Links 10/5/15

World Animal Day Ambassadors by Country World Animal Day

Feeding strategy of blue whales revealed Japan Times.

Ben Bernanke: More execs should have gone to jail for causing Great Recession USA Today. “More”?

Glencore Oil Deals Could Bite Banks WSJ. See Yves’ explainer here.

Global growth shows clear signs of slowdown FT

World’s Central Banks Lose Bond-Market Credibility as Woes Mount Bloomberg

Fed policy has made one of the best indicators of recession worthless Business Insider. QE means the inverted yield indicator doesn’t work any more.

Federal Reserve interest rate rise: Why you should be watching the people, not the data Telegraph

Record ATM Fees Rise Toward $5 WSJ

Volkswagen to hold extraordinary board meeting on Wednesday: sources Reuters

Judge says funds struggle to vote with so many shareholder proposals Francine McKenna, MarketWatch. Delaware Supreme Court Chief Judge Leo Strine.

Connecticut, America’s Richest State, Has a Huge Pension Problem WSJ

Saudi Aramco Cuts Crude Pricing to Asia, U.S. Amid Weak Demand Bloomberg

Extreme poverty ‘down by a quarter’ since 2012 FT


Stock market intervention by Beijing ‘could help narrow income gap’: Communist Party newspaper South China Morning Post

As China growth flags, analysts weigh alternative indicators France24

No less an authority than China’s premier Li Keqiang has expressed doubts about the accuracy of the country’s GDP figures.

Leaked US diplomatic cables show that as the top official in Liaoning province in 2007, he told the then-US ambassador that such data was “man-made” and thus unreliable.

When evaluating the economy, Li said he focused on only three indicators — electricity consumption, rail cargo volume, and the amount of loans issued, according to the confidential memo released by the WikiLeaks website in late 2010.

The hottest argument by China bulls is melting Business Insider. The argument against “The Li Index” has been the Chinese service sector, but now that’s looking shaky, to the extent we can measure it at all.

Myanmar radical monk endorses ruling party in election, raps opposition Channel News Asia


#FeeltheBern: Bernie Sanders Rally in Boston Jonathan Cohn. Impressive, for those who know the Expo Center area.

I’m a Hot Mess for Hillary Rebecca Traister, Elle

Hillary Clinton Pitches Her Would-Be Presidency To LGBT Advocates and Biden Shows Up At LGBT Rights Gala With A Focus On The Future Buzzfeed

Hillary Clinton Spent Money Nearly as Fast as She Raised It in Third Quarter Bloomberg

O’Malley: Put more cops on Wall Street beat Des Moines Register. “As president, I will create a standalone division at DOJ to investigate and prosecute economic crimes; require law-breaking banks and their executives to face real consequences instead of just absorbing fines and continuing to break the law; break up the biggest banks and pass a 21st century Glass-Steagall Act.” What are “real consequences”?

Rand Paul and the Fizzling of America’s Libertarian Moment New York Magazine

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Police face questions over covert monitoring of Jeremy Corbyn and other MPs Guardian. Corbyn demands to see his file.

It’s time for Labour to escape “Stockholm syndrome”  Ann Pettifor, Prime Economics

Ruling Portuguese coalition heads for election win France24

Greece’s Fascists Are Gaining NYT


Doctors Without Borders leaves Afghan city after airstrike AP

Medical charity MSF demands independent probe into strike on Afghan hospital Reuters

Conflicting Agendas, Caution Beset Pentagon Plans in Syria Wall Street Journal

Moscow scuppers US coalition plans for no-fly zone in Syria FT

Column What does Russia want in Syria? Los Angeles Times

Syria crisis: Let’s welcome Russia’s entry into this war Independent

Iranian parliamentary panel gives conditional nod to nuclear deal Reuters

Imperial Collapse Watch

Billions From U.S. Fail to Sustain Foreign Forces NYT. Oh, so that’s what those billions were for!

Trade Traitors

No plenary or press conference from TPP last night; see events unfold in this series of comments. It’s said there will be a presser “this morning,” so I’ll have a post on the outcome, whatever it may be.

Divisions prompt extension of TPP trade talks to Monday Japan Times

IP-Watch/Yale FOIA Case Decided: USTR Can Keep TPP Texts Secret, But Maybe Not Communications With Industry Advisors IP Watch

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Text book publisher issues groveling apology to Texas mother who called them out for suggesting African people wilfully emigrated to America to ‘work’ Daily Mail

Class Warfare

Anti-capitalism is being fuelled not just by capitalism’s vices but also by its virtues Economist

Please Train Your Replacement On Your Way Out! This Week In Corporate Layoffs Wonkette

A Strike May Park San Francisco’s Tech Buses Gizmodo

Having the Hard Conversations Jacobin

The Power of False Narrative Consortium News

Sorry / Not Sorry n+1

A Country Is Not a Company Paul Krugman, HBR (Furzy Mouse). A classic, and still true today.

Antidote du jour (via Mother Nature Network):


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


        1. Nigelk

          Called my rep and both senators.

          Told them I’m registered independent and that if they vote to pass this through — when it’s clearly opposed by the people and is attempting to be snuck through before the election year — I will personally campaign for their opponent in the primary.

          Boxer is quitting, and Feinstein is an enemy of the people for various reasons, so I don’t hold out hope.

          The GOP-er in my rural CA county should be on notice though. I WILL CAMPAIGN FOR YOUR REPLACEMENT, LaMalfa.

        1. John Zelnicker

          I just followed your link to sign the petition and it was blank when it loaded. Your info was not there.

    1. TedWa

      Even Bernie is fuming. Just got an e-mail and petition. A truly awful surprise to spring on us this morning.

    2. jgordon

      I’m kind of looking forward to all the lawsuits/discovery that’ll be flying against these illegal treaties in the not too distant future. The TPP “deal” should open the floodgates for that!

  1. wbgonne

    Bernie in Boston. I was there from the opening through about 20 minutes of Bernie’s speech. (Yo La Tengo was playing in town.) A few observations:

    1. The crowd was overwhelmingly white, with many young people (20-30) and a fair number of older people (50+). Very few in the 30-50 range.

    2. Bernie was hoarse but still seemed energized and vibrant. He sounds like a New Yorker and his delivery is effective. The crowd responded well. I can envision him as the president.

    3. I was hoping Sanders would lead with a TPP broadside but he didn’t. It appeared to be his basic stump speech.

    4. Where was Elizabeth Warren and WTF is she waiting for? It’s bad enough she wouldn’t run herself (she’d be mopping the floor with Hillary). Endorse Bernie already.

    5. The crowd was large but not enormous and enthusiastic but not delirious. IMO, Sanders’ only real hope for the nomination is to significantly expand the voting pool by getting those young people to turn out in the primary.

    1. Daryl

      > 1. The crowd was overwhelmingly white, with many young people (20-30) and a fair number of older people (50+). Very few in the 30-50 range.

      This is kinda what concerns me about the crowd he draws. I hope that everyone attending these rallies is intending to vote.

      1. spooz

        Who would they take the time to attend a rally without the intention of showing up at the polls?

        1. Oregoncharles

          Nader, 2000. Drew similarly huge crowds in the same places. Polled about 10% – until the election.

      2. jrs

        Do the math though. The 20-30s (too young to have voted for Obama in 2008).

        The 50+ are people who often still believe in the system, for whatever reason, maybe they just have too much invested in this awful system, they think that it’s salvageable. Maybe anyone under 50 has seen how bad this system functions even if they’ve managed to survive it.

        I bet the 30-50 range has given up on voting period (or at least at the Prez level), at least all anecdotal evidence suggests that to me. Why? OBAMA. Do the math though, a 30 year old was a young 20 something maybe in college or grad school when Obama first ran. Even those quite a bit older (old enough to know better :)) often got taken in by the O. So the lack of 30-50 somethings is not about Sanders, it’s still ultimately about Obama, having taught an entire generation a harsh lesson.

      3. Christopher Fay

        Boston is overwhelmingly white. The thirty to fifty-year-olds are working or too tired after work to attend.

        Other than people who expect to be repaid many times over, who attends Hillary events?

        1. Nigelk

          Well-put sir.

          Rachel Maddow embarassingly called it a “hometown crowd” in her attempt to downplay it on her Hill-shill of a show last night. It was truly pathetic. They have no idea how to account for Bernie.

      4. MojaveWolf

        When he is in ethnically diverse areas he does (or at least did in the past) draw ethnically diverse crowds, see: LA Rally. This “trouble attracting ethnic minorities” meme was originally a phantom; sadly it is the sort of phantom that can easily become one of the only things people who don’t have the time or haven’t taken the time (two very different sets of people, each with lots of subsets, but this sort of applies to all of them) know about him, becoming a bit of a self-fulfilling phantom with folks tuning into the campaign or just hearing about him. How many will even bother to check out records? How many will cling to first impressions, no matter how little they have to do with the man himself? I’m pretty sure that was the exact intention of the people who created said meme, and the only counter is lots of pushback, thus my argumentative response to your completely innocuous comment (sorry bout that, I read your comments all the time & appreciate them).

        The other reason he’s got an uphill slog with ethnic minorities is Hillary has traditionally been very popular there. Both these are possible to overcome though (just as he’s making big headway among women despite the strong desire for a female president), no matter how many subtle hit pieces the corporate media puts out, & neither should be a worry when he makes the general.

  2. Bill Smith

    “Moscow scuppers US coalition plans for no-fly zone in Syria”

    I don’t see this as likely to be true – but because if anything Obama has no interest in a no-fly zone and has repeatedly said it.

    1. Ed

      Abbott was for TPP in public -CSPAN broadcast last ight a snippet of him defending it in the Australian parliament, but I wonder if there was something going on behind the scenes that led to his replacement by ultra-globalist Malcom Turnball (sp?) days before Australia agreed to TPP.

      1. low_integer

        I don’t think Turnbull replacing Abbott as PM was connected to the TPP. Turnbull is ambitious, and the public’s dislike of Abbott was just considered too much of a liability for/by the Liberal party with elections in about a year.

  3. Jim Haygood

    ‘The cumulative changes in FOMC membership could tip the balance on how the committee votes over the coming year.’ — The Telegraph

    Hard to miss the resemblance of this statement to old-school Kremlin watching.

    After all, setting the policy rate of interest by committee is a pure form of Soviet-style central planning. Changes in the Politburo must be monitored carefully to gauge whether hardliners or reformers have the upper hand.

    Their Five Year Plan foresees rates advancing back to normalcy as Yellenism creates a cornucopia of jobs for displaced workers.

    1. MikeNY

      It’s absurd. Fed-watching has become a fetish like latex and rubber or pup play. Next year watch for Yellen to have a booth on Folsom Street.

      1. fresno dan

        The FED – the biggest McGuffin ever. The more impotent they become, the more they are obsessed over.

      2. Jim Haygood

        Folsom Street might be a gig for her sidekick, Stanley Fischer. He believes a taste of the whip, via a couple of stinging rate hikes, would have a bracing effect on a complacent economy.

        When J-Yel heads for Burning Man after Jackson Hole, we’ll know she’s jumped the shark.

    1. abynormal

      “To stomp about the world ignoring cultural differences is arrogant, to be sure, but perhaps there is another kind of arrogance in the presumption that we may ever really build a faultless bridge from one shore to another, or even know where the mist has ceded to landfall.” Kingsolver

  4. abynormal

    re: Sorry/Not Sorry…about that Armstrong Poem
    We are completely innocent.
    The simple truth
    is that we outwork everyone.

    If you’re trying to hide something,
    you wouldn’t keep getting away
    with it for ten years.
    Never failed a test.
    I rest my case.


    America: breeding ground for psychopaths
    Apparently, cultural influences play a very important role in the development (or not) of sociopathy in any given population. Few people would disagree that, from the Wild West of the past to the corporate outlaws of the present, American society seems to allow and even encourage me-first attitudes devoted to the pursuit of domination. Robert Hare writes that he believes “our society is moving in the direction of permitting, reinforcing, and in some instances actually valuing some of the traits listed in the Psychopathy Checklist — traits such as impulsivity, irresponsibility, lack of remorse.”

    In this opinion he is joined by theorists who propose that North American culture, which holds individualism as a central value, tends to foster the development of antisocial behavior, and also to disguise it. In other words, in America, the guiltless manipulation of other people “blends” with social expectations to a much greater degree than it would in China or other more group-centered societies.

    *Sociopaths do not care about their social world, but they do want, and need, to blend in with it.*

    1. fresno dan

      I remember reading years ago about how much better schizophrenics fared in India as opposed to the US, despite the US spending a zillion times more money. The analysis concluded that the Indians fared better simply because of friends and family….

      How many mass shooting occur because people don’t have friends?

      1. neo-realist

        Or why do the shootings happen because the shooter’s family unit is wretched? Maybe not in the latest case, but other ones?

        1. cwaltz

          I think dysfunctional is a better term. Our society stigmatizes mental health issues and I think as a result it discourages people from going out there and talking and finding avenues where they can get help when the family unit doesn’t have the tools (maybe they are dealing with some of these mental issues too, maybe they lack the education or training to recognize let alone point in the right direction for help.)

        2. Gio Bruno

          …It was reported in the LATimes today that the Umpqua CC shooter’s mother is a registered nurse AND a gun nut. Go figure.

          I know being an RN is good grounding for perpetual employment, but, gawd, wouldn’t a few gunshot victim’s emergency entrance into the hospital provide some leavening. It’s not like she would be unaware of the marginal mental state of her son (He attended special school to ameliorate his personal condition.). She openly bragged about her gun arsenal and took her son to the gun range.

          Anybody close to the perpetrator who says they couldn’t see this coming is blind to recent events.

          1. cwaltz

            I really don’t understand why anyone would encourage someone who is mentally ill to use a weapon, let alone someone who is aware of the damage a gun can do. It’s negligent.

            I know that if someone wants to hurt themselves or someone else they can find a way, but why in the world would you want to facilitate a way when you know that the person is already in pain(and could potentially lash out as a result)?

        3. jrs

          They are related of course, the family unit may be dysfunctional and there are no friends so all there IS is the family unit around and around and around, it’s the dysfunctional that you never get any other perspective on (because no friends) and that lack of perspective may be worse than the dysfunction itself, well except in early childhood. But I wouldn’t ever presume to know what it is like to decide to commit murder.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        In math, I am told, a 10-line proof is more elegant than a 100 line or step proof.

        And a 1-step proof (if one can find it) is better than a 3 step proof.

        In the same vein, I think a zero-money solution is better than a billion-dollar solution.

        In many cases, money can’t solve anything. We’d be just wasting it.

        In fact, it’s possible, we are making the problem worse.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      This is a really interesting article. I connect it to Hudson’s metaphor of brain parasites. Note the author says the issue is biology plus culture, not biology alone (though of course there may be a feed forward flow from the cultural to the biological, which is why I’m so interested in how parasites adapt their environments, and epigenetics generally).

    1. allan

      To the barricades. Every Senate Dem has to feel the heat. To paraphrase John Kerry, how do you ask a man (or woman) to be the last man to lose his seat for a presidential legacy mistake?

      1. cwaltz

        It shouldn’t be just Senate Dems, particularly if you want to win.

        Hopefully the conservative base is as appalled as we are that we’d be giving up our sovereignty under this agreement and putting corporate multinationals above the law. It’s definitely something that will put small business at another disadvantage.

      1. allan

        Oh, you cynics. Let the NYT explain it:

        For the first time in a trade agreement there are provisions to help small businesses without the resources of big corporations to deal with trade barriers and red tape. A committee would be created to assist smaller companies.

        What more do you want?

        1. abynormal

          their litter box is full AND shrinking:
          The U.S. Council of Mayors holds a pro-TPP dog-and-pony show in Atlanta [Atlanta Journal-Constitution].

          [USTR Michael]Froman said Colgate [Mattress] is ’emblematic’ of the need for a free trade pact with Asia partners….

          Colgate’s Vice President Richard Wolkin admitted some worry about the pending deal. He’d like to expand his international trade, but is mindful of what impact the TPP will have on imports and his operations.

          ‘Our wages are higher, our overheads are higher, and even more importantly our regulations are definitely stricter. We have undergone massive changes in those areas and those challenges,” he said.’

          Asked his prediction for whether TPP will be a boon for Colgate: “I can’t answer whether it will, in fact, be better for us or not.’

        2. C

          So they finally admit that by creating a large and unaccountable transnational bureaucracy we are making things hard on most small businesses (60% of employers in this country and falling), and the solution is… more bureaucracy.

          That is such a pathetic attempt at cover that it is clear they just don’t care.

          1. JTMcPhee

            Not “TRANSnational,” certainly not “MULTInational” any more — I would love it if folks would work on attaching more accurate monikers like “SUPRAnational.” And please, everybody, stop calling these things “trade deals.” They are corporate coups.

            1. cwaltz

              I definitely think Corporate Coup works. I’m not certain supranational wouldn’t confuse people, which is why I personally use multinational. I do agree though that it will transcend multinational if essentially these organizations become above the law in each and every nation that they operate.

    2. Ulysses

      This is so awful! We can push to defeat the agreement’s adoption in all member countries, but I fear it will be very difficult indeed– to stop this final surrender of popular sovereignty to the transnational kleptocracy.

      1. Praedor

        We MUST fight and fight hard. I absolutely refuse to support a party (Democrats) or politician (Democrat) who votes FOR this. The problem is there has NEVER been a trade agreement that has reached the Senate that didn’t pass. Democraps and Rethuglicans are identically sold out to corporations. They ALWAYS fall down for their corporate masters.

          1. cwaltz

            I really like corporate coup. I think it’s pretty apt. They want to be able to control every aspect of trade consumers be darned.

            Every single Republican that votes for this should be primaried by every single Republican who ever uttered the words “free market.”

            1. JTMcPhee

              The goal for the Monsantos and the rest is not just controlling “trade,” unless the definition of that term, by usage, has come to be coextensive with that bigger thing, the entire eco-political economy…

              “Never quit when you’re ahead. If you knock them down, beat them so badly that they’ll never be able to stand up again…”

            2. Nigelk

              Called my rep and both senators.

              Told them I’m registered independent and that if they vote to pass this through — when it’s clearly opposed by the people and is attempting to be snuck through before the election year — I will personally campaign for their opponent in the primary.

              Boxer is quitting, and Feinstein is an enemy of the people for various reasons, so I don’t hold out hope.

              The GOP-er in my rural CA county should be on notice though. I WILL CAMPAIGN FOR YOUR REPLACEMENT, LaMalfa.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Any Democrat, not just the ones who voted for it. If a Democrat is not fighting Democratic supporters, they need to be treated as pre-treason too.

        2. Ulysses

          The questions now become:

          “How do we organize resistances and claims in front of the transnational organization of production? How do we share common knowledge of the different conditions? How do we strike where the borders between the inside and the outside of the workplaces are blurring?”

          1. Ulysses

            Chris H. has some inspirational words in his latest column:

            “Rebellion will come from the bottom. I do not know if we can succeed. The forces arrayed against us are monstrous and terrifying. The corporate state has no qualms about employing savage and violent repression, wholesale surveillance, the criminalizing of dissent, and its propaganda machine to demonize us all. But I know this: We are the only hope. We are the people we have been waiting for.”

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              “Each of us has greatness within.”

              “Money creation from the bottom, not trickled down.”

          2. James Levy

            Are there Republicans who can be won over on the issue of sovereignty? Some loathsome Democrats will bow to this, but can they be offset by some Republicans who see this surrender as a bridge too far?

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                We could use more sovereignty defending Tea Party Republicans in this instance.

                Patriotism – the last refuge of sovereignty defenders, especially after the Fed abdicated our monetary sovereignty to China last month.

            1. MojaveWolf

              Short answer: Yes.

              Longer answer: Yes, and I both emailed and called my local (R) house rep, emphasizing primarily the sovereignty issue, along with being a local constituent and what I do for a living and how much I appreciated his work in one particular area on which I actually do respect him, R or no, and mentioning that I had no intention of ever voting for anyone who supported this ever again, regardless of opponent. I was very polite and friendly and started with the nice stuff. He actually fought against it in the house. He may have been inclined to do so anyway–despite overall bad politics he seems like a decent guy and I think he really does care about the sovereignty issue. I also made sure to thank him (or, more accurately, his office) after the vote. FWIW.

      2. low_integer

        “One thing is for certain: there is no stopping them; the [corporations] will soon be here. And I for one welcome our new [corporate] overlords. I’d like to remind them that as a trusted TV personality, I can be helpful in rounding up others to toil in their underground sugar caves.”
        -Kent Brockman (The Simpsons)

        1. abynormal

          Third, we will make trade work for America by forging new trade agreements. And when nations cheat in trade, there will be unmistakable consequences.
          Mitt (we’ll even bomb our own Doctors) Romney

    3. Daryl

      > Ford Motor Co. told Congress not to approve the agreement because it fails to adequately address currency manipulation overseas, which may tip the playing field.

      This is like net neutrality, where I’ll be rooting for certain corporations short-term interests to influence government policy (In this case, to destroy rather than create it), since I know the people’s common interest will not be taken into account. It makes me queasy.

    1. BillC

      Thank you. Nearly everyone in western Europe — including me — tends to depersonalize the refugees/migrants as if they were a herd of creatures that just has to somehow be managed. This story is a powerful antidote.

  5. marco

    Very saddened to see the lead contamination issues in my former home town Flint Michigan’s drinking water. Would this be classified under “Imperial Collapse”, “Corruption”, or “Crapification”??

      1. skippy

        That will be billable for 5 mill large or your presence is requested at the soonest ISDS booking available….

        Skippy…. I hear the queue is front loaded, but I can speed things up by greasing the right sorts….

  6. Chris in Paris

    Torches and pitchforks – Protesting Air France workers raid executive meeting after announcement of layoffs. They actually stripped the shirt off the HR director who had to escape over a fence. The photos are pretty stunning. If you know CDG you can see exactly where this is. Comments in Le Parisien are about 90% in favor of the workers…

    1. abynormal

      cooler heads will prevail…afterwards?

      What is at a peak is certain to decline. He who shows his hand will surely be defeated. He who can prevail in battle by taking advantage of his enemy’s doubts is invincible.
      Cao Cao

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I am always curious about the thinking behind recoverable physical damage.

      For example, the police would use water canons or tear gas to control or disperse crowds.

      It is painful and you get hurt, but you most likely will recover fully and such force, such physical violence doesn’t any one too excited.

      A stripped shirt, or an exposed chest – it’s recoverable.

      It’s not a gun shot wound from a cop shooter. You will recover if you are lucky, but that requires surgery, unlike those from, say, water canons.

  7. MikeNY

    Re: SF tech bus drivers. I wish them success.

    “What’s good for tech is bad for San Francisco.” I’m hearing that more often these days.

  8. RabidGandhi

    Re: Greece’s Fascists Are Gaining NYT

    This article is being somewhat coy with the facts. While Golden Dawn is indeed scary, painting them as “gaining” takes some creative math. In last month’s elections they garnered their lowest number of votes since 2009. Yet the interesting point is that the only way they gain is by there being fewer total votes, thus giving them a higher % of the pie (7%) and more seats (although at 18, still down from their 2012 high of 21). I.e., the more people lose hope in a solution at the ballot boxes, the more Golden Dawn’s presence is felt in parliament.

    Thus while the article paints Golden Dawn as on the rise, recruiting shopkeepers in Kos and Mytilene, the party actually seems to have hit its ceiling at around 400,000 votes. The only way they can break this ceiling would be for more and more Greeks lose hope and abstain from the polls, something Mr Tsípras, by his actions, is trying very hard to encourage.

    1. Massinissa

      If Golden Dawn is ‘gaining’, they havnt gained much, because they only have 3 more people in parliament than the Communist party, and not much ahead of the smaller parties. Theyre only 9 seats ahead of the smallest party in parliament, Union of Centrists (which has 9 seats total).

      Democratic Coalition is ‘gaining’ too, and theyre at 1 less seat than Golden Dawn, in 4th place.

      Someone wake me up when Golden Dawn has almost as many people as center right New Democracy’s 75 parliamentary members. That would require GD to more than triple in size.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Greeks are also leaving Greece.

      When there are only 799,999 left, they can win with the same 400,000.

      1. RabidGandhi

        aka the “Estonian Econ Stat Improvement Method” or Neoliberalism Law 2(a) “If you’re not going to go die then go away”

  9. C

    TPP Auto rules liberalize already liberal NAFTA rules. Under NAFTA 62.5% of a vehicle must be locally made to quality for duty-free status. Under the TPP it is down to 50%. According to the Guardian:

    The North American Free Trade Agreement between Canada, the United States and Mexico mandates that vehicles have a local content of 62.5%. The way that rule is implemented means that just over half of a vehicle needs to be manufactured locally. It has been credited with driving a boom in auto-related investment in Mexico.

    It should also be credited with creating a boom in auto suppliers that ship to Mexico and a drain on American producers but why include that in the story?

  10. abynormal

    sedative antidote…vital timing, ty

    “We have doomed the wolf not for what it is, but for what we deliberately and mistakenly perceive it to be –the mythologized epitome of a savage ruthless killer – which is, in reality, no more than a reflected image of ourself.”
    Mowat, Never Cry Wolf

    “Everyone knew there were wolves in the mountains, but they seldom came near the village – the modern wolves were the offspring of ancestors that had survived because they had learned that human meat had sharp edges.”
    Pratchett, Equal Rites

  11. Carolinian

    Trade deal: this bit from Washingtonsblog is interesting.

    President Obama’s negotiator is his close personal friend, Michael Froman, a man who is even trying to force Europe to reduce its fuel standards against global warming and whose back-room actions run exactly contrary to Obama’s public rhetoric. Froman and Obama have been buddies since they worked together as editors on Harvard Law Review. He knows what Obama’s real goals are. Also: “Froman introduced Mr. Obama to Robert E. Rubin, the former Treasury secretary,” who had brought into the Clinton Administration Timothy Geithner and Larry Summers, and had championed (along with them) the ending of the regulations on banks that the previous Democratic President, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, had put into place.

    America….it’s all about the networking.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      We are not so exceptional in that regard.

      In China, guanxi is essential for survival.

  12. C

    The agreement also would overhaul special tribunals that handle trade disputes between businesses and participating nations. The changes, which also are expected to set a precedent for future trade pacts, respond to widespread criticisms that the Investor-State Dispute Settlement panels favor businesses and interfere with nations’ efforts to pass rules safeguarding public health and safety.

    Among new provisions, a code of conduct would govern lawyers selected for arbitration panels. And tobacco companies would be excluded, to end the practice of using the panels to sue countries that pass antismoking laws. On Sunday, Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, hailed the provision as “historic.”

    This part is very interesting. It deals with the one current sticking point but completely ignores the larger-scale problem of financial firms that sue to eliminate oversight, polluters that sue to block environmental laws, and the capacity of the panel to create new “obligations” on its own.

    If they had crafted good ISDS rules then there would be no need for a special Tobacco carve-out. The fact that there is means the rules are horrible.

    1. ira

      From USTR’s summary of the agreement

      29. Exceptions

      …A Party may elect to deny the benefits of Investor-State dispute settlement with respect to a claim challenging a tobacco control measure of the Party.

      That is the only exception that is explicitly mentioned. However, in ‘Chapter 25. Regulatory Coherence’ the summary states ‘The chapter does not in any way affect the rights of TPP Parties to regulate for public health, safety, security, and other public interest reasons.’

      We need a trade lawyer to weigh in.

      1. Yves Smith

        This is not a matter of “trade law”. The ISDS panels are a law unto themselves, run by arbitrators who feel free to issue inconsistent rulings over time. They are the worst sort of kangaroo court imaginable.

        1. ira

          I’m quite aware that ISDS obliterates ANY notion of sovereignty and democracy.

          What I was trying to get at is that the two sentences, on the surface at least, could possibly be construed as contradictory. But after a closer reading, they’re not contradictory at all.

          Chapter 29 cutely and cynically says that a party (ie a government) might ‘deny the benefits [where’s Orwell when you need him] of Investor-State dispute settlement…’

          Chapter 25 allows governments ‘to regulate for public health, safety, security, and other public interest reasons’ [wow, thanks for allowing us to do something that a) we already can do,and b) is, indeed, the very definition of what democratic societies do], but, as wbgonne says below, regulate all you want: you’ll still get your ass sued.

          Guess I failed reading comprehension.

      2. wbgonne

        The chapter does not in any way affect the rights of TPP Parties to regulate for public health, safety, security, and other public interest reasons.’

        Well, you can regulate all you want. Just be prepared to pay astronomical ISDS damages for lost profits after you enact those regulations. BTW: What impact do you think little fact that might have on regulation and regulators? This is the neoliberal dream come true.

  13. craazyboy

    Did any of these articles mention what they settled on for drug patent timeframes? If it got shortened to 5 years, like the ROW wanted, that would be a silver lining.

    1. ira

      from @burcuno who is Public Citizen’s Global Access to Medicines Program director

      Froman on biologics: Regulatory measures, inspections, clinical trials etc. may take 7-8 yrs beyond 5 yrs for biosimilar to be approved

      Froman on biologics: We had long negotiations, min. term is at least 5 yrs + other gov. measures that can achieve comparable outcome

  14. Massinissa

    As someone with many libertarian friends or acquaintances, the problem isn’t so much that there arnt enough Libertarians, the problem is that libertarians don’t actually like Rand Paul at all. The common refrain is that while his father was a Libertarian pretending to be a Republican, Rand is a Republican pretending to be a democrat.

    Rand has very much alienated most of the Libertarian movement (or at least, whats left of it), while being unable to attract the centrist republicans hes been trying to catch.

    His showing in the primaries is going to not be anything similar to the showing Ron Paul got just 3 years ago. When the Libertarians get a candidate they actually think is Libertarian, and not a poseur, they’ll be back in force again, though even in force theres never really been enough of them to shape national politics, as we can see from the failure of Ron Pauls relatively successful 2012 bid.

  15. Brindle

    Marcy Wheeler disentangles the DOD doublespeak on the Kunduz hospital atrocity:

    —The statement all seems to be more about shifting blame on the Afghans rather than the US special forces who somehow didn’t correct their claim that a hospital was attacking them, and to lay the claim that those same people are just advising Afghans rather than actually fighting. (Campbell is back in DC to testify to Congress, so these claims will become very convenient immediately.)

    But overall, the explanation remains the same. US special forces on the ground in Kunduz called in strikes that — in probably 3 attacking passes — took out a hospital.—

  16. ira

    Big Tobacco has warned that they will fight a tobacco carve out. Since McConnell is owned by big tobacco (amongst his other corporate masters), maybe he won’t even allow a vote to come to the floor (or perhaps use some other procedural trick) !

    And now we have this in from Jamie Love, head of Knowledge Ecology International, who is one of the legendary figures in the fight for affordable access to medicines, and for finding a new way to finance drug development,

    New @Ford statement: “we recommend Congress not approve TPP in its current form”

    This is Ford Motor Company ! (Although I can’t find the statement on Ford’s twitter feed).

    1. wbgonne

      I just got an email from Sanders to sign an anti-TPP petition. I don’t usually bother with online petitions but I did sign this one for two reasons: 1) this is absolutely crucial because it is establishing a corporatist framework that will endure long after we’ve rid ourselves of Obama; and 2) if Sanders gets a huge anti-TPP response maybe he will begin hammering Hillary on this and, if Hillary opposes it, even nominally, that could help sink it with the Democratic “centrists” (which means pretty much all of them). Obviously, Obama has no fear of the “left” since he knows the racialists will defend him against any such attacks no matter how odious his policies are.

      Anyhow, it can’t hurt:

      1. wbgonne

        As another commenter above noted, this link goes to my signature on Sanders’ petition. Probably better to delete the link.

        S’il vous plaît.

      2. Brooklin Bridge

        Agree with all your points. I’m going to use our postal service, but I will send him a letter.

  17. rich

    Welcome to the Banana Republic – Highlighting the Comment Section of Bernanke’s WSJ Propaganda Piece
    Michael Krieger | Posted Monday Oct 5, 2015 at 10:15 am There’s nothing like the comment section when it comes to Federal Reserve propaganda in the editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal. Liberty Blitzkrieg readers will remember the last time the WSJ published a disconnected piece of Central Bank stroking garbage from Fed propagandist John Hilsenrath, and the riotous anger which ensued in the comment section. If you missed it, I strongly suggest taking a read: “Revolution is Coming” – The Top 20 Responses to Jon Hilsenrath’s Idiotic WSJ Article.

    Fast forward a few months, and here we have Ben “the courage to bail out billionaires” Bernanke writing an almost unreadable piece of propaganda in the WSJ titled “How the Fed Saved the Economy.”

    At this point in a post I’d typically highlight the more egregious parts of an Op-Ed, but this one is so bad, so poorly written and uninteresting, there’s really no point. If you feel like wasting two minutes of your life go ahead and read it yourself, but it appears to me that it was put together in a couple of seconds by an intern trying to boost book sales.

    What’s far more interesting, is the comment section. Apparently there are 591 comments as of this writing, and if the first page is any indication, WSJ readers are not on the same page as Bernanke. And that’s putting it lightly.

    So what do Americans think of our hero? Here are a few examples from the first page alone:

  18. Vatch

    Well, I guess we’ll finally get to see that actual magic text of the TPP. But not right away, though. As was discussed in the Water Cooler on Sept. 29, along with Rep. Sander Levin’s memo:

    Under Trade Promotion Authority, before the President may sign a final TPP Agreement he must first notify Congress of his intent to do so 90 days before signing. Within that period and sixty days before signing an agreement, the draft text must be published. Because the President has not yet notified Congress under this provision, the 90 day clock has not started.

    So after he proclaims his intent to sign the agreement, we may have to wait 30 days before seeing what is actually says. They could publish the text of the proposed agreement right away, but I really doubt that they’ll do that.

    1. Brooklin Bridge

      Did you check out the link above? – IP-Watch/Yale FOIA Case Decided:…

      A paragraph,

      As government negotiators dig into perhaps the final round of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade negotiations this week in Atlanta, they may take comfort in knowing that nothing they are doing has to be shared with the public they represent until years after it is over. That’s because a federal district court in Manhattan decided this week, in a closely watched Freedom of Information Act case brought by Intellectual Property Watch, that draft texts of the trade deal can be kept secret. The court did, however, cast doubt on the government’s reasons for also keeping its communications with industry lobbyists from the public eye.

      I keep hearing conflicting accounts on this. If congress must vote on it, does that mean it will be made public? And if so, how does that square with the above?

      1. Vatch

        I believe that the draft texts that can be kept secret are the drafts that precede the final draft. We won’t be able to see how the document developed; we’ll only be able to see the final take-it-or-leave-it version of the text. And that doesn’t have to be publicly available until 60 days prior to the President’s planned signing date.

        1. Ulysses

          “We’ll only be able to see the final take-it-or-leave-it version of the text. And that doesn’t have to be publicly available until 60 days prior to the President’s planned signing date.”

          Even this 60 day full-text viewing window for the public may not happen. My best guess is that only heavily redacted (with added obfuscatory language not actually part of the agreement) “summaries” will be released.

          “National Security” interests will be the excuse given for the lack of transparency.

          1. C

            Strictly speaking the bill says that the text must be “made available” to Congress before the vote. But the terms of that availability are up to the OTR and Froman so I doubt that “available” means “public.”

            Obama said that it would be public but he also promised a health care debate “live on C-Span” so take that for what it is.

            1. Vatch

              I found this in the text of Public Law No: 114-26 (06/29/2015):

              (B) the President, at least 60 days before the day
              on which the President enters into the agreement,
              publishes the text of the agreement on a publicly
              available Internet website
              of the Office of the United
              States Trade Representative;

              I’m not a lawyer, but it seems to me that they have to let everybody see the text of the agreement.

              1. cwaltz

                If they break the law on this though, it’d likely go to their extra special court that will tell us it is all okay that they broke the law.

                I suspect it will be the corporate equivalent of FISA court.

        2. Brooklin Bridge

          You may be right, but the article is still confusing to say the least: “…[as they dig into the final draft], they may take comfort in knowing that nothing they are doing has to be shared with the public they represent until years after it is over. definately sounds like it means no one is going to know what is in the TPP, and not, every one is going to know almost immediately what is in the TPP but not what was in the drafts just prior to it (as if they cared).

  19. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Strike…Tech Buses…Baghdad by the Bay.

    Will self-driving buses come to the rescue?

  20. KMSM

    Doctors Without Borders issued a statement against the TPP:

    “Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) expresses its dismay that TPP countries have agreed to United States government and multinational drug company demands that will raise the price of medicines for millions by unnecessarily extending monopolies and further delaying price-lowering generic competition. The big losers in the TPP are patients and treatment providers in developing countries. Although the text has improved over the initial demands, the TPP will still go down in history as the worst trade agreement for access to medicines in developing countries, which will be forced to change their laws to incorporate abusive intellectual property protections for pharmaceutical companies.”

    There’s more at the link but the very last sentence reveals why TPP is perilous: “it is a dangerous blueprint for future agreements.”

    1. vidimi

      the cynic in me wonders whether there was any link between this condemnation and the bombing of the MSF hospital in afghanistan

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Life on the top floor of the Metropolis is getting tougher.

      Those below must help out. That explains the recent spate of lay off news.

  21. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    World Animal Day Ambassadors.

    No one can represent animals better than animals, in the same robots can best represent robots.

    I would like to see animal World Animal-Day ambassadors.

  22. Oregoncharles

    The most intriguing bit from the article about the Maryland judge’s talk:

    ” Strine thinks a company will soon face shareholder suit that uses director inattentiveness to cast doubt on business judgement. He says a case citing a director’s inappropriate use of technology, email, texts or even “playing fantasy football instead of looking at documents in the portal” during a board meeting is inevitable. “

  23. evodevo

    Ben Bernanke: More execs should have gone to jail for causing Great Recession ……NOW he tells us !! Statute of limitations expired or something??

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