Links 7/5/15

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Nation’s Dogs Vow To Keep Their Shit Together During 4th Of July Fireworks Onion (David L). Did yours succeed?

Will Ultra-Orthodox Jews Handle a Woman on the $10? Daily Beast (furzy mouse)

We’ve finally hit the breaking point for the original Internet Washington Post

Reddit Moderators Shut Down Parts of Site Over Employee’s Dismissal New York Times (Garrett Pace)

A Holacracy of Dunces Pando. Unlocked only for the next day or so…

The Innovation Index Bloomberg. Lambert: “Ugh.”

The Messy Business Of Reinventing Happiness Fast Company

A.I. say I do: Japan’s first ever robot wedding? Japan Today

Study on pesticides in lab rat feed causes a stir PhysOrg (Chuck L). Big red flag: the charges are made by the French researchers who did the Roundup rat study that was debunked. So even if they have a real point (and there is evidence that chemicals, whose toxicity is tested in isolation, can interact, making them harmful in combination at much lower levels) this warning is likely to be ignored.

This dome in the Pacific houses tons of radioactive waste – and it’s leaking Guardian (furzy mouse)

Hillary Clinton accuses China of ‘stealing US secrets’ BBC

China’s Unsettling Stock Market Collapse Atlantic

Malaysia Attorney General Finds Documents Tied to Alleged Prime Minister Money Transfers Wall Street Journal

Eight children dying in Myanmar every hour Eleven Myanmar

Thailand’s off-the-books debt problem Financial Times


EU warns of Armageddon if Greek voters reject terms Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph (David L)

Greek economy close to collapse as food and medicine run short Guardian

Greece and Syriza lost the public relations battle Tyler Cowen. Ouch. And it’s even worse than he suggests: the Administration is clearly backing Greece over the lenders. But the one exception is the UK, where the Brits were cognizant of the problems of the Eurozone, and are using Greece as proof that they were right to stay out.

Five paragraphs spell out the big problem Greece faces after the referendum Washington Post. When Summers is sensible, you know it’s bad.

Greece and the political capture of the IMF mainly macro

In bad faith Bruegel

Could Greece become the European Venezuela? Telegraph

Greek Importers Begin to Feel the Squeeze Wall Street Journal

Asia-Pacific left statement of solidarity with the people and government of Greece Socialist Alliance (Sid S). Disappointing number of signatures.

The week that Germany turned its back on Greece Telegraph

Greece’s Prime Minister Tsipras Faces Uncertain Political Future Associated Press

Beyond ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ ekathimerini. Important


The junta’s only chance is to retreat behind the Dnieper Vineyard of the Saker (Chuck L)

How the CIA ran a ‘billion dollar spy’ in Moscow Washington Post (furzy mouse)


ISIS Threatens To Topple Hamas In Gaza Huffington Post

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

The NSA and American Spies Targeted SPIEGEL Der Spiegel (Chuck L)

Julian Assange Is Denied Asylum in France Truthdig


Imperial Collapse Watch

Closer and Closer… Sic Semper Tyrannis

Hillary campaign ropes off media The Hill. Lambert called out how she was minimizing exposure a while ago.

Protesters Challenge Hillary Clinton During Parade in New Hampshire New York Times

Romney to host the Christies, Rubios at his New Hampshire home Washington Post (furzy mouse)

Trump: A Farce to Be Reckoned With Truthdig

GOP punts on Confederate symbolism in Capitol The Hill

The NRA gets a pass after Charleston Washington Post

Charges possible against church shooter’s associates Charlotte Observer

Revolt: Millions of N.Y. Gun Owners Refuse to Register Firearms Inforwars (Chuck L). I know, Alex Jones, but still….

To Stop Crime, Hand Over Cash New York Times

One Baltimore Neighborhood Proves Police Alone Aren’t the Answer Real News (furzy mouse)

California regulators set to overhaul how investor-owned utilities charge for electricity Orange County Register. Bill C: “The tell? ‘The utilities claim the current rate structure is unfair to customers in the highest bracket.'”

The Broker Who Saved America Joshua Brown

Puerto Rico Is Emptying of People as Its Economy Disintegrates Truthdig (furzy mouse)

Greece and Puerto Rico Dean Baker

Samsung Merger Plan Called Unfair to Some Investors Gretchen Morgenson, New York Times

University of Phoenix lays off 900 staff as enrollment plunges CNN

Celebrating FOIA on Independence Day New Yorker

Antidote du jour (Lance N). Pole dancing kittens!

KittenPole links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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    1. Lambert Strether

      Fixed, thanks.

      Adding, quote at the end:

      Unfortunately, the real pinnacle of the Euro-Greek drama is that when it comes to enlightened leadership, both Greece and Europe have been long broke. Like the protagonists in numerous Greek tragedies, they also seem to only learn from suffering before realizing that “too late, too late you see the path of wisdom.”

      It’s like the Germans needed Lincoln and got James Buchanan. And the Greeks needed FDR and got Obama.

  1. alex morfesis

    throw out germany…

    from the euro

    is germany actually a good business model ?

    it has failed at war…it has failed to properly rebuild and integrate the old east germany

    it has over leveraged private companies and under funded pension liabilities

    it survives by convincing NATO to let it get a free ride by having the american public pay to protect it from the russian bear…

    it refuses to help greece in what might cost its citizens all of ten cents per day per person and is willing to risk disruption to keep from paying those ten cents per day…

    either we start outlawing old windbags from being in political office or we outlaw those goofy little blue pills that confuses the incontinent, incompetent and impotent that they are still important

    ten cents a day

    are germans really this stupid

    1. Disturbed Voter

      That is the problem with attempting to maintain the status quo forever … eventually the exercise becomes a doomed attempt to defeat reality. Conditions change, systems need to change with them. Nato, EU and Euro have all reached their expire date some years ago … that is why a new Cold War with Russia seems necessary … because the Cold War was the reason for Nato, EU and Euro in the first place. So far Putin is trying to let Nato, EU and Euro self destruct in the acids of its own self-contradictions.

      1. Jim Haygood

        From The Telegraph:

        Romano Prodi, former chief of the European Commission and Italy’s ex-premier, said it is the EU’s own survival that is now a stake as the botched handling of the Greek crisis escalates into a catastrophe. “If the EU cannot resolve a small problem the size of Greece, what is the point of Europe?”

        “I would like to know how Merkel, Juncker, or Lagarde can possibly take it upon themselves to throw Greece out of the euro. It is true that irrational behaviour always recurs in history. The First World War broke out over a minor incident. Let us hope this is not our Sarajevo,” he said.

        Is Prodi indulging in hyperbole? Longer term, probably not. In a mere 35 years, eurosclerosis has degenerated into euromitosis. Greece is the dying canary in the euro coal mine.

        1. fresno dan

          Perhaps you know this, or anyone else who could enlighten me can provide an explanation:

          In the above article, and in many others, it is stated that Greece collects only 10% (or even less) of tax receipts due.

          Now, I always thought European countries got the vast majority of their tax receipts from the VAT. And I always assumed VAT taxes were easy to collect.
          1. Is Greece just tremendously corrupt when it comes to collecting taxes?
          2. Is there some other explanation, or is it not true that Greece fails to collect so much of the taxes due???
          3. If Greece collected the “correct” amount of taxes, would it have any problems with servicing its debt?

  2. nippersdad

    So the soil around the dome on Enewetak is more radioactive than the actual stuff within the dome, and the solution is to implement “cosmetic repairs in order to restore public confidence”? It is just all PR all the time with these confidence men. It would be laughable were it not so shameful and destructive.

  3. petal

    Wow-a stop at an empty dairy bar up north. Talk about mailing it in for NH. She isn’t even trying to fake it. I really wish I had been able to get out of work the other day when she was in Hanover just to get more of a feeling about what’s going on. Will try harder next time one of them shows up so I can report back.

    And as for the NY gun owners not registering-I would not be surprised. Am originally from WNY and have been seeing articles in the local newspaper and seeing a lot of push-back in comments from acquaintances. I reckon quite a few of them in the area will just stay quiet and not register. There is a lot of anger toward Cuomo and Albany over this gun registration thing and also because of the fracking ban, esp in the southern tier.

    ps-My dogs did not handle the fireworks well. Was so glad when it was over.

    1. kj1313

      The Southern Tier is 50/50 on the fracking ban depending how close the town is to the watershed.

    2. JCC

      I’m from the Southern Tier having left there just a few years ago due to lack of any meaningful work. I keep in close touch with friends and family there and I’m aware of no gun owner that has registered any of their firearms (except pistols, of course). They’re all against the registration process and have chosen to ignore it completely.

      As for the fracking ban, those that have contracts in place and were hoping to hit the lottery are very upset. Those that don’t are grateful.

      Upstate NY is a mess. It’s a beautiful part of the world but economically and politically (same thing nowadays) it stinks.

      1. Lambert Strether

        Terminology: I think of upstate NY as in the north, like the Finger Lakes and Ithaca and Buffalo.

        But the “Southern Tier” is “upstate NY” also? I.e., I suppose, “not New York City”?

        1. kj1313

          I was referring to Orange, Sullivan, Putman counties etc. Northern Hudson Valley area.

        2. Faroukh Bulsara

          Yes, the southern tier is roughly from Binghamton westward along the PA border. Some areas east of Binghamton are also part of the southern tier but is almost meaningless due to lack of population density. To NYC and Long Island residents, upstate is pretty much any location north and/or west of the Tappanzee bridge.

        3. JCC

          Correct, there’s NYC, and then there is Upstate NY :).

          As Mr. Bulssara notes, it stretches from Binghamton and west. Places like Ithaca and most other towns across the bottom of the Finger Lakes are considered near enough to be part of the Southern Tier by those that live there. After all, as the crow flies towns like Ithaca, Watkins Glen, Hammondsport, etc. (the southern most towns on the Finger Lakes, are only about 35 miles or so north of the PA border.

  4. tgs

    Greece and the political capture of the IMF

    Following a link from that excellent piece I found:

    Europe Offered Greece A Deal To Meet Its Obligations By Cutting Military Spending. The IMF Said No Way.

    While European leaders and International Monetary Fund representatives continue to blame Greece for the impasse in negotiations over the terms of Greece’s bailout, a Saturday report by the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung reveals the IMF vetoed a compromise that cut military spending proposed by the European Commission.

    European officials involved in the negotiations told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung that the vetoed proposal, put forward by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, would have allowed Greece to defer 400 million euros in pension cuts, as long as it cut an equivalent amount from its military budget.

    Unbelievable! And of course the IMF nixed higher taxes on corporations and the wealthy.

    On the other hand, the troika tried to block the IMF’s study that Greek debt is unsustainable.

    These are really bad people running a criminal system.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        The US has only 1/6 of board votes. Europeans have 1/3 and developing nations have half. Developing nations BTW are already complaining that Greece got breaks from the IMF they never got, so the IMF is under pressure from them to be less generous with Greece.

        Regarding that leak, it was denied by the IMF and a member of one of the Congressional committees that oversees the IMF asked privately about that story. They were told that the IMF had wanted budget cuts but the Greek government rejected them. I don’t think the IMF would dare tell a direct lie to someone in authority. And the paper trail seems to confirm that. Greece had never submitted a proposal with defense cuts in it. After the conflicting stories, the Greek side submitted one with 200 million euros in reductions and the creditor reply called for 400 million.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      The history of Beats by Dre is actually really interesting.

      I can’t find the original article, but this one from Gizmodo gives the overall idea. The headphones were developed by an American-Korean company called Monster, but the very inexperienced son of the companies founder was almost completely ripped off by Dre and Co. The engineering was good, but the price is almost complete profit, and that profit goes to the marketeers, not the original engineers and investors.

  5. PlutoniumKun

    I know we’ve all been been distracted in Greece the past few weeks, but I think there are some very ominous rumbles from China recently which could dwarf the impact of a Grexit.

    China is big and strong enough to survive the recent crash. What does disturb me is the governments response, which has included loosening credit to allow more leveraged investment. This seems panicky and just maybe for the first time the Chinese government seems to be losing its usual sure touch. I wonder if they know something everyone else doesn’t.

    On a purely anecdotal level, China seems to me to be incredibly unstable economically. Every Chinese person I know seems to be involved in some type of leveraged investment, to have lent money to someone on very dubious grounds (e.g. verbal promises that they have no other borrowings, or to be involved in blatant pyramid schemes. Even behind what is normally defined as a ‘shadow banking’ system it seems to me that there is an even bigger informal shadow system of leveraged investments managed by highly inexperienced investors. The potential for an old style financial panic if there were further drops in the stock markets or in property (or worst still, both) is very high in my opinion and often underestimated by even the more usually skeptical commentators.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      China to ban IPOs…just read it at Marketwatch.

      Isn’t that a form of capital control?

      Also rumors of ‘foreign forces” behind their misfortune.

      “Patriots, to your trading desks. Do your duty. Defend the index at all cost.”

    2. craazyboy

      Beijing has never had their banking system under control. They’ve blown up the financial system before and I think they are about to do it again – just more powder to ignite this time.

    3. ewmayer

      China down huge again as I write this – paging the CCP plunge protection team …

      Given that they only need to print a couple $trillion worth of central bank balance-sheet goodness to make all the bad bets of the late arrivals to the casino good, I cannot understand why they are hesitating. It’s only fiat, rewarding real-economy-undermining gamblers is what it was designed for.

  6. diptherio

    The Holacracy of Dunces article is pretty funny. That’s what happens when people with no clue try to do something that sounds cool, but with which they have zero experience. Ironically, most worker co-ops, which are democratically controlled, implement some sort of manager system–i.e. they appoint someone to manage who does just about the same things a normal manager does…with the exception that they can be voted out of the position by the people they are managing.

    The type of system that Zappos is trying to implement seems doomed to fail in any sizeable organization. Also, isn’t it a bit ironic that one guy came up with this collective management scheme. Top-down design of a bottom-up structure is a hopelessly confused way to begin. This is what happens when capitalists try to act like cooperators–they cease to be effective capitalists without gaining the benefits of effective cooperation.

    Meanwhile, check out the numbers on actual cooperative businesses (that don’t use “holacracy”):

  7. nippersdad




    I particularly liked this line: “The DNC mentions GOP candidates whenever it sees a difference between the two Parties…” I imagine that is becoming an increasingly difficult line for them to tread but, as with everything these days, PR trumps reality. I cannot wait for the debates when Sanders forces them to argue their effective differences.

  8. YankeeFrank

    The Ta-Nehisi Coates “Letter to My Son” is about the most profound and powerful thing I’ve read in years. And it needs to be read by “white” people in the US as much as “black” people. For those of us who call ourselves white live in a dream, and it has made us weak and dangerous, and we need to wake up before its too late for all of us.

      1. nobody

        Ta-Nehisi Coates is great as a hack and a power elite propagandist of the more subtle variety (a la National Propaganda Radio). As a starting point, see Bruce Dixon’s commentary (“Ta-Nehisi Coates, Blackwashing, the Reparations Brand, and a Last Refuge For Scoundrels”) and other comments at Black Agenda Report. As Chris Hedges has correctly noted, nowadays you will not find genuine truth-tellers having great careers in mainstream organizations. You’ll generally find the truth-tellers on the margins. Coates is on the record as aspiring to make a salary of one million dollars a year, and boy does it show if you have eyes to see. He’s also great as a specimen illustrating Upton Sinclair’s famous observation that “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”

        1. YankeeFrank

          Oh please. I often like Dixon but he, like many radical leftists, has a difficult time seeing an ally for minor differences. I’m not saying Ta-Nehisi Coates is some kind of savior perfect black man (whatever that would be) or that he offers the best solutions to society’s ills, but he definitely describes his experiences very well, has written very well about redlining, ghettoization and other important economic and political subjects, as well as many beautiful personal pieces, and is an important black voice that penetrates deeply into white America, which is vitally and urgently needed.

          If the left ever learns how to stop kneecapping itself long enough to form a serious power bloc I will be delighted, but I’m not holding my breath with so many bashing the likes of Coates and Bernie Sanders. It became obvious to me at a certain point that being marginalized and ineffective is a badge of authenticity among many of our otherwise most intelligent leftists. If we left it to the Bruce Dixon’s of the world we’d never win anything, ever. I understand the impulse to purity and the dangers of slippage, but if we don’t tame those behaviors we’re never going to get anywhere. At some point cynicism becomes self-defeating. You have to give it up or you’re not really interested in moving forward, only sideways and backwards into bitterness and ineffectuality.

        2. Rosario

          Considering Ta-Nehisi wrote this:

          for a largely Neoliberal publication in terms of majority content, I’ll consider him an ally until further notice. Sure he has ambitions (though for him being a black American I have much less a problem with this), and maybe he is a downright scoundrel, but purity of character is always trumped by the content of presentation when it comes to a pamphleteer. Thomas Paine was apparently a drunk, well-off Englishman by most accounts (ill company and otherwise) but his messages were and continue to be revolutionary and needed.

          1. Lambert Strether

            I’m extremely uncomfortable with the ally concept. I can’t articulate this (yet).

            1. Cano Doncha Know

              This is exactly the way I feel. It seems somehow anti-solidarity, but I can’t articulate why. Maybe it seems to me like some sort of neoliberal taming of the “I am X/We are all X” construction, which is so extremely powerful. Or because there is some sort of inherent white supremacy/heteronormativity involved in needing to say you are white and straight in order to make a anti-racist, feminist, anti-heteronormative point. So maybe that’s it, it’s code for white and heterosexual.

            2. Cano Doncha Know

              Just googled “ally criticism” and “ally critique” and found tons of great stuff. It is definitely a troubling concept.

            3. Rosario

              To a certain extent, me too, but considering the complexity of the times, it is becoming harder to find like minded people with a strong voice, or, at least it is becoming harder to find people that will stay on task with a strong voice. Most notably his focusing on the historical context, something Malcolm X was brilliant at conveying. Ta-Nehisi making an eloquent argument for reparations was mind-blowing to me, particularly in such a way that would be published by The Atlantic. Maybe it was the novelty that gave it a pass (or, it would not be taken seriously), but such a declaration is even more radical (by a long shot in my opinion) than discussing progressive taxation, considering we have done, in some way, one before and not the other. He clarified that the issue was largely abstract with current political and economic vocabulary and attempted to bridge that with a pragmatic appeal to “common sense”, if you will. As in, imagine if 6 generations of your family had absolutely zero capacity to accumulate capital. Of course, I don’t know the man, that being said, I don’t know many people, so be it what you may.

      2. YankeeFrank

        That’s a good post, pretty much nails a major type of asshole personality. Its part of why we can’t have nice (public) things in this country. So what is he saying in his new book that troubles you?

        1. Lambert Strether

          I don’t know because I haven’t read it. But identity politics is troubling. Clinton is doing a masterful job using it, as did Obama before her. Coates is too smart to write a bad book, or even an intellectually dishonest book, but …. I’ll have to read it.

    1. rusti

      Thanks for this.

      At the onset of the Civil War, our stolen bodies were worth four billion dollars, more than all of American industry, all of American railroads, workshops, and factories combined, and the prime product rendered by our stolen bodies—cotton—was America’s primary export. The richest men in America lived in the Mississippi River Valley, and they made their riches off our stolen bodies. Our bodies were held in bondage by the early presidents.

      Maybe this is an impossibly broad question, but how much did slavery contribute to the rise of the United States as an economic power? Did it just prop up extravagant lifestyles for megalomaniac plantation owners? Or were their profits reinvested in specific ways that kick-started other industries?

      1. lord koos

        Slaves likely built almost all the infrastructure in the south up til emancipation.

        1. Gio Bruno

          …and the wealth of the plantation owners can be directly ascribed to slave holding. Similar to the “wage slaves” of the 21st Century.

  9. flora

    Confederate flag:

    “…For that flag represents heritage, not hatred. It has flown proudly at our capital since, uh, 1961, when it was first raised during the great Negro tribulation that was stirred up by that King fellow and his outside agitators. It was raised at state capitols by our brethren in Alabama in 1963 and in Georgia in 1965, in response to that same tribulation…..”

    1. Jagger

      I have been trying to put my finger on why the CSA flag issue bothers me. Clearly the church shooting was the “shock” used to implement a pre-existing political objective to ban the CSA flag. It certainly has nothing to do with ending mass killings by deranged racists. But that is the norm, so why does it bother me when I don’t have a dog in the fight?

      I think it is the hypocrisy of the standards that bother me. If we ban the CSA flag due to slavery, then why not ban the American flag as well? Slavery was legal under the American flag from 1776 to 1866. It was only legal under the the CSA flag from 1861-1865.

      And if slavery is a justifiable standard for banning a symbol, then what other standards are as bad or worse than slavery and would justify banning? What about ethnic cleansing or genocide-as bad as slavery? If so, the ethnic cleansing of the American Indians occurred under the American flag and is a more recent offense than slavery. So ban the American flag?

      What about the Philipino concentration camps of the early 1900s or the Japanese-American concentration camps of WW2? Are concentration camps equivalent or worse than slavery or just let that slide? What about the torture camps of Ghitmo, Abu Ghraib and countless black sites around the world? Systemic organized torture, better or worse than slavery? Enough to ban a flag?

      How about overthrowing democratically elected government throughout South America and much of the world? Is installing and supporting multiple dictators over the last hundred years whom ruthlessly oppress their peoples as bad as slavery?

      What about the use of atomic bombs to destroy cities and mass murder hundreds of thousands of civilians during WW2? Is mass murder morally in the same category as slavery? Ban the flag?

      And all these events are more recent than events of the 1860s. What standards must we violate to justify banning a symbol? Or are the standards purely subjective as we smite those with the mote in their eye while ignoring the beam in ours? It certainly feels like a high horse, mob crusade using standards only applicable to some but not others.

      And is banning the flag simply a political and emotional decision useful for the ruling powers? I certainly haven’t seen any votes on the issue. Only an overwhelming media campaign and edicts by the ruling powers. Certainly the banning issue and gay marriage has been useful as they dominated the news media while the Trans Pacific trade agreement quietly passed though Congress. While the masses remain occupied, divided and fighting amonst themselves.

      Although I suspect the ruling powers have a much different issue with the CSA flag than the masses and are just as happy to see it go. The ruling powers don’t have a problem with 1860s slavery but they do have a problem with the concept of rebellion. And the CSA flag is also a symbol of rebellion. The CSA flag must be banned and preferable erased from memory because the concept of rebellion is unacceptable to our ruling powers. Considering the state of governance today, the CSA flag undoubtably gives our ruling elites the shivers and it must go.

      I really should have got a job with the ACLU.

      1. rusti

        The CSA flag must be banned and preferable erased from memory because the concept of rebellion is unacceptable to our ruling powers.

        I haven’t read anything more than headlines on this issue, but isn’t the debate just over whether or not to fly it on the Capitol grounds?

      2. Toivos

        Nice summary of what the stars and stripes represent.

        On the other hand there are some good things as well.

        1. JTMcPhee

          I’ve been watching for 70 years now, with one dream of the goodness of America after another being shattered, and often violently and outrageously debunked.

          Seriously, what are the good things? Democracy? Individual rights? Rule of law? Equal opportunity? NotanEmpire? We get to blog, and “iinvest,” and go iin debt for necessities. What else? Beat the Rooskies iin hockey and the Japanese in women’s soccer? Some decent people are born or migrate here, but what’s the net sum total bottom line? Shining City with drone attacks and overthrows of other governments? Our rulership mocks us citizens, fleeces and spies on us. Some good things? Other than little people being good to their neighbors, sharing, stuff like that?

          1. Demeter

            America’s greatest strength was always its ability to CHANGE. In olden, golden times, the US could adapt to reality, figure out when it erred in its assumptions, and modify its plans.

            That all went out the window when the GOP decided to create its own reality, using the power of Empire to override your lying eyes, as Groucho put it.

            Now, we hope that Bernie can bring us back through the Looking Glass to a functional democratic republic, one course correction at a time…

            1. JTMcPhee

              Sorry, that is smoke. Change? Gilded Age reloaded, constant imperial war-is-a-racket since what, 1789? Blessed by a continent full of “resources” to rape, an unorganized essentially unarmed bunch of natives to dispossess and kill off, slave labor that “we” have again in private and public prisons, a ruling Oligopoly going ever further toward frank kleptocracy?

              And no, the Great War Between The States was not the kind of change younger, nor is making it legal for LGBTQs to marry or legalizing pot while the War on Drugs keeps adding collateral damage to the toll.

              Anything else to point to? Face it– there is no “America,” just a collection of fossilized myths, and”we” are a pretty rotten worthless consumptive toxic bunch of humans, taken as a whole, and even “our” nation does not belong to us any more. Who holds your mortgage, car loan and lease obligations? Feel still that “anyone who works hard can eke their way into a higher level in the class structure?

      3. Rosario

        In an ideal world, all symbols representing a place, ideology, and/or identity would be built by consensus, but we aren’t quite there yet. Though I think the issue with the CSA flag (battle flag more accurately) is it being primarily linked to a national ideology built upon the protection and expansion of chattel slavery. While it is very true that the USA flag has been flown over slaves and aboriginals alike, without their willingly submitting, its explicit ideological foundation, if you will, is one of (pseudo) progressive, or “acceptable” values (however much this may be bullshit). I do agree in principle with the absurdity of picking and choosing “proper” symbols, but some are just too far gone or inappropriate to have any relevancy in modern times. To the history books and nothing more.

        1. Lambert Strether

          “linked to a national ideology built upon the protection and expansion of chattel slavery”

          It’s actually worse than that. If I have this right, the “Confederate Flag” as we know it is an early twentieth century prop for Jim Crow, part of the “Birth of a Nation”/”Lost Cause” mythos. So the goal is to erase Southern history, not embrace it (bloody flaws and all, just like “ours”).

          It’s as if some Aryan Nations regalia made it over to Europe and the neo-Nazis embraced it.

          “I don’t hate Jews. I’m just expressing my Nazi heritage.”

          1. davidgmills

            Agreed. Some symbols are just too much. Obviously African Americans don’t feel revulsion of the American flag the way they do about the Confederate flag. To African Americans, the Confederate flag is a symbol of oppression and abuse. Whether native Americans feel revulsion for the American flag, I don’t know. It certainly could be a symbol of oppression and abuse for them.

      4. Jerry Denim

        Wow. I’ve never really thought about it that way before, but you have quite the point Jagger. The people who fly the Confederate flag are not only racists, but they are also the kind of people who despise authority, the majority of them are heavily armed, lots of them live on large acreages of their own land, and many more know how to farm their own food and hunt. That must be an extremely discomforting thought to our increasingly detached elites in their ivory towers!

        I’m not sad to see the CSA flag(s) go the way of the Dodo, it should have happened generations ago. I think it’s an embarrassment and it is undoubtedly the flag of choice among hateful, inbreed racists, but… I’ve always guestimated the Confederate flag’s meaning to be about 65% white supremacy/racism and about 35% ‘don’t-tread-on-me’, pride of past rebellion and a boastful threat of potential rebellion to come, if need be. It’s a symbol of states rights, evocative of most southerner’s deep distrust of a large, powerful, federal government. As a former southerner myself I can tell you that southerners, more than people from any other region of the country that I’ve met, really don’t like government, big or small telling them what to do. Part of it is a simple anti-authority reflex but some of that attitude stems from a prideful DIY culture of self sufficiency. The later is one of the things I still love about the south although it’s not enough to make me ever want to move back there. Too bad you can’t separate one thing from the other when you’re dealing with a very old and emotionally charged symbol steeped in both blood and hate.

        1. JTMcPhee

          Interesting how many of those DIY Southerners collect disability, live on those hated food stamps, want the Government to keep iits filthy hands off their Medicaid and Medicare and Social Security. And how many of them have government jobs, directly or via the contractor belt.

          Myths and anecdotes have untoward power…

          1. Jerry Denim

            Are you suggesting my brother inlaw or the dozen or so other people I know personally just like him who have enough guns to supply a medium sized militia, kills, freezes and cures large amounts of venison, bear, duck and fish, gardens and cans vegetables, barters and trades like an anarchist, builds, fixes and tinkers prodigiously is a myth or anecdote or are you just pissed that I had one nice thing to say about southerners?

            1. JTMcPhee

              Is the next step a duel?

              There’s folks like that all over the landscape. Blood and hate… And kinfolk. Don’t mess with kinfolk. And as a former volunteer into the imperial army, the anecdotes I recall are that Southerners were the most authoritarian and troop abusive NCOs, and most loyal to the cause troops. Speaking Vietnam ’67-’68, and a year before and after of stateside “service.”

              Too bad the fiercely independent and self reliant don’t seem to organize well to oppose the tyrrany at home…

              1. Jerry Denim

                “Too bad the fiercely independent and self reliant don’t seem to organize well to oppose the tyrrany at home…”

                Agreed. A duel? Hardly. I had no intentions of glorifying the south. I simply intended to add to Jagger’s point about some Confederate Flag wavers giving elites the willies for reasons that have nothing to do with racism. I admire the DIY, self sufficient ethos of certain non-racist southerners but as a whole I don’t care for the prevailing mindset of the south. Mississippi is never going to be Vermont, but believe or not there are some people down south (rarities, but they exist) that still fit the typical conservative southerner demographic (church going, gun-owning, white) that qualify as hard core lefties in this day and age of Obama/Clinton Democrats. They’re populists who completely reject the supply side economics of Reagan, they want to see wealthy financiers and rentier capitalists taxed out of existence, they believe in Unions and Roosevelt’s New Deal, they adore Social Security, public education and the Post Office, they cringe at military spending and interventionist foreign policy, they aren’t the least bit worried about Islamic terrorists, they hate Free Trade treaties, and they don’t give a shit about who Franklin Graham or Pat Robertson says they should hate this week. My 83 year old grandmother is one of them. She wanted to attend a “Moral Monday” rally in Raleigh but her health prevented it. My mother’s 68 year old new husband is one of these southern progressives too, as is one of her next door neighbors. Not every southerner is a racist idiot, and the south while not for me personally is not without it’s redeeming qualities.

    2. abynormal

      The Confederate Flag / Ambrose Bierce

      Tut-tut! give back the flags – how can you care,
      You veterans and heroes?
      Why should you at a kind intention swear
      Like twenty Neros?

      Suppose the act was not so overwise –
      Suppose it was illegal;
      Is’t well on such a question to arise
      And punch the Eagle?

      Nay, let’s economize his breath to scold
      And terrify the alien
      Who tackles him, as Hercules of old
      The bird Stymphalian.

      Among the rebels when we made a breach
      Was it to get the banners?
      That was but incidental – ’twas to teach
      Them better manners.

      They know the lessons well enough to-day;
      Now, let us try to show them
      That we’re not only stronger far than they,
      (How we did mow them!)

      But more magnanimous. My lads, ’tis plain
      ‘Twas an uncommon riot;
      The warlike tribes of Europe fight for gain;
      We fought for quiet.

      If we were victors, then we all must live
      With the same flag above us;
      ‘Twas all in vain unless we now forgive
      And make them love us.

      Let kings keep trophies to display above
      Their doors like any savage;
      The freeman’s trophy is the foeman’s love,
      Despite war’s ravage.

      ‘Make treason odious?’ My friends, you’ll find
      You can’t, in right and reason,
      While ‘Washington’ and ‘treason’ are combined –
      ‘Hugo’ and ‘treason.’

      All human governments must take the chance
      And hazard of sedition.
      O wretch! to pledge your manhood in advance
      To blind submission.

      It may be wrong, it may be right, to rise
      In warlike insurrection:
      The loyalty that fools so dearly prize
      May mean subjection.

      Be loyal to your country, yes – but how
      If tyrants hold dominion?
      The South believed they did; can’t you allow
      For that opinion?

      He who will never rise though rulers plot,
      His liberties despising –
      He is he manlier than the sans-culottes
      Who’s always rising?

      Give back the foolish flags whose bearers fell,
      Too valiant to forsake them.
      Is it presumptuous, this counsel? Well,
      I helped to take them

        1. davidgmills

          I am white and have lived in the south my entire 64 years. Fuck that excuse disguised as a counterfactual. Total military bullshit. Just another excuse. I simply don’t want the black people I know to always feel the constant uncomfortableness of the Confederate flag, or the statues of the southern generals in our public places, or having to go to a place called Confederate Park, or to a state park named after Nathan Bedford Forrest.

          If you think it’s history. Put it in a book and put it in the public library or a museum.

          1. night-Train

            Also as a deep south resident of 64 years, I have no problem with removing the CSA battle flag from the public space. My ancestors fought under it and against it. It was coopted in the 1960s by avowed racists. As Shelby Foote said, that was the time to have defended if for those who claim it as heritage. It is not going to go away from private spaces. Many will fly it just to give the middle finger salute to those who oppose it. Some, actually a vocal minority, will do it because they are racists. The majority who choose to fly it will do so because they don’t like people telling them what they can and can’t do. Especially, when those folks are from up north. Said best by a bumper sticker I used to see: “I Don’t Give a Damn How Y’all Did it Up North”. Good luck getting them to change their minds. I am not arguing that it is a line of thought that makes sense. But neither did firing on Ft. Sumter.

            1. davidgmills

              What they do privately is their right under the 1st Amendment. But in this counterfactual, the suggestion was made that General Marshall (being from Virginia) be allowed to wear a Confederate flag of some sort on his uniform in honor of Virginian War heroes.

              That is not a private display. That is public display and who ever posited this idea is idiotic.

              Imagine what blacks who served under him would have felt? And imagine how racist assholes would have thought this gave them the green light to be racist.

      1. Jack

        “Organizations and institutions in the past should have taken steps to ensure that it remained a battle flag that reflected the values of the officers of the Army of Northern Virginia.”


        The values of those officers was worth exactly spit. I know all about how Lee hated slavery but felt he was fighting for Virginia, and how everyone loves to faun over Jackson and his supposed decency and spirituality. The fact remains that whether they were personally fighting for slavery or not, slavery was the institution each and every one of the officers and soldiers of the Confederacy were in practice defending. Every last one of them amounted to a moral carcass, to take a phrase from that recent movie about Lincoln.

        We need to stop pussyfooting around this issue. The Confederacy was a giant band of traitors, lead by a rich oligarchy that threw a great big hissy fit when their unearned wealth, extracted from an utterly horrendous practice, was threatened. And the bulk of the fighting and dying was done by a class of pathetic, beaten down paupers who had been indoctrinated to believe that, at the end of the day whatever else they may be, at least they could rest assured they were better than those damn darkies. And they were willing to fight and die for their ‘betters’ to maintain that status quo.

        The legacy of the Confederacy, represented by all its different flags, is an entirely vile, not to mention pathetic, one. It needs to be mocked and vilified and then relegated to the dustbin of history. Then maybe the modern South can get around to establishing a new legacy that is actually worth a damn.

  10. diptherio

    Here’s where I spent Friday:

    (apologies for the shaky video–still getting the hang of videography)

    The Ott-Kim Conservatory is an “underground” green house in Three Forks, Montana. It is totally passive–i.e. no addition of compost or chemicals & no electricity use for heating or ventilation. John, the creator of the Conservatory, has spent the last four decades creating this greenhouse with it’s self-contained ecosystem. The greenhouse serves as a home to tree frogs, fish, damsel flies and a bunch of other insects. It is a Zone 8 greenhouse, so he’s growing figs, grapefruit, rhododendron, and all sorts of other varieties that you don’t find in our climate.

    It is awesome. I’m working with a woman now, and we’re planning on re-creating a greenhouse like John’s (with his help), with living quarters attached for assisted-living clients and caretakers. The idea is to create an ecovillage that incorporates senior care as a way to provide income for the community, good jobs for care providers, and a much nicer environment, at a cheaper price, for people to grow old in.

    Anyway, thought I’d share. It’s all pretty sweet.

    1. fresno dan

      Wow – pretty marvelous.
      I wish there had been a voice narrative describing how he did it…..

    2. subgenius

      Wow that is very very cool (well..maybe hot…)

      Thanks for the heads-up…similar to something I want to do if I can ever get some land!

  11. Lambert Strether

    Greek referendum vote, AP:

    The opinion polls, conducted for major television networks, all showed the “no” vote was likely to emerge victorious, with differences of about three to four percentage points. No exit polls were conducted for Greece’s first referendum in 41 years.

    Globe and Mail:

    One of the polls, the MRB poll for Star TV, put the No side range at 49 per cent to 54 per cent, with the Yes side at 46 per cent to 51 per cent.

    This all looks like polling, so who knows? IIRC, actual tabulations will be released after the (privatized) Greek vote counting operation has counted 10% of the vote. It will be interesting to see the regional variations, if they are given.

    UPDATE The Telegraph has a live blog on the vote. Apparently the first results have been posted, and Oxi is ahead by 10%. If this were the US, I would ask which precincts, and I would bet Athens results come in early. Readers will correct.

    UPDATE Guardian live blog:

    No vote still ahead, with 20% counted

    Twenty percent of the votes have now been counted, and the no side is holding onto a solid lead — with over 60%, against less than 40% for the yes side

    1. Kurt Sperry

      Looking at the electoral map I noticed an area in gray showing no result, which is the Mt. Athos peninsula.

      Philistine that I am, I didn’t know about the Autonomous Monastic State of the Holy Mountain, an area given over to monastic life and where not only is travel and visiting allowed only with special permission, but also a state within Greece completely barred to women!

      I don’t suppose the monks concern themselves with such secular worries as a referendum.

  12. craazyman

    Isn’t it inappropriate to introduce kittens that young to pole dancing? Won’t there be time enough for that sort of “entertainment” when they grow up?

    1. craazyboy

      Doesn’t matter. When they’re young, they think they are being cute kittens. But once reaching adolescence, they realize they are hot kittens. The really hot ones head for Vegas or even Hollywood.

      1. ambrit

        Where do the rich and powerful go to unwind? That’s where you’ll find the really ‘hot’ kitties.

  13. tgs

    Personally, I hope that ‘no’ wins. Despite the mistakes of Syriza (and Yves has certainly made the case that there have been many), from where I sit, the Troika has really shown the cloven hoof –

    ‘No’ to taxes on corporations and the wealthy, to cuts in military spending

    ‘Yes’ to cutting the pensions of the most vulnerable, to privatization, to labor market ‘reform’ etc.,

    I love how the neo-liberals use the word ‘reform’ for enforced misery.

    1. shash

      Looks like it basically has – 50.7% of votes counted and No is at 61%. In a binary election, this is a landslide!

      1. samhill

        Looks like it basically has – 50.7% of votes counted and No is at 61%. In a binary election, this is a landslide!


    2. JCC

      From the BBC; “AFP quotes the German government: Greek PM Tsipras has “burned the final bridges” between Greece and Europe.

      Also from the BBC; “Even Angela Merkel, it is reported, has privately told MPs that, as far as she is concerned, Alexis Tsipras has simply driven his country into the wall – and that’s something you hear quite a bit from politicians here. They say this Greek government has simply destroyed all trust and you wonder, under those circumstances, how negotiations can ever start again.

      I think it was the people of Greece that “burned the final bridges”, not Tsipras. And why shouldn’t they vote no? Has the Troika and Germany proven themselves to be trustworthy?

  14. KFritz

    Re: Haym Solomon the Broker

    It’s great to see the article on Solomon. To its credit, “The American Heritage Book of the Revolution” (1958) devoted several paragraphs to him, as Haym Saloman.

  15. Kim Kaufman

    if anyone’s interested, KPFK is doing a special on Greece for the next couple of hours. 90.7 FM in Los Angeles area or

  16. Yonatan

    “Malaysia Attorney General Finds Documents Tied to Alleged Prime Minister Money Transfers”

    Malaysia isn’t playing along with the US over the MH17 investigation. Maybe this is an attempt at regime change (Economic Hitman style) in order to insert a more pliant leader? FT Asia states “The claims [of large money transfers] could not be independently verified.”

    1. Lambert Strether

      Malaysia is deeply corrupt, even for Southeast Asia. The 1MDB story is plausible. Malaysia’s real problem is that its politics is organized along ethnic lines, down to funding and preferences. How they square that circle with TPP (since the preferences are all trade barriers)… is up to the Malaysian ruling class, which is increasingly factionalized. Not every political hiccup in the world is down to people pulling puppet strings in Langley; that’s naive cyncism.

          1. ambrit

            And where do the ‘facts’ live? Who is the gatekeeper for access to the facts? Or do we start from some version of “Truth” and work backwards from there? (Rhetorical, I’m making no accusations here.)
            As the history of the “Paris Revue” attests, Langley and it’s ‘fellow travelers’ co-opt the media every chance they get.

            1. JTMcPhee

              Sometimes hard to tell truth and facts from other stuff, in a world where all the elements of communication are as massaged as they are today, and have been for some time — Bernays and all who apply his tricks and insight into our bovine plasticity, of course, but as to Langley and its fellow travelers, see this interesting resource: “The Cultural Cold War: The CIA and the World of Arts and Letters,” first published as “Who Paid The Piper: The CIA and the Cultural Cold War.”

              This book provides a detailed account of the ways in which the CIA penetrated and influenced a vast array of cultural organizations, through its front groups and via friendly philanthropic organizations like the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations. The author, Frances Stonor Saunders, details how and why the CIA ran cultural congresses, mounted exhibits, and organized concerts. The CIA also published and translated well-known authors who toed the Washington line, sponsored abstract art to counteract art with any social content and, throughout the world, subsidized journals that criticized Marxism, communism, and revolutionary politics and apologized for, or ignored, violent and destructive imperialist U.S. policies. The CIA was able to harness some of the most vocal exponents of intellectual freedom in the West in service of these policies, to the extent that some intellectuals were directly on the CIA payroll. Many were knowingly involved with CIA “projects,” and others drifted in and out of its orbit, claiming ignorance of the CIA connection after their CIA sponsors were publicly exposed during the late 1960s and the Vietnam war, after the turn of the political tide to the left.

              U.S. and European anticommunist publications receiving direct or indirect funding included Partisan Review, Kenyon Review, New Leader, Encounter and many others. Among the intellectuals who were funded and promoted by the CIA were Irving Kristol, Melvin Lasky, Isaiah Berlin, Stephen Spender, Sidney Hook, Daniel Bell, Dwight MacDonald, Robert Lowell, Hannah Arendt, Mary McCarthy, and numerous others in the United States and Europe. In Europe, the CIA was particularly interested in and promoted the “Democratic Left” and ex-leftists, including Ignacio Silone, Stephen Spender, Arthur Koestler, Raymond Aron, Anthony Crosland, Michael Josselson, and George Orwell.

              The CIA, under the prodding of Sidney Hook and Melvin Lasky, was instrumental in funding the Congress for Cultural Freedom, a kind of cultural NATO that grouped together all sorts of “anti-Stalinist” leftists and rightists. They were completely free to defend Western cultural and political values, attack “Stalinist totalitarianism” and to tiptoe gently around U.S. racism and imperialism. Occasionally, a piece marginally critical of U.S. mass society was printed in the CIA-subsidized journals.

              What was particularly bizarre about this collection of CIA-funded intellectuals was not only their political partisanship, but their pretense that they were disinterested seekers of truth, iconoclastic humanists, freespirited intellectuals, or artists for art’s sake, who counterposed themselves to the corrupted “committed” house “hacks” of the Stalinist apparatus. Id.

              A puny little footnote, of course, just like this comment…

  17. Pepsi

    Orthodox will get some plastic bill covers so they can follow the letter but not spirit of the religious law, like they do for everything else

    1. none

      I wonder what they do about the Susan B. Anthony one dollar coin now. Or what Orthodox in Commonwealth countries do, since ALL the currency has pictures of Queen Elizabeth. Somehow I can’t believe they haven’t worked this out long ago.

  18. Doug Terpstra

    Tyler Cowen of Marginal (“Small Steps”) Revolution declares that Syriza lost the PR battle, while studiously ignoring the fact that the IMF, one leg of the Troika publicly agreed with its primary premise on debt forgiveness (as did Schauble and Merkel, secretly) on the eve of the referendum. Also, surprisingly, Syriza seems to be handily “winning” the NO vote, for a dubious prize. Cowen’s revolutionary incrementalism is underwhelming.

    That said, The World Socialist Web Site blasts Syriza and characterizes the referendum as a fraud by a “pro-capitalist, pseudo-left” party contrived to mask a foreordained Obama-like capitulation to the EU.

    …Tsipras has already made clear that he is willing to impose virtually all the EU’s demands. He is asking only for a slower phase-in of deep pension cuts and a partial exemption for the Greek islands of regressive increases in sales taxes (VAT).

    Were Tsipras to concisely explain to working people the content of his referendum, he could say: heads the EU wins, tails you lose. Coming only months after Syriza won an election pledging to end five years of austerity, the referendum has been called to give political cover for a surrender to the EU. Had Syriza intended to fight, it would have had no need to call a referendum on EU austerity already rejected by the Greek people.

    The referendum has been set up to create the conditions for a vote for austerity, giving a pseudo-democratic veneer to the escalating assault on the Greek working class. While there is widespread hatred of the years of brutal austerity, both Syriza and the EU have done everything they can to confuse and demobilize popular opposition.

    It is a scathing and cynical repudiation of Syriza. I do hope the WSWS is wrong, but I’m not holding my breath thru this Neverending story.

    1. tgs

      I’m afraid that wsws may be right – they certainly are that Syriza has consistently capitulated to the creditors demands. But the troika kept going for an extra pound of flesh.

      This is going to be interesting.

    2. Rosario

      Well the WSWS and all the other critics looking in hindsight may be right but what does that matter now? Even if SYRIZA had ill intentions from the outset a referendum may not have been the best way to go about pushing a pro-austerity coup especially considering the current results (a super majority “no” vote with over 50% voter turnout is pretty stark). Now, no matter what the reaction from the Troika or the global economy, the established order has been made the fool via democratic vote on a largely philosophical subject. The technical components of this situation died years ago when all the political/technocratic actors actually had the opportunity to deal with the situation as such. The amount of spin required to unf*** this for the Neoliberal agenda is incredible. Even if Greece goes the way of Ukraine (State Department/whatever coup), the rest of Europe (particularly Spain and Italy), and the world, will know how the Greek population “feels”…like shit, and they will also know, more than ever before, how rigged the game really is.

      1. Jim Haygood

        ‘The established order has been made the fool via democratic vote on a largely philosophical subject.’

        No problem:

        No less than three times in the history of the EU, a Member State whose population had voted against the ratification of a new EU treaty in a constitutionally binding referendum opted under pressure to rerun the referendum in the hope that the negative result would be reversed by the second vote.

        If at first you do not reach ‘Yes,’ vote, vote again!

        1. tegnost

          Seattle voted for monorail i think three times, and against baseball stadium twice…lost the sonics, sorry nba, just think of the dough you lost, they’re still trying to get back….no monorail, big baseball stadium, no sonics. Now they tore down the viaduct for the tunnel, see Kemper Freeman if you’re wondering how all this happens…

    3. Skippy


      I cant even read Tyler over at MR without first having to reconcile he’s operating out of the Mercatus Center, which is a perfict example of Philip Mirowski’s “Science Mart” or “Merchants of Doubt” by Erik M. Conway and Naomi Oreskes. The amount of anti-science, creationism [intelligent design] , and economics w/ climate denialism mixed in is only made more absurd by Wendy Gramm, wife of former Senator Phil Gramm; known for her role in the Enron scandal as chair of Mercatus .

      Why so many hacks and quacks? GMU gets boatloads of funding from ultra-rich libertarian and conservative donors, including the Koch brothers, Richard Mellon Scaife, and ExxonMobil. Charles Koch also sits on the boards of the Mercatus Center and the “Institute for Humane Studies.” We need to stress the comedy one more time — this is from a campus that is also desperately trying to increase its taxpayer-funded endowment.

      Skippy…. that’s a massive discount to creditability, even when opinions are moderately expressed [bites tongue[?], when the function of this establishments track record and its intended purpose are considered.

  19. Lambert Strether


    Interior Minister Nikos Voutsis said turnout was “over 50 percent,” well above the 40 percent minimum threshold to make the referendum valid.

  20. alex morfesis

    dora must decide

    perhaps no one has the worlds fate in their hands tonite as dora (mitsotakis) bakoyannis does in the next few hours…

    she has demanded samaras resign forthwith and he seems to be ignoring her…

    she can see the syriza express has found a way to dance around the oligarch wurlitzer…(maybe the internet is working after all) and communicate directly and convincingly to the greek public…

    so does she stay in ND and pout or break off and show a lockstep unity government to europe as the mayor of thesaloniki has insisted must happen now that the votes are counted…

    oddly enough…she holds the future of 500 million europeans in her hands…does she love greece or her ego…

    no matter how it plays out in the next few days and years…tsipras and varoufakis are not interested in taking the arrows in the back for another five years.

    she might see a door to her own ambitions of sitting as the first female prime minister in greece by jumping on the train.

    take the train dora…

  21. tgs

    From the Vineyard of the Saker:

    The United States and all other sponsors want the junta to disappear. The only thing they are concerned about is how to pull their tails out of there without getting them stepped on. So the question now is not whether to preserve the regime in Kiev, but how to surrender it in such a way that the sponsors get out on a break-even basis.

    This is triumphalist bullsh*t. And that’s why I don’t pay attention to the VineyardSaker site anymore.

    There is no way that the US or Germany for that matter are going to give up on Ukraine. Yes, there may be US forced regime change at some point, but Ukraine is too big a prize to walk away from.

    1. ambrit

      Saker might be pointing out the obvious. History is replete with ‘unbeatable’ regimes that slunk back from the ‘Gates of Moscow.’ The last two regime changes in Moscow that I can think of off of the top of my head are the Russian Revolution, (which I characterize as the entire 1905 to 1917 period,) and the Mongol Invasions of the Thirteenth Century.
      The observation that “Ukraine is too big a prize to walk away from” works for both sides of this dynamic. What about the actual Ukrainians in all this? (If after all the mixing and marching of the last two centuries, there is now a people that can be called ethnically Ukrainian.)

  22. Jack

    Re: fireworks

    No, she didn’t. But because Oregon is now bone dry most people, including the asshole next door who does this nonsense every year despite the fact that his own dogs hate the fireworks, decided not to do them. So they were mostly off in the distance. After a while she even came out from under the bed while they were still going on.

  23. pmr9

    In several recent posts Yves and her co-bloggers have argued that to set up a new payment system, including card payments, will take many years and that therefore the consequences of a quick unplanned Greek exit from the eurozone will be an economic disaster. She notes that the existing card payment system is of Byzantine complexity

    I don’t think this view is correct, and I would be interested to know what other readers with relevant expertise in computer science think. Briefly, a payment system has two components: a secure transaction log (provided at retail level by card payments and at B2B level by SWIFT), and a clearing system for inter-bank transfers, usually provided by the central bank. To set up a new payment system, there is no need to use the existing structure of card authorization terminals or SWIFT transaction logs: it is now straightforward to set up a more efficient and more secure system based on public key cryptography. This doesn’t require any cards or central transaction log such as SWIFT. It can be implemented on a mobile phone or any other computer that is under the user’s control. This requires setting up a public key infrastructure: for every bank account the holder of the account creates a public/private key pair, uploads the public key to a server, and arranges for a trusted individual such as a bank manager to sign the public key. To make a payment, the account holder simply issues a digitally-signed payment order. The account holder’s bank checks the digital signature, and issues its own digitally signed orders to make the transaction and (in the case of a bank to bank transfer) to clear it with the central bank. The software for setting up public/private key pairs and digitally signing documents has been freely available for many years. The main problem in implementing this quickly would be to explain to people the basic principles of using public key crypto correctly.

  24. fresno dan

    Beyond ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ ekathimerini. Important
    The chronic polarization of the Greek society is based on a deeply established lineage of political cleavages, which have taken different shapes since the end of WWII: Leftists – Nationalists, Liberals – Conservatives, Anti-Right – Right, Anti-Memorandum – Pro-Memorandum, and now, simply Yes or No. People have been fluctuating between those groups for decades, and as the current crisis progressed that movement became more fluid. Since the 1950’s, Greek politicians capitalized on these cleavages, turning them into a political strategy to ensure obedient, predictable voters. It is what established them and what solidified their power, until the collapse of the two-party system the past year.

    This divisive strategy turned into a golden goose for the political elites and the wealthy oligarchs. Polarization lead to clientelism, and after 1974 it was further legitimized by the mass partisan mobilization of the populace. Political polarization became part of the identity of the Greek (????American????) citizen. This turned out to be detrimental for the financial state of Greece, since the public sector became a vehicle of corruption in a transactional democracy, where an electoral vote was monetized.

    That seems awfully familiar… deja vu all over again. It sure seems like a country I know…..

    1. fresno dan

      It would be equally false to equate the majority of the Greek pensioners, civil servants and employees in the private sector who could never avoid paying taxes -since it was deducted from their salaries- with the corrupt elites and oligarchs who criminally evaded taxes. This is, by the way, something quite common also to the –US and other Western democracies.

      “criminally evaded taxes”
      Sorry, Mr. Ekathimerini but that is so mean – and so wrong!!!! Our tax evasion, e.g., know as “carried interest” and such, and is carefully, methodically designed through the most careful analysis, study, and bribery EVER developed on this planet, AKA, campaign contributions and political influence known to man – it is nothing so simple or crass as illegality. Indeed, what is the outrage is that it is SO, SO legal…only a PhD super duper economist can explain all the benefits of our tax system, for no common man could be so stupid…

    1. JohnB

      Some very worrying/insane ideas from Syriza members, further down in that article:

      Syriza’s attitude at this stage is that their only defence against a hegemonic power is to fight guerrilla warfare.

      Hardliners within the party – though not Mr Varoufakis – are demanding the head of governor Stournaras, a holdover appointee from the past conservative government.

      They want a new team installed, one that is willing to draw on the central bank’s secret reserves, and to take the provocative step in extremis of creating euros.

      “The first thing we must do is take away the keys to his office. We have to restore stability to the system, with or without the help of the ECB. We have the capacity to print €20 notes,” said one.

      Such action would require invoking national emergency powers – by decree – and “requisitioning” the Bank of Greece for several months. Officials say these steps would have to be accompanied by an appeal to the European Court: both to assert legality under crisis provisions of the Lisbon Treaty, and to sue the ECB for alleged “dereliction” of its treaty duty to maintain financial stability.

      1. Robert Dudek

        It sounds to me that these hardliners understand the reality of the situation and are taking appropriate steps. Greece is at war.

  25. allan


    Reflecting on his legacy as attorney general and the next chapter in his professional life, Holder acknowledged that his “appropriately aggressive” challenges to financial and corporate fraud could mean that certain institutions “might not want to work with me, and … that’s fine.”

    Where “appropriately aggressive” is Beltway-speak for “don’t bite the hand that had fed you in the past and will feed you in the future”.

    1. Vatch

      Occasionally I enjoy a completely unrealistic fantasy in which the next President and his or her Attorney General prosecute Eric Holder for obstruction of justice. Belief in leprechauns and werewolves is probably more plausible, I’m afraid.

      1. Jerry Denim

        Aaron Sorkin TV show from a parallel dimension where Naked Capitalism is more popular than MSNBC.

    2. sd

      That Eric Holder, he’s such a funny guy! Comedy gold, he should go on late night tv with his stand up routine.*

      *whenever Eric Holder speaks, imagine everything he says followed by a laugh track.

  26. Howard Beale IV

    Tumbrel rides for Holder, Breuer, Mary Jo White, Arne Duncan, Rham, Petraeus, and last, but not least, Hillary.

    1. hunkerdown

      Minister no More! (Yanis Varoufakis). Pushed:

      Soon after the announcement of the referendum results, I was made aware of a certain preference by some Eurogroup participants, and assorted ‘partners’, for my… ‘absence’ from its meetings; an idea that the Prime Minister judged to be potentially helpful to him in reaching an agreement. For this reason I am leaving the Ministry of Finance today.

    2. Norm de plume

      He can be proud of what he has done. Did he crash through or crash? I suspect both, though in time the former will overshadow the latter. He already looks good against his opponents, who are looking pretty shabby right now, and that contrast will sharpen.

      As far as spear-carriers go he was courteous, but steely too. Accurate critique and sensible suggestion however are unwelcome no matter how they are presented.


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