1. Jerry Denim

      Yes, I actually just came here to post a link to that story if it wasn’t linked already. It’s without a doubt the most revealing “Yanis Speaks” interview yet. Especially interesting is the details of what Yanis claims his no Drachma plan-B was post ‘Oxi’ vote. I have no idea if he’s telling the truth and if his little plan for an ad-hoc alternative currency was even viable, but perhaps Varoufakis was not a man without a backup plan after all. Seems like this all should have been hashed out and agreed upon well before the referendum was called and well before the big June 30th payment deadline.

  14. efschumacher

    These results are most consistent with an expectations based view of the financial crisis in which both homebuyers and lenders were buying into increasing housing values and defaulted once prices dropped.

    If the authors of this study are incapable of distinguishing between house prices and “housing values” right up in the abstract, what value can there be in the body of the article? Surely any article about house price inflation has to keep this distinction clearly in view.

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