2:00PM Water Cooler 7/2/15

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.



Heh. Then again, Wisconsin’s not an early primary state, so why? The photo op? Small donations in Madison? [@wi_defender (nippersdad)].

This is an oldish post, but I think it’s fair to say it expresses what the pros think [FiveThirtyEight].

[T]he foundational flaws in Sanders’ candidacy are pretty easy to spot. Sanders may be polling well in mostly white New Hampshire, but he hasn’t been able to figure out how to earn more than 5 percent of the nonwhite vote, according to national polls. Nonwhite voters make up more than a third of Democratic primary voters nationally.

Indeed, it’s difficult to imagine why someone who has described himself as a socialist, has never competed for minority voters and has no roots within the Democratic Party should worry Clinton much. She might actually be relieved to be challenged by someone who has so little chance at winning the nomination. Let’s imagine a case where Sanders wins Iowa and New Hampshire. In that world, you’d likely see the Democratic establishment rush in to try to squash Sanders, much as Republicans did to Newt Gingrich in 2012 after he won South Carolina.

Regardless of what you think of Martin O’Malley (and you know how I feel), he at least has won minority voters, has roots in the Democratic party and wouldn’t be labeled as toxic in the general election.

Perhaps Sanders is betting that the “Democratic establishment” is as functional as the Bourbon ancien regime. That’s nothing like a sure bet, but there’s certainly a case to be made for it (and see the latest dynastic antics below). Give credit: Power was lying in the street, and Sanders seized it, not Governor Jawline (and that O’Malley was distracted by a Maryland eruption is no coincidence). 

The S.S. Clinton

“Bill Clinton, Paid to Speak to Biotech Conference, Extolled $1000 Pill to Prevent “Liver Rot,” Despite Lack of Evidence that It Does” [Naked Capitalism]. I’ve gone meta and put an NC post here, first, because it’s such a great catch, and second because it shows the power of the small, deeply knowledgeable, independent blogger to break stories, in this case Roy Poses. Selling patent medicine is flat-out unethical on its face, and that the “liver pill” costs a thousand bucks is a second kick in the stones. Please let’s have no more talk of “lesser evil” with the Clinton Dynasty. It’s true that Dante put fraud only as far down as the Eighth Circle of Hell, but that’s far down enough for me. 

“Hillary Clinton Announces Huge Fundraising Haul” [NBC]. $45 million in Q1. Clinton: “I’m grateful for all you’ve done and excited for what comes next”  [Yahoo News]. Ka-ching.

“Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton attended a $2,700-per-person fundraiser at the home of Lynn Rothschild on Tuesday, the same day that archived emails released by the State Department showed that Rothschild may have influenced a profile of the former secretary of state” [Sunlight Foundation]. Ka-ching.

“Hillary Clinton, the democratic frontrunner for President, will visit Provincetown today to attend a major fundraiser at a private waterfront home on the far west end of Commercial Street” [Cape Cod]. “[A]bout 300 people will attend the gala with about half of those paying $2,700, the maximum donation allowed in a primary election. Those donors will get to meet Clinton in a smaller setting. The other half of the attendees will have paid $1,000.” Ka-ching.

Scouring the privatized and partially revealed Clinton emails for relentlessly trivial fun facts and bright shiny objects [HuffPo]. No ka-ching, that being the point.

Can do better: “Hillary Clinton tried to help one private-equity boss with a visa problem and encouraged another on a project in China. She apologized to the chairman of a big corporation for failing to commit to an event right away” [Bloomberg]. Constituent services. Ka-ching.

“Obama: I’m Reagan and Hillary can be Bush 41” [Politico]. The headline is a fair summary.

“New York Democrats Join Mayor de Blasio in a Chorus of Dissent Against Governor Cuomo” [New York Times]. All about dark horse Deblasio’s dark horse populist *** cough *** 2016 run?

“Four Democrats, 14 Republicans in Presidential Race” [Bloomberg]. And it’s early days yet!

Republican Principled Insurgents

“Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker will officially announce his bid for the White House on July 13 in the Milwaukee suburb of Waukesha” [Politico]. Any Wisconsinites want to weigh in on the location?

“Scott Walker’s Hard Right Turn in Iowa May Hurt Him Elsewhere” [New York Times]. No, it won’t. Walker stomps Democrats. “He has to say that. Anyhow, he didn’t say it. What’s wrong with you?” Worked with Obots.

Republican Clown Car

Trump: “The real estate mogul is rocking the polls, but he’s also been engulfed in an escalating feud with Hispanics over remarks from his campaign launch, when he said Mexico was sending criminals and rapists across the border” [The Hill]. No doubt Republicans will try to avoid hurting “the GOP brand” by keeping Trump out of the debates. Pass the popcorn.

The Hill

“Pelosi: Warren doesn’t speak for all Dems” [The Hill].  Thank heavens. Pelosi’s a traitor on TPP, and Warren isn’t.

Stats Watch

Employment Situation, June 2015: “softer-than-expected employment report where nonfarm payroll growth came in at 223,000 vs Econoday expectations for 230,000 and include downward revisions totaling 60,000 to the two prior months (” [Bloomberg]. “Push back that rate hike, at least that will be the initial reaction.” Attaboy! More free money for those who already have money by the boatload!  As if QE ever did anything for working people whatever. Venturing gingerly into macro: The fool in the shower at the Fed doesn’t just have a timing problem — the lag between turning the hot water faucet up and feeling hot water means that people tend to turn up the water faucet a second time, burning themselves. No, the fools in the shower at the Fed have a plumbing problem: They think that their faucet is connected to the hot water tank at all. It isn’t. Then again, a lot of highly paid neoliberal professionals have a great deal of intellectual capital invested in watching that faucet and recommending how to turn it. So there’s that.

Jobless Claims, week of June 27, 2015: “Unemployment is very low right now” [Jobless Claims]. “There are no special factors in today’s report, one that points to unusually low levels of unemployment.” No mention of the labor force participation rate. “Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer must be thrilled! Americans NOT in the Labor Force jumped by 640,000 to a whopping 93.6 million” [Confounded Interest]. That’s not a bug. It’s a feature.

Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index, week of June 28, 2015: “Payroll growth may be soft but consumer confidence is very strong right now” [Bloomberg].

Factory Orders, May 2015: “The factory sector, hit by weak exports, continues to stumble with factory orders down 1.0 percent in May” [Bloomberg]. Worse than expected. “With the economy as a whole doing fine ***cough***, it’s surprising ***cough*** to see how weak the factory sector has been.”

“Did The West Coast Port Dispute Contribute To The First-Quarter GDP Slowdown?” [Liberty Street].

“Hedge Funds Fight to Save Puerto Rico Investments” [D%albook, New York Times]. 


“German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, whose tough stance in bailout talks with Greece has turned him into a hate-figure there, has surged to a new high in popularity at home, with 70 percent of Germans saying they approve of the job he is doing” [Ekathimerini].

Varoufakis on printing drachmas: “We smashed the printing presses” as a condition of joining the Euro. “[W]e have no printing presses [Raw Story].

Josh Davis, Content Manager, Grassroots Economic Organizing answers my repeated question: “Where are the co-operative networks in Greece?” in mail:

Here’s a partial answer to your question about what the left has been doing to fill in the gaps left by austerity in Greece. Gawker

When a tax increase folded into electricity bills resulted in cutoffs for people unable to pay, lists were made and local electricians were dispatched to illegally restore services, with priority afforded to those most vulnerable (the elderly, new parents). A former military installation seized by residents and converted into a community park and cultural center boasted sizeable gardens, tended by locals of varying ages.

When I visited one of the city’s [Athens] oldest popular assemblies in 2012, in the neighborhood of Petralona, residents had just opened a kitchen space on one street corner, with the intention of both providing affordable meals and educating young people about food cultivation, preparation, and health. Participation in all of it seemed pretty eclectic, to my outsider eye. Even local government officials joined in—acting as residents like any others, sometimes with their families in tow. Perhaps even more telling, assemblies were sharing resources between neighborhoods. They were confederating, demonstrating both an ability and an intention to scale up.

TEMS, the alternative currency, also seems to be helping ease things a little, as well as an innovative direct sales platform for producers which sounds a little like a CSA. The Express:

In 2010, when civil service wages were cut, our income was almost halved but there have been some key developments in Volos which have helped us get by.

The most important thing has been the local exchange trading system, the TEM, a form of barter system introduced by Volos residents because so many people were struggling to afford items in euros.

In the three years since I have been trading in TEM, by offering English and guitar lessons, second-hand clothes and bric-a-brac, I have earned and spent 9,500 TEM.

One TEM is equivalent to one euro but scarcer goods and services within the TEM network become more important and then there is no price control so people can charge what they want. To get an idea of the costs and what’s available, I had a week’s holiday with my two children last summer on Mount Pelion, north-east of Volos, which cost 270 TEM and e30.

I had two years of shiatsu massage at 20 TEM a session. I also buy lots of our family’s clothes and shoes with TEM and regularly buy ready-meals with it.

Another important development that has helped our family is the movement Without Middlemen, which began in 2012 as a “potato revolution”. This is a pan-Hellenic initiative where producers such as farmers, dairies and millers, and factories making basic household goods, offer them up directly to consumers via the internet. All items are at least half the retail price as they avoid supermarket margins.

Our local group pre-orders a month before the delivery date. Then, every six weeks the producers bring their goods to a site on the outskirts of town. It’s always on a Saturday morning and is well organised by volunteers.

It is another way of making sure the basics are obtainable.

Lambert here: Time will tell whether these networks can function in the absence of a banking system and a fiat currency. I’d note that pensioners won’t be able to feed themselves by offering guitar and English lessons, and a shiatsu massage isn’t the same thing as fuel in the winter. That said, I find the active participation of the civil service fascinating; it reminds me of Non-Violent Method of Protest and Persuasion #198: Parallel Sovereignty. If power is lying in the street, will the co-ops be able to pick it up?

Without money to buy fuel, Greeks turn to firewood, leading to illegal logging and deforestation (which also ruins the soil, decreasing food production) [NPR]. “In November [2-11] alone, according to figures released by the forest service, 30% of forests were lost due to the activities of illegal loggers” [Greek Reporter]. That number is so huge that I wonder if the translation is right. “Such woodcutting was last common in Greece during Germany’s brutal occupation in the 1940s, underscoring how five years of recession and waves of austerity measures have spawned drastic measures” [Wall Street Journal]. Winter is coming.

Nomura on “redenomination” and political risk [@katie_martin_fx].

“Why Greece’s socialists just might be political masterminds” [Bloomberg]. The problem with all these post facto “Just So” stories — highly fantasized origin stories, like “How the Elephant got his Trunk” — is that, by construction, they assume that the Syriza leadership are Straussian philosopher kings, deceiving their people with the “noble lie.” Does the left really regard this model as prefigurative? We know how the Straussian movie ends. 

“[T]he insane construction of the euro – a naked currency union without fiscal and political foundations – must inevitably tend to authoritarian monetary dystopia in the end” [Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Daily Telegraph]. Sounds to me like Greece caught the early bus.

Black Injustice Tipping Point

“Crunching The Numbers On Blacks’ Views On Gays” [NPR].

“The Mystery of St. Louis’s Veiled Prophet” [The Atlantic].

But the city’s inability to deal with its history of racial inequality, always closely tied to class issues, has run parallel to the city’s cultural and economic decline, leaving it in something resembling a stupor. A case study in this long decline can be found in the emblematic history of the annual Fair Saint Louis.


In shocker, Rahm gives his private equity buddies a reach-around on Chicago teacher’s retirement funds fees [International Business Times]. Because it’s all about the fee fees. What are friends for?

he initiative could end up shifting billions into a fund whose portfolio is run, in part, by Grosvenor Capital and Madison Dearborn Partners, two firms whose executives have together given over $4 million to the mayor’s campaigns and affiliated PACs. That includes over $2.7 million from Grosvenor CEO Michael Sacks and his wife, Cari. Sacks has been called Emanuel’s “fixer” and “go-to guy;” he was appointed by Emanuel to serve as vice chairman of World Business Chicago, an economic development group that Emanuel chairs.

The corruption is just out in the open, now, isn’t it? And Rahm is blazing the trail for Obama’s Presidential Library, I have no doubt.

Police State

“Report Concludes Police Shooting Victim in Washington State Probably Had a Rock” [New York Times]. Oh. OK.

“Georgia family seek arrest of Stonecrest Mall guards for punching boy” [Guardian]. Classy!

America the Petrostate

“BP to pay Gulf states $18.7 billion in Deepwater Horizon disaster settlement” [Christian Science Monitor]. And none of the CEOs go to jail. They have impunity, like all CEOs.

Class Warfare

“Impact of Rapid Urbanization on Health” [Counterpunch]. What do you mean? Health in the good neighborhoods is perfectly OK!

 ‘Terminator’ jokes abound as Sarah O’Connor reports on deadly robot accident” [Daily Dot].

News of the Wired

“[T]here’s a new form of Bubble Wrap coming out — and this one won’t pop” [HuffPo]. Maybe they could use Greenspan’s name for branding?

“Zane, the Queen of Erotica, Has a Secret” [Washingtonian].

* * *

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 (via H):


More from H’s permaculture project in Texas:

8) garden path framed by loquats on either side, some Chinese garlic and basil under the left loquat, and a ferny asparagus trying to escape its bed by hanging over the path in the foreground

The curve of this path is so inviting! As garden paths so often are….

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. diptherio

    Thanks for posting that info on Greece. Let me pile on a little:

    Grassroots Groups in Greece: Infographic

    While it does remain to be seen how robust these systems of self-support will be in a full-on collapse scenario, I find it highly encouraging that people are working along these lines and thinking outside the paradigm of waiting for someone in gov’t to make everything ok. It’s a long way from a complete alternative system, but it looks to be headed in a hopeful direction.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I agree on hopeful, but I’d also like some numbers. Occupy Sandy was great, but how many Occupy Sandy’s would it take to feed and shelter New York, whose population of 8 million is similar to Greece’s at 11 million? A back of the envelope calculation there would show the organizational capacity needed by the Greek networks, but I don’t have the ability to do it.

      On another note, it seems likely that humanitarian aid is likely to come, and, if so, it will be interesting to see whether it’s funneled through the Greek state or the networks — noting some of Greek people work in both structures, a neat illustration of Gramsci’s point that the state and civil society are distinct only as objects of study. (There’s also a conversation to be had on skepticism about disaster relief.)

      1. diptherio

        (Continued) mass suffering seems inevitable. It’s about mitigating the extent of the damage at this point. Every little bit helps, right?

        On the disaster relief note, Nepal’s PM tried to require all foreign aide for earthquake relief to go through a gov’t fund, but the NGOs all balked because of well-known corruption issues. Consequently, much of the aide has gone in uncoordinated and, as a result, probably not as effective as it could be. Greece may face a similar situation.

        1. grizziz

          In deference to the elderly and/or disabled Greeks dependent on pensions, their plight really sucks at this point. Still, 5 years into this mess I would suspect that there is a massive off the books cash economy that is humming along. How many billions of Euro’s were taken from cash machines and banks in the last month? 100?? The world’s highwaymen must be descending on Athens. Many Greeks must be losing sleep over their uncomfortably stuffed mattresses. Anyone estimate the the velocity of this money since it is not likely circulating through the local bank branches unless absolutely necessary.
          Listening to the Cab driver from Oz in this mornings links and the taking of public electricity (Triaged of course, only the truly needy were provisioned by the righteous**cough**) a picture of rampant scofflaws appears. I think the hidebound bureaucrats in Brussels and other European Capitals covering for their debt holding masters is truly abhorrent. Yet, absent any good information it hard not imagining the the little guy in Greece hasn’t already adapted to the current situation.
          Oh, remember this comedian from 2012.

          1. Yves Smith

            The problem is there already was a massive off the books economy. Greece has way way higher us of cash v. cards and checks for payments than most places. And you are right to be inferring that when things are bad enough that people pull cash out of banks, they are so worried that they go into hoarding mode.

      2. Oregoncharles

        There’s going to be an EU country attracting disaster aid because of EU policies?

        How will that play in, say, Barcelona (and yes, there’s an equally cagy post on that up above.)

      3. different clue

        I’ve never been to Greece, obviously. What I have read indicates that there may be one telling difference between Greece and the Sandy area. The Sandy people were mostly densepacked urbanites or mini-yard suburbanites at best. How many of them had the knowledge or the ability to grow survival amounts of survival food? For Greece that question would be relevant because Greece may be facing an import-killing breakdown lasting for years. But many Athensians have country relatives and I gather some even have family rural land they can flee back to. They have a semi-populated countryside semi-able to ramp up semi-fast for production of survival food and ways to get it into the cities. Greece may be able to adapt to its coming Special Period the way Cuba was able to adapt to its Special Period. Part of it would indeed be accepting that Greece is being maneuvered into a Cuba-under-the-blockade position and that the Special Period that Greece faces will be very special indeed.

        1. Yves Smith

          Greece does not produce enough food to feed its population at anything above near-starvation levels (and even that assumes measures to assure equal distribution of calories). That would probably get worse in a crisis (if noting else, reduced commercial fishing due to difficulty of importing petroleum and even if you can get it, greatly higher cost).

          1. different clue

            Is Greece producing all the food that Greece “could” produce? If a lot of disemployed people went back to their families’ ancestral lands, or began intensive gardening if only on a few square feet per disemployed person, how much more food could be grown?
            Maybe no more than now. I don’t claim the expert knowledge to say otherwise.

            But since Europe plans to put Greece through a “Special Period” for the next few years at least, the Greeks can either think about growing more food or fail to think about growing more food. Their response to this challenge may influence how they pass through this Darwinian Filter being engineered for them.

    1. JohnB

      Here’s the CEO of that company pouring doubt on the idea of having printed drachma’s (in my interpretation anyway), saying it’s something that would take months etc:

      Still, Syriza have been in government a while now, it’s conceivable that the long process of printing drachma could have begun shortly after they got in.

      All the same, the rumours can just as easily be deliberately spread to boost that companies stock…

      1. Yves Smith

        The issue is not just printing drachma but getting them into ATMs. Clive who used to work on an ATM network described why it will take months even if you have the drachma.

    2. Oakchair

      Maybe Greece could try just having a digital currency until it can print enough bills. Anyone know how the logistics of a digital Drachma would go? Syriza should of had some plan B ready to go. For example selling themselves (primary their military and technology) to China and/or Russia

      1. hunkerdown

        Bitcoin or similar = the BND might have enough computer power and deniable network access to cause the “50%+1 problem” and overwhelm any reasonable national-scale payments network based on consensus protocols. If they don’t, GCHQ might see enough common cause to do them a solid. Very risky to try that.

        Notice also that the Greek government had pipeline plans cooking, but of the political sort, not the business sort, and Gazprom’s CEO didn’t care to play that game.

      2. Yves Smith

        Huh? You can’t use ANY currency unless you have a payment network, You have the same operational issues with bitcoin (worse, since you can’t distribute them outside an electronic network).

        And bitcoin is even worse than staying in the Euro. The reason for leaving is so you can be a monetary sovereign and “print” and have your own central bank. You can’t do that with bitcoin. It’s designed with the explicit intent of making that impossible.

        The maximum amount of bitcoin that will ever be mined (and remember there are people mining them all over the world) is 21 million. The current price of a bitcoin is $257. Even if you charitably assume bitcoin rises to $1000, the maximum is $21 billion. The amount needed to recapitalize the Greek banking system, which is the first order of business, is more than double that. And bitcoin mining is not free either.

    1. Vatch

      Famous dead chef Charlie Trotter was also sued for withholding tips. That lawsuit was settled confidentially.

    2. montanamaven

      Why we have tipping at all still makes me crazy. Why should I subsidize a restaurant owner? In many European countries, a waiting is a good profession with decent salary and doesn’t include hoping to get a good tip.

      1. bob the builder

        The government is tipping wal mart and the entire fast food industry.
        Walmart and fast food pay their employees so little, that the welfare state has to pick up the rest of the tab.

        Its the tipping model on a large scale. We all pick up the tab for employers that pay poverty wages.

  2. nippersdad

    This sounded good!


    “First they ignore you….” This on the heels of the Pelosi debacle downplaying the Warren effect upon the Party; smells like wet pants. Watching Sanders’ livestream last night he pulled no punches. If he is playing the sheepdog, he is one who is actively maiming his farmer whilst letting the sheep run amok…and fifteen million ain’t as bad haul for the first quarter.

  3. nippersdad

    Seems to me that any mention of Lady Lynn Forrester de Rothschild should be synonymous with bad press for the Clinton’s after having trotted her out last time. Much was made about their heavy investments in outsourcing to India and their friendship with Kissinger during the last campaign. Prolly not the best spokeshole in the present political environment. As you say, Lambert, they forget nothing and they learn nothing.

  4. Phil Perspective

    Perhaps Sanders is betting that the “Democratic establishment” is as functional as the Bourbon ancien regime. That’s nothing like a sure bet, but there’s certainly a case to be made for it (and see the latest dynastic antics below).

    This is exactly right. Look at NY. Look at Illinois. Most state Democratic parties are corrupt and worthless. Just look at the most recent mid-terms. As someone, I think on Twitter, said: The GOP is 100% owned by the banks and oligarchs, the Democrats are owned 80%. That leaves Sanders an awfully big opening.

    1. Brindle

      On my twitter feed I have a few movie insider/professionals ( I am a little bit of a film geek). Yesterday they were delving into Bernie Sanders and how he could ruin it for Hillary. Nothing about policies, just Sanders should tone it down—like right now. These people are Clinton’s base and they are a little concerned about Sanders. Good for Bernie, he’s got the Dem establishment types a little worried.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Sounds like we can await some “spontaneous,” “viral” video productions from this crowd. There was one from Sanders the other day. They should do more. And also start claiming hash tags.

  5. subgenius

    Yeah it’s all milk and honey in the world of work, just pull yourself up through hard work and dedication.

    So having been screwed on a coding gig and going back to set building…I have now been screwed on that too.

    I haven’t been paid in 3 months.

    Every time it is a rich c*** in a BMW/merc with designer clothes screwing me out of barely above minimum wage because they “can’t afford to pay”

    At this point I am going to cheer on the guillotines.

    Is it just my incredible bad luck, or is this place simply entirely populated by assholes?

    1. subgenius

      If I could afford to leave I would go to Greece…at least there I would fit in (other than the language, appearance, etc…so really I guess no different to here…)

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        “We’re going to Greece!”

        “And swim the English Channel?”

        * * *

        Seriously, sorry for that. I take it you can’t be a digital nomad?

        1. subgenius

          I don’t seem to get hired by anybody worth working for. Being digitally remote means they can blow me off even more easily. Next gig that doesn’t pay will land me an assault charge. So over this shit you wouldn’t believe.


          Dependent on me managing not to get homeless RIGHT NOW due to nonpayment of rent.

      2. diptherio

        Wanna come live in an ecovillage in MT and take care of old people? We might not be able to pay either, but the scenery is better…[actually being a little serious here] We’re going to build a place like this with living quarters for assisted-living clients and care-workers attached. The more the merrier!

        1. subgenius

          Actually looking at that kind of option…or maybe putting myself into a Buddhist monastery (technically I am more an old school daoist…but whatever). Resisting leaving completely as its a guaranteed way to lose my green card & I have a cat I am responsible for and don’t have a good place (or will) to abandon her…although the monasteries aren’t into pets.

          Never a simple damn choice in my life…

    2. hunkerdown

      Always maintain a programmer’s lien. Sounds like someone’s project just got open-sourced… ;)

      1. subgenius

        Lol…no this one was a set build for rich hack assholes…take my design hire idiots to make a hash of it – its amazing how many rich assholes have zero requirement for quality in anything they do to generate income….but work on their personal space and NOTHING is ever good enough…

        Last project in node/meteor I was thinking I was good as it was barely above minimum wage…but even that was too much for the asshole in charge to pay…

        I think it must be me – I have a lot of difficulty understanding WHAT these people bring to the table that justifies their income levels… But as they all succeed and I fail there must be something I am missing…

        Just found some cash in hand laboring to fill my time. Best I can do with reams of qualifications and experience in about 4 or 5 separate fields…

        1. Titus Pullo

          I think it must be me – I have a lot of difficulty understanding WHAT these people bring to the table that justifies their income levels…

          They have nothing. They are all aware of it. It is all a con.

        2. hunkerdown

          Magic: the ability to manipulate consciousness (in this case, of others) in accordance with will. That’s pretty much it, really. Nothing that those not deprived of the tools by exclusive education couldn’t do.

    3. Yves Smith

      The amount you are owed is probably above the max in small claims court, but you could try that. Or what state are you in? Is anyone here an attorney in that state who would volunteer to send a nastygram? People like that know you aren’t serious unless they get a letter on letterhead from an attorney licensed in that state.

  6. different clue

    If shortage of fossil fuel even for home-heating and cooking becomes a permanent and persistent feature of Greece’s future existence, at what point would the Greek people become ready to think about fuel-targeted crops of renewable trees, shrubs and bushes? Books have been written about high fuel-value woody plants for Third World countries and if Greece is ready to swallow its pride and admit its own Third World status to itself, then perhaps Greeks would become ready to investigate these sources of knowledge.

    Here is an outright pdf of a whole damn book on the subject.

    Since more than two links at a time chokes the system, I will end this comment here and send another comment with another two links in it.

    1. JTMcPhee

      Note the word “burning” and the phrase “fuel wood” in all this.

      I thought the idea was to stop turning carbonaceous materials into carbon monoxide. I’m an older guy, love the smell of a wood fire, strokes all those ancient neurons that associate contained fire with ‘home’ and all that — but really, there are other ways to cook and heat water and produce light that don’t involve carrying on the same old same old under the comforting illusion of “green-ness…”

      1. different clue

        You are correct in that we have ALways wanted to avoid burning wood ( or anything else) down to Carbon MONoxide, being that Carbon MONoxide is a very deadly gas. What we want to do is oxidize it comPLETEly down into Carbon DIoxide. After Carbon has burned all the way down to Carbon DIoxide, Carbon has no more burning left that it can possibly do. We have extracted all the chemical bond energy from it that we possibly can.

        Now . . . CO2 in excess presents a global warming problem. But if we are burning only as much fuel wood per year as new fuel wood we grow per the same year, we are not net-adding any new CO2 to the atmosphere. We are merely recycling a set number of Carbon atoms from reduced to oxidized to reduced to oxidized and round and round. And if we count the CO2 remaining behind fixed in the roots below the soil surface, we are net sequestering a little bit of the sky carbon and doing a bit of skycarbon draining. So sustainable harvest-rotation fuelwood doesn’t HAVE to be a problem if DONE RIGHT.

        1. JTMcPhee

          My bad! I knew the difference between MONO and DI, my aging fingers sometimes don’t. But you got me there. I consider myself impeached beyond rehabilitation.

          I would be interested in the research that shows the balance between CO2 out of a burning log, and CO2 taken up by the tree it comes from (or its wise replacement). And does that equivalence include the action those molecules have on the wider world while they are circulating up in the atmosphere? The number of additional BTUs of incident energy absorbed by the planet we share while they are blowing in the wind? Ocean acidification while they wend their way through the cycle? All that other stuff that gets bundled into “global warming?”

          And not all that lignin, tannin and so forth burns down to CO2 in any event. Creosote, for example, is a fine mix of polynucleated hydrocarbons, most of which are carcinogenic, note the “carbon” in the chemical species? There are, I suppose, reasons why some places find it necessary to regulate or ban wood burning for fuel? Maybe there are some hints in this EPA document, that can lead pretty easily to the science (and politics) behind EPA’s rulemaking setting “New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) for Residential Wood Heaters”? http://www.epa.gov/burnwise/ordinances.html I’m sure aficionados of combustion of wood, and the manufacturers and sellers of wood stoves and so forth, have laid out the case in favor, which can be found in the administrative record for and response to comments for the rule.

          For me, I am saving up for the stuff for a solar water heater, and if Florida government was not so effing corrupt and bought by utility corporations and other thieves of the future, I would be a lot closer to PV power for my house (when I lived on a boat, two 135-watt panels provided all our “house” power including refrigeration,lighting,fans etc., though as my wife and I aged and needed A/C to survive, we did use grid energy, our sin). And yes, there’s environmental costs, many of them externalized, in manufacture of solar panels, and in living in a single-family detached subdivision house, I am well aware of that. I continue to take Navy showers as partial penance for my sins against my neighbors (who mostly care less, are “careless.”) There are apologists for every large-scale-deleterious thing we do, of course: http://www.forbes.com/sites/larrybell/2014/01/29/epas-wood-burning-stove-ban-has-chilling-consequences-for-many-rural-people/ Done Right? Is Right, with all the externalities accounted for, written down somewhere for all of us to examine? like we might like to examine the texts of the “trade deals?”

          Big hint for all of us: the margins are getting very narrow, and there is no more “away” to which things can be “thrown.”

          Burning wood for fuel has costs, has externalities, that’s all of my point. All us humans need to learn what is killing all of us and stop doing that. And feeling that “we” are exceptional and justifying what “we” want to do ain’t gonna get us all pulling on the same end of the rope.

          1. different clue

            Why feel impeached? We all have “someheimers” moments. I’m getting old enough to have them now.

            ” Done Right” is certainly being conceptually attempted and thought about. Here is a blogpost from a website called Permaculture Reflections about sustainable harvesting of coppice-able high heating-value-wood species of trees. Such trees could be mixed in with other trees and etc. as part of a permaculture to give some fuelwood and some food, herbal medicines, shade, soil holding, all the things a permaculture forest can do.

            It looks like the author/ sitemaster has tried a lot of careful hard thinking about the problems you bring up. It won’t be the grand solution for all the billions, but it will be a spot focus solution for some. And I should think it will inflict zero harm on the areas right around it.

      2. Steve H.

        Some places require chemical storage of fuel. Lower Indiana can be overcast for a week.

        Coppicing (and Sunflower kindling – nice) are direct delivery solar-to-chemical, no middleman or externalities. A rocket stove is wonderfully efficient; Aprovecho makes a very nice one that scales for boiling water for food for a day. Or you can make one from cinderblocks, it’s a matter of geometry and insulation.

        The thing with solar, unless it is albedo-pure reflectance back to space, there’s thermal transfer and it contributes to global warming. It’s a matter of degree.

        1. different clue

          I am just an amateur science buff, so I am a little confused about how/why solar energy harvesting at earth-surface would contribute to global warming. Could an explanation be supplied so I can carefully think my way through it?

          1. JTMcPhee

            If the amount of energy entering and staying in the atmosphere and surface of the planet was increased by the amount absorbed and re- radiated locally by solar panels that are designed to absorb some frequencies of sun energy and must also absorb others, in a way that exceeds what the “natural” surface does, that adds heat to the atmosphere and surface (land and water) of this planet. Look up albedo and ground reflectance. There are other effects too, http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/HWY/OIPP/docs/Solar_GlarePotentialWL.pdf

            Like everything is today and always has been, a condition that has been masked by our selfishness and previously less apparent magnitude of the damage we humans do, it’s complicated. And too many of us, who happily eat the seed corn of the planet, are oblivious or give the stinkfinger to the future.

            1. different clue

              That more heat would simply re-radiate back out into space as more IR radiation.
              Or it used to would-have before Greenhouse Gas skydumping raised the atmosphere’s ability to retain that IR outradiation and prevent it from escaping.
              Reduce the Greenhouse gas skyload back to pre-industrial levels and solar-energy heat-generation will be not-a-problem, because the de-Greenoused atmosphere would allow the heat to escape as IR once again, as in the days before excessive Carbon/Nitrous Oxide/etc. skydumping.

  7. bob the builder

    What’s the point of capitalism when the states and the federal government have borrowed 23 trillion to subsidize capitalism? 70% of workers earn poverty wages, and they need welfare just to survive. On the other side of the scale, we have attractive GDP, Productivity, corporate profits, and a bull market in equities. A few hundred capitalists are worth northwards of 3 trillion and the vast majority of american citizens can’t afford the basic necessities.

    What am i missing? Is capitalism working or isn’t it?

    1. John Smith

      We have a system whereby the government subsidizes private credit creation and it works great for creating wealth but not for sharing it since it basically borrows the purchasing power of the entire population without adequate compensation or even the population’s permission.

      The system is crooked but it has worked after a fashion as long as domestic workers were needed. Now they are increasingly NOT needed.

      You can call that capitalism but I call it banksterism.

      1. bob the builder

        Excellent summation.

        The US used to exploit 3rd world nations, everything seemed fine, when they extracted resources and peasant labor around the world. Now that the elites have decided that they no longer need US citizens, they have begun to consume the locals.

        1. different clue

          There is a theory that looting the Third World was done for practice and for learning how. Looting the former Soviet Union was testing the methods on a developed area. Looting the US itself was always the ultimate end goal.

          1. John Merryman

            The physics is flawed. Gravity doesn’t collapse to the absolute, nor does space expand to the infinite. It is a convective cycle of collapsing mass and expanding radiation. Black holes are just a vortex and the energy gets shot out the poles.
            Without this fluctuation around the median, reality would just be a big flatline. You know when the wave is cresting though, when its mostly foam and bubbles.
            They are certainly taking enough rope to hang themselves.
            Keep in mind, when you are talking billions of people, its no longer politics, its physics.
            Not to get too abstract, but I’m one of those people who mostly just see patterns and dynamics. Think of it as an action movie, not a drama.

            1. different clue

              I was visiting my brother once in South East Colorado. The movie Twister! came out and reached that area just when I was there. We all went to see Twister! I heard a story that a movie audience watching Twister! over in the next town had the movie theater they were in hit by a tornado while they were watching Twister!

              Is this the situation we are in? Even if we think we are in the audience and not on the screen, that a tornado is coming to a movie theater near us real soon?

  8. grayslady

    Lambert, you asked about Waukesha, WI: It’s a very upscale, white, Republican ‘burb in the Milwaukee region. Sensenbrenner (an heir to the Kimberly-Clark fortune and far-right winger) represents the area in D.C.

    1. Left in Wisconsin

      Waukesha County is the heart of Walker-land (though his own residence is just east in Wauwatosa in Milwaukee County). Waukesha County has a history of very high voter turnout (98%), votes hard Republican, and is often the last county to report votes in the state and provides the margin of victory.

      Even so, I would expect a small invite-only crowd.

    2. RanDomino

      We refer to it as “Walkersha” and “The seat of evil incarnate whence flow the filth of Moloch”. Usually the former.
      Basically it’s where all the worst people White Flight-ed to to get away from “those people” in Milwaukee.
      In 2011 there was some very shady shit with the local election manager in the judicial election. Let’s put all the votes on one unsecured computer before reporting them, seems legit.
      Lots of churches.

  9. JTMcPhee

    My mom pointed out the idiocy of asking to be allowed to do something or other “because everyone else is doing it.” The people of Greece are having the lesson hammered home with respect to joining the Euro and EU. The peoples of other nations (“Nation” being a category that still seems to still be sort of a natural unit in how humans subdivide and organize themselves, with a lot of caveats of course), must be feeling the same distress.

    I wonder, in a more deadly context, where nuclear weapons and puff-chested generals and blind-fool Elites and politicians are involved in a different but intimately linked part of the Game, whether the peoples of those various nations might, in addition to asking why they are saddled with scam-generated “debt” as a result of joining the Geuropean Union, also ask what they get, other than getting to buy “American” weapons and have Victoria Nuland call them filthy names and overthrow their governments, what they get from having joined NATO, an organization in search of an enemy to justify more corruption…. and potentially World War-grade conflagration as a result of accidents and errors, like this: “How a Nato war game took the world to brink of nuclear disaster,” http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2013/nov/02/nato-war-game-nuclear-disaster

    “If everyone else decided to go jump off the Brooklyn Bridge because it is ‘cool,’..”

  10. George Phillies

    The Greeks may not have government printing presses, but the Russians do, the Iranians surely do because they are as good as ours or the Europeans and there was an issue about this some decades ago, several European countries do, and of course the Greek Government is so incredibly efficient that you can be confident that they were telling the truth about smashing their printing presses.

    1. Oregoncharles

      And the Mafia, and….

      Given the level of corruption, I imagine the Greek government sold the presses to the nearest counterfeiters. Those could be legalized overnight.

  11. Benedict@Large

    The complaint about Bernie and blacks is nonsense that only a Democratic insider could cook up. (He’s getting the same crap about women too, BTW.) First, Bernie’s focus has always been economic issue, and anyone saying that economics is not at the forefront of black issue (or female) needs their head examined. Second, Bernie has never had to present himself for office where he’s had to make special cut-outs for black voters. Vermont is not Maryland. But what Bernie has shown he’s been able to do in Vermont across his entire professional career is reach across ideologies. He gets nearly the same response from conservative north Vermont that he does from liberal south Vermont.

    This black (and female) stuff will go away as soon as people hear what Bernie has to say: This is the middle class, and I think every American deserves at least this. that’s the message people seem to want to hear. And that includes black and female Americans too.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Democratic elite like Republicans will use social issues to distract and divide. Bernie must be causing a stir.

    2. different clue

      There comes a time where it is up to black and etc. voters to choose to decide to be intelligent enough to consider their economic interests in political decision making. If they choose to shrink from that challenge, the outcome is entirely theirs to own.

  12. MikeNY

    Glad to see that The Donald & Comb-over are already delivering … top that, Bobby Jindal!

    Heartening story on blacks and gays from NPR.

  13. bob the builder

    Sanders was channeling FDR last night. The crowd was electric. Sanders talks the talk, but he also walks the walk. He is calling out the bankers and the billionaires, he is challenging them.

    I can’t recall any other modern presidential candidate that has gone after the economic royalists as forcefully as Sanders has.

  14. jsn

    In Greece, “according to figures released by the forest service, 30% of forests were lost due to the activities of illegal loggers”

    If true, simple neo-liberal ideology will have done to Greece what it took the combined navies of the US, France and Great Britain two hundred years to accomplish in Haiti. Bonus point for pulling off this outcome in the birthplace of democracy. Now there’s a killer ideology for you!

    1. different clue

      If that was happening from before the advent of neo-liberalism, then the Greece-specific causes will have to be located elsewhere than in neo-liberalism. If Greece comes under a Cuba-style EuroZone blockade, the Greeks will have to decide how much illegal logging they can tolerate.

  15. Gaylord

    If Greece is under an existential threat, then why doesn’t it use its powerful military forces to do some creative bashing? That might get some attention.

    1. JTMcPhee

      Like a lot of militaries, not a lot of smart people working on actual defense, preparedness, all that –but a lot working on “DEFENSE, American style” — subs that don’t work, tanks with no ammo, vehicles not maintained. It;s almost as if the “mission” is similar to the bureaucracy that is “our” military: unbridled growth, while figuring out ever more sophisticated and compendious ways to kill huge numbers of people. Preferably by nanoweapons or rail guns or hypersonic attack aircraft or autonomous killing machines, with ridiculously incompetent aircraft circling overhead, intermediating messages from “orbiting assets” that provide Real-Time Network-Centric Battlespace Management…

    2. vidimi

      i think that syriza has been keeping the cashflow to the military generous to ensure, as much as it is possible, that no coup takes place.

  16. juliania

    Since you brought up the “noble lie” concept, Lambert, it needs to be set straight that the Straussian version is not that of Plato or of Tsipras. I had to resort to wikipedia to buttress my own woolly college remembrance:

    “”Plato has been criticized for his Foundation Myth as if it were a calculated lie. That is partly because the phrase here translated ‘magnificent myth’ (p.414b) has been conventionally mistranslated ‘noble lie’; and this has been used to support the charge that Plato countenances manipulation by propaganda. But the myth is accepted by all three classes, Guardians included. It is meant to replace the national traditions which any community has, which are intended to express the kind of community it is, or wishes to be, its ideals, rather than to state matters of fact.”[8][Desmond Lee]

    I give this quote in full because here is an early speech of Tsipras in which he is calling for ‘a European New Deal’.


    That is the ‘magnificent myth’ or ideal with which he began and continues his term of office. It will be a great shame if the carpers and disinformationalists (my term) trash that ideal for the Greek people, and we should not be part of doing that.

    1. JTMcPhee

      Thank you for that, juliana. “We” need an ethos, other than “MOREism,” and a magnificent myth that impels us toward survival and that other kind of “prospering.”

      I wish “us” luck. I hope “we” have it in “us” to manage…

    1. petal

      My bad-it has now been changed to “public” but you have to register first. Earlier in the week it had been described as a private house function and most definitely closed to the public.

  17. rich

    Local Cabs Copy Uber’s Better Mousetrap
    Spurred by the popularity of Uber’s mobile phone app-based taxi service, and complaints about the company’s maverick disregard for local taxi laws and practices, several local cab companies—three in Montauk, one in East Hampton, and one in Southampton—are launching their own cab-hailing phone apps this week.

    “Last summer, I saw how popular Uber was and how many regulations their drivers were breaking, and I decided that the local taxis needed to do something of their own,” Bryan DaParma, owner of Hometown Taxi in Southampton, said last week. “We started branding an app strictly for the Hamptons that will be open to everyone on the whole South Fork—any cab driver.”

    Mr. DaParma’s new app, Hamptons Taxi, was activated for both Apple OS and Android smartphones early this week, and he expects to have all of his company’s 85 taxis working through the service by the weekend.

    In the wake of uproar over Uber shutting down its app service in East Hampton Town because of new town licensing regulations that landed nearly two dozen of its drivers in a courtroom, some Montauk cab companies have banded together and launched a hailing app this week as well. Ditch Plains Taxi, Moko Taxi and The End Taxi all joined Gata Hub, a Canadian company that pairs mobile phone GPS technology with businesses’ internet sites, including taxi companies.
    And in East Hampton, Taxi One, a new app-based taxi and limousine service, also will be available this week through the Gata Hub app.
    The Hamptons Taxi app does allow customers to link a credit card to the app for automatic payment of the fare, and Mr. Ripolone said the Gata Hub app will have that feature soon as well.

    Mr. DaParma said that Hamptons Taxi fares will be set at $10 for the first two miles and $2.50 per mile after that,

    a rate he says will keep fares below the premiums that Uber’s cars and SUVs charge for trips between the hamlets.

    The rates for Montauk taxis vary, and Mr. Riplone said the app will show riders what cabs are available, how soon they can get there, and how much they charge—allowing customers to comparison shop right on their phones.

    “It’s a very good idea—Uber is taking a lot of their business, so they are going to have to catch up if they want to compete with it,” said Marco Langione, who was visiting East Hampton this week and said he uses Uber in New York City frequently. “It’s only a matter of time. Everyone is going to have to have the phone technology if they want to compete, even in New York City.”

    uber $50 bil valuation as low bte and cabbies capitalize on alt app:)…nice.

    1. JTMcPhee

      Our own bodies take care of complexities like taxi activities pretty automatically. CO2 goes up and O2 goes down? Respirations increase, along with heart rate and BP. Bacteria enter through a wound, viruses into your lungs or orifices? Complex immune system response triggered. Cluster of cells goes rogue, starts multiplying and failing to differentiate properly? “Regulators” to the Rescue — other specialized cells investigate and cull out the aberrant few — recycle them back into healthy tissue. Except when the homeostatic systems are out of whack, due to extent of disease process, or like with cancer, the tumors figure out how to hide themselves as they eat away at us. Or they actively co-opt the immune system, to complete the “successful” affliction…

      Because at our macro scale our notions of political economy and the realities of POWER are what they are, those bacteria and parasites and cancer cells are just treated as “competition,” the model of the political dysecology. And it fits so well with the models, that are designed post hoc to apotheosize and justify what the cancers do to “succeed…”

  18. Lambert Strether Post author

    Organizational capacity and the Greek Referendum…. Putting together things I’ve read and heard over the last week or so (links on request):

    1) A court challenge in Greece tomorrow (Friday) will challenge the referendum’s constitutionality. (Among other things, the Greek Constitution prohibits referendums on fiscal matters, but I believe other issues are raised.)

    2) The Council of Europe says the referendum is not up to world standards because voters are not given two weeks to decide.

    3) There will be no international election monitors (that I know of, including the Council of Europe).

    4) The ballot is a dog’s breakfast.

    5) Only 40% of voters are required to vote for the referendum to pass.

    6) If voters must travel a significant distance to get to the polls, some percentage of voters with cash flow problems will be effectively disenfranchised. (Readers will correct me, but I think this means the referendum would be heavily biased toward Athens, and against the villages and the islands.)

    7) The “gold standard” (ugh) for voting is paper ballots, hand counted, in public (BradBlog).

    a) The Greek ballot is paper. Good!

    b) I don’t know how the counting is done, or by whom, or whether there will be observers.

    c) Even under “gold standard” conditions, the Parti Quebecois attempted to affect a referendum result, with “scrutineers” throwing out a disproportionately large number of ballots with a vote they did not favor.

    8) I recall hearing — unsure of this! — that Syriza altered the referendum law just a few weeks ago; for what purpose, I do not know.

    All of which leads me to two conclusions:

    #1: If the vote is at all close, the losing side will have many reasons not to accept the result as legitimate.

    #2: As with so much else in this crisis, sloganeering and pom pom waving obscure the detail and the reality. “Yay Democracy!” and apple pie too, but this is not an especially democratic referendum, IMNSHO. In fact, I think it’s an outrage. (Cue the cries of Everybody already knows the issues!” Well, if that’s how democracy works, why have referendums with ballots at all?)

    1. different clue

      Ahh . . . but how then were the Party Quebecois scrutineers detected trying to throw out ballots not cast their way? Perhaps an after-the-fact examination by suspicious other people of the physical thrown-out ballots? Which would show why paper ballots are so much more counting-fraud resistant than digi-votes.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Yes, the scrutineers were themselves scrutinized! Hand-counted, in public.

        Canada counts its votes in one night. So could we (and so could the Greeks).

    2. vidimi

      re point 6, i think it disadvantages the oxi camp who are more likely to be disenfranchised and broke. the ne camp are largely the people who want to leave well enough alone

    1. Yves Smith

      The BoG is not under the control of the Greek government. For all practical purposes, it is an ECB operation.

      Moreover, even if whoever minds the currency printing store gave Greece enough currency stock to print enough extra euros to cause trouble, I guarantee that the rest of the Eurozone would come down on them like a ton of bricks. They could even treat it as grounds for suspension from the EU (members can’t be expelled but they can be suspended).

  19. Lune

    Re: redenomination risk

    I think Nomura is engaged in wishful thinking. I think that regardless of how bad a Grexit might affect Greek citizens, just watching the Troika basically turn Greece into a failed state and its economy into a generational Depression that will be mentioned in history books for at least a hundred years would make most Spaniards head for the exits as soon as the Troika turns its attention to them.

    After all, if the end game of appeasing the Troika for nearly a decade is the same as just defaulting right away, then why bother going through the interminable rounds of austerity and predatory lending just so you can make whole a bunch of German banks before they starve you anyway?

    1. Yves Smith

      Podemos has taken great pains not to associate itself with Syriza. Its head (Iglesias? too pressed for time to look up his name) would not answer a direct question about what he thought about Syriza when in New York in February. I think there may have been one outburst of pom-pom waving when Syriza announced its referendum last week.

      Podemos did worse than expected in municipal elections in March, and moved its position towards the center, to the point where one of the party elders, an old lefite, resigned in protest. Podemos picked up its lost ground and more in May elections as a result. That alone supports the Nomura thesis.

      We had one comment this week from someone who said, basically, that the Spanish do not identify with what is happening in Greece. That again seems consistent with the Podemos move to the center.

  20. Doug Terpstra

    John Perkins, author of Confessions of an Economic Hit Man the attack on Greece’s economy a classic HIT. Like a smash n’ grab I’d say, with inside help as usual, maybe even from Syriza (incompetence so glaring it smacks of complicity)


    And Michael Hudson and Bill Black lay out the most compelling and comprehensible indictment of those orchestrating this economic war of terror on Greece than any I’ve read yet, and the ringleaders include (drumroll) Goldman Sachs and the Obama regime, in addition to the Troika and Greek mob-government. As usual Obama feigns empathy as he inserts the shiv.



    1. Yves Smith

      I am sympathetic to where Black and Hudson are coming from and most of this is right but I want to tear out my hair at what they get wrong. Private banks and hedge funds have nada to do with the current decision process. One of the biggest drivers of how screwed up the negotiations are is the biggest lenders, the ones they don’t mention: the 18 other members of the Eurozone who are on the hook for 60% of the loans. The screwed up structure of the Eurozone means each and every one has to approve any now loan. So how does Greece tell them to bugger off? Since it defaulted, there’s no way it can fund itself by borrowing. The IMF just estimated that Greece needs 60 billon euro in new funds, and that’s with those lenders taking big haircuts in economic value of their outstanding loans by pushing maturities way out. And as bad as this sounds, a Grexit would be even worse, vastly so. This situation is a disaster for both sides.

      1. financial matters

        The ECB made the decision to make the problem of the French and German banks the problem of these 18 countries.

        This is a continuation of the extend and pretend from the origin of the financial crisis.

        If this debt is acknowledged as to what it is I think it can be better dealt with.

        The ECB and IMF need to focus on anti-austerity and anti-privatization as measures to put Greece and Europe back on track.

        They need to be thinking in terms of anti Shock Doctrine.

    1. Yves Smith


      Greece can’t be forced out of the Euro. The Eurozone is “irrevocable” by treaty. And the only way a state leaves the EU is by asking. There is no mechanism for expulsion.

      If the ECB, which is NOT under Hollande’s control, keeps the squeeze on Greek banks and the bank holiday continues, they will start to fail. That could lead Greece to CHOOSE a Grexit as preferable to the alternative, a depositor bail-in, which was the solution used in Cyprus.

      Look, the creditors are thugs, but too many people who should know better are parroting Syriza messaging, and there are places where it is flat out inaccurate. They creditors have done PLENTY wrong. Why not stick to their actual rap sheet, rather than accuse them of stuff that they can brush off as uninformed? This sort of attack, as Lambert points out, is like the line in the Lou Reed song: “Vicious/ you hit me with a flower/ You do it every hour.”

      1. JTMcPhee

        Query, from ignorance of the paper trail: no way out of the treaty except by asking? And the treaty imposes positive duties and responsibilities and establishes rights? And have the Germans et al. met their burdens? Can it not be said that the other parties, or the biggest bloc, has breached their undertakings? Thus letting the relatively more offended-against reasonably say “we’re outa here?” Because the past is littered with, is bloodied by the shards of shattered treaties, which is at least one way out that is not limited to “asking, plus unanimous consent.” Seems to me hard to maintain that treaties are irrevocably binding, maybe in situations like this. “We” need some framework and structure, but where it’s all fraud and abuse and corruption, at some point the survival instincts kick in. “When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another,…” etc.

  21. -jswift

    Piketty’s statement has to be taken in context of the 20′ interview, not my
    2″ resume ! He makes many interesting suggestions, radical against the b

  22. -jswift

    Piketty’s statement has to be taken in context of the 20′ interview, not my
    2″ resume ! He makes many interesting suggestions, radical against the backdrop of the Juncker/Merkel stand.
    I hope a translated version will be put up somewhere soon. (debt conference for all Euro debts, buy out IMF
    credits etc)

  23. hidflect

    On the topic of Hillary’s ka-ching events, I doubt she consorts with anyone who has a net value below $10Million. She’s definitely turned into the candidate people love to hate and a poster child for the way politics used to be conducted.

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