Links 7/6/15

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Study: Floating Heap Of Trash Now Ocean’s Apex Predator Onion (David L)

It Wasn’t Just Clickbait: Cat Videos Might Actually Be Good For You Jezebel

ADORABLE: Puppy Tackles His First Watermelon Videowall

Roaring success: lions return to Rwanda, with rhinos next? France 24

Women’s World Cup: Japan reacts with sadness and pride BBC

Asia-Pacific cities are driving the global economy Japan Times

TIMELINE: China’s Efforts to Stem $3.2 Trillion Stock Rout Bloomberg

Greece debt crisis: China is the real elephant in the room Sydney Morning Herald (EM)

China’s Stock Plunge Leaves Market More Leveraged Than Ever Bloomberg. In isolation. 4.4% borrowings relative to market cap is not a ton of leverage. But the question is how many speculators are levered elsewhere, as in their stock losses leads them to default on other loans.

China shares jump despite Greek vote BBC

Quartet of crises threatens Europe’s core Reuters

European Stocks, Euro Fall After Greek Vote Wall Street Journal. “The losses weren’t as steep as many investors and analysts had expected.”

China issues travel warning after Turkey protests CNN

Debt write-down for Ireland urged Independent (Swedish Lex)


Minister No More! Yanis Varoufakis. Varoufakis was still a very staunch Eurozone supporter. This may mean the FinMin goes over to real hardliners. NC readers said early on that the MPs that were candidates to replace Varoufakis were much less pro-Europe than he was. Varoufakis claims he was responding to preferences expressed by Eurogroup members post the referendum. It’s hard to imagine any of them communicating with him save maybe Dijsselbloem, and it’s very hard to imagine anyone on the creditor side taking a concrete step prior to the key parties conferring and coming to a meeting of minds (or an identification of areas of disagreement and what if anything to do next). Moreover, from the WSJ reporter covering Greece:

And the Guardian live blog appears to have caught what this was really about:

Monday’s meeting of Greek party political leaders may be dominated by a call for finance minister Yanis Varoufakis to be removed from the country’s negotiating team.
Our correspondent Helena Smith reports:

The head of the centrist Potami party, Stavros Theodorakis, has signalled he will ask for the academic-cum-politician’s immediate withdrawal from the team – citing irreconcilable differences with Greece’s creditors.

This is going to be a big ask. Tsipras is very close (some say enormously dependent) on his finance minister and has stood by him despite growing unease with Varoufakis’ tactics in his own Syriza party. Both men have been enormously vindicated by tonight’s result.

Statement of Alexis Tsipras after Vote on Referendum: ‘Greece will return Europe to the Peoples’ (Sayed)

Greeks Reject Bailout Terms in Rebuff to European Leaders New York Times

10 Consequences of Greece’s ‘No’ Bloomberg

Defiant Greeks reject EU demands as Syriza readies IOU currency Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph

With ‘No’ Greek Vote, Tsipras Wins a Victory That Could Carry a Steep Price New York Times

Why the Yes campaign failed in Greece Wolfgang Munchau, Financial Times

The US is a helpless bystander on Greece Edward Luce Financial Times. Luce was once a speechwriter for Larry Summers. He occasionally carries water for the Administration. Read this against the post today bh John Helmer on Russia and Greece and decide what account you find more plausible.

How a “Yes” minority supports a “No” majority to bring a new MoU to Greece Intelligent News. Important detail.

Merkel, Hollande to Determine Europe Response to Greek ‘No’ Bloomberg

From War Nerd via Facebook (hat tip NT):

Leptokarya, Northern Greece: Banks are closed, and only one ATM is still open. Long line of very old people waiting at that ATM, in a very bad mood. The woman at Greek Post took great pleasure in telling me the nearest place to change currency is the provincial capital.
Luckily the Mediterranean is still open.


EU Pushes Russia and Ukraine to Resolve Gas Dispute OilPrice

Russia: Powers in the balance Financial Times


Why isn’t U.S. tougher on Turkey’s hesitance to fight Islamic State? McClatchy

Turkey says it will reach out to Kurds in Syria in search for cooperation McClatchy (furzy mouse)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Ghost Fleet: Welcome to the World of Post-Snowden Techno-Thrillers Intercept

Scott Walker and Rick Santorum want to curb legal immigration Reuters

California Drought Sends U.S. Water Agency Back to Drawing Board New York Times

Puerto Rico A Mess, But So Far Avoids Default OilPrice

Antidote du jour. Diptherio: “Guess drum practice is going to have to wait!”

pandit in kick drum

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Victoria

    Re: Why the Yes campaign failed in Greece, my Greek friends have made very clear that they do not expect Greece to stay in the euro, and also that they’ve seen this movie before in the form of living cash-free during past World Wars. When I asked about how their aged mother was doing, they laughed. “Since the War, she has never trusted a bank.” Greeks know that the whole crisis is concocted by bankers for bankers. They just want to get the bankers out of their lives.

    1. jgordon

      There’s something extremely important in what you said there: needing money to live is not only a perverse way of living, it’s also precarious. Vast energy intensive bureaucracies, along with an extreme fetish for authoritarian micro-management, have to be in place for these expansive impersonal money credit systems to exist. As the energy and material resources needed to support these systems dry up, these systems will inevitably fall into decline. Those who have rediscovered how to get by without money are way ahead of the game and will be a lot more comfortable going forward.

  2. ambrit

    Speaking of class war…
    This relentless propagandizing for the “status quo ante” by Zillow, of course, highlighted by Yahoo, is a capsule example of what’s wrong with us now. Nowhere in the article is the plight of the homeless and out of work dealt with. Housing “values” and the façade of ‘bright and shiny’ are front and centre in this screed.
    Detroit’s answer to the problem of poor and homeless people squatting in abandoned houses? Tear down the houses.

    1. fresno dan

      Kind of an astounding thing – anything, absolutely anything, to maintain the banks. Banks don’t hold the mortgages because they were bailed out? Poor people need houses? Let them stay in the abandoned houses?
      We need borrowed money to maintain property values!!!!!!
      And if you can’t borrow, you can’t live in a house – better the house be torn down.

      1. ambrit

        Who will be this generations Upton Sinclair or John Steinbeck?
        I remember the raw power of one of the opening scenes from the movie adaptation of “Grapes of Wrath.” A local boy has driven up from out of the vast flatlands on a big bulldozer. He’s there to knock down the Joads repossessed house. After the deed is done, the bulldozer travels on, from one horizon to another, nothing left standing. A visual tour de force.

    1. abynormal

      “The Duke of Wellington reflected 200 years ago that nothing except a battle lost can be half as melancholy as a battle won. A parable for the euro, a line from T.S. Eliot’s “Murder in the Cathedral,” comes to mind: “For every evil, every sacrilege, crime, wrong, oppression and the axe’s edge, indifference, exploitation — you, and you, and you, must all be punished.” As the smoke rises from the field of battle, the euro area will not be a peaceful place.”

  3. Ignim Brites

    From the AEP article in The Telegraph: ‘”If necessary, we will issue parallel liquidity and California-style IOU’s, in an electronic form. We should have done it a week ago,” said Yanis Varoufakis, the finance minister.’ Nice to see that California is seen as s model for sovereign financing. Gotta wonder what the FED thinks about that.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Can Greek regional governments, and/or cities, issue California-style IOU’s too, like the American state?

      1. Gio Bruno

        American states are sovereign entities. Many have “no deficit spending” provisions in their state Constitutions. In 2009 California legislature approved the use of IOU’s to specific entities. Major banks agreed to accept them. (They offered 3.75% interest.)

        Don’t think Greece will be as generous. California has a larger economy than Greece. Triple the citizens, too.

  4. Ned Ludd

    Varoufakis’ suggestion of a parallel currency crossed the line for Tsipras.

    Mr. Varoufakis’s popularity in Greece has deterred Mr. Tsipras from ousting him until now, these people say. But the premier reacted after Mr. Varoufakis told a U.K. newspaper late Sunday that Greece might introduce a parallel currency and electronic IOUs similar to those issued previously in California. Mr. Varoufakis quickly backtracked on his comments to The Daily Telegraph but his prime minister had had enough, say the people familiar with the matter.
    A parallel currency and IOUs would put Greece on a slippery slope to exit from the euro, economists and European officials say. It was only the latest of Mr. Varoufakis’s frequent ideas that didn’t have the support of the rest of the Greek government. […]

    A reshuffle of Greece’s negotiating team in April largely sidelined [Varoufakis] from talks with Europe. But he remained an influential adviser to Mr. Tsipras and a leading advocate of taking a hard line against creditors, in the conviction that Germany and others will relent in their austerity demands rather than risk the breakup of the euro.

    Yannis Koutsomitis, a contributor to Germany’s n-tv, just commented that Tsipras’ new proposals, to be presented tomorrow, are “based on last Juncker offer… The one 61% of voters rejected.” The ouster of Varoufakis may be a precursor to tomorrow’s capitulation by Tsipras.

  5. Jef

    Should read; “Asia-Pacific cities are driving the global march to total biosphere degradation”.

    I would be willing to bet that the vast majority of the plastic in the pacific garbage gyre is from Asia-Pacific.

    I have a friend that is an atmospheric chemistry Prof. at OSU and she said that at times a quarter or even more of the air pollution in California is from Asia-Pacific.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Wonder if that Asia-Pacific air pollution comes from making products exported through California and beyond.

      “You can’t divorce the front end of a product from its back end (pollution from its manufacturing, and of course, its eventual trip to the landfill, or waste-water treatment plant, if it’s lucky, which takes less and less time).”

      Might as well buy stuff made here.

    2. colin

      Yeah, and we’re gonna keep dumping trash into the ocean and air until hypocrites like you first clean up your last 300 years of western pollution and destruction. Bring back the vast forests destroyed in North Am and Europe and we can start talking.

  6. abynormal

    a must see: The Art of Biophilia
    It is our biophilia that causes us to find so much beauty and satisfaction in nature. We do not love nature because it is beautiful; we find beauty in nature because we are a part of it, and it is a part of us.


    It is a symbiotic relationship. The more we grow in understanding and appreciation of the natural world and the more we invest in it, the greater the peace, satisfaction, and joy we receive from our association in return, just as we involuntarily develop love for those people we truly understand and serve. As with all ordained goodness, the more we give, the more we receive.

    1. OIFVer

      Try telling that to the rapacious elites that plunder a spoil nature in the name of groaf. Fracking, mountaintop removal, pouring concrete on top of unique seashore dunes to house tourists, these are just a tiny sample illustrating the fact that we no longer see nature’s beauty. I am afraid that our relationship with nature, as a specie, stopped being symbiotic long ago.

    2. vidimi

      interesting…but it’s perhaps a tad ironic that most of the subjects had to be dead for the photographs

  7. PQS

    From Democracy Now today:
    “Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis announced his resignation today, saying Greece’s creditors no longer want him involved in the talks. Varoufakis said, “I shall wear the creditors’ loathing with pride.”

    Echoes of FDR and welcoming their hatred. I wonder if he is aware of the parallel.

    1. fosforos

      It is easy to understand the EU 18’s exasperation at constantly being treated as dunces.

      It is much easier to understand Yannis’s exasperation after having had to spend five months in constant negotiation with eighteen dunces.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Looking at Ned Ludd’s post at 9:14AM, it could be Tsipras’ exasperation at being treated as a dunce by Yanis.

        Will Tsipras capitulate soon?

        1. ambrit

          If he does capitulate, it will be correctly seen as an assisted suicide request by Syriza. I’m assuming he will need the support of his coalition partners to push this through the Greek Parliament. The real hard Left partners cannot in good conscience accede to this. A capitulation must bring on a vote of no confidence in the Parliament.
          Does Tsipras have what it takes to rule by decree? That, or new elections are the only ways I can see for a capitulation to be implemented.

  8. allan

    Bloomberg: ‘Flash Boys’ Programmer in Goldman Theft Prevails a Second Time

    Former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. programmer Sergei Aleynikov, who took the firm’s high-frequency trading code on his last day of work, overcame a second conviction as a state judge handed a fresh defeat to prosecutors. … It was his second conviction in five years. In 2010, he was found guilty in Manhattan federal court on similar charges, only to have that verdict thrown out on appeal.
    [Manhattan DA Cyrus] Vance’s office filed new charges against him about six months later.

  9. Ned Ludd

    Euclid Tsakalotos appointed new Greek finance minister

    It’s not the first time Tsakalotos has taken over from Varoufakis. He has been negotiating with creditors since the end of April when the Syriza government replaced Varoufakis. […]

    In contrast to Varoufakis, who was an outsider, Tsakalotos has been a member of Syriza for almost a decade.

    Ambrose Evans-Pritchard says Euclid Tsakalotos “earned a reputation as safe pair of hands since becoming chief negotiator in the debt talks,” but seems not to like him because he “comes from the radical Marxist wing of Syriza, and shares little of Mr Varoufakis’s European idealism. ”

    1. Ned Ludd

      I misread Ambrose Evans-Pritchard’s article. He is warning the creditors about Euclid Tsakalotos instead of expressing his own dislike.

      There is also this interesting bit about what Varoufakis was planning before being ousted.

      When I asked him before the vote whether he was prepared to contemplate seizing direct control of the Greek banking system, a restoration of sovereign monetary instruments, Grexit, and a return to the drachma — if the ECB maintains its liquidity blockade, forcing the country to its knees – he thought for a while and finally answered yes.

      “I am sick of these bigots,” he said. […]

      He was putting out feelers for technical experts in London, targeting veterans of Britain’s ERM exit in 1992, though he was under no illusions that Grexit could ever be anything other than gruesome.

  10. fresno dan

    Greece’s 2010 assistance program was largely a bailout of European banks, initiated to prevent a wider banking crisis. I didn’t expect this claim, from the previous post, to be very contentious.
    I am not criticizing Europe’s handling of Greece because banks deserved to take a hit and were treated too lightly. It is not the absence of pain and blame that troubles me, but its asymmetry. What was required was a Europe-wide solution to a European problem. What occurred, in my opinion, was the quarantining of a scapegoat. I blame Europe’s leaders for not framing the crisis in a different way, for acting as though it was about alms to Southern miscreants rather than explaining its roots in EU-wide regulatory errors and poor credit allocation incentives, Europe-wide problems that threatened many states.


    “because banks deserved to take a hit and were treated too lightly.”
    OK – yeah, I agree we need banking systems….I just disagree that nobody ever gets fired or prosecuted.

    “explaining its roots in EU-wide regulatory errors and poor credit allocation incentives,”

    So, whose fault is that?
    Nooooooooobody saw it coming – like a natural disaster…..
    Or the housing crash in the US…

    And have those problems even been addressed?

    I am beginning (just beginning??? yeah, I’m pretty dim) to lose confidence in our elites….

    1. abynormal

      “One of the greatest advantages of the totalitarian elites of the twenties and thirties was to turn any statement of fact into a question of motive.”
      Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism

      “Economics ought to be a magpie discipline, taking in philosophy, history and politics. But heterodox approaches have long since been banished from most faculties, claims Tony Lawson. In the 1970s, when he started teaching at Cambridge, the economics faculty still boasted legends such as Nicky Kaldor and Joan Robinson. “There were big debates, and students would study politics, the history of economic thought.” And now? “Nothing. No debates, no politics or history of economic thought and the courses are nearly all maths.”

      How do elites remain in charge? If the tale of the economists is any guide, by clearing out the opposition and then blocking their ears to reality. The result is the one we’re all paying for.”
      Aditya Chakrabortty

      confidence in our elites…i Never had any.

      1. Synoia

        I have confidence in our elites.

        In that they will service their own ends, and not those for the common good.

        Those who consider the common good are generally called Socialists. This who consider the common good and then are pragmatic about wealth accumulation are called Liberals, Neo-Liberals or Whigs. Those who do not pursue the common good and enjoy wealth accumulation are called conservatives, or Tories.

        Our elites are Tories. The traditional party of wealth.

  11. JTMcPhee

    For the Kleptocracy Watch: “Ten Reasons You Wish You Were Larry Ellison,”

    The rest of us have to content ourselves with little blue pills and “male enhancement devices delivered in plain brown rappers.” Because Bigger is Better, after all…This guy erects his playstations on our backs, because “he can afford it,” because “he earned it”? Oh yeah, you wonder how well paid his boatbuilders, boat tenders and servants are… Some clues to the lifestyles of the rich and infamous, and their “people,” here: “Dockwalk Magazine: Essential reading for superyacht captains and crew,”

    Ellison also plans to live forever, or at least a very long time… I read that aphids live shorter lives than the ants that eat them, and us aphids sure seem subject to something like the controls that ants apply to keep the aphids docile and at home before they eat them.

    Sharp creases in those white shorts and epauletted shirts, people, and don’t forget to knuckle your brown when the Massa passes…

    1. JTMcPhee

      “the controls ants apply before they eat them:” Herding Aphids: How ‘Farmer’ Ants Keep Control Of Their Food,

      Not so very mutual and commensal as other studies would indicate: Give ants sugar, and they happily eat their fill of aphids. The Almost Unbearable Sweetness of Derivatives…

      Of course because humans are “exceptional,” there’s no analogizing at either end of the scale to what happens in the rest of “nature…” Dominion, and subjection, it says it in the Bible, right here! — Or at least in my King James Version, written by earlier imperialist patriarchs…

  12. diptherio

    Quick turn-around time on that antidote, Yves! :)

    On another note:

    The “Sharing Economy” is the Problem

    [T]he recession pushed significantly more segments of the American workforce into positions where they must string together part-time gigs and find alternative ways to bring in revenue. So a sharing economy, where people can use what they already have to help others, while making some bonus money for themselves, sounds like a perfect solution.

    It’s unfortunate then that these companies and the misnamed “sharing economy” are really just fronts for millionaires and billionaires to opportunistically ride off the backs of everyday people, while also exacerbating many economic inequalities.[…]

    These extractive and unfair practices are a far cry from the actual kinds of sharing that generates community and connection. Sharing itself, of course, is a good thing. In fact, even flexible labor arrangements can have a place in a vision for a new economy. As sharing activist Mira Luna puts it, “If greed was a major characteristic of the dying economy, sharing is a key element of the blueprint or DNA for the new economy.”

    So people should be able to use a service like AirBnB or Uber. But they should also own them cooperatively.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Some supportive people are probably going to rush to judgment: “Oh, no. A Ph.D. in economics from Oxford. We’re doomed.”

  13. Christopher D. Rogers

    Re: Yanis Varoufakis Resignation.

    Despite what you have inferred on this forum, let me be abundantly clear on an issue – Yves Smith being fully aware I can impart some reality from the horses moth itself – that the shock resignation of Yanis Varoufakis was not planned, nor is part of any grand strategy by the Syriza government.

    I’m sick of false rumours being spread, Prof. Varoufakis’s resignation was done of the grounds of expediency and in the interests of all the population of Greece, to infer otherwise is both mistaken and an insult.

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